Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is raising the stakes through Microsoft’s competitive cloud platform, Azure. This is happening as Amazon is matching their free offer of 750 hours a month, for a year of developer time for Windows Server 2003 R2, 2008 and 2008 R2 editions. Being a part of Amazon Web Services (AWS) under its tier of free usage, consumers may choose from a variety of pre-decided machine images from Amazon with Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 and when operational, link through a remote desktop client to create, test and deploy internet applications on Amazon Web Services within a short span of time.

It is important to note that program addition is provided to new customers of Amazon Web Services and those who participate in the tier of free usage. It was previously only available for users of Linux servers. This is available across the regions of the AWS apart from GovCloud. It has been noted that micro instances provide small, consistent power in terms of processing and possess the ability to explode into a higher usage level over time. You can use this to study Amazon EC2, provide both a test and development environment, host a website, and build an AWS application. Micro instances have been better tuned to run on the server of Microsoft Windows. This attempt by Amazon exhibits just how flexible the EC2 truly is in offering IT Managed Services to Companies and also to provide an appeal for its usage.

As opposed to Microsoft, Amazon Web Services is OS-agnostic as it does not possess a wider interest financially in Linux versus Windows. It does, however, possess an interest in making similar features and programs available to consumers irrespective of their preferred environments of OS/development.  What is vital to understand in terms of free Windows micro instances, is their ability to get across to a community which is not Linux based. As the cloud becomes more mainstream, it is expected that there will be constant development taking place in or on the cloud, and many developers will arise from Windows-based backgrounds. Making sure that Azure is kept at pace with is paramount since there has been chatter regarding Microsoft making app development OS-agnostic inside its System Center framework.

With Microsoft moving Axure towards more generic IaaS from PaaS, there should be baby steps made by Amazon Web Services towards making EC2 more friendly towards Windows so that it is easily compatible and easily used. Free micro instances will ignite the fire for the developer community of Windows.

This, however, does not change issues of licensing the software that IaaS providers deal with within Windows-based environments. In the long term, it was noted by Posey that the strategy has to be to bring Microsoft better-licensing terms for the Windows servers. Amazon Web Services may be able to provide for this factor where they are able to create a satisfied base of users of Windows through free micro instances.

Another analyst by the name of Subramanian has mentioned that apart from connecting with Non-Linux users, Amazon possesses another goal.  Through their free tier, Amazon is able to get more developers who will choose Amazon Windows instances rather than Azure because of cost-efficiency. Such developers may tend towards Azure due to the option of BizSpark free. It is a good move strategically by Amazon to keep Microsoft users on the ropes. He further highlights that Amazon will be able to get more Microsoft users who do not wish to use Azure for various reasons. These reasons are inclusive of differences in philosophy with the business as a whole, or as highlighted above because AWS is much cheaper of an alternative in this regard. Over time, it is important to recognize that he will assist Amazon in being the top choice for Microsoft users who want to add diversity to their applications being a single cloud provider such as Microsoft Azure.