MySQL Comes to the Amazon EC2 Cloud

I’m sure you’ve seen the announcement that MySQL/Sun now supports the MySQL Enterprise Server product on Amazon EC2. Of course the MySQL community edition has been in the cloud for a long time and we have engineered and supported it for many months. But it is nevertheless exciting to see another vendor (after Red Hat) embrace the cloud and offer support for its software there.

Interestingly MySQL hasn’t announced any new product or any new pricing. I suppose this just means they don’t really care whether the copy of MySQL Enterprise you bought is running on your server or on Amazon’s server, and why would they as long as you pay. I also suppose this means that if you call for support you won’t get a blanket “sorry, we don’t support this configuration” when you mention that it’s running in EC2. We’re trying to find out whether there is anything additional happening, like special training for the support reps on EC2-specific issues.

No doubt the next step will be for the folks at MySQL to go a step further and offer more flexible pricing in keeping with the variable nature of cloud usage. As I’ve written before, I am convinced that cloud computing will dramatically change processes around managing databases for the better. All DBAs that have worked for me have hated change. If the database is running, don’t touch it! If it’s broken, don’t touch it until all the causes are figured out! As a result the most common request I’ve gotten from my DBAs is “Thorsten, I really need another box.” If the database is running fine, my DBAs always want another box to test out the changes I requested before committing them for real. Or they wanted to run that killer reporting job where it’s guaranteed not to impact production. If something broke and we failed over to the slave, I was breathing down their neck to get the broken box back together ASAP so we had a replicated database again. But they always wanted to take their time and analyze the cause for failure and perhaps even try to reproduce it. Agonizing tugs of war!

I’m sure you got it: the cloud changes all that. In all the above cases the answer becomes trivial: just launch another instance. Another slave machine with the database replicating in sync is one click away (at least with RightScale’s automation). And it only costs a few bucks in server charges to run it for the couple of days most of the above scenarios take. Once we also have by-the-hour MySQL Enterprise Server licensing to match, we’ll be in database heaven. Mårten, I know you will get there soon and we’ll be waiting!