Microsoft’s (MSFT) Azure cloud is launching sometime later this year. But Amazon (AMZN) isn’t letting the new entry into the cloud computing space go unchallenged — the company is today announcing “reserved instances”, guaranteed uptime and a price break if customers commit to Amazon’s cloud solution for a year or more.
We’ve learned that some of our customers have needs which aren’t addressed by the spot pricing model. For example, some of them were looking for even lower prices, and were willing to make a commitment ahead of time in order to achieve this. Also, quite a few customers actually told us something even more interesting: they were interested in using EC2 but needed to make sure that we would have a substantial number of instances available to them at any time in order for them to use EC2 in a DR (Disaster Recovery) scenario. In a scenario like this, you can’t simply hope that your facility has sufficient capacity to accommodate your spot needs; you need to secure a firm resource commitment ahead of time.
Great idea by Amazon. Particularly with Microsoft aggressively offering its platform-as-a-service cloud to startups, Amazon’s uptime guarantees make the EC2 a more worthy option for services beyond the oft-cited utility computing examples. And with Microsoft still not committing to a launch date for Azure, developers eager to start can buy long-term into Amazon’s “reserved instances” now, making it unlikely (but by no means impossible) they’ll migrate to another cloud soon.