Microsoft releases cheaper cloud service to take on Amazon, Rackspace

Microsoft opened up its Windows Azure Infrastructure cloud services to everyone today — a sign that the company is both very serious about its cloud division, and ready to take marketshare away from its big-name competitors.

The product has been in testing for some time now, but Microsoft seems to believe the product is out of its incubating stage and ready for general availability. Azure infrastructure services lets you add features of the cloud to your already existing on-premise architecture. Folks like Amazon and Rackspace, however, have already been in the game for some time with their own versions of cloud hosting. And Amazon’s EC2 has become very popular.

In addition to letting you use your existing cloud infrastructure, Microsoft also says that you can run apps to help you manage your cloud including SQL Server, SharePoint, BizTalk Server, and Dynamic Nav.

Indeed, Microsoft specifically names Amazon in its announcement about Azure, saying that it will reduce its prices 21-33 percent in order to stay competitive with the company. These price drops will affect the computer, storage, and bandwidth components of the Azure product. It will also get a memory boost to, as it has found test customers to have more demanding workloads than originally expected.

“We recognize customers have a choice, and that’s why today, we are making it as easy as possible to have it all,” said Microsoft Windows Azure general manager Bill Hilf in a blog post.

Thus far Windows Azure has attracted 200,000 customers and hopes that more companies looking for hybrid solutions will choose Microsoft.

hat tip New York Times;

Copyright 2013, VentureBeat

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