Microsoft announces lower pricing for some of its virtual machines

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Microsoft Corp. has announced a round of price cuts for some of its “most popular virtual machines” as of Oct. 1.

The company announced a 15 percent price reduction on its Dv2 series VMs, a 50 percent cut on its A1 and A2 Basic VMs and 11 percent off of its F series VMs.

Microsoft also said it’s adding a new option: a series of virtual machines (Av2) that will be priced 36 percent cheaper than its A series Standard VM prices. The company said the new VMs become its most economical entry-level option, and should interest enterprises looking to get things done on the cheap. The A series VMs are Microsoft’s entry level (cheapest) tier, while the Dv2 series is described as its “general purpose tier,” providing more oomph in the way of greater memory and local SSD storage than the A series.

“A Basic is an economical option for development workloads, test servers, build servers, code repositories, low-traffic websites and web applications, micro services, early product experiments and small databases,” Microsoft’s Azure VM pricing page states. “D1-5 v2 instances are based on the 2.4 GHz Intel Xeon E5-2673 v3 (Haswell) processor, and can achieve 3.1 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0. D1-5 v2 instances offer a powerful combination of CPU, memory and local disk for most production applications.”

As for the F series VMs, these are a more specialized option, providing “an even higher CPU-to-memory ratio with a lower price than the Dv2 series,” explained Takeshi Numoto, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Cloud + Enterprise, in a blog post.

As well as the price cuts, Microsoft has said its offering a new Microsoft Azure Hybrid Use Benefit to customers running Windows Server, who also possess Software Assurance. According to company officials, the Hybrid Use Benefit can help users run Windows Server workloads at a reduced cost of up to 41 percent.

In other pricing news, Microsoft has also made its Enterprise Management + Security (EMS) E3 and E5 bundles available, at $8.75 per user per month, and $15 per user per month, respectively. In both cases, volume discounts are available.

As to why Microsoft is announcing price cuts now, that’s not immediately clear. The move could be a belated response to Google’s decision to cut the cost of pre-emptible VMs, or then again it could just be that Microsoft is trying to take advantage of the fact that Amazon Web Services hasn’t announced any significant cuts of its own in quite a while.

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