The PaaS competition heats up with Amazon adding ASP.NET support to its AWS Elastic Beanstalk environment and MS SQL Server to the Amazon RDS offerings. This is a significant announcement from Amazon as it draws the battle lines with Microsoft which is aggressively positioning Windows Azure as the .NET Cloud offering to the developer community.
Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) was launched in 2009 with the initial support for MySQL. Amazon has been regularly investing in RDS by bringing the high availability features like Multi-AZ deployment and performance enhancements like Read-Replicas. Last year, Oracle got added to the supported databases of RDS and recently the Multi-AZ feature was added to it. Right from the day of the announcement, it was clear that AWS was moving towards supporting the popular databases on RDS. Until now, SQL Azure has been the only database choice for Microsoft customers looking for a managed DB on the Cloud. With MS SQL Server support on RDS, Amazon will go after the Microsoft customer base luring them to move to its Cloud. The smart move from Amazon comes in the form of the free tier that includes the one-year free access to the MS SQL Server Express edition. SQL Azure’s free trial is limited to only 90s days after which customers will start getting billed. But SQL Azure is ahead of the game through its capabilities like Data Sync, Reporting and Federation. Microsoft has invested in hybrid capabilities to enable easy integration of on-premise MS SQL deployments with SQL Azure. Microsoft’s hybrid strategy is far more powerful and easier than AWS whose hybrid strategy primarily revolves around the complex VPC architecture. While competing with each other in the Public Cloud domain, Microsoft and Amazon collaborated in enabling the customers to extend their existing MS SQL licenses to RDS. Microsoft’s License Mobility program allows customers who already own SQL Server licenses to run SQL Server deployments on Amazon RDS. This benefit is available to Microsoft Volume Licensing (VL) customers with SQL Server licenses covered by active Microsoft Software Assurance (SA) contracts.