A question that I’ve been asked a number of times recently is how to activate an MSDN Azure account and more specifically, how to do it with a BizSpark account. To make it easy, I thought I’d blog that here.
For an up to date list of benefits you should visit http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/msdn-benefits/ but currently it’s as follows:
|Subscription Level||BizSpark/Visual Studio Ultimate
|Visual Studio Premium
|Visual Studio Professional
|Compute||1,500 hours of the Small Instance||1,500 hours of the Extra Small Instance||750 hours of the Extra Small Instance|
|Storage||30 GB||25 GB||20 GB|
|SQL Azure||5 GB||1 GB||1 GB|
|Access Control Transactions||500K||200K||100K|
|Service Bus Connections||5||5||2|
|Data transfers||35GB (WW) Out
35GB (WW) In
|30GB (WW) Out
30GB (WW) In
|25GB (WW) Out
25GB (WW) In
Signing up for BizSpark
Starting up, if you are a start-up (defined as less than 3 years old, less than $1 million in revenue, privately held and producing technology as your primary monetization) you should be on BizSpark. BizSpark gives you access to all of the Microsoft technologies that you’d need to develop your applications such as Windows, Azure, Visual Studio, Office (in case you need to integrate with it) and more. Just go to http://www.bizspark.com and click Apply Now.
If you have an existing LiveID, you can use that but the reality is that I recommend that you create a specific LiveID for the start-up because what happens if the person who originally signed up leaves the company? Or is out on a day when something needs to be done on the account? For that reason, I recommend creating a specific account for your BizSpark management.
I recommend, partly because of the number of lawyers in my family, that you read the terms and conditions but at the end, if you agree, there are two individual agreements that you need to agree to before you click next.
One of those is the BizSpark Startup Agreement and the other is the EULA.
Once you fill out the rest of the wizard, it goes into a process on our end. If you are in Ireland, that registration goes through a two phase approval process. The first phase is with a Network Partner and the second phase is currently me.
Once you are signed up, you can log into My BizSpark and click on the Get your Free Software link which will show you a link to MSDN. Reality is that it’s just pointing to MSDN and you can go there directly if you like.
You’ll just need to sign in there with a LiveID that’s associated with a BizSpark member.
Adding new developers to a BizSpark Account
Quick side note is that I’ve also been asked a number of times how to add additional developers to a BizSpark startup. Find the Manage section of the left hand navigation and find the Members link underneath that. Then you put in the new developer’s name and email address. That does not have to be their LiveID – it can be any email address. There will be an acceptance link in the email that will require the person to sign in with their own LiveID to access the bits and all.
Activating Your Azure Benefits from MSDN
Once you sign into MSDN and go to the “My Account” section, you should see the “Windows Azure Platform” link. This link will take you to the Windows Azure signup process and walk you through a longish wizard. At the end of that, you will be able leverage all of the benefits of MSDN on Azure.
One thing to warn you about at this point is that the Windows Azure signup does require a credit card to cover any overages. I recommend that you closely monitor your usage to make sure that you don’t go over.
Now, once you’re signed up for the Azure benefits, you can simply go to http://windows.azure.com to manage your account and deploy applications. The one portal serves as your management portal for your services, data, SQL Azure and any other services you’re signed up for such as Connect.
Have fun playing with Azure!