Once in a while, the technology stack changes enough to create a disturbance in the IT industry. Microsoft did just that today and has officially closed the gap with its #1 competitor: Amazon. What is remarkable is that Microsoft is no longer an alternative to Amazon, it is becoming a clear leader in that space.
Some of the new features include official support for durable Virtual Machines with high availability (cross-geographic replication), free WebSites to try Azure, MySQL database at no charge, a new distributed low-latency cache feature, Linux support, support with existing VPN hardware for seamless on-premise integration, a new partner ecosystem and much, much more.
Amazon had an edge against Windows Azure in the IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) space, until now. With the latest release from Microsoft Azure, the gap has been filled. In fact, it seems Amazon may now have a gap to fill… This is great news to everyone; it seems that cloud offerings are becoming more standardized with the more mature cloud providers, and the management stack and quality of service of each cloud provider is increasingly becoming the differentiator.
With today’s announcements, it is becoming clear that cloud providers are pushing hard to increase their service footprint and lowering typical barriers to entry such as support for open-source operating systems, free trial offers, higher availability, faster deployment times and simpler enterprise integration.