A $0.10-per-hour charge for using Amazon's smallest Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2) platform with a Red Hat
But a new pricing plan locks customers into a one-year or three-year contract, with base fees ranging from $325 to $2,600 for one year, or $500 to $4,000 for three years. In exchange for that commitment, the customer gets a much lower hourly rate. Running the smallest machine 24/7/365 as a reserved instance adds up to $588 under a one-year contract, or $3,435 for a souped-up battleship under a three-year deal. Then there's a bit extra for data transfer, extra storage, and whatnot. Still, slashing virtual hardware costs by two-thirds is a significant price drop.
These virtual machines on Amazon's robust infrastructure can run any service you like, and they already power dozens of business-class applications. Autodesk
And there's plenty of new ground to break here. Hotshot messaging service Twitter already hosts its images on EC2's sister act, the Simple Storage Service. As Twitter grows -- and boy, is it ever growing! -- it could make sense to move the whole shebang into Amazon's cloud-computing servers. That's just one of many examples of Amazon's growth potential in the virtual computing space.
And now, your concluding moment of techno-irony: Although Amazon can thank VMware
Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation, VMware is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick, and Amazon.com is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. The Fool owns shares of Autodesk. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. He does have an EC2 account, his own Linux server, and a Ph.D. in geekdom and nerdery. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.