Azure Service Lifecycles
You often hear services within Azure labelled as Private Preview, or Public Preview or General Availability (GA). But what do these labels actually mean and especially in relation to support or pricing.
Private Previews are generally the first release of a product and customers are invited to try the service to help provide feedback, to understand if the service is something that is needed as well as help to shape the future of the product.
Generally there is a limited number of customers that are invited into a private preview and these customers are expected to spend time with the Product Group* providing their feedback of the product.
All preview services are provided "as is" and aren't covered by any Service Level Agreements (SLA). They are generally not supported by customer support either, however some support is provided via the Product Group. There is also no guarantee that a preview feature will go into General Availability.
Previews are generally free of charge.
After a product has went through the private preview stage, the next stage is a larger public preview. Again this is used to understand customers needs and help shape the future of the product. Private Preview offerings are often advertised on the Azure blogs or places such as Twitter.
Again, as with the private preview, all preview services are provided "as is" and aren't covered by any Service Level Agreements (SLA). Again though, previews are generally free of charge.
Getting involved with the private or public previews is a great way of testing services and help drive products in the direction that would be useful for you and your organisation.
General Availability (GA)
When a service goes GA it is in full production mode. It is fully supported by SLAs, customer support and is viable for production workloads. Now that the service is live it is also chargable.