Need some more information for your customers on the operational and financial aspects of being a Microsoft (MSFT) Windows Azure user? Maybe that kind of knowledge would turn a "maybe" into a "yes" during the sales cycle. That's where Cloud Cruiser may come in handy.

It's not a company that comes up in conversation on Talkin' Cloud too often, but Cloud Cruiser plays in the cloud financial management area. Now it has brought its economic insights to Microsoft Windows Azure customers with the launch of the Windows Azure Pack for Windows Server 2012 R2.

Working directly from the Azure portal, Cloud Cruiser provides customers with advanced financial management, chargeback and cloud billing. The new Azure-based service is being targeted at enterprises, but there doesn't seem to be any reason why this couldn't work also for the midsize or even SMB markets. The cloud service provider market (or cloud services brokerages) should be able to make good use of the service, as well.

The service enables customers to "seamlessly manage both the operational and financial aspects of their Windows Azure cloud from a single pane of glass." According to Cloud Cruiser, the service helps customers to get answers to a few key questions, including:

  • How can I automate my cloud billing or chargeback?
  • Is my cloud profitable?
  • Who are my top customers by revenue?
  • What is the forecasted demand for my services?
  • How can I use pricing as a strategic weapon?

"The inclusion of Cloud Cruiser with Windows Server is a clear signal from the largest software company in the world that financial management is integral to every cloud strategy," said Nick van der Zweep, vice president of Strategy for Cloud Cruiser, in a prepared statement. "This relationship helps ensure that businesses can deliver innovative, scalable, and profitable cloud services."

The Windows Server 2012 R2 Windows Azure Pack was released as part of Microsoft's vision to have a consistent cloud operating system platform.