Amazon said today it is now using Microsoft’s Windows Server in its EC2 computing cloud.

All you Microsoft-lovin’ techies out there, rejoice! Amazon said today it is now using Microsoft’s Windows Server in its Elastic Compute Cloud. That broadens the number of applications that can run on the service and the potential customer base. It also means that when the service is out of beta some time later this year, GoGrid and FlexiScale, which also provide a Windows computing platform, will have lost a competitive edge against Amazon Web Services.

For those who want to know more, Werner Vogels, Amazon’s CTO, lays out why people wanted Windows, and what customers can do with Windows Server in his blog:

There are many different reasons why customers have requested Windows Server; for example many customers want to run ASP.NET websites using Internet Information Server and use Microsoft SQL Server as their database. Amazon EC2 running Windows Server enables this scenario for building scalable websites. In addition, several customers would like to maintain a global single Windows-based desktop environment using Microsoft Remote Desktop, and Amazon EC2 is a scalable and dependable platform on which to do so.

I wonder how the pricing model for using the Windows EC2 will look. Amazon has to license the software from Microsoft, so pricing may be higher. It’s also possible that Amazon could eat the cost, or that it worked out a favorable licensing deal. Since Amazon declined to talk about pricing yet, we’ll just have to wait and see.

  1. This is an exciting development for EC2 users. Our Emulated Windows on EC2 tutorial we published back in 2006 has been a constant favorite. Although the main problem was it’s speed was questionable at best.

  2. I’d love to see Apple’s Mac OS X Server running on EC2 next.

  3. [...] it tremendously easier for customers to pick one cloud computing and not have to choose.  As Stacey Higginbotham points out, this also eliminates a competitive advantage some other players had.  Aside from these smaller [...]

  4. I’m not sure that GoGrid nor Flexiscale will be losing any type of competitive edge with this announcement. Cloud Computing users will have a choice and will obviously choose the Cloud Infrastructure that they are most comfortable with. Most Windows users are GUI users, as compared to Linux users who are more comfortable with command-line interfaces.

    GoGrid launched with a public beta at the beginning of this year after 3 years of development. One of the most important features of GoGrid was to develop a GUI that was user-friendly, something that Window’s users can definitely appreciate and understand. It makes the usability of the product much higher. However, we also launched an API to provide the programmatic flexibility to control the GoGrid Cloud Infrastructure. Basically, the best of both worlds (GUI and Command-line through the API).

    While there are choices now, users will naturally gravitate towards an environment which they are the most comfortable.

    This sector will only become even more exciting in the future!

    Technology Evangelist for GoGrid

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  6. exciting news .

    Michale ,

    Its time to update that comparison chart on your website .

    I seriously hope that you & Flexiscale guys comeup with a good product and support to migrate data to and from EC2 so that i have comfort of option when i move my Business Process into the cloud . Lack of option is one major reason why a lot of people are restraining from moving to EC2 /S3 type of services .

    I see a BIG Ticket acquisition in this space in next two years . Most Probably by MSFT ,IBM or CISCO .
    Good Luck .

  7. The pricing of this offering will be very interesting indeed. One of Amazon’s key principles is “pay as you go” or usage based charges. We are now talking about the Windows OS as a service.

    Pure play hosting companies probably have had to deal with a similar problem while using Windows OS VMWare images.

    – Ranjit Nayak

  8. We are currently using GoGrid and there are still some problems that they need to work out:
    a) The firewall in place is the native firewall within Windows
    b) When provisioning a new server, the DHCP server sometimes does not release an IP to the device
    c) The customer support is done out of India (which is fine) but they do not have actual access to the hardware (in case it is needed)

    Understanding that the cloud works differently, this is not ready for primetime.

    Limitations to the amount of RAM installed on each device is something that is hindering us from moving all our devices to GoGrid

  9. [...] as Google AppEngine with SimpleDB,  SQS and S3 but with the recently announced ability to run Windows within their EC2 cloud makes for an interesting offering with the existing ability to pick & choose from Linux based [...]

  10. It is amazing to watch not one but TWO companies beating Microsoft to the punch in the same day by delivery Cloud Computing for Windows Server. Amazon’s cloud announcement stole the thunder, but Information Week reported earlier today that a little know start up, 3tera, http://www.3tera.com, is the first cloud solution vendor to offer a production version Windows Server as a cloud solution, while EC2 is still in beta.

    Microsoft certainly isn’t going to fold in this game, but I wonder if they are holding a winning hand or just bluffing the way they have been against Google.


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