Virtualization, Cloud, Infrastructure and all that stuff in-between

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

Bring your own Windows license for EC2, but where are Microsoft?


This is interesting, Amazon have announced a pilot scheme to allow customers with a Microsoft Enterprise agreement to port their Windows licenses to EC2, which they say reduces the average cost of a Windows EC2 instance by up to 41% (interesting to see where the infrastructure/software cost split is – maybe this is why open source tech is generally more popular in the cloud)

I’ve looked at this a fair bit – Microsoft have their SPLA service provider licensing, which is a monthly rental that EC2 must leverage for their licensing, and customers can obtain this sort of licensing from any accredited service provider as long as the license is used on and in provider owned equipment and datacentres – you can’t legally take those SPLA licenses and run them in-house, you need to re-license under a traditional Microsoft license agreement.

If you have a reasonably fixed Windows server footprint that you want to run on EC2 this is a good idea, or maybe lots of spare Windows licenses left over following an internal consolidation/virtualization programme.

If you need to scale up and down on a monthly basis (which is more akin to the typical EC2 use-case, although the minimum unit of purchase for SPLA is 1 month, EC2 works on the basis of hours) – SPLA is still probably more cost-effective as SPLA typically works out more expensive than a perpetual/EA type Windows license over 3 years, so you pay for that flexibility.

This is another offering in Amazon’s arsenal, combined with boot from EBS to tempt corporate customers into it’s IaaS platform. most enterprises don’t necessarily need all the “clever” EC2 features like automated scale-up and down but want somewhere easy and reliable to store their corporate systems.

You can see an interesting market opening up for IaaS cloud services between EC2 and vCloud resellers for enterprise Windows customers, but the big question is, where are Microsoft?

Do they have to have some kind of offering in the IaaS space in the pipeline (Azure is pure SaaS/PaaS at this stage); I’ve not seen Microsoft do any real GTM effort with partners around building this sort of cloud service like VMware have done with vCloud.

Microsoft have all the tools/software/frameworks in place in terms of Hyper-V/SCVMM but lack a productized offering and marketing back-up to partners (like BDD, but for servers & cloud) are they are starting to miss the boat?

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