Just one day after Rackspace announced its challenger to Amazon's suite of cloud computing services, Amazon announced that it is taking its EC2 cloud computing service out of beta and that EC2 will now feature support for Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft SQL Server. Until today, EC2 only supported a number of Linux distributions and OpenSolaris. Amazon will now also offer a Service Level Agreement for EC2 and promises an availability of 99.95%.

Amazon's cloud computing evangelist Jeff Barr also announced a few new features that are now in private alpha testing and which will be released to the public 2009. These include a management console, load balancing for multiple EC2 instances, automatic scaling, and a cloud monitoring service that will give users a real time view of the state of their EC2 instances.

Windows in the Cloud

Given how many companies rely on Windows servers to run their business, adding support for this operating system makes good sense for Amazon. The pricing for these Windows services, however, is considerably higher than that for running Linux instances on EC2.

As Mary Jo Foley notes, Amazon will also attend Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference next week, which is interesting, given that Microsoft is also expected to unveil its own cloud computing platform at this conference.