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Amazon's EC2 to offer Windows, SQL Server options

Software maker says that, starting later this year, those using its cloud computing service will be able to run Microsoft's operating system and database software.

Amazon said on Wednesday that it plans to offer its cloud computing customers the option of running Microsoft's Windows Server operating system as well as its SQL Server database.

Starting sometime this fall, Amazon said that customers of its EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) service will be able to run Windows, in addition to the Unix-based options currently available. Amazon is currently conducting a private beta test of the new Microsoft-based options.

"The ability to run a Windows environment within Amazon EC2 has been one of our most requested features, and we are excited to be able to provide this capability," Amazon said in a blog posting. "Our goal is to support any and all of the programming models, operating systems and database servers that you need for building applications on our cloud computing platform."

The company said that EC2 running Windows Server or SQL Server will be useful for running ASP.NET Web sites, media transcoding and other Windows-based applications.

Microsoft, meanwhile, is expected to talk more about the ability to write applications directly to its Live Mesh service at its Professional Developers Conference, which takes place at the end of this month.