Windows Azure features are occasionally rolled out as a Preview feature that requires opt-in signup. Such is the case with the new HDInsight Hadoop-based Big Data service, as well as the Windows Azure Backup service and Hyper-V Recovery Manager service.

So... where are these features hiding, and how can you sign up???

First, head on over to the . On the bottom, you'll see a button to add services:
 Once you click new, select Data Services on the left. You'll now see both HDInsight and Recovery Services, and they'll initially appear grayed out. Here's what I see when selecting Recovery Services (which shows you Hyper-V Recovery Manager Vault and Backup Vault:Note the link I pointed to on the right. Clicking this takes you to the preview program signup page At this point, just click try it now for whichever service you're interested in. You'll be asked to select a subscription and, if you received one (which I did not), the option of specifying a signup token:And... that's it! You might see a status of "You are queued" which just means you'll have to wait a bit to get activated. Some services will activate immediately, showing active status:One last thing: You may have noticed, in the signup box, the message that charges may be included. Simply put: Preview does not necessarily equate to free. You'll be consuming real cloud resources, so there's sometimes a charge for this (just look at Windows Azure Web Sites, which has a charge for shared and reserved instances, or Virtual Machines, which had discounted VM pricing when they were still in Preview, with discounted rates in effect through May 31, 2013). Preview services that do have charges are discounted due to their non-production status. In this case:management portal