Amazon's new AWS bet: You can't beat free

The recent announcement that Amazon Web Services will provide free entry-level usage of EC2 will ensure its success

In a recent announcement, Amazon.com decided to provide one year of access to a "micro-instance" on its EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) and a few other Amazon Web Services (AWS) products at no charge for new users. "The offer includes 750 hours' use per month of a Linux micro-instance, including 613MB of memory as well as 32- and 64-bit support, along with 750 hours' monthly use of the Elastic Load Balancer tool and 15GB worth of data processing," the company said. In addition, Amazon.com announced a no-charge usage tier for its SimpleDB tool, Simple Queue Service, and Simple Notification Service.

That's a good hunk of the cloud for free, if you ask me, and the right thing for Amazon.com to do now as cloud providers are looking to grab market share. This action will pay huge dividends in the near future, considering that a few four-figure footholds in an enterprise this year could mean six- to seven-figure deals within two years. 

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Although cloud computing is known to be cheap, the fact that somebody has to generate a purchase order or expense an infrastructure cloud computing invoice has kept many potential cloud users on the fence. The challenge is keeping these costs off the radar of corporate accounting until a project is up and running; thus, you're able to prove the value as the costs show up in weekly reports. Doing that in reverse could be career-ending action at many organizations, where cloud computing is a political football and costs are tightly controlled.

This try-it-for-free move will clearly create additional rogue clouds (unsanctioned cloud computing projects), as the initial prototyping costs are nada. Applications that solve business problems will be adopted quickly, no matter how they were created or whether they were blessed by corporate IT. Amazon.com will penetrate deeper into enterprises using this strategy; before you know it, the use of the Amazon Web Services cloud will be much more pervasive.

This article, "Amazon's new AWS bet: You can't beat free," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and follow the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.

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