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April 16, 2013

Microsoft Challenges Amazon With New Cloud Service

Windows Azure Infrastructure Services Will Match AWS Pricing

Microsoft is preparing to go head-to-head with Amazon in the ever-increasing cloud computing market.

The software giant today released a new cloud-computing service that will enable customers to “easily migrate existing applications and infrastructure” to servers and storage machines in Microsoft data centers.

Dubbed Windows Azure Infrastructure Services, the service will match Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) prices.

“Customers have also told me that they don’t want to have to choose either a low price or good performance; they want a low price and good performance,” said Bill Hilf, general manager of product management for Windows Azure, in a press release.

“That’s why today we are also announcing a commitment to match Amazon Web Services prices for commodity services such as compute, storage and bandwidth.  This starts with reducing our GA prices on Virtual Machines and Cloud Services by 21-33 percent.”

Currently, about 71 percent of companies use AWS, according to a Forrester poll. Only about 10 percent use Microsoft.

Microsoft, after more than nine months of testing, is looking to unseat Amazon as the cloud provider of choice for storing and handling data for companies’ online applications.

Companies are increasingly turning to the cloud so they do not have to build their own technology storage facilities. This way, they only pay for the space they use.

“Customers don’t want to rip and replace their current infrastructure to benefit from the cloud; they want the strengths of their on-premises investments and the flexibility of the cloud,” Hilf said. “It’s not only about Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS), it’s about Infrastructure Services and Platform Services and hybrid scenarios.  The cloud should be an enabler for innovation, and an extension of your organization’s IT fabric, not just a fancier way to describe cheap infrastructure and application hosting.”

Microsoft has added new high memory VM instances (28GB/4 core and 56 GB/8 core) to Windows Azure to run ably handle cumbersome workloads.  The company has also added in a number of new virtualmachine templates to its list such as SQL Server, SharePoint, BizTalk Server, and Dynamics NAV.