I've recently started an Microsoft Azure Cloud-based project for the Queensland Government through my employer Oakton. To help me get up to speed with the latest developments in Azure, an MSDN Premium subscription gives you a whole heap of free goodies (Windows Azure and SQL Azure) to test out and demonstrate with.
The details of free benefits for Australian MSDN subscribers can be found here:
You will have to provide a credit card number if you do go over your MSDN Premium Subscription allowances - which are easily avoided if you're careful.
The following rates are current as of 19/01/2011:
MSDN Premium Subscription Benefit:
750 hours of a small compute instance
10 GB of storage
1,000,000 storage transactions
3 Web Edition databases (up to 1 GB relational database each)
Windows Azure platform AppFabric
1,000,000 Access Control transactions
1 pack of 5 Service Bus connections***
North America and Europe (per region)
7 GBs in
14 GBs out
Asia Pacific Region
2.5 GB in
5 GB out
You may utilize up to the above amount of service each month without additional charge for 16 months following sign up for this offer as long as you maintain your MSDN Premium subscription. Any usage each month in excess of the MSDN Premium Subscription Benefit will be charged at the MSDN Premium rates. You can sign up for these Azure Benefits for your MSDN Premium subscription right here:
There is really no excuse not to try it out if you have an MSDN premium subscription!