Windows in the cloud now from Amazon, ServePath

Windows in the cloud isn't all vaporware, only Microsoft's version of it is.

Last week, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels' announced that Amazon's cloud server, EC2, now supports Windows Server and with that, it runs many of the most popular Windows apps. (EC2 customers can run ASP.NET Web sites using Internet Information Server with Microsoft SQL Server as the database, for instance.)

Amazon was beat to the Windows cloud market by players like ServePath, too. ServePath  announced support for Windows Server 2008 in its cloud platform in August. (It had already been offering Windows Server 2003.)

Microsoft's cloud announcement last week was worth noting although no one expected anything less of Redmond giving the huge sums of money the company is pouring into building giant data centers. (It opened its San Antonio, Texas, data center in September, which reportedly cost $550 million. This had followed the mega data center in Quincy, Wash. Another data center is expected to open in the Chicago area by year's end and a newly announced one is being built in West Des Moines Iowa). Steve Ballmer engaged in the tried-but-true tactic of announcing Microsoft's plans for a new project in an effort to cast shadows on its competitors already-available service. Perhaps this will work but maybe not. The key sales point of cloud computing is supposed to be that you are no longer tied to your infrastructure, and therefore, switching providers should be akin to switching cell phone carriers -- a little painful, perhaps, but not out of the question.

The fact is, if you want to try putting your Windows infrastructure in the cloud, no need to wait for Microsoft. Options exist today.

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