Joyent is now hosting applications built on Windows and Linux, opening the door to web application providers who have some components built on those operating systems.

"We've bumped into situations where our specialised OS, which is really good for Java, PHP and other languages used in traditional web apps wasn't as affective for people who had significant investment in Windows and Linux," said Adrian Ludwig, vice president of marketing at Joyent. "They had to rewrite or at least do some porting and in some instances that could be fairly significant."

Joyent uses its own software, known as SmartOS, to run the virtualisation in its data centres. The company says that the software allows it to get much better utilisation of servers in its data centres than its competitors. That increase in efficiency translates into lower costs for customers, Ludwig said.

But some potential Joyent customers found that they could easily move the bulk of their applications, which may be built on Java, PHP or Ruby on Rails, but had some legacy infrastructure that would be difficult to move to Joyent's hosted service. With support for Windows and Linux, those customers can more easily begin using Joyent's infrastructure-as-a service offering, Ludwig said.

Joyent is offering to host applications built on the Enterprise and Standard editions of Windows as well as CentOS, Debian and Ubuntu operating systems. The capability is currently generally available.

The move may put Joyent in direct competition with market leaders like Amazon Web Services and Rackspace, which also support applications built on Windows and Linux. But customers that are primarily looking for a service that hosts web applications will find that Joyent is less expensive because of its SmartOS, Ludwig said. Also, Joyent has optimised its offering for web applications so can better serve customers looking to host web apps, he said.