Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced support for Microsoft Windows Server 2012, a move that allows Windows customers to stay on Microsoft's upgrade path as they adopt Amazon's cloud services.
Windows Server 2012, the server version of Windows 8, will be an option for AWS customers, along with existing support for Windows Server 2003 R2, 2008 and 2008 R2 offerings.
Server 2012 can be used with AWS's Elastic Beanstalk, an automatic application provisioning and deployment service.
AWS will also offer a free tier of service of up to 750 hours per month, per year of Micro instances, a small amount of CPU resources that allow users to increase CPU capacity in the cloud.
The free instances can allow customers to evaluate Windows Server 2012 using small instances, Amazon said. AWS will also support Visual Studio 2012.
"Included with the Visual Studio tools is the AWS Explorer which allows you to see all of your AWS resources without leaving the Visual Studio environment," Tom Rizzo, AWS general manager for the Windows team, wrote in an AWS blog.
"In addition, you can deploy to AWS with just a few clicks and can decide whether you want to deploy to EC2 instances or use Elastic Beanstalk as the target for your applications."
Windows Server 2012, released in September, is also supported by Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud service and by cloud infrastructure provider Rackspace.
The announcement will attract customers to both Microsoft and Amazon, said Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst with ZK Research.
"It's a win-win. It lets customers try Amazon cloud and Windows Server 2012," he said. "Having Server 2012 in the cloud will allow a broader audience to try it to see how it operates and whether they want to commit to production applications. The software upgrade to Windows server is two years."
Nik Simpson, research director at Gartner, agreed. "Amazon was supporting Microsoft Server before Server 2012," Simpson said. "They deal with a lot of customers who are Windows shops, so it makes a lot of sense."