June 06, 2013, 6:40 AM — After three and a half years in operation, Amazon Web Services' RDS is finally generally available, and users can also get a service-level agreement if they choose to run the database in multiple places.
The combination of customer adoption, numerous new features and a lot of operational experience has taken RDS (Relational Database Service) to a level where Amazon thinks its mature enough to be made generally available. Until now, users could gain access to it under a beta testing program.
Just like Amazon's other services, the hosted database service includes set-up, operations and scaling. For example, the service automatically patches the database software and backs up data. Code, applications, and tools that IT staff already use with their existing on-premise databases can also be used with RDS, according to Amazon.
The general availability comes with a service-level agreement (SLA) with 99.95 percent availability for Multi-AZ database instances on a monthly basis. That percentage equals a maximum of 22 minutes of downtime per instance and month. If availability falls below that level users are eligible for service credits.
The credits are calculated as a percentage of the charges paid to Amazon for the monthly billing cycle when downtime is more than 22 minutes. For example, if availability falls below 99 percent users get a 25 percent refund, according to a website detailing the agreement.
The SLA is available for RDS for MySQL and Oracle, which are currently the database engines that can run in a Multi-AZ configuration. When users choose to activate a Multi-AZ instance, RDS automatically creates a primary database and synchronously replicates the data to a standby instance in a different Availability Zone, which runs on its own independent infrastructure, according to Amazon.
Multi-AZ database instances cost between US$0.05 and $3.978 per hour when running MySQL and from $0.08 for Oracle with a license included and $0.05 when users have their own licence. RDS also supports Microsoft's SQL Server.
Even though running hosted applications isn't as big a leap as it was a few years ago, being able to show customer adoption is still important, especially for mission critical ones. RDS is used by Samsung and Unilever, web-based applications Flipboard and Airbnb, as well as organizations like NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, according to Amazon.
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