Look out, Amazon Web Services, there’s a new kid in town. Microsoft just released its own cloud-computing service, and plans to match the lowest prices of Amazon Web Services in an attempt to compete for the title of the best cheap web hosting services.
Hello, Windows Azure
Windows Azure Infrastructure Services is its name, a cloud hosting option for enterprise customers looking to bring their applications and data to the cloud. Bill Hilf, the general manager of product marketing for Microsoft’s Windows Azure Infrastructure Services indicated in a blog post “a commitment to match Amazon Web Services prices for commodity services such as compute, storage and bandwidth. This starts with reducing our (general availability) prices on Virtual Machines and Cloud Services by 21-33%.”
Microsoft announced on April 16 that both Linux and Windows Server VMs on Azure are ready to give users the ability to run both Windows Server and Linux apps in the cloud without the need to totally rewrite them.
With the announcement came the news of additional Azure VM offerings just for those customers who are looking for a system to handle their heavy workloads. They also revealed that Microsoft-validated instances would be added to its VM packages, so that customers may run applications such as SharePoint Server, BizTalk Server, SQL Server, and Dynamics NAV among others.
Microsoft also made available its Azure Virtual Network technology, otherwise known as Brooklyn. This is created to offer secure site-to-site IPsec VPN connectivity between Windows Azure and the enterprise in order to extend the networks of business users. This means users have better connectivity for their hybrid cloud and on-premises system.
When discussing the release, Microsoft said they plan to match Amazon Web Service pricing for all of their “commodity” services, which include bandwidth, storage, and compute. Customers must commit to using Azure for either six or twelve months to be able to see any savings.
This all comes a week after Amazon announced price cuts on its own AWS. It seems the two companies are duking it out for the title of the best cheap web hosting services. With prices dipping lower and lower as time passes, it’s certain that small businesses, startups, and developers are keeping a close eye on both parties to find the best value.
What About Google?
In a ZDNet interview, Azure general manager Bill Hilf states that they aren’t really concerned with what Google does with the price of their cloud service because they don’t consider them competition in the battle to offer the best cheap web hosting services. Microsoft doesn’t see Google as a “full-service cloud player” even though it was announced they intend to offer both IaaS and PaaS.
The new Azure pricing will begin starting June 1. Hilf was asked how Azure Connect, the cloud-networking technologies that Microsoft has been working on, and Hilf said that their plans have changed a bit. Eventually, Azure Connect, a.k.a. Sydney, will be integrated into the Azure Virtual Network. When that is, only time will tell.
What do you think about Microsoft jumping into the cloud computing ring? Would you consider them as the best cheap web hosting service? Do you think enterprises will be interested in what they have to offer?
Microsoft has launched a new cloud service named Azure App Service that enables developers to build web and mobile apps for any platform and device. This service is an integrated solution by Microsoft to help developers streamline development and enable integration with SaaS systems. This service brings together the capabilities from Azure websites, Azure BizTalk Services and Azure Mobile Services into an integrated offering during addition of new features. App Service gives facility of the development of web apps, logic apps, API apps and mobile apps.
With the Azure App Service anybody can:
- Install web, mobile and API apps in seconds using language choice includes Java, .NET, NodeJS, Python and PHP.
- To build one app backend that works across native Android, iOS and Windows clients.
- To automate business processes using a new visual design experience.
- To connect enterprise systems such as SAP, SQL and Oracle and cloud services like Office 365, Salesforce.com, Dynamic CRM, DropBox and more.
- To build and consume cloud APIs from an ecosystem of connectors and templates.
- To perform sophisticated DevOps functions with continuous integration using Visual Studio Online and GitHub.
Web Apps is offering a set of developer centric capabilities such as support for multiple languages and frameworks, cloud debugging and continuous integration. It provides specific capabilities like hybrid connectivity and Active Directory integration while making sure compliance, auditing and data retention requirements. It can auto-scale to meet any requirements any need and is offering high availability through installation in several geo-locations with Azure Traffic Manager.
The Azure App Service offers the ability to create mobile apps through a mobile application development platform with many set of capabilities. On the basis of Azure Mobile Services, Mobile Apps provide developers with a set of clients SDKs include Windows, iOS and Android as well as multi-platform environments such as Cordova and Xamarin.
Logic Apps provide the ability to automate business process execution through a visual designer. Logic Apps is accompanied by a marketplace of API App connectors and it can integrate data and services from SaaS apps like SalesForce, DropBox and Office 365 to Azure .
PaaS Services and others such as Twitter and Twilio. The Apps connectivity is built on the foundation of API apps means anyone can bring his own services and functionality. For enterprise-grade integration the connector library has capabilities from Microsoft Azure’s integration platform-BizTalk Services.
API Apps provides the ability to host, discover and manage API’s and SaaS connectors in the cloud. With the help of API Apps, developers can select from a library of existing on-premises and cloud APIs. It offers versioning capabilities for APIs to manage new versions and automatically update the applications that use them in real time without any downtime. APIs can be consumed in a variety of programming languages with tool that generates SDKs in all the languages which are supported by Azure App Service.
Azure App Service Enterprise Benefits
Azure App Service is backed by common management, development and billing model that is easy to understand, allow users to develop, install and scale web and mobile apps. As a platform the service provides:
- Fully managed infrastructure.
- Secure cloud platform that is SOC2, ISO and PIC complaint.
- Built-in staging, roll-back, backup and testing-in production capabilities.
- It is built in auto scale, load balancing and performance monitoring.
- It access to on premises data with VPN and Hybrid Connections.