Here is a breaking news from Amazon. Amazon Web Services is releasing Relational Database as a Service (RDS). The press release is yet to go out but the website is active. They will be announcing the news at 1:00 AM PST tomorrow. Even though AWS has a storage cloud (S3), Compute Cloud (EC2) and a non relational Database Cloud (SimpleDB), they never offered Relational Databases as a service. In fact, this was one of the biggest demands by the AWS users and now they have listened (or forced by Microsoft?).
Amazon RDS is nothing but a MySQL 5.1 database instance that is exclusively for a particular user and can be accessed via a single API call. The user gets all the capabilities of MySQL database with an additional ability to scale up based on the needs. It rids the customers of any need for time consuming database administration tasks. The patches are applied automatically with the database backed up automatically with a possibility for the user to set the retention period.
Amazon RDS is priced similar to Amazon EC2. There are costs involved with usage of database instances, persistent storage up to 1 TB, costs for I/O requests, costs for backup storage and data transfer costs. The smallest instance costs 11 cents per hour and one can scale up to quadruple extra large instance of 68 GB of memory, 26 ECUs (8 virtual cores with 3.25 ECUs each), 64-bit platform.
After resisting the demands for a relational database for a long time, Amazon has suddenly jumped into the game. I am suspecting that this is an attempt to preempt Microsoft’s announcement about the public release of Azure SQL relational database cloud later this month at PDC ’09. I see a pattern here. For a long time, Amazon was not keen on releasing Windows based instances as a part of their EC2 offering. Last year, at about the same time, when it became clear that Microsoft will announce a Windows cloud at PDC ’08, Amazon preempted the announcement with their own Windows based EC2 instances. I like this competition as I strongly believe that such a competition is good for the Cloud marketplace.
This announcement will also crush the Y-Combinator startup FathomDB that offers database as a service that is run on top of Amazon EC2. It will be interesting to see how they respond to this announcement. Probably, this announcement should also serve as a warning bell for the companies that build their entire business on Amazon ecosystem. They are just one announcement away from complete destruction. It is not unique to Amazon ecosystem alone. It can happen to any company whose business relies entirely on one vendor’s ecosystem.
Editor’s update: Congrat’s to Krish for being fast and conclusive. And here’s a rare screenhsot from TechMeme: