The good news? Microsoft's Australian Azure data centres in Sydney and Melbourne are finally open today. The bad news? You'll pay extra to use them in many cases, and not every service is available at launch. Here's what you need to know.
The table below shows the per-month pricing for some common Azure services in three locations: Central US, Southeast Asia and Australia East. All prices are in Australian dollars. Note that not everything costs more — SQL Server pricing is consistent, for example.
|Service||Central US||Southeast Asia||Australia East|
|General purpose compute basic 1-core 0.75GB||$13.12||$13.12||$18.17|
|General purpose compute basic 8-core 14GB||$462.17||$522.72||$559.05|
|General purpose compute standard 1-core 0.75GB||$15.14||$15.14||$22.21|
|General purpose compute standard 8-core 14GB||$540.88||$540.88||$679.13|
|SQL Web 1-core||$24.22||$24.22||$24.22|
|SQL Enterprise 16-Core||$4,504.63||$4,504.63||$4,504.63|
|Small Basic Website||$56.51||$56.51||$70.64|
|Medium Basic Website||$113.02||$113.02||$141.28|
|Large Basic Website||$225.03||$225.03||$282.55|
Similar differences are seem in other services. Basic block storage costs $0.0267 per GB in Australia, but $0.0243 in the US. That's a small difference, but will add up with large data volumes.
Not every Azure service is available locally — Backup and Site Recovery, for instance, haven't launched in Australia yet. Not has HDInsight, Machine Learning or DocumentDB.
It's not surprising that the Australian centres carry a premium; Amazon Web Services also has higher costs for its local data centres. For services that need the higher latency, that will be worth it in some circumstances. Nonetheless, it represents a shift from Azure's launch policy of worldwide pricing. Note also that only companies with Australian or New Zealand billing addresses can use the Australia region; there's no option right now for (say) a US company that wants a local cloud presence but doesn't have operations here.
At the launch event at TechEd in Sydney, Microsoft also announced a new alliance with Telstra and an expansion of its existing partnership with Equinix to create ExpressRoute connections between customer data centres and the new Azure regions. The Equinix partnership will kick off later this year, with Telstra to follow in 2015.