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Windows Will Soon Enter Into the EC2 Cloud

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After years of offering its Cloud Computing Services to run Linux or Solaris, and after receiving support for running Java EE applications, Amazon is promising its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) will support Microsoft Windows later this fall.

Amazon's EC2 allows customers to install and run instances of several Unix flavors, then run applications developed for those OSes into a virtual terminal window. Chris Richardson has released Cloud Tools earlier this year, allowing Java EE applications to run on EC2. Amazon has announced that will add support to Microsoft Windows Server and SQL Server, providing the environment for:

deploying ASP.NET web sites, high performance computing clusters, media transcoding solutions, and many other Windows-based applications.

Jeff Barr, Web Services Evangelist at Amazon, details the offer a bit more:

You will be able to use Amazon EC2 to host highly scalable ASP.NET sites, high performance computing (HPC) clusters, media transcoders, SQL Server, and more. You can run Visual Studio (or another development environment) on your desktop and run the finished code in the Amazon cloud.

The 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows Server will be available and will be able to use all existing EC2 features such as Elastic IP Addresses, Availability Zones, and the Elastic Block Store. You'll be able to call any of the other Amazon Web Services from your application. You will, for example, be able to use the Amazon Simple Queue Service to glue cross-platform applications together.

That is good news for the Windows community, as Greg Duncan comments on his blog:

Now EC2 has really entered into a space where I’m interested. It was pretty cool before, but of limited usefulness for me. Later this Fall when they add Windows machine support? Oh yeah, that’s officially cool.

Using the EC2 tools, a customer can launch a Windows Server instance inside EC2, then connect to it using Windows Remote Desktop.

The pricing for Windows EC2 services are not available yet but they will be based on policy pay-as-you-go, similar to other EC2 services, but higher than Linux ones due to higher Windows license prices, says Jeff.

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