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I feel obligated to point out that Microsoft Bizspark will give you free software/services for 3 years and it is "one guy working from his kitchen table"-friendly. If you're building things, they will give you stuff.

Bonus: You can help support underdog upstarts like Microsoft against uncaring tech titans like Google.

Wow, did they change the name of their thing again?

I am really leery of these various clouds. They are like architectural catnip-using them requires you to use an order of magnitude greater resources than you would on a single server, but it's really fun to assemble the moving parts.

I feel like some people don't fully recognize how much you can do on a single tiny machine in 2014 if you don't have 29 abstraction layers under you.

It's not just that the cloud stuff is inefficient, but that it's so much fun to write services across ten ephemeral nodes and play with all the cool tooling, instead of hanging your head and learning the simple apache config that will enable you to do the equivalent stuff on a budget linode.

Having done both, I have a few comments.

Primarily, I hate to tell you, but Linode is now a "cloud" provider; "Cloud Hosting" is the headline on their homepage.

- Nothing stops you from running your full stack on a single large EC2 or GCE or Linode instance.

- Unfortunately, running your whole stack on a single server is a great way to experience a lot of pain when growing or when you write a runaway SQL query that burns all the CPU on the box and starves your Apache server, causing page loads to be multiple seconds and turning away potential users/customers/investors.

- Managing your own OS is a great way for guys who are great at writing Java but not experienced with Linux to have a ton of painful distractions that don't contribute towards building a successful product. Nobody's going to buy your SaaS app because your kernel is always up to date.

- The phrase "the server went down so we can't currently operate our business" drives me absolutely insane in 2014.

BizSpark is called BizSpark since a long time.

BizSpark is not their cloud offering, it's simply their program for giving away software licenses to startups

As part of the MSDN Ultimate benefit you also get $150/month of Azure credits. You also get the Linux rate on Windows VMs, and for dev / test purposes you can run any MSDN software at no additional charge.


Ah, thank you!

I think the value of the platform lies in the fact that the time you spend in implementing a lot of the features needed for a large traffic/heavy load application (caching, load balancing, replication, storage, queries) is mostly saved by the framework and by Google infrastructure.

This time then can be spent in the actual product, which for a startup I believe it´s a good thing, since providing a good service is something expected by a potential user, but it´s not really going to sell your product.

+1 for BizSpark.

It got me and 2 friends $150/month in Azure credits, and access to all the Microsoft stack.

They give up to $60.000 to Y Combinator startups and others, see this post:

"Hey guys, Felix from Microsoft here. Some of you may know me as the guy who's working with YC companies. A quick PSA: We sponsor YC companies with $60,000 in free Azure usage. Get in touch with me at felix.rieseberg@microsoft.com if you have any questions!"


In my case it worked out well because it's the stack I use at work, I commented on it here:


I still haven't leveraged it like I should (we abandoned the project, but I hope to pick it up and take it to the MVP stage during a short vacation at end of this month)

Anybody who knows me knows that I'm not a Microsoft fan... I'm an old-school "open source" guy who thinks of M$ as the "Evil Empire" and that Gates/Borg picture is still kinda how I picture gates.

And I think BizSpark is a great program. IF you are interested in running on the MS platform, or want to integrate with MS "stuff" you can't beat it. Enrollment is simple and painless, it lasts for 3 years, etc. It's one of the things that I'll happily "give the devil his due" for.

There I said something positive about Microsoft. Now I guess I need to go click some rosary beads and say 3 "Our Stallmans" and 5 "Hail Raymonds". :-)

You mention it in passing, but it's very important. "Integration" is hard when you never have a copy, BizSpark is at the least, a free windows testing vm, why make it harder to test on windows.

Yes, that was our main reason for joining BizSpark, to be honest. We're a "pure play open source" company and absolutely favor running on OSS / Free Software platforms, and we encourage people to fun our products on Linux, a BSD UNIX, etc. But, in real-life, Windows, Office, Exchange, Sharepoint, etc. are out there, close to ubiquitous, and sometimes you have to work with that stuff. So BizSpark is a great way to get your hands on all of the MS "stuff" for testing, integration, etc.

Bizspark will also give you $60,000 worth of Azure credit. You have to get in touch with them and they interview you. Not exactly sure what their criteria are, but I'm part-time at a place that got the $60K Azure and it's been really helpful.

Do you need to be using Microsoft technology at your start up?

Apparently not - you can use what you like I believe.


Also,I just found this, by looking at an old HN thread about BizSpark:


BizSpark is amazing. A+++++ would recommend.

Bonus 2: you can support MS monopoly on desktop by using their blessed Windows-only tooling (VS.NET)

I'm currently deploying a Go application with a mongodb datastore to a Ubuntu server on Azure. I program using vim on my Mac laptop.

I think with Apple and Google's competition, we're well past the point of caring about Microsoft's shrinking desktop monopoly.

I think the point being made was that the technology everything is built on, is nix. Except Microsoft technologies. If you build something for nix it can be easily ported or inserted into Android apps, OS X apps, iOS apps, linux distributions, hosted anywhere, etc. But not easily ported or inserted into Windows or Windows server.

The same is true in reverse. You start using Microsoft technologies you are trapped there. So, they should really offer a lot more benefits at a lower cost than they are.

e: Glad I chimed in on this downvoted thread to say something completely evident. Thanks.

Migth sound good in theory but in reality not so much. Porting an app from iOS to Android. Rewrite. Using the google cloud apis and moving to amazon or azure. Rewrite. All vendors want platform lock in. The underlying tech is really fairly irrelevant.

I think Windows is optional

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