Photo: Charlie Rose
Companies can now use Amazon’s cloud for free for a year for Windows Server applications, as long as usage doesn’t exceed 750 hours a month.That’s a big carrot for enterprises and others who would like to try cloud computing without much expense or risk.
Amazon had been giving away access to Linux servers since 2010 as part of its “Free Usage Tier” but has just added Windows to the plan, too.
Everyone wants a piece of Amazon’s cloud provider pie, including Microsoft. Later this year, Microsoft will let Linux run on its Azure cloud — a big leap for the company that makes Windows. Microsoft has also opened up Azure to let application developers write their apps using popular non-Microsoft development tools. These must be bitter pills for Microsoft to swallow, but necessary if Azure has a hope of squashing Amazon.
Meanwhile, Amazon is under fire from just about every other tech vendor including IBM, Red Hat, and Rackspace. They are trying to make themselves seem more open than Amazon — promising that it’s easy to switch among them and that customers won’t get stuck on their clouds as they claim happens with Amazon.
But Amazon knows that it’s hard to beat its reputation, especially when the price is free.