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?