Amazon may be known for its online retail business but it is also one of the biggest players in cloud computing. The company is offering a range of cloud services to cater to the needs of developers or companies that don't want the hassle of managing their own infrastructure. Up till now Amazon offered cloud storage with the S3 service, cloud computing with EC2 and a non-relational database cloud with SimpleDB but it is now finally launching a fully fledged relational database service with Amazon RDS.
“Every hour that you don't spend fiddling with hardware, tracing cables, installing operating systems or managing databases is an hour that you can spend on the unique and value-added aspects of your application,” Amazon announced. “Today I'd like to tell you about our newest service, the Amazon Relational Database Service, or Amazon RDS for short. Now in beta, RDS makes it easier for you to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. You get direct database access without worrying about infrastructure provisioning, software maintenance, or common database management tasks.“
The new service is in fact a hosted MySQL 5.1 instance for those who want to outsource the database management. The database can be accessed through the API and most of the features you'd expect from a MySQL install are available. Using the hosted service has the advantage of being easy to manage but also that it can scale along with the user's needs. The software is automatically upgraded and users also have the possibility to make full backups or just snapshots of their databases.
Pricing is in line with the rest of Amazon's cloud services and start out at just 11 cents per hour for the cheapest option. This will get you 1.7 GB of memory and one ECU and the options go up to 68 GB of memory and 26 ECUs for $3.10 per hour. Amazon also charges for storage space at 10 cents per GB per month and also for requests at 10 cents per million requests. The service is already live and available to users.