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Amazon’s Answer to SQL Azure - Amazon Relational Database Service

Makes it easier for you to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud

Amazon Cloud Journal

Today Amazon released its answer to SQL Azure, the hosted cloud database offered by Microsoft. The newest service form Amazon, the Amazon Relational Database Service, or Amazon RDS for short, now in beta, 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.

Using the RDS APIs or the command-line tools, you can access the full capabilities of a complete, self-contained MySQL 5.1 database instance in a matter of minutes. You can scale the processing power and storage space as needed with a single API call and you can initiate fully consistent database snapshots at any time.

Much of what you already know about building applications with MySQL will still apply. Your code and your queries will work as expected; you can even import a dump file produced by mysqldump to get started.

Amazon RDS is really easy to use. You have a suite of command-line tools, but keep in mind that you can also do everything using the APIs.

During the beta you can create up to twenty databases per AWS account, and each one can consume up to 1 TB of storage. You can specify an availability zone (which you should do if you plan to access it from an EC2 instance) or you can let RDS choose one for you.

Each DB Instance exports a number of metrics to CloudWatch including CPU Utilization (percent), Free Storage Space (bytes), and Database Connections (count).

Once you’ve deployed RDS for production use, you can easily scale up to larger instance sizes, add additional storage space (up to a total of 1 TB per RDS instance), and make backups with ease. You can easily snapshot a production database and then bring it back to the lab to dig in to a problem.

RDS usage is charged by the DB Instance hour. As noted above, there are five instance sizes and corresponding hourly rates. You’ll also pay 10 cents per GB per month for your provisioned storage and 10 cents for every million I/O requests. You get backup space to store 100% of your provisioned storage at no additional charge, with additional space priced at 15 cents per GB per month. The usual AWS charges for data transferred in and out of the cloud also apply.

There are a number of enhancements planned for the future. Here are some of the features planned for the coming months:

  • Reserved DB Instances so that you can pay a low one-time fee and then receive a substantial discount on your hourly usage charges.
  • A High Availability offering so that you can easily and cost-effectively provision synchronously replicated RDS instances in two different availability zones.

RDS will make a really nice complement to Amazon SimpleDB and that each of the services has a number of unique features and use cases.

As always, Amazon provides plenty of documentation, libraries, and FAQs.

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More Stories By Alin Irimie

Alin Irimie is a software engineer - architect, designer, and developer with over 10 years experience in various languages and technologies. Currently he is Messaging Security Manager at Sunbelt Software, a security company. He is also the CTO of RADSense Software, a software consulting company. He has expertise in Microsoft technologies such as .NET Framework, ASP.NET, AJAX, SQL Server, C#, C++, Ruby On Rails, Cloud computing (Amazon and Windows Azure),and he also blogs about cloud technologies here.

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