Amazon today announced that later this year, Windows Server woud be available on EC2. No details on cost and licensing etc. but this is major. Up until now, that portion of the business world who are pure MS shops (a very large percentage especially amongst SMEs) were excluded from taking advantage of Amazon’s amazing (and getting more amazing everyday) EC2 platform.
From my point of view, as with Oracle’s announcement last week, this releases yet more of my “legacy” skillset for deployment in the clouds. Although I’ve been involved with *nix servers for 20 years or so, as corporate servers became more locked-down (and removed to the control of 3rd party data centres) I lost day-to-day experience of using them; in latter years my main ‘hands-on’ platform was Windows, either my own PC or local departmental NT servers. Windows on EC2 will allow me to use a whole new set of Windows only software (e.g. RSSBus or XLsgen) and of course SQLServer.
The lack of SQLServer on EC2 has been a major problem for me as a datasmith; there’s an awful lot of data out there sitting in SQLServer databases, but currently if I need to “cloud burst” such datasets I would have to first extract the data to, say, csv files and then load the data on to a Linux compatible database. But with a SQLServer instance running in the cloud, I could simply use SQLServer’s native backup/replication tools. No more need to download data to my “ground-based” PCs resulting in quicker turnaround and fewer data security risks.
On the licensing front, I’m presuming that the OS licence will be on a pay-as-you-go basis, but what about SQLServer and other server products? Will MS do an Oracle on it, i.e. require a traditional upfront use-it-or-lose-it payment or will they the go the radical (but I thing inevitable) path of a licence-by-the-hour.
First RedHat, then Sun, then Oracle and now Microsoft; the mighty beasts of our industry have acknowledged there’s a new mighty beast on the prowl, dressed as a humble bookseller no less!