Microsoft Azure is so much more than just a cloud hosting platform. Microsoft Azure is actually a collection of over 200 infrastructure, application and AI services. All of these services are specifically designed to give Azure users a flexible and scalable platform to run their key IT and Data activities. But is Azure too big to understand for most customers?

In this article we discuss how taking advantage of the range of free services available can be a great method of testing out the wide range of solutions available without incurring any costs.

Free Microsoft Azure services

Yeah you did read that right. Microsoft offers a number of free services when you join Microsoft Azure. If you haven’t used Azure before they will also give you £150 of credit to spend in the first 30 days.

What is the catch? The only catch regarding the free services is each service has a capacity limitation, meaning it is perfect for trialing out a new approach or building a proof of concept but you will be unlikely to run parts of your business using these services without hitting the limit on the free usage.

12 free Azure services for 12 months

First we will look at the 12 services Microsoft offers. These services cover a wide range of things and we have also included the free capacity available from each one

Service Description Free allowance
Linux Virtual Machines Create Linux virtual machines with on-demand capacity in seconds. 750 hours
Windows Virtual Machines Create Windows virtual machines with on-demand capacity in seconds. 750 hours
Azure Managed Disks Get premium, secured disk storage for Azure Virtual Machines with simplified management. 64 GB x 2
Azure Blob Storage Use massively scalable object storage for any type of unstructured data. 5 GB
Azure File Storage Migrate to simple, distributed, cross-platform file storage without changing code. 5 GB
Azure SQL Database Create an SQL database that delivers intelligence built in. 250 GB
Azure Cosmos DB Build modern apps with a fast NoSQL database service with open APIs at any scale. 400 RU/s
Azure Bandwidth (Data Transfer) Transfer data inbound and outbound through our robust network of global data centres. 15 GB
Azure Computer Vision Extract rich information from images to categorise and process visual data. 5,000 transactions

Always free Microsoft Azure services

Microsoft makes the 24 services listed available free forever up to the limitation stated. Below are some of our favourites from the list.

Service Description Free allowance
Azure Cosmos DB Build modern apps with a fast NoSQL database service with open APIs at any scale. 400 RU/s
Azure App Service Quickly create powerful apps for any platform or device using your choice of tools, including Node.js and PHP. 10 Web, mobile or API apps
Azure Functions Process events with a serverless code architecture. 1,000,000 requests per month
Azure Event Grid Get reliable event delivery at massive scale. 100,000 operations
Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) Deploy and manage containers using the tools you choose. Always free
Azure DevTest Labs Enable fast, easy and lean dev-test environments. Always free
Azure Active Directory Enable identity and access management in the cloud. Unlimited single sign-on
Azure Service Fabric Build and operate always-on, scalable, distributed apps. Always free
Azure DevOps Build apps in any language using our DevOps service – Git repos, CI/CD, build and release automation. 5 users (with unlimited private Git repos)