The article above is well worth a read. We've only got one physical server left, all the rest of our infrastucture runs on Amazon Web Services, and that last hold-out is due to be virtualised by the end of the year.
Here's the money quote that shows you that the journalist gets it:
Part of the genius of EC2 is that it gave software developers virtual machines that behaved a lot like the physical machines they were familiar with. They could run the same sort of software they had always used. Amazon didn’t try to tell the customer what he wanted.
Google and Microsoft released beta versions of similar cloud services in 2008 — Google App Engine and Windows Azure — but these big-name competitors failed to completely grasp what made EC2 so successful. App Engine and Azure tried to make it easier to run software in the cloud, but in doing so they restricted what developers were able to do. The learning curve was steeper, and the public never really embraced them in the same way.We're a Microsoft house, but we could take all our apps and simply drop them into AWS where they run essentially unchanged. We looked at Azure, Microsoft's own cloud offering, and binned it immediately as we would have to do so much redevelopment.
The WBI Time Machine shows that I picked Amazon's EC2 up as significant pretty much as soon as it was launched see http://nickbrowne.coraider.com/2006/08/amazon-elastic-compute-cloud.html.