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Yes, Windows Azure is very similar to Amazon Web Services, but with Microsoft's technology stack. You're supposed to use SQL Azure (the 'managed' version of SQL Server with some cool features like Federations and Data Sync) as your main database system, for example. There's Blob Storage which is like S3 and Table Storage which is more like Cassandra but you can ignore it (no indexes is a huge handicap). The main difference between EC2 and Azure Compute is that Microsoft auto-updates Windows and IIS on Azure whereas you have to do the updates yourself on EC2. Otherwise it's basically the same at the same price.

For a one-man project, nothing beats Google App Engine. Azure and AWS require more work.

>> For a one-man project, nothing beats Google App Engine.

I'd argue that Heroku is even easier than App Engine.

I'd argue, the platform that is easiest depends on your skill set/background. Azure is going to be significantly easier and more productive for someone with a .NET background, for instance over any of the others mentioned.

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