It didn't take long for the New Year to bring about changes on the database front. As expected, Microsoft's SQL Azure Database officially became a paid service on Monday. Users with community technical preview (CTP) accounts can upgrade to the paid service via the Windows Azure platform page.
Pricing for Azure varies by selected packages, though a Microsoft blog post states that those who upgrade before the end of January will not be charged for services during that month. Customers who choose not to upgrade can continue using Azure through March 1, 2010, before their accounts are deleted. Those who go this route will only be able to access their preexisting databases.
SQL Azure is a cloud-based database service built on SQL Server technology and is a part of Microsoft's Windows Azure platform. The database is designed to provide pay-as-you-go availability, scalability and data protection for the enterprise.
Check out our Q&A with Brent Ozar for information about SQL Server and the cloud.