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10/8/2010
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Amazon Ups Its Linux And Scalability Options

Its cloud computing service for businesses continues to expand options.

Amazon Web Services is something of a bellwether for what's possible--and at what price--from a public cloud computing service. Here are two of the latest signals.

One is that Linux isn't necessarily cheaper in the cloud than Windows. AWS just added Novell's SUSE to its Linux selections, joining Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which it has made available since 2007, and generic open source Linux. AWS's Elastic Compute Cloud offers SUSE Linux Enterprise System (versions 10 and 11) for 11.5 cents per hour, rising as high as $2.10 per hour for what Amazon calls its 4X-large instance. (Detailed pricing is at aws.amazon.com/suse.)

The price point is close to what AWS charges for Windows in the cloud, 12 cents an hour, but less than half of its Red Hat Enterprise Linux, offered for a monthly price of $19 plus 21 cents per hour of use. Generic Linux is AWS's lowest-priced offering, at 8.5 cents an hour. AWS, not the Linux distributors, set the Linux pricing. We've asked, but neither AWS nor Red Hat gives a clear answer on its price tag.

In another advance, AWS is offering an important element for EC2 users to scale applications, adding Read Replicas to its relational database service. With Read Replicas, an application using AWS's database service, which is based on open source MySQL, can generate replica copies of a database as demand for an application rises. The read-only additions won't lock data and bog down transactions, but they will get updated once something changes in the parent database. Replicas speed database response in times of heavy traffic.

chart: Cloud services: Now or later?

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