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Developers Offered Pay-For-Use Database Cloud Service

Coinciding with a new SQL Server 2012 licensing model, OpSource Inc. introduced a cloud-based service that offers developers and others purportedly cheaper pay-as-you-go access to major database systems.

Called OpSource Cloud Software, the new product offers access to Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard and other software. OpSource said the cloud service is "ideal for testing and development" in a news release.

While SQL Server 2012 comes with two licensing options--"one that is based on computing power, and one that is based on users or devices," according to a six-page datasheet--Cloud Software is available with hourly and monthly on-demand charges, OpSource said. According to a company Web site, SQL Server 2008 R2 costs 66 cents per hour per server. The pricing scheme is a little confusing to me, however. Although the news release stated: "Per Server priced Cloud Software incurs a specific rate per hour when a server is running and a specific rate per hour when a server is stopped," I couldn’t find any information about the rate for a stopped server. So I chatted with Chris, who kind of cleared it up a little, maybe, I think:

You are now chatting with 'Chris'

Chris: Thank you for your interest in OpSource. How may I help you?
me: I'm interested in the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Cloud Software product. How much is the hourly rate for a stopped server?
Chris: Well for the SQL server license, it has a built in rate of 0.66 cents per hour
Chris: And there will be additional costs for the device footprint as well
Chris: In regards to storage, CPU, and RAM
Chris: In a stopped state, you only pay for the storage
me: For a running server or stopped server? Your news release said there are two different rates for these?
Chris: You will pay the cost of the storage footprint in a standby state
me: What is that pricing structure, for storage?
Chris: However, you will be committed to a 0.66 cent rate even if the device is on standby for SQL
Chris: Well you are only being charged based on the footprint
Chris: Generally, the cost is close to 21.6 cents per GB
Chris: Per month
me: OK. One more question: Do you plan on offering SQL Server 2012 when it's available next year?
Chris: I'm not sure at this moment, I would anticipate us keeping up to date with that version in our new Application Layers
Chris: If you are interested, I can provide you with some trial credit to sandbox the environment
me: No thanks. That's all I had. Bye.
Chris: If you apply our promo code, you can get $200 worth of credit
Chris: Thank you for visiting. Please contact us at anytime.

Our questions and answers got a little out of sync (the chat box didn’t have one of those helpful "Chris is typing" indicators, so I asked more questions before I knew he wasn’t done replying), but you might get the idea, sort of, I hope.

The Cloud Software service also offers several editions of Oracle database products, with "monthly pricing based on number of processors, sockets and server configuration."

OpSource said the SQL Server product "supports up to four processors, up to 64 GB of RAM, one virtual machine, and two failover clustering nodes." It comes bundled with a Windows Server 2008 R2 image.

What do you think? Could this be a cheaper way for developers to test their SQL apps in a pseudo-production environment? Or would you be likely to forget to turn off a server and get one of those nasty cellphone-service-like bill shocks? Comment here or drop me a line.

Posted by David Ramel on 11/10/2011 at 1:15 PM


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