Amazon Slashes Pricing For Several Cloud Services, Launches Workspaces Desktop-As-A-Service

A day after Google slashed pricing for its cloud services, Amazon Web Services responded with some price cuts of its own.

Effective April 1, AWS will cut Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) pricing by 10 percent to 40 percent for M1, M2, C1 and CC2 instances, AWS Senior Vice President Andy Jassy said Wednesday in a keynote at the AWS Summit in downtown San Francisco.

Amazon's EC2 M3 instances are dropping 38 percent, while C3 instances are being cut by 30 percent. All of these EC2 figures are for instances running Linux, but Jassy said there will be a "comparable decrease" for Windows instances.

[Related: Cloud Wake-Up Call: Google Takes Aim At Amazon With Price Cuts, Volume Discounts ]

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Amazon is lowering Simple Storage Service (S3) pricing by an average of 51 percent, with cuts ranging from 35 percent to 65 percent depending on the tier of service, Jassy said.

Other cloud price cuts are coming for Amazon's Relational Database Service (28 percent on average), ElastiCache (34 percent on average), and Elastic MapReduce, AWS' Hadoop service (27 percent to 61 percent depending on instance type).

This is the 42nd time AWS has lowered pricing, so while the cuts come just after Google kicked off what's likely to be an intense cloud price war, Jassy made it sound as though they were part of the plan all along. "Lowering prices is not new for us," he said.

AWS is able to make these price drops through economies of scale, as more people are adopting its cloud to replace or supplement their traditional data centers, Kevin RisonChu, director of systems and infrastructure at Digitaria, a San Diego, Calif.-based AWS partner, told CRN.

"Running an M3.large instance under Heavy Reservation starting April 1 for an entire year will be the same cost the reservation alone was for an M1.large was just a couple years ago," RisonChu said.

Jassy didn't mention Google during the keynote but did make a veiled reference to the fact that Google currently has only two availability zones -- the U.S. and Europe -- while Amazon has 26 availability zones worldwide.

He also steered clear of addressing the "sustained-use discounts" Google unveiled yesterday, in which cloud pricing starts dropping once a customer runs a virtual machine for 25 percent of a given month in aggregate, and drops further the more the customer uses.

Jassy said AWS' cheapest option is spot pricing, in which excess cloud capacity is made available to bidders on an online marketplace. Google doesn't currently offer spot pricing.

Meanwhile, AWS Wednesday said Workspaces, its Desktop-as-a-Service, is now generally available after being limited to a trial pool of 10,000 beta users since its unveiling last November.

Workspaces is priced ranging from $35 to $75 per user monthly, depending on the number of virtual CPUs and amount of RAM and storage. It's now available in the U.S. East (Northern Virginia) and U.S. West (Oregon) regions.