Amazon’s EC2cloud computing” offering, which enables users to access on-demand processing power using the firm’s infrastructure, is “now ready for production“, according to Amazon.

It officially left “beta” last week.

As part of the dropping of the “beta” moniker, Amazon is now offering a Service Level Agreement (SLA) for EC2 that guarantees 99.95% availability.

It has previously experienced some issues with its web service offerings, so the fact that it is now willing to back EC2 up with an SLA is probably welcome news for those who have been taking a wait and see approach.

Additionally, Amazon announced EC2 support for Windows. Applications that run on Microsoft Windows (including Microsoft SQL Server) are now being supported by EC2 in both 32 and 64-bit environments.

Since there are a significant number of applications that organizations might want to scale out using a platform like EC2, this is big news.

It should be noted, however, that support for Windows is “beta.”

In 2009, Amazon plans to add additional features to EC2, including load balancing, a management console, automatic scaling and monitoring tools.

Clearly, Amazon is investing a lot in EC2 and its other cloud computing offerings. But it’s not alone.

Last week, Rackspace, which already offers cloud hosting through its Mosso division, made a big announcement of its own.

It just acquired two cloud computing companies – Slicehost and Jungle Disk.

Slicehost provides “virtual machine hosting” and Jungle Disk “offers reliable cloud storage solutions that allow users to easily share an unlimited amount of cloud storage between multiple users.”

Rackspace says it will eventually integrate these acquisitions into its overall hosting offering.

All of this is good news for those using such services as competition between companies like Amazon and Rackspace should drive costs down and improve service.

While I still believe that “cloud computing” services like EC2 are overkill for the vast majority of individuals and companies, the recent developments with EC2 (especially the SLA) and the increasing competition in the space are great news for those who can benefit from the rapid and flexible scaling opportunities afforded by cloud computing providers.