Microsoft kickstarts Azure as a Service to take on Amazon Web Services

Microsoft has finally committed to take on Amazon by unveiling Windows Azure Infrastructure Services (WAIS), which is its answer to Amazon’s popular web services (check out our interview with Iain Gavin, the general manager for AWS in the UK).

In a blog post on MSDN, Bill Hilf, Microsoft’s head honcho for Windows Azure, said that the new service would make it possible for customers to move applications into the cloud, a move that allows Microsoft to join the “cloud” party, albeit with a few years’ delay.

Hilf was keen to highlight the fact that Infrastructure-as-a-service was not meant to replace Platform-as-a-service but rather complement it as well as spawning a number of IAAS/PAAS hybrid instances as organisation move freely along the spectrum

And to Amazon’s credit, Microsoft commits to matching the price of Web Services on commodity services such as compute, storage and bandwidth.

But as Jack Clark from The Register highlights, this actually means a price rise for existing Azure users as Microsoft ends their promotional trial rates.

Microsoft also confired that it will be offering “commitment pricing discounts” for six and 12-month commitment plans, with the discount increasing proportionally with the amount of money spent on Windows Azure.

That means that some of the 200,000 Azure customers who will end up spending on average half a million dollars with Microsoft can expect a saving of nearly a third.