Amazon Web Services continues to keep the pressure on the competition by expanding service offerings and reducing prices. The latest addition to the product family is Amazon RDS Micro instances, which are currently billed at 2.5 cents per hour. If you want a Multi-AZ deployment, the price clocks in at 5 cents per hour.
With a Micro RDS instance you get all the same benefits of other RDS instances. You get automated backups of your database. You can create a database snapshot at any time. When you need to scale, you can provision additional storage without downtime, or increase the compute resources within minutes of issuing the request. If there’s a hardware failure, Amazon RDS automatically replaces the compute instance powering your DB, for instant failover.
The only difference is a smaller amount of consistent CPU and memory resources. The Micro DB Instance offers 630 MB of memory, compared with the 1.7GB available in a Small DB Instance. There’s a CPU bursting option for Micro Instances, for up to 2 ECU when additional CPU cycles are available. Each ECU is the equivalent to a 1.0-1.2 GHz 2007 Opteron or 2007 Xeon processor.
Micro RDS instances support MySQL or SQL Server and are available in all AWS regions.
A Micro Instance could theoretically be the backend for a small website with infrequently database calls, particularly if you’ve properly optimized caching on the front end. I’m not sure I’d want to rely on it for anything other than test environments for most applications, which is probably the biggest opportunity for a Micro Instance market. Small-scale testing at a lower cost per hour before you’re ready to test at deployment levels makes sense for many early-stage applications.
Check out the RDS pricing page for additional details.