Check out this official Microsoft blog post "Announcing availability of Debian GNU/Linux as an endorsed distribution in Azure Marketplace". Basically this means that Azure is proudly offering to set you up with a Linux virtual machine in their Azure service. Although the post strains to point out that this is a Debian (+GNU, yw RMS) distribution, the fact is that it will be customized enough by Microsoft for this purpose that it could thought of as its own distribution (like Xubuntu to Ubuntu, for example). A Microsoft Linux distribution! I remember when it was Microsoft’s customers who were between a rock and a hard place regarding OS selection.

Azure is even generously offering a $200 free credit to try this superior operating system out.

I would definitely give it a spin if I wasn’t still recovering from third degree cloud-burn. Wondering if Azure has the same fatal problem as AWS I started to look into it. I even called Microsoft because they said to call with questions.

The guy I talked to honestly and quickly admitted that my question was interesting and that he didn’t know. He took my email address and promised to email me further resources; he never did.

See update below.

But perusing the free trial FAQ I found this telling question.

What happens if I exceed the $200 free trial credit?

If you exceed your $200 free credit, we will suspend your free trial account. You can optionally upgrade your trial to be a Pay-As-You-Go Azure subscription at this point if you want to continue using and paying for services. If not, don’t worry - you won’t be billed anything.

Definitely an improvement over AWS, however, the question that I need answered is "What does a Chinese bitcoin pirate need to do to upgrade my trial account to be a Pay-As-You-Go account with near unlimited capacity?" Because as Amazon teaches us, if it’s simply subvert WWW "security", well, consider it done!

At least Azure is full HTTPS. Could be worse.

Update: I did eventually hear back from Microsoft. Which was nice. They didn’t quite completely get the nature of my concern though. I was directed to this page about default spending limits which is exactly my issue. It says

"You will receive notifications once you hit the spending limit for your offer."

This still doesn’t exactly answer the question but it makes it a good guess that if a bad guy takes your free account and "upgrades" it, you will get an email alerting you to that fact. That’s really all I need to feel ok about this. If you’ve simultaneously compromised my web cloud log in credentials and my email (not difficult for many, I understand) then there really is no defense. But AWS didn’t even send me an email congratulating/thanking me for suddenly becoming one of their best customers. That’s stupid. And while Microsoft won’t explicitly claim to be doing better, it does seem like they are. Point to Azure.