Amazon Web Services (AWS) has added its Relational Database Service (RDS) to the free-usage tier of its service.
RDS enables users to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. With Amazon's announcement, customers will now be able to access up to 750 hours per month of Micro DB instance, along with 20GB of database storage capacity and 10 million I/O requests per month.
Amazon's free services are only available to new AWS customers, and then only for 12 months after sign-up. When the free usage period expires, or if customers exceed their data limits, they'll need to move to a pay-as-you-go model in order to continue using AWS.
MySQL and SQL Server options were available from the launch of the free RDS on Monday, with an Oracle database service scheduled to go live later.
Earlier this year, Amazon lost customers after their cloud services were disrupted twice in a month by outages caused by thunderstorms. The company also suffered a 96 per cent drop in Q2 profits this year, compared to the same period in 2011.
The new AWS offering may also be seen as a direct challenge to Oracle's own recently announced cloud plans, which are based on deploying the full Oracle stack to the exclusion of any other vendors.