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Microsoft drops Azure costs by up to 17% in wake of fresh AWS price cuts

Microsoft continues on its quest to match the price of AWS storage and its cloud services with a fresh round of price cuts

Microsoft has reinforced its commitment to matching the price of Amazon Web Services' (AWS) commodity cloud offerings by outlining plans to reduce its charges by up to 17% from February 2015.

The software giant pledged in April 2014 to ensure the cost of using its Azure public cloud platform would keep pace with the prices AWS charges for commodity services, including storage, bandwidth and computing.

Microsoft has now responded to AWS' latest round of price reductions -- which saw it announce plans to lower the cost of using a range of Linux-running Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) instances by 5% on 5 January -- by outlining further cuts to its Azure charges.

"We are announcing price reductions up to 17% on the latest version of the popular Azure D-series virtual machines, Dv2 Virtual Machines," wrote Nicole Herskowitz, director of product marketing for Microsoft cloud platforms, in a blog post.

"Dv2 Virtual Machines sport 35% faster CPUs than D 'v1' virtual machines, and are based on the newest generation Intel Xeon (Haswell) processors."

The post also goes on to claim that using Azure, over the AWS public cloud platform, often works out better value for money, because of the additional features Microsoft includes as standard.

As an example, Herskowitz cites the fact that Azure Dv2 instances feature load-balancing and auto-scaling capabilities at no extra cost, whereas AWS charges extra for these capabilities.

Furthermore, Azure users are charged for using its services on a per-minute basis, whereas AWS favours a per-hour pricing model, which Microsoft further claims may result in users paying out for capacity and services they do not use.

Read more about cloud pricing trends

Cloud portfolios under scrutiny

Research published earlier this week suggests that -- as the cloud giants of the world continue to drive down the cost of services with their price-matching antics -- users are increasingly basing their decisions about which provider to go with on the contents of their product portfolios.

Microsoft echoed this observation elsewhere in the blog post, stating that low prices were not the only reason why users choose to use its cloud platform over its competitors' offerings.

"Prices aside, customers are using Azure for the value it brings. Customer are using Azure for its hybrid capabilities that enable existing on-premises environments to seamlessly bridge with the public cloud -- a reality for the vast majority of organisations," the blog post continued.  

"Today, more than half of Azure IaaS customers are already benefiting by adopting higher level PaaS services -- where Azure has always offered the industry leading capabilities.

"While we'll continue to offer great low prices, we're even more proud of offering you a comprehensive cloud platform that helps you innovate faster, no matter where you are in your cloud journey."

Read more on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)