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Amazon Web Services Database in the Cloud

A new web service that makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale relational databases in the cloud

Amazon Cloud Journal

Amazon Web Services LLC, an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ: AMZN), today introduced Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), a new web service that makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale relational databases in the cloud. Amazon RDS provides cost-efficient and resizable capacity while automating time-consuming database administration tasks, freeing users to focus on their application and their business. As with all Amazon Web Services, there are no up-front investments required, and you pay only for the resources you use. Also announced today, AWS has lowered prices and introduced a new family of High-Memory instances for Amazon EC2. To get started using Amazon RDS, and other Amazon Web Services, visit http://aws.amazon.com.

“For almost two years, many AWS customers have taken advantage of the simplicity, reliability, and seamless scalability that Amazon SimpleDB provides; however, many customers have told us that their applications require a relational database. That’s why we built Amazon RDS, which combines a familiar relational database with automated management and the instant scalability of the AWS cloud,” said Adam Selipsky, Vice President, Amazon Web Services.

Amazon RDS provides a fully featured MySQL database, so the code, applications, and tools that developers use today with their existing MySQL databases work seamlessly with Amazon RDS. The service automatically handles common database administration tasks such as setup and provisioning, patch management, and backup - storing the backups for a user-defined retention period. Customers also have the flexibility to scale the compute and storage resources associated with their database instance through a simple API call. Amazon RDS is easy to deploy and simple to manage.

“I found Amazon RDS to be a very efficient way to deploy MySQL, and a natural fit for cloud-based application deployment. The instance is up and running in minutes, and very sensible defaults are baked in. The APIs provide streamlined administration, with an ability to programmatically automate administration functions — which is a key feature in cloud-based applications,” said David Tompkins, Sr. Computer Scientist at Adobe Systems Advanced Technology Labs. “Most importantly, Amazon RDS provides pain-free scalability - which is typically one of the most time-consuming and expensive aspects of database deployment.”

"We started using Amazon RDS to store metadata for each and every publisher, advertiser and creative we serve through the system,” said Michael Lugassy, Founder and CEO of Kehalim, an advertising optimization and monetization platform. “After noticing a big performance improvement, we decided to use Amazon RDS to track all of our impression, clicks, and earning data as well. Results were amazing and freed us from the need to run our own MySQL instances. Amazon RDS allows us to focus on frontend features, rather than backend database complexity."

“Our customers have been clamoring for a MySQL option as part of the Heroku platform, so we were thrilled to learn about Amazon RDS,” said Morten Bagai, Director of Business Development at Heroku, a Ruby Platform as a Service Provider. “Amazon Web Services has made it painless to provision and manage a MySQL database. Based on our testing, we expect Amazon RDS to be a very popular database option for our customers.”

Separately, AWS is also lowering prices on all Amazon EC2 On-Demand compute instances, effective on November 1st. Charges for Linux-based instances will drop 15% -- a small Linux instance will now cost just 8.5 cents per hour, compared to the previous price of 10 cents per hour.

Along with today’s announcements, AWS is also introducing a new family of High-Memory Instances for Amazon EC2. This new instance family further expands the available selection of computing configurations for Amazon EC2, helping customers to choose the CPU capacity, memory resources, and networking throughput that their applications require. High-Memory Instances are designed to be used with memory-intensive workloads such as databases, caching, and rendering, and are optimized for low-latency, high-throughput performance.

With the addition of Amazon RDS and Amazon EC2 High-Memory Instances, AWS now provides customers with a multitude of cloud database alternatives. A summary of AWS database options is provided below:

Amazon RDS

For customers whose applications require relational storage, but want to reduce the time spent on database management, Amazon RDS automates common administrative tasks to reduce complexity and total cost of ownership. Amazon RDS automatically backs up a customer’s database and maintains the database software, allowing customers to spend more time on application development. With the native database access Amazon RDS provides, customers get the programmatic familiarity, tooling and application compatibility of a traditional RDBMS. Customers also benefit from the flexibility of being able to scale the compute resources or storage capacity associated with a Relational Database Instance via a single API call.

With Amazon RDS, customers still control the database settings that are specific to their business (including the schema, indices, and performance tuning). Customers also take an active role in the scaling decisions for their database – they tell the service when they want to add more storage or change to a larger or smaller DB Instance class.

Amazon RDS is recommended for customers who:

  • Have existing or new applications, code, or tools that require a relational database
  • Want native access to a MySQL relational database, but prefer to offload the infrastructure management and database administration to AWS
  • Like the flexibility of being able to scale their database compute and storage resources with an API call, and only pay for the infrastructure resources they actually consume

Amazon SimpleDB

For database implementations that do not require a relational model, and that principally demand index and query capabilities, Amazon SimpleDB eliminates the administrative overhead of running a highly-available production database, and is unbound by the strict requirements of a RDBMS. With Amazon SimpleDB, customers store and query data items via simple web services requests, and Amazon SimpleDB does the rest. In addition to handling infrastructure provisioning, software installation and maintenance, Amazon SimpleDB automatically indexes customers’ data, creates geo-redundant replicas of the data to ensure high availability, and performs database tuning on customers’ behalf. Amazon SimpleDB also provides no-touch scaling. There is no need to anticipate and respond to changes in request load or database utilization; the service simply responds to traffic as it comes and goes, charging only for the resources consumed. Finally, Amazon SimpleDB doesn’t enforce a rigid schema for data. This gives customers flexibility – if their business changes, they can easily reflect these changes in Amazon SimpleDB without any schema updates or changes to the database code.

Amazon SimpleDB is recommended for customers who:

  • Principally utilize index and query functions rather than more complex relational database functions
  • Don’t want any administrative burden at all in managing their structured data
  • Want a service that scales automatically up or down in response to demand, without user intervention
  • Require the highest possible availability

Amazon EC2 - Relational Database AMIs

Developers may use a number of leading relational databases on Amazon EC2. An Amazon EC2 instance can be used to run a database, and the data can be stored reliably on an Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) volume. Amazon EC2 provides a variety of instance sizes for developers to match the resource needs of their database including the newly released High-Memory Instance types which are specifically optimized for latency sensitive, I/O intensive workloads. Amazon EBS is a fast and reliable persistent storage feature of Amazon EC2. By designing, building, and managing their own relational database on Amazon EC2, developers avoid the friction of provisioning and scaling their own infrastructure while gaining access to a variety of standard database engines over which they can exert full administrative control. Available AMIs include IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, Sybase, and Vertica.

Amazon EC2 Relational Database AMIs are recommended for customers who:

  • Wish to select from a wide variety of database engines
  • Want to exert complete administrative control over their database server

More Stories By Salvatore Genovese

Salvatore Genovese is a Cloud Computing consultant and an i-technology blogger based in Rome, Italy. He occasionally blogs about SOA, start-ups, mergers and acquisitions, open source and bleeding-edge technologies, companies, and personalities. Sal can be reached at hamilton(at)sys-con.com.

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