Amazon's MySQL cloud drifts over to Europe

AWS launches its Relational Database Service in the EU, allowing companies to more easily comply with regional data protection laws
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

Amazon has launched its Relational Database Service in Europe, allowing businesses to set up on-demand MySQL 5.1 database instances on servers based in the region.

The European Union launch, announced on Tuesday, follows the initial rollout of the cloud-based service on US-based servers in October. It is designed to improve performance and reduce latency for databases that need to interact with other EU-based users or resources, according to Amazon Web Services. The company already offers EU-based versions of its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), for on-demand computing power, and Simple Storage Service (S3), for storage.

"Amazon RDS in the EU will also help European customers meet EU requirements for where their data is stored," Amazon Web Services noted. European companies that store personal data, for instance, are restricted from allowing that data to pass into the hands of organisations that do not comply with EU data-protection laws.

The Safe Harbour Privacy Principles and other systems allow non-EU companies to certify that they comply with EU privacy regulations. However, businesses can bypass such complications by keeping data within the member states.

Amazon RDS is a full MySQL 5.1 database available on demand in a number of configurations on EC2 infrastructure. It is fully compatible with existing code, applications and tools for local MySQL installations, and the service automatically handles setup, provisioning, patch management and backups, according to Amazon. Scaling is handled through a single API call.

The company previously offered a more basic database called SimpleDB, but said that some customer applications required a relational database in the cloud.

Amazon RDS is priced along the same lines as the Amazon EC2 cloud services, with separate charges for database instances, persistent storage up to 1TB, I/O requests, backup storage and data-transfer costs. The smallest instance costs 12 cents (8p) per hour, with 11 cents per GB per month storage and 11 cents per million I/O requests.

European databases face a pricing premium over their US counterparts. For instance, small database instances start at 12 cents per hour in Europe, compared with 11 cents in the US. In addition, the largest database instance is priced at $3.41 (£2.21) per hour in Europe, compared with $3.10 per hour in the US.

Microsoft's comparable cloud relational database, Microsoft SQL Azure, began testing last summer and moved into paid mode in February.

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