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Amazon will soon offer Oracle Database 11g Release 2 as well as MySQL from its sky-high relational database service.

The company plans to lob the Oracle database onto its so-called cloud sometime in the second quarter, as it announced with a blog post.

In October 2009, the etailer cum virtual infrastructure maven launched its Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), which was essentially MySQL running atop the company's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). Both are part of the company's overall Amazon Web Services offering.

EC2 provides on-demand access to readily scalable processing power. So, with RDS, you can run MySQL without having to deal with local infrastructure.

Now, the company is doing much the same thing with Oracle. When the service goes live, the RDS tab on the Amazon Web Services Management Console, the AWS command-line tools, and the RDS APIs will all let you use Oracle Database 11g Release 2 as your "Database Engine" of choice. "As with today's MySQL offering, Amazon RDS running Oracle Database will reduce administrative overhead and expense by maintaining database software, taking continuous backups for point-in-time recovering, and exposing key operational metrics," Amazon said.

Metrics are provided by the company's CloudWatch service.

There will be multiple ways of paying for the service. If you don't already have Oracle licenses, you can pay by the hour without any up-front fee or long-term contract. The dates will vary depending on which database edition you use and the size of your server instance. You'll also be able to reserve instances for future use, and this reduces the standard hourly rate. If you have Oracle licenses, you can apply them to RDS without paying additional licensing or support fees.

RDS also handles common admin tasks such as setup and provisioning, patch management, and backup. And, of course, you can add additional compute and storage resources at any time.

Alongside RDS, Amazon Web Services offers the proprietary but quite, well, simple database known as SimpleDB. You can also run Oracle or MySQL or other databases atop EC2 on your own, but RDS is designed to make things less of a hassle. ®

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