Amazon Touts Free Windows Server Processing For EC2 Cloud

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Amazon is offering 750 hours of free Windows Server processing per month in its cloud service

Businesses will be able to utilise up to 750 hours of free Windows Server processing on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) every single month.

This is the latest offer from Amazon as it seeks to broaden its appeal to businesses and developers. Last week for example, Amazon expanded its Direct Connect service for Amazon Web Services, which allows users to bypass the public Internet in order to access Amazon’s cloud.

Free Processing

Now Amazon says that customers can now run their Microsoft Windows Server applications within the AWS Free Usage Tier.

The AWS Free Usage Tier was revealed back in October 2010 and launched in November, but until now it was only available with Linux. This allowed users to run a free Amazon EC2 instance for a year, but ow businesses and developers that use Windows Server applications can get 750 hours of Amazon EC2 Micro Instance usage per month, at no charge, for one year only.

“Our customers want the flexibility to choose how they build their applications without being locked into a particular programming model, language, or operating system. We continue to focus on increasing that flexibility,” said Peter De Santis, General Manager of Amazon EC2. “Through our continued work with Microsoft, Windows developers now have an opportunity to see, at no cost, how they can leverage Amazon Web Services’ scalable and cost-effective computing environment.”

Public Cloud Push

For the past several years Amazon has been attempting to convince businesses and developers of the benefits of using its cloud offerings. Its cloud service is attractive for start-ups, as it provides them with a relatively cheap way to get themselves online, and doesn’t require them to purchase expensive equipment and then run their own infrastructure. However Amazon’s efforts have not been not helped by a number of outages.

In April 2011, a number of a number of websites were affected by an Amazon EC2 failure. Websites impacted included the social news website Reddit, the Twitter toolbox Hootsuite, the Q&A website Quora, and the location-based social networking website Foursquare.

This was not the first time a failure has effected the Amazon Cloud. Back in May 2010, Amazon’s EC2 service suffered a power outage after one of its data centres failed to cope with a power switch-over following a car crash, which triggered a local blackout, while in June 2009, one of Amazon’s data centres was struck by lightening.

Novell’s Director of Data Centre Management, Benjamin Grubin, warned back in October 2010 that too much enterprise IT was simply not ready to be moved outside the perimeter, i.e. outside to public clouds. “Public clouds were going to take some amount of time to be mature. They weren’t there yet,” he said.

Despite these setbacks however, Amazon continues to look at ways to broaden the appeal of its offerings. It recently offered hourly rentals of the world’s 42nd fastest supercomputer, based on Amazon Web Service’s elastic cloud, for businesses and users that cannot afford the cost of a dedicated supercomputer.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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