Amazon EC2 extends support to Windows Server 2012

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AWS service offers users an alternative to Windows Azure

Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) has announced its EC2 cloud hosting service now supports Microsoft Windows Server 2012.

The company already offered hosting for Windows Server 2003 R2, 2008 and 2008 R2 operating systems. However, Microsoft has been trying to encourage those running Windows Server 2012 to use its Windows Azure platform and hosting service.

The AWS offering for Windows Server 2012 also includes use of its Elastic Beanstalk auto-scaling tool.

Companies wishing to trial Windows Server 2012 on EC2 are able to use the AWS Free Usage Tier, which allows 750 hours of a micro instance per month for a year.

“[The Free Usage Tier] is a great way to start evaluating Windows Server 2012 and when you are ready to use it in production, just stop your instance and restart it on a bigger instance,” said Tom Rizzo, general manager of the Windows team at AWS, in a blog post

“No migration and no messy moving around on different server hardware.  AWS makes it easy for you to grow the power of your instances with a few clicks of the mouse,” Rizzo added.

However, while support for Windows Server 2012 was generally welcomed by users, some felt the Free Usage Tier was insufficient to do any proper testing.

“The Windows Free Tier, which eligible users have access to for a full year (for some odd reason), is completely underpowered and under configured to do any meaningful "Free" evaluation of AWS,” said one commenter named James.

“Change the program to 90 days and offer servers that are commensurate with the performance levels developers expect. Then, at the end of the trial, I can make a clear choice about cost vs. value provided,” he added.