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Amazon's stability troubles may be dominating the headlines, but that's not stopping the momentum of cloud-based offerings. EPiServer (news, site) is the latest to fall in line offering a "Platform-as-a-Service" version of its content management system.

If your target customers are marketers and marketing departments, you want to offer them a way to meet their needs without having to involve IT. In this case, EPiServer's target customers need to launch websites and then maintain them easily.

To meet this need, EPiServer is combining the R2 version of its content management system with its Composer product and making them available in a Platform-as-a-Service package.

In other words, customers who sign a contract to use EPiServer's cloud solution will get an environment that is ready for development. No more procurement of servers and waiting on configuration.

Questions

Is it missing software components that would be available in an internally hosted version? Not according to EPiServer. Cloud customers get the aforementioned R2 platform that includes the OnlineCenter unified workspace, globalization features and personalization features.

How do I know the platform will be available? EPiServer offers 24-by-7 support with an SLA of 99.5% uptime. Furthermore, the architecture follows the common cloud-based patterns of scaling based on evolving traffic loads and distributing visitor traffic geographically.

How much does it cost? A three-month contract for EPiServer Cloud includes the SLA described above, up to 50,000 page views per week, 300 GB of data transfer per month and 100 GB of storage. The price of the contract? US$ 1800 per month.

If that seems expensive, take a look at your company's IT budget (if the powers-that-be will let you) and find out not only how much the hardware costs, but also how much it costs to pay the support staff.

And here's the secret. Your IT group may say it wants to be in charge of your company's web presence. But it really doesn't. IT would love to be able to offload support and maintenance of a web cms and website while having a vendor to point the finger at when things go bad.

This is where EPiServer steps in with its latest offering. Do your customers and your IT staff a favor and give it a look.