As someone who works primarily with Microsoft technologies I was delighted to see the Amazon announcement yesterday that they are going to offer two additional options for developers.
First, Amazon RDS is now going to include SQL Server in addition to MySQL and Oracle databases.
SQL Server is available in a variety of versions on RDS and, like Oracle, can have license fees included in the hourly instance charge or can utilize a “bring your own license” model for existing Microsoft Volume Licensing customers that have SQL Server covered by Microsoft Software Assurance contracts. In either case RDS allows SQL Servers to be provisioned on an as-needed, pay-as-you-go basis. The managed service provides automated software patching, monitoring and metrics, automated backups and the ability to create on-demand database snapshots. This offering appears to be in direct competition to Microsoft’s own SQL Azure, so the future should prove interesting!
Second, Amazon Elastic Beanstalk is now going to include support for .NET developers using the Windows/IIS/.NET solution stack rounding out the service offering which already supports Java and PHP.
Elastic Beanstalk is similar but somewhat different as a PaaS concept than Microsoft Azure. Azure is in many ways a more managed approach that takes care of a lot of administration for you behinds the scenes. Elastic Beanstalk exposes the entire underlying infrastructure to you if desired. Both offer a plug-in toolkit for Visual Studio that enables deployment directly from the development environment.
I am a great believer that competition is good and that certainly appears to be the case in the cloud as well. Amazon, in my opinion, has just raised the bar another notch. These two new services from Amazon will likely appeal to some developers familiar with Microsoft technologies. I wonder how, if and when Microsoft will respond!