A database service in the cloud. Imagine being able to connect to SQL Server on a remote machine, without having to administer the underlying OS, and without having to change the database code that you build against your local instance? Amazon has provided that with it's Relational Database Service (RDS) for Oracle and MySQL, and has just added SQL Server 2008 R2 as well. Red Gate Software and SQLServerCentral are happy to partner with Amazon to announce the launch of this service.
RDS gives you the chance to deploy a SQL Server instance that's essentially the same as the one you install on your local servers, allowing you to developer and test the same code you will deploy to the cloud, without compromising the features that are available. There are a few restrictions at the instance level since you don't have access to the underlying host OS, but the benefit is that you don't need to administer the OS, and if you just need a database service for an application, this is one way to get it setup and running quickly. Specify a few parameters, and Amazon will handle the rest. In a few minutes, you have an instance that you can connect to and use. We've tested the Red Gate Software tools against RDS and they work just like they work on any other instance.
The cloud isn't for every database, and this service won't work for every type of application, but for many people that need a database and a simple web application deployed, this is a great way to get started with a minimal investment in your public infrastructure. And you can leverage your local SQL Server 2008 R2 Developer instance to develop code that will work, without worrying about the services in the cloud.
It's a little scary to me to think about letting go of the control of managing my own database, but there are good capacity limits, security improves, and for many applications, just having a database service available would work great. And they'll even handle the backups automatically for your new database. How many system administrators have you worked with that didn't do that?
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