Tit for tat: Amazon offers free taste of Oracle database

Amazon Web Services

Within a day of Oracle unveiling its all-Oracle Cloud plan, Amazon Web Services announced a “free taste” of Oracle’s database on its own cloud. Sort of.

On Monday, Amazon added its Relational Database Service (RDS) to its Free Usage Tier, according to the AWS blog. That means new customers can try out MySQL, the Oracle database or Microsoft SQL Server for free.  Usage is restricted to a small “MicroDB” instance and one really important caveat is that Oracle database users have to bring their already bought-and-paid-for licence to the table. But the underlying Amazon infrastructure usage is free. More details are here.

The timing can’t be a coincidence coming as it does just after Oracle CEO Larry Ellison took to the stage Sunday night to outline the company’s all-Oracle-all-the-time Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offering.

While Oracle’s cloud targets big existing Oracle shops and AWS is seen as services for lean startups, that perception is simplistic and misleading. Developers at Oracle shops also use Amazon IaaS services.  And Amazon is building enterprise credibility through higher-end services  and alliances with such enterprise players as SAP ( a huge Oracle rival, by the way) and integrators like Capgemini. Another factor: Timing and pricing of Oracle’s upcoming cloud services is hazy at best — Ellison said the underlying Oracle 12C database is due sometime next year. Meanwhile, users can run Oracle database instances on Amazon infrastructure right now.

Anyone who doesn’t see Oracle cloud and AWS as potential competitors should look again.

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