Amazon and Microsoft Intersect in the Cloud

So today Werner Vogels, the much admired CTO of Amazon, has a post over at “All Things Distributed” which directly exemplifies his blog’s subtitle (“building scalable and robust distributed systems“).  The post is “Expanding the Cloud” and describes today’s announcement that Microsoft Windows Server is available on Amazon EC2. As he sums it up, “We can now run the majority of popular software systems in the cloud.”

This means two things.  First, we were able to con cajole convince Amazon essentially to host a beta test for something big, which will indubitably become much, much bigger.

Second, this will give enterprise technologists an enormous step-up in their options for cloud-based services.  The approach of hosting platforms themselves on a cloud platform marks an evolutionary step yet again, and whether users wind up choosing a set hosted by Amazon or by Microsoft’s own cloud will depend merely on the quality and robustness of the software and services themselves – a classic market scenario which will be increasingly competitive among the Big Three of cloud providers: Amazon, Microsoft, and those guys whose stock was briefly worth one cent yesterday afternoon. I say among those three, because frankly those without massive scale and nimble new offerings will likely fall away.

According to Werner, “Windows Server ranked very high on the list of requests by customers so we are happy that we will be able to provide this”:

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.

Cool stuff – still in beta testing but should be open for use by end of the year… and funny enough, Microsoft will have more to say in the interim along these lines 🙂

UPDATE: A reader (too timid to post as a comment?) just emailed me, writing that “Cisco has done this already making Windows Server available through WAAS.”  I wouldn’t really count that as the same thing, and would point you to this article, “Cisco gives virtual servers virtual networking,” for a more technical description.  If you disagree with me, let me know.

UPDATE 2: Here’s what Steve Ballmer had to say today in London on the topic I allude to, the future of the Microsoft “Windows Cloud.” As I say, more to come in the near future…

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One Response

  1. Thanks a bunch. Ever tried using SQLServer Studio 2008? Intellisense drives me absolutely insane! Is there any way to disengage it?

    Thanks, Todd.


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