Windows Azure is taking on Amazon Web Services head on. Today, Microsoft announced that it will match Amazon's cloud computing prices and that its infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offering is now generally available.
ZDNet's Nick Heath reported, "Microsoft challenged AWS today by making its infrastructure–as-a-service (IaaS) offering generally available and committing to match AWS for the price of storage and compute in the cloud."
InformationWeek's Charles Babcock noted, "Until now, Azure has been primarily a developer's cloud, a form of platform-as-a-service, where software could be developed with shared tools made available on a specific, .Net-supporting platform. 'We've been focused on platform-as-a-service. That's how we originated,' said [Microsoft's Bill] Hilf, harking back to Azure's launch in February 2010 as a commercially available PaaS. But now Azure's value to the enterprise will change as it offers IaaS, infrastructure that is compatible with many Microsoft technologies already in the data center."
Reuters added, "The world's biggest software company said on Tuesday it will match Amazon's prices for some of the more common online data services it provides, which would mean cutting prices by 21 to 33 percent. It is the most aggressive move in the arena yet by Microsoft, which is hoping its Windows Azure business can win customers from Amazon Web Services (AWS), which pioneered the renting out of technology resources such as computing power and storage, known as cloud computing. 'If you had concerns that Windows Azure was more expensive, we're putting those concerns to rest today,' said Steven Martin, an executive in Microsoft's Azure business."
But The Register's Jack Clark observed that in some cases, Microsoft will actually raise prices in order to match Amazon. He pointed out, "For example, up until 1 June, a medium Windows on-demand instance (two 1.6GHz CPUs, 3.5GB of RAM), will cost you $0.16 per hour. From 1 June, it will cost $0.18, matching Amazon's Windows on-demand price of $0.182. An equivalent Linux instance which used to cost $0.16 will now cost $0.12, lining up with Amazon's $0.12 for Linux/UNIX usage. Microsoft's statement means Redmond will peg its prices to those set by Amazon Web Services, and this combined with equivalent hints by Google means that cloud computing really is starting to behave like a utility market."