Let it never be said that Amazon Web Services rests on its laurels. On Tuesday the public cloud leader launched a bunch of price cuts, slicing the price on standard Elastic Block Storage (EBS) and I/O requests by as much as 50 percent in some cases. It also cut prices on S3 storage by up to 22 percent. This is the 40th time it said it’s cut prices since launching 8 years ago, although frankly that seems like an undercount.
Update: Microsoft will meet these price cuts, as promised last year. In an emailed statement to remind me of this, a spokeswoman said: “As we stated last April, Microsoft will match AWS prices on commodity services like compute, storage and network to ensure Windows Azure customers continue to receive market leading value in terms of price for performance along with all the benefits of our cloud platform.”
Also new are medium and large “M3″ general-purpose instances based on Intel Xeon Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge processors. Compared to the older M1 instances, M3 instances offer faster clock speeds, better memory performance and SSD-based storage, according to Amazon.
“… Compared to the venerable M1 instance type, the M3 instances offer higher clock frequencies, significantly improved memory performance, and SSD-based instance storage, all at a lower price. If you are currently using M1 instances, switching to M3 instances will provide your users with better and more consistent performance while also decreasing your AWS bill. We reduced the prices for the M3 instances late last year and they are now more cost-effective than the M1 instances.”
Amazon continues to cut prices and roll out features but its rivals are hardly standing still. IBM blew its own horn last week, announcing plans to spend $1.2 billion to expand its cloud data centers worldwide. And upstart competitors like Digital Ocean have the audacity to claim they offer cheaper cloud capabilities in more user-friendly packaging.
Still AWS has a pretty handy head start and a prodigious lead in cloud, by almost any reputable account.
Note: This story was updated at 11:23 a.m. PST January 22 with Microsoft comments.