Oracle database perches on the Amazon RDS cloud

In DBA, Oracle database on June 19, 2011 at 04:43

Have you already seen this one: Amazon RDS for Oracle Database ? Well, I even got an email:

And how about Maureen O’Gara’s comments in her article Oracle Goes to Amazon published in the Cloud Computing Journal?

Or do you agree with Curt Monash’s Quick thoughts on Oracle-on-Amazon where he claims that there is non-production appeal but that this isn’t for production usage?

Right, you can now get an Oracle database with Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon’s RDS). But what is the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)? Where is the calculator? Let us have a look at what Amazon RDS has to offer and see if it is worthy.

Obviously, if you want your database running on Amazon RDS, you want things to be as simple as possible. And I am not talking about the eighteen minute video called Oracle Database 11g on Amazon RDS in ten minutes. Which is worth watching anyway. Another good sources are:

The Amazon Web Services Blog by Jeff Barr
The Cloud Databases and Oracle Whitepaper by Frank Munz
The Oracle Database on Amazon RDS by Patrick Schwanke

You do not want to bother with licensing the database(s) separately. You do not want high DBA expenses for probably Amazon will do the system administration in return of you payment. In this case, you have the License Included option with payments either per hour (like I want to have a database for 17 hours) or per year (options are 1 or 3 years). With license included you are stuck with Standard Edition One.

Oracle Database Standard Edition One (SE1) is for single processor servers with max. 2 sockets/CPUs. Let me quote the 11gR2 documentation: “Oracle Database Standard Edition One delivers unprecedented ease of use, power, and performance for workgroup, department-level, and Web applications. From single-server environments for small business to highly distributed branch environments, Oracle Database Standard Edition One includes all the facilities necessary to build business-critical applications.”

Although Oracle SE1 lacks dozens of features, still it is in my opinion enough appealing for a development platform, even for a basic business critical production system.

Example: I will buy the cheapest database possible. Thus, let us consider a small database which we will build and use for a period of 1 year. What we pay is one-time non-refundable $345 fee for the instance and then $0.06 per hour which makes about $524 (168 hours in a week and 52 weeks in a year).

One GB of storage will cost us $1.20 per year. I will then take 10GB which makes another $12 which is nothing. But we also pay for the I/O: $0.10 per 1 million requests. I cannot estimate how much this will cost us for the whole year. No idea. Let us hope that granted we will do mostly development in the databases we will not exceed $100. I am really guessing here.

Next is the backup fee. Amazon say: “For example, if you have an active DB Instance with 10GB-month of provisioned database storage, we will provide up to 10GB/month of backup storage at no additional charge. Based upon our experience as database administrators, the vast majority of databases require less raw storage for a backup than for the primary data set, meaning that most customers will never pay for backup storage.” Great, backups are for free 🙂

Finally, we have the data transfer fees. If we would like to load in some initial data it will cost us $0.10 per GB. Neglectful. For data out, the first 1GB per month is free, then it is $0.15 per GB for up to 10GB and if more it is also about $0.10 per GB/month.

So altogether, less than $1000 per year for one database. Not bad. Or?

And the estimated calculations are for a period of one year. If we prepay for 3 years, then the annual price will drop to about $800 which is European money makes about 50€ per month for a single database which is an extremely attractive price! Especially granted that the Oracle license fee is also part of this 50 euro/month.

Let us ask for second opinion and visit the Website Magazine’s article Amazon RDS for Oracle Database written by Peter Prestipino. I do agree 100% with Peter: “Deploying and managing databases is complicated, time-consuming, and expensive – it’s of the most complex activities in IT and demand is high for those skilled and knowledgeable enough to get it working and keep it working. The complexity and cost can be magnified when working with more “robust” databases. That may be coming to a fast end.”

If you would like to find out what database privileges you will have in the Amazon RDS, check Jeremiah Wilton’s article Amazon RDS for Oracle: First Impressions.

I do not know if it will be raining savings from the clouds but the “License Included” pricing model is something very attractive and worth taking seriously.

  1. Nice post but few questions :-
    1) What about session drop out rates in this kind of arrangement ? Do amazon provides data for session drop lets say in last 1 year ?
    2) Mean time to restore database failures
    3) What if you decide to move from amazon to some other vendor ?
    4) What about I/O , will it be fast or slow , as slow I/O will affect development and in turn more indirect cost ?
    5) What about packet jitters? Do amazon provides data for packets jitters?

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