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Amazon lets users track their cloud-based databases with texts, email

Administrators can find out when their databases are running out of storage or have availability problems

Users of Amazon Web Services' Relational Database Service (RDS) can now keep track of their databases with new notifications via email and SMS.

Amazon's Simple Notification Service (SNS) will give administrators a heads-up when their databases are running low on storage, have shut down, or a backup has started or finished. More than 40 types of notifications are available, Amazon said in a blog post on Monday.

Users can choose to receive different categories of notifications. For example, if administrators subscribe to the backup category for a given database instance, they will be notified whenever a backup-related event occurs, according to a support document published by Amazon. There are also notifications for availability and configuration changes.

The notifications can be used with all three databases -- MySQL, Oracle, and SQL Server -- that run on Amazon's cloud using RDS, which is still being beta tested.

Email is supported in all regions, but SMS notifications are currently only available in the US East region, according to Amazon. The notifications are managed the using the RDS APIs, CLI or the AWS Management Console. The latter's navigation pane contains a new item for DB Event Subscriptions.

Billing for RDS event notification is handled via SNS. The first 1,000 email notifications sent every month are free; after that Amazon charges US$2.00 per 100,000 messages. Using SMS is much more expensive: the first 100 texts per month are free and each additional 100 messages cost $0.75.

Amazon isn't the only company sharpening its cloud-based database offering. Last week, Microsoft announced it is cutting the cost of Windows Azure SQL Reporting by up to 82 percent to make the service more cost effective for lower volume users, it said.

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