Amazon lures new customers with free cloud computing service

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is offering a free, limited service to developers and businesses.

Amazon lures new customers with free cloud computing service

The move marks the competitive nature of the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) market. By offering a try-before-you-buy service, AWS hopes to attract customers and convince them into staying or to expand their use over time.

From 1 November, new customers will be able to run an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instance for a year, with access to Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS), Amazon Elastic Load Balancing and AWS data transfer.

AWS said developers could experiment with the facilities to gain hands-on experience and broaden their knowledge of web services requirements.

“Everyone from entrepreneurial college students to developers at Fortune 500 companies can now launch new applications at zero expense and with the peace of mind that they can instantly scale to accommodate growth,” said Adam Selipsky, vice president of AWS.

“We can’t wait to see what great ideas are set in motion now that it’s free to experiment and launch production applications in the AWS cloud.”

The service comes with understandable provisos. If access times, storage allowances or monthly requests exceed the permitted amounts, it will automatically escalate to a pay-as-you-go service.

The allocations announced included 750 hours per month of free EC2 and Elastic Load Balancer usage, which the company claimed was equivalent to continuous running. This was backed up by storage allowances of 10GB of EBS and 5GB for S3.

AWS said it would impose traffic controls of 15GB in and out – 30GB in all – for internet data transfers and 100,000 requests.

Amazon did not say if the allowances would be on a global scale or limited to US markets from the beginning. If the implementation proves successful though, a roll-out to the UK market would be a logical step in 2011.

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