Microsoft's Windows Azure became generally available in 21 countries yesterday, reports SFGate. The company's cloud platform had previously been available in a Community Technology Preview. Customers who have not yet upgraded Windows Azure CTP accounts to paid subscriptions will have service disabled and their Azure Storage CTP data will be made read-only. SQL Azure CTP customers have until March 1 to upgrade before their accounts will be deleted. Windows Azure Storage CTP customers have until April 1 to upgrade to avoid losing their data.
Windows Azure faces a bevvy of competition from the likes of Cisco Systems, EMC and VMWare to name a few. Om Malik of GigaOM notes that Microsoft, which has gotten used to margins of 50 percent or higher on its products, will have to settle for less than that in an already crowded marketplace.