Nearly two years after I begged for it, Amazon have announced that "starting later this Fall, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) will offer you the ability to run Microsoft Windows Server or Microsoft SQL Server".
Potentially this is hugely attractive. The One Show has about seven million viewers. When the film about our auction system gets broadcast later this month, our servers are going to get absolutely hammered for a few days. I've got enough bandwidth for the job, but at the moment I'm scrabbling around trying to get hold of extra hardware to rent for the demand spike.
As I understand it (a cursory understanding at best), EC2 works by creating virtual instances of servers. You can boot new and destroy old instances instantly. I wonder how Microsoft's server scaling will map onto this environment?
You pay for the services (monthly in arrears) in instance hours; 40cents for a Large Instance (7.5 GB of memory, 4 EC2 Compute Units (2 virtual cores with 2 EC2 Compute Units each), 850 GB of instance storage, 64-bit platform) for example. Microsoft licenses will be more obviously.
Data transfer is $0.100 per GB – all data transfer in, and 0.170 per GB – first 10 TB / month data transfer out.
Persistent storage is in Amazon S3.
I may have got some of this wrong, and there may be US versus Europe wrinkles I'm missing but a watching brief is definitely in order.