Amazon battens down the hatches before Microsoft's cloud launch next week

Amazon has made a few tweaks and additions to its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) infrastructure just days before Microsoft is expected to launch its head-to-head competitive service at its Professional Developers Conference (PDC).

Amazon has made a few tweaks and additions to its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) infrastructure just days before Microsoft is expected to launch its head-to-head competitive service at its Professional Developers Conference (PDC).

Amazon is playing up the alleged cost-savings users can achieve by going the utility computing route as one of  its major selling points. It's also playing up its enterprise-readiness.

Amazon Chief Technology Officer Werner Vogels announced via his blog on October 23 that Amazon has removed the "beta" tag from EC2; introduced a service-level agreement for EC2; and rolled out the promised hosted Windows and SQL Server pieces of its offering. Amazon is supporting both 32- and 64-bit Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) with pricing starting at$0.125 per hour, according to the Amazon blog. SQL Server will be available in 64-bit-image form.

Amazon also announced via the Amazon Web Services blog that the company is readying other new cloud-infrastructure components, including an interactive management console; automatic scaling and cloud-monitoring services.

Microsoft is expected to announce its long-rumored cloud computing platform, one component of will likely be known as "Windows Strata," on Day One of the PDC on October 27. Amazon will be showing off Windows running on EC2 at Microsoft's conference.

Don't be surprised to see Microsoft announce beta versions of all of the same cloud services Amazon is offering and promising. If you're curious what "Windows Server in the cloud," (Red Dog) System Center in the cloud and SQL Server in the cloud (SQL Server Data Services) will look like, check out Amazon's offerings to get a good idea.

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