Azure For Students
Let suppose I am a graduate student and want to learn Azure, Seeing this new Azure portal, It will be very difficult to start doing lab assignment. I thing students should also be given a free MSDN subscription wherein they can deploy their own environment. Even Microsoft can conduct an online event for this too.
A basic cut down subscription that last for 12 months would be perfect. Mainly include the minimum a newly minted graduate student needs going in to a job. Or a lowly paid new developer needs to study while on the job.
Here's are my suggestions; (I understand they may not be those of the original posters.)
1. Basic Azure to do a few applications with databases etc. Support most types of applications and deployment scenarios so the can learn everything. Provide limited (30 accounts, 10 groups) Azure AD support, and similar limited support for other features; i.e number and size of DB etc. Enough to implement _and test_ applications. No need for high performance enterprise scaling or other advanced features, just the minimum basics.
2. Make this basic Azure self hosted on their own Windows Pro machine, and also available online for those that can not afford Windows Pro.
3. Mock (don't actually implement the true outcome) advance enterprise features so the student can still learn what settings and programming is required.
4. DO NOT automatically upgrade and start billing if limits are reached.
5. Offer this for at least 12 months, with easy renewal. Actually if the system is fairly basic, yet still usable by a student, don't put a time limit on it. Technology evolves so we all need to be students all the time and have access to that evolving technology.
6. Even if some very small commercial companies exploit this offering chances are if they are successful companies they will need to get the fully paid version. If not they will be providing more Microsoft Azure developers with good skills and experience. The alternative is these companies use AWS and other offering creating developers that use and promote Microsoft competitors.