One of the biggest challenges that IT consultants face, when ramping up the skills or studying for exams, is a proper lab environment. That’s part of the reason that free Azure resources are so important, both for the people using but also for Microsoft, who wants to increase usage and visibility of the awesome service they provide. Another great example of how important free Azure resource can be, is application development. Having free resources to develop your apps on Azure is key.
Here’s a list of why free Azure can be important to you:
- Lab environments
- Proof of concept
- Application Development
I personally use Azure mainly for lab environments and for support for the blog articles that I write, but any reason would be a good reason as long as you have the time and the motivation to start ramping up your Azure skills.
Being an expert in Azure, or any other cloud technology for that matter, means you need to have good skills in a lot of different areas, such as computing, networking, storage, etc. And that also means that lab and test environments in Azure are very important.
So what do you get with the Azure free account?
If you go to the Create your Azure free account today website, you’ll see that free to Microsoft means:
- Access to 12 months of popular free services
- 200$ of credit to use for 30 days
- Access to 25+ free services
Are there any gotchas?
I have a very personal opinion on this. To be very straight forward, my answer is no, I don’t think there are any gotchas, however I think that the credit card requirement is what probably is preventing the adoption to free account to be even bigger. Your credit card won’t be charged unless you manually upgrade to a paid account and remove the spending limit of 0$, but still I think that keeps away some potential users.
I never seen, nor I think Microsoft has official data published regarding the usage of free accounts, but my experience says that this is not as popular as it could be. This was released in 2017 and I feel that many potential users never heard about it or used it. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section, if you agree or think otherwise.
I just recently blogged about the Azure Friday videos and here’s the one where they promote the Azure free accounts, done back in 2017.