There are a variety of ways to get started on Azure. First and foremost, you should take advantage of the opportunities available to you.
Everyone is eligible to take advantage of a free $200 credit on Azure, which they can then transition into a paid subscription if they want/need to. Getting started is simple: you provide a credit card and you are only charged if you decide to subscribe.
Give Azure a try with the Visual Studio Dev Essentials program. Visual Studio Dev Essentials hooks you up developer tools, $25/month Azure credits for 1 year and even a 3-month Pluralsight subscription.
All completely free of charge.
If you're a high school or college student, you can qualify for free developer tools and Azure through Microsoft Imagine. Microsoft Imagine includes awesome things like:
- Azure App Services
- Notification Hubs
- SQL Server
- Visual Studio Team Services
- Microsoft R Server
- Windows Server 2016
- SQL Server 2014
- Among many other things: Pluralsight, Xamarin Studio, etc...
If you're working on solving problems startup-style, you may qualify for Microsoft BizSpark. BizSpark is intended for startups just getting rolling: less than 5 five years old, privately held, and earning less than $1 million annually? BizSpark may be right for you.
BizSpark includes access to much of Microsoft's software catalog and at least $150/month in Azure credits. This can scale upwards depending on if you qualify for BizSpark Plus; which can mean $120,000 in Azure credits for your startup to scale on.
Solving big problems? Do it bigger, better and faster with Azure. Microsoft provides awards through Microsoft Azure for Research for accepted research proposals to utilize Azure services up to a specified dollar amount.
Proposals are evaluated every two months and all university faculty, researchers, graduate students, and postdocs are welcome to apply.
Keep up to date with the Azure 4 Research blog.