Amazon has finally added a free service tier to compete with Google's App Engine. Beginning November 1st, Amazon users can run a free EC2 Micro Instance usage for a year. The free tier, however, is on underpowered machines: 750 hours/month on 613 MB memory, 32-bit and 64-bit platform support. The free quota limits are good:
  • 10 GB of Amazon Elastic Block Storage, plus 1 million I/Os, 1 GB of snapshot storage, 10,000 snapshot Get Requests and 1,000 snapshot Put Requests
  • 5 GB of Amazon S3 storage, 20,000 Get Requests, and 2,000 Put Requests
  • 30 GB per of internet data transfer (15 GB of data transfer “in” and 15 GB of data transfer “out” across all services except Amazon CloudFront)
  • It's enough to run your mashup for a year for free. But after one year, you pay Amazon's normal rates. With GAE now supporting SQL (in the past, folks have complained about a 'lock-in' factor with BigTable), we see no reason to use the Amazon Free tier. Google's free limits are generous, and they don't expire after a year. Here is an outside look at Amazon vs GAE.