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Amazon EC2 Opening to Windows Developers

Amazon.com will allow developers to run Microsoft's Windows Server and SQL Server databases on its Elastic Compute Cloud service.

Amazon.com Inc. earlier this month said it plans to let developers run Microsoft's Windows Server and SQL Server databases on its Elastic Compute Cloud service.

The move promises to significantly broaden the appeal of the Amazon Web Services business unit, whose EC2 service had been limited to Linux-based environments.

"Being Linux-based, the service has not been addressable to the Microsoft crowd," says Mike Culver, who heads developer relations at Amazon Web Services. Culver, a former Microsoft technology evangelist, had indicated in a session at last month's VSLive! New York conference that Amazon was readying Windows support for EC2.

In its announcement, Amazon positioned EC2 as a viable alternative for deploying ASP.NET-based Web sites, HPC clusters and media-transcoding solutions. Culver says that he anticipates EC2 will also draw more Windows developers into its fold.

"It will allow developers to run Windows inside our virtual cloud, which means it's on-demand provisioning -- they'll be able to do things like running steady-state right now." Culver says. "All of a sudden I go viral and I can just start adding front-end Web servers by the dozen."

While Amazon plans to support all popular programming languages, operating systems and database platforms, the Windows environment was the most requested by developers, according to the company. The move comes as Microsoft is said to be readying its own cloud-based computing plans. At a conference earlier this month, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer reportedly said the company would unveil its own Windows cloud offering at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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