(The Hosting News) – As many of you already know, Amazon.com was among the very first companies to create a customer-facing product from its own internal excess computing capacity. Thus at the very start of the Cloud Computing revolution you had pay-as-you-go scalable hosting services from Amazon. Fast forward to today and Amazon still holds a leadership position in Cloud Computing. While other large competitors are certain to catch up and eventually even surpass Amazon (read Microsoft, Google) the company has been a trailblazer in this new area of web hosting.
In another move to secure its leadership position, Amazon has announced that as of November 1, 2010 it will offer a very small introductory offering of its core Cloud services for free. Here is the way Amazon described the new free Cloud Computing offering on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) website, ”Beginning November 1, new AWS customers will be able to run a free Amazon EC2 Micro Instance for a year, while also leveraging a new free usage tier for Amazon S3, Amazon Elastic Block Store, Amazon Elastic Load Balancing, and AWS data transfer.”
The specific services offered for free are:
- 750 hours of Amazon EC2 Linux Micro Instance usage (613 MB of memory and 32-bit and 64-bit platform support) – enough hours to run continuously each month
- 750 hours of an Elastic Load Balancer plus 15 GB data processing
- 10 GB of Amazon Elastic Block Storage, plus 1 million I/Os, 1 GB of snapshot storage, 10,000 snapshot Get Requests and 1,000 snapshot Put Requests
- 5 GB of Amazon S3 storage, 20,000 Get Requests, and 2,000 Put Requests
- 30 GB per of internet data transfer (15 GB of data transfer ”in” and 15 GB of data transfer ”out” across all services except Amazon CloudFront)
- 25 Amazon SimpleDB Machine Hours and 1 GB of Storage
- 100,000 Requests of Amazon Simple Queue Service
- 100,000 Requests, 100,000 HTTP notifications and 1,000 email notifications for Amazon Simple Notification Service
While free hosting services have been around for years, and using free services or months of hosting to gain customers is widespread as evidenced by promotions currently running from dedicated web hosting company 34SP.com, HostGator and iPage. However, the Cloud Computing model hasn’t embraced this form of marketing until now. This choice in marketing AWS further differentiates Amazon products from its competitors. As noted by Forrester Research, this low barrier to adoption may be all that Amazon needs to attract a much larger potential customer base for its Cloud offerings. Forrester pointed out, ”Free is sticky. When deciding which public cloud platform you want to be hosted on, how can you argue with one that costs you nothing when traffic is low?”. Look for other Cloud Computing companies to weigh in on this marketing battle in the near future.