Amazon cuts cloud prices, offers new database service

Amazon is lowering the price of its Web-based virtual servers and has bolstered its cloud services with a new relational database and a set of high-memory virtual server instances.

Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) offers customers a variety of virtual server configurations, with prices ranging from 10 cents to $1 per hour. But the company is “lowering prices on all Amazon EC2 On-Demand compute instances, effective on Nov. 1,” Amazon announced Tuesday. “Charges for Linux-based instances will drop 15% — a small Linux instance will now cost just 8.5 cents per hour, compared with the previous price of 10 cents per hour.”

Windows-based instances will get a smaller price cut. For example, a small Windows instance that cost 12.5 cents per hour will cost 12 cents per hour beginning Nov. 1. A large Windows instance that cost $1 per hour will get a price cut to 96 cents.
While announcing the price cut on standard-sized virtual servers, Amazon said it will offer a new set of high-memory virtual servers offering double and quadruple the memory over the previous largest option. Prices will range from $1.20 to $2.88 per hour.

“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,” Amazon announced.

In Tuesday’s other announcement, Amazon unveiled its Relational Database Service, a Web-based platform providing a “fully featured” MySQL database that automatically handles common administrative tasks such as setup, provisioning, patch management and backup. The standard code, applications and tools developers use with existing MySQL databases will work with the Amazon cloud version, the company says.

Amazon RDS “makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale relational databases in the cloud,” Amazon says. “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.”

Pricing for small database instances starts at 11 cents per hour and ranges up to $3.10 per hour. Database storage for RDS instances costs 10 cents per gigabyte per month, and another 10 cents for every 1 million I/O requests.

RDS is not the first cloud database service offered by Amazon. The company also has SimpleDB, which contains core database functions such as data indexing and querying, but not the more complex relational database functions taken care of by RDS. SimpleDB is free the first 25 machine hours consumed each month, and another 14 cents per hour thereafter.

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