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AWS to ISVs: Let us vaporise your Windows apps

Will Azure get the blues?

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Hot on the heels of its announcement that cloudy Widows Server instances are now available in its EC2 service, Amazon Web Services has started to court developers whose applications run on Microsoft’s servers.

The cloudy company’s pitch is that if an ISV’s app is in the AWS marketplace, ISVs can get into the software-as-a-service caper with a minimum of effort. ISVs will also be exposed to the hordes of folks who trawl the AWS online catalogue every day, which will in turn mean customers use applications almost without thinking and developers will “find that the sales cycle is dramatically shortened … decisions that once took days or weeks now take just minutes.”

While Amazon is keen to give the impression that ISVs’ bank balances will start to inflate with almost no effort mere moments after they enter the marketplace, entry to the online store is not open to everyone.

The following prerequisites, for example, must be met before ISVs start the work of packaging their programs for consumption on AWS:

  • Sell mature, production software that has been publicly available for at least 9 months
  • Sell business and development software in one of our supported categories
  • Have a strong track record of customer satisfaction and customer support with at least 10 reference-able customers
  • Put an emphasis on strong and clear business operations and ethics
  • Prioritize keeping their software current and virus-free
  • SaaS sellers should ensure that their product is hosted on AWS infrastructure

The AWS marketplace currently hosts just four apps that have jumped through those hoops - - Parallels Plesk , Quest Toad, MicroStrategy and SAP Afaria – but the company promises “ many more in the pipeline for release in the near future.”

Also in the pipeline, one imagines, is some competitive tension between AWS and Microsoft’s Azure service. Redmond’s preference is surely for Windows developers to go all-in with Azure when contemplating cloud and/or software-as-a-service deployments for their wares.

AWS’ carrot for developers, other than the promise of an instant and eager customer base, is that its free tier now includes Windows Server. That means 750 hours of free server playtime ISVs can use to vaporise their wares. Azure has a similar offering, but it lasts just 90 days. AWS’ free tier allows new customers to spread the 750 hours across a year. ®

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