Amazon Opens Cloud to SQL, ASP.NET Devs

The cloud wars heat up as Amazon promises easier deployment and scalability for database and application developers.

Microsoft-focused developers have new options for managing databases and applications through Amazon's cloud services.

Yesterday, Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched  Amazon Relational Database Services (Amazon RDS) for Microsoft SQL Server and ASP.NET support for AWS Elastic Beanstalk.

SQL support is currently set for SQL Server 2008 R2, with support for SQL 2012 coming "later this year," according to the press release. Previously limited to Oracle and MySQL databases, RDS now supports four flavors of SQL Server: Express, Web, Standard and Enterprise Editions.

Using RDS in their environment allows database developers and DBAs to offload provisioning and management of SQL to the Amazon cloud.

Three tiers of SQL pricing are being offered:

  • Free Usage. This includes 750 monthly hours using SQL Server Express Edition, 20GB of database storage and 10 million I/O requests per month. This is available for a year; after that, one of the paid plans is required.

  • License Included. This option is aimed at shops without a SQL infrastructure or existing Microsoft licenses. Pricing for this tier starts at $0.035/hour.

  • Microsoft License Mobility. For those with existing Microsoft volume licenses, this tier makes the most sense. Under this plan, customers will continue to work with Microsoft on the licensing side.

Similar to database coverage, AWS Elastic Beanstalk previously supported only Java and PHP development. With the addition of ASP.NET, developers on Microsoft's Web platform can now deploy to Amazon's cloud through the IIS 7.5 software stack, running on Windows Server 2008 R2.

The bridge to the Elastic Beanstalk is the AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio or the AWS Management Console. Amazon is touting both solutions as a one-stop-shop for deployment, management, scalability and monitoring of databases and applications.

That's not the only way to deliver applications, however. AWS allows developers to package code into a Microsoft Web Deploy .zip package and upload to Elastic Beanstalk.

There's no charge to ASP.NET developers to use Elastic Beanstalk. The fee is based on the number of services used, which could include Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (Amazon EC2), Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS), Elastic Load Balancing and Auto Scaling.

Elastic Beanstalk was originally unveiled on Jan. 19, 2011. Amazon RDS kicked off in October 2009, with MySQL as the only offering. Support for Oracle databases was added in 2011.

Microsoft, of course, has its own set of competing cloud services with which it's trying to lure customers: Windows Azure for application deployment and management, and SQL Azure for databases. SQL Azure and Windows Azure work in concert, with Windows Azure applications able to access SQL Azure data.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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