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5/24/2011
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Amazon Launches On-Demand Oracle Database Services

Two-tier licensing approach supports pay-as-you-go access for those who need licenses and those who already own Oracle 11g.

Slideshow: Amazon's Case For Enterprise Cloud Computing
Slideshow: Amazon's Case For Enterprise Cloud Computing
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Amazon Web Services on Tuesday launched Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) for Oracle Database. The service brings pay-by-the-hour access to Oracle's database at fees ranging from $0.11 to $3.40 per hour, including processing capacity and management capabilities.

Originally announced in late January, RDS for Oracle makes 11g Release 2 available in two different licensing models. In the Bring-Your-Own-License (BYOL) approach, customers who already own Oracle database Standard Edition One, Standard Edition, or Enterprise Edition can use their own database licenses. In the License-included approach, customers use licenses purchased from Oracle by Amazon Web Services, though this service is limited to Oracle Standard Edition One, a limited version of the database that lacks enterprise-class features including Real Applications Clusters (RAC) and advanced compression.

In either licensing approach, RDS for Oracle management capabilities include common database administration tasks such as provisioning, backups, automated snapshots, software patching, monitoring and metrics, and hardware scaling.

RDS for Oracle is offered in five database instance classes, ranging from small (with 1.7 GB of memory and 1 virtual core) up to high-memory quadruple-extra-large (with 68 GB of memory, 8 virtual cores, and high I/O capacity). In the license-included approach, a small instance is $0.16 per hour while the largest instance class is $3.40 per hour. In the BYOL approach, small instances are $0.11 and the largest $2.60 per hour.

Customers can tap into RDS for Oracle through Amazon Web Services or through an Amazon partner. For example, marketing agency Razorfish and integrator Capgemini both plan to help customers move database-resident applications onto Amazon's cloud. "The ability to leverage an existing investment in Oracle licenses makes transitioning workloads into the cloud convenient and economical," stated Mandhir Gidda, U.K. technical director at Razorfish.

Oracle database developers are most likely to latch onto the service, as it will let them spin up and spin down instances as needed and scaled to the required capacity. Vendor software demos and pilot projects are also likely deployment scenarios for RDS for Oracle.

Upfront fees and long-term commitments are not required to use on-demand database services, but Amazon said discounts of as much as 48% are available by purchasing Reserved Database Instances with one-time, upfront payments for one-year or three-year terms. Reserved-instance fees range from $227.50 for a one-year, BYOL deal on a small instance (with discounted usage fees of $0.046 per hour) up to $12,600 for a license-included, reserved instance of the quadruple-extra-large, high-memory class database in a one-year deal (with discounted fees of $1.28 per hour).

Extra fees apply for associated storage and I/O, regardless of the licensing approach. Storage fees are $0.10 per GB, per month. Data transfer fees are $0.10 per GB, per month into the database and $0.15 to $0.08 per GB, per month out of the database depending on overall volumes.

Amazon RDS already supports managed MySQL deployments, so Oracle is the second database engine supported by RDS.

Amazon's Oracle service is likely to compared to Microsoft SQL Azure, a services that charges up-front fees of $9.99 for a 1-GB database, per month, up to $500 for a 50-GB database, per month, with no separate hourly fees (though data-transfer fees do apply).

Pricing seems simpler for SQL Azure, though for $9.99 you could run a license-included, 1.7-GB instance of Oracle for 62 hours.

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