You can now run Microsoft Windows Server® 2008, SQL Server® 2008 Express, and SQL Server Standard 2008 on Amazon EC2. There has been a lot of demand for this particular feature and I'm happy to be able to make this announcement!
You can launch these instances in all three AWS Regions (US East, US West, and EU) right now, and you can also take advantage of additional EC2 features such as Elastic IP Addresses, the Amazon Elastic Block Store, Amazon CloudWatch, Elastic Load Balancing, and Auto Scaling.
You can use the entire Microsoft Web Platform, including ASP.NET, ASP.NET Ajax, Silverlight™, and Internet Information Server (IIS) and you can also use the AWS SDK for .NET to access other parts of AWS such as Amazon S3, the Amazon Simple Queue Service, or Amazon SimpleDB.
Pricing starts at $0.12 per hour for Windows Server 2008 and $1.08 per hour for SQL Server Standard Edition. There's more information on the Amazon EC2 Running Windows page.
I think that this new release highlights a key aspect of AWS -- flexibility. As your needs dictate, you can launch EC2 instances running an incredibly diverse array of operating systems including Windows Server 2003 and 2008, seven distinct Linux distributions (Fedora, CentOS, Debian, Gentoo, Red Hat, SUSE, and Ubuntu), and even OpenSolaris. You can launch a few (or a bunch of) instances in three separate geographic Regions, and you can keep them running for as long as you need them.
This additional flexibility means that you can use EC2 to create heterogeneous application architectures, using the operating system that is best suited to each part of the system. You can do your web crawling on some Linux instances, transcode the data on a Windows instance or two, and then serve up the final results using a web server running on another Linux instance.
Windows Server 2008 makes use of our new Boot from EBS feature, so your root partition can occupy up to 1 TB. You can stop, and then later start the instances with ease, all from the AWS Management Console.
How do you plan to use Windows Server 2008? Leave me a comment!