You can start building and using Microsoft Windows Azure by following the following steps:
1. Setup an Account:
Set up an account and obtain a free subscription for accessing the online portals for Windows Azure an SQL Azure.
You can sign up and get the trial from http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/free-trial/.
Note: With the new capping functionality available you are assured that no charging will happen once your trial offer has expired.
2. Create your First application and Deploy it on the Windows Azure Platform:
Download the tools and learn how to create an application using .NET, JAVA, Node.js or PHP and deploy it on Windows Azure at http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/develop/overview/
When all steps are executed successfully you will have a implemented a Windows Azure Platform.
Learn more about how to use Windows Azure as a student or within your teaching curriculum from http://www.microsoft.com/faculty