Amazon has launched Amazon RDS (Relational Database Service), as part of its AWS offering.
Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) is a web service that makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. It provides cost-efficient and resizable capacity while managing time-consuming database administration tasks, freeing you up to focus on your applications and business.
Amazon RDS gives you access to the full capabilities of a familiar MySQL database. This means the code, applications, and tools you already use today with your existing MySQL databases work seamlessly with Amazon RDS. Amazon RDS automatically patches the database software and backs up your database, storing the backups for a user-defined retention period. You also benefit from the flexibility of being able to scale the compute resources or storage capacity associated with your relational database instance via a single API call. As with all Amazon Web Services, there are no up-front investments required, and you pay only for the resources you use.
Similar to its EC2 service, you have to launch an RDS instance, which costs between $0.11-$3.10 an hour (depending on the number of dedicated cores and memory you need — from 1 core with 1.7GB of memory up to 8 cores with 68GB of memory).
It would have been nicer if Amazon would have launched this as pay-for-what-you-use service, similar to its other SimpleDB and S3 offerings.