tl;dr version: is 11 cents an hour (almost 1000 dollars a year) a good price to pay for a database? If not, are there any alternatives, especially ones that are compatible with AWS (other than SimpleDB, which won't work for my case)?
I've been working on a site that allows users to upload games so that people can comment, rate, and interact with the games on the site. I'm using Amazon's AWS stuff (Elastic Beanstalk for the jsp "backend", S3 to store the games, images, and other files), and it all works very well, especially considering how clueless I am.
I had also been using Amazon RDS to store comments, ratings, user info, etc. It worked perfectly, but it costs 11 cents an hour, and I'd be running the database constantly, so that comes out to be just under 1000 dollars a year- and that's assuming my needs don't grow.
Then I stumbled upon Amazon's SimpleDB, which seemed perfect- it's all Strings which is fine, it's easy to change the database setup (such as adding a column) without borking things up, and most of all it's free. So I completely redid my site.. and then realized that there are restrictions (can't store anything over 1 KB, which sucks because comments or descriptions can be bigger than that), plus other size restrictions on the tables. So now I'm back to square one- SimpleDB is too restricted for my needs, but RDS seems too expensive for the relatively simple tasks I'd be using it for.
Or maybe I'm just too inexperienced to realize that 1000 bucks a year isn't that much. I have absolutely no experience with any of this stuff, so I can't tell the difference between being ripped off and finding a great bargain.
So, can somebody with more experience point me in the right direction? Should I just suck it up and pay for RDS? It did work perfectly, so I can't complain about what I'm getting for the price, but are there any other options I should explore before committing?
As always, thanks so much for any info you can provide!