Head in the Clouds, Feet on the Ground

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Here's some news that will have surprised few:

Today I'd like to tell you about our newest service, the Amazon Relational Database Service, or Amazon RDS for short. Now in beta, RDS makes it easier for you to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. You get direct database access without worrying about infrastructure provisioning, software maintenance, or common database management tasks.

Using the RDS APIs or the command-line tools, you can access the full capabilities of a complete, self-contained MySQL 5.1 database instance in a matter of minutes. You can scale the processing power and storage space as needed with a single API call and you can initiate fully consistent database snapshots at any time.

Much of what you already know about building applications with MySQL will still apply. Your code and your queries will work as expected; you can even import a dump file produced by mysqldump to get started.

This is a no-brainer for two reasons. First, most startups – and probably 99% of the big, successful ones – turn to MySQL for the database element of their software stack; its appearance here simply confirms that popularity. But the other reason is rather different.

Cloud computing is about scalability – the fact that if you as the customer need more of resource “x”, you just ask for it, get it and pay for it, without needing to do anything more. For cloud computing providers, that's also presumably what happens with traditional software if they offer it as part of their service: you want to deploy more of it, you typically have to pay extra. But with free software, you can deploy as much as you like, how you like. This means that your income goes up, while your costs go up rather slower. Against that background, who *wouldn't* prefer to offer open source software?

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca.

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