Oracle's database now available on Amazon Web Services

Customers can pay-as-you-go for Oracle's database, but there are some limitations

Oracle's database is now available for deployment on Amazon Web Services, the companies announced Tuesday, but with some key limitations.

Customers can choose from "license included" and BYOL (bring your own license) pricing. The first model is priced starting at US$0.16 per hour, while the latter starts at $0.11 per hour, according to Amazon.

Only Oracle Standard Edition One, a feature-limited version of the database, is available under the license-included model. Customers who want to use Standard Edition or the flagship Enterprise Edition must bring their own licenses, either those they already have or ones newly purchased from Oracle.

Oracle Enterprise Edition licenses list for $47,500, compared to $17,500 for Standard Edition, although that doesn't take negotiated discounts into account. Enterprise Edition also includes a wide range of options such as Data Guard, Real Application Clusters and Advanced Compression, each of which are priced separately.

Five Database Instance Classes are available on Amazon, with pricing depending on the amount of memory and processing power allotted. Charges also apply for data storage and data transfers.

Savings are available through the purchase of Reserved DB Instances for one or three-year terms, Amazon said. Customers pay up front for this plan and in turn receive discounts on hourly pricing, according to the company.

Configurations are done automatically by Amazon's system, meaning customers should be able to connect their applications to an Oracle database instance there "within minutes," according to a statement.

The service also provides Amazon's CloudWatch management metrics at no cost, giving customers the ability to track factors such as storage capacity and memory utilization. The system will also apply database patches automatically, although customers have the option of controlling when that happens.

Automated backups are activated by default, and users can take snapshots of their database at any time, Amazon said.

Database replication, which is key for fault tolerance, isn't available yet for Oracle on Amazon, but will be added at some point in the future, Amazon said.

"Mainly, this isn't for production usage," analyst Curt Monash of Monash Research said in a blog post Tuesday.

But there might be exceptions, such as with applications that are intended to have a short lifespan in support of a specific project, as well as when "an application is small enough, or the situation is sufficiently desperate, that any inefficiencies are outweighed by convenience," he wrote.

There is clear appeal to running Oracle on Amazon in non-production form, Monash added.

For one, "spinning up a quick cloud instance can make a lot of sense for a developer," he wrote. "The same goes if you want to sell an Oracle-based application and need to offer demo/test capabilities."

"Of course, those are all standard observations every time something that's basically on-premises software is offered in the cloud," Monash said. "They're only reinforced by the fact that the only Oracle software Amazon can actually license you is a particularly low-end edition."

That said, software as expensive as Oracle Enterprise Edition may not fit Amazon's pricing model, Monash said in an interview.

"I don't think many people would want to run Oracle Enterprise Edition in the cloud anyway," he added. "If you have EE, you want to put in a lot of administrative effort to supervise performance."

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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