English: Ray Ozzie on the PDC of Microsoft announcing Windows Azure Español: Ray Ozzie en la PDC de Microsoft anunciando Windows Azure (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Microsoft's Launch Of The Elastic Compute Cloud
In the never-ending battle of tech superiority, Microsoft is pulling out its big guns in order to compete with Amazon's hugely popular EC2 service. Known as the Elastic Compute Cloud, this infrastructure service cloud will be able to give a user access to virtual hosting and data storage, on computers running Windows as well as Linux.
This second attempt at a challenge to Amazon's super-service is no surprise. The June 7th launch will be a means of edging into what should be a huge market as more individuals and corporations begin to store more and more data on cloud computing. The existing Microsoft Azure cloud, however, has no Linux compatibility, a major limiting factor for those who prefer to run third-party programs.
What does this mean for the future of Microsoft? Since the corporation has begun to move towards Linux (and the market of Linux users) in an effort to buck the trend of representing an enemy of open-share, it hopes to directly challenge Amazon, who enjoy much greater popularity amongst Linux users. Amazon's EC2 is estimated to directly or indirectly run about one percent of all websites, a huge market and cash cow with relatively little competition. It is even speculated that Microsoft may up the ante and change the computer market by producing Linux machines and directly target a consumer base of large proportions.
The price of the Elastic Compute Cloud will depend on the user's specifications. Amazon's standard rate runs between two cents per hour (about fifteen dollars a month) for the smallest packages and four dollars an hour for the highest-CPU clusters. Microsoft needs to sell its services on a more affordable frame since they cannot run a marketing program that attracts customers to a more expensive option.