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True, it's pay-for-capacity and that's worse for the user. On the flip side, the constant factor seems to be about 20x cheaper (caveat: this is based on my personal experience with SimpleDB; since Amazon doesn't seem to explain how "box usage" is computed, I don't know how broadly applicable my experience is).

The big plus for Capacity Units is that Amazon actually provides a deterministic model for figuring out what you'll be charged for a given query.

Ah - that is a fair point, transparency of the "unit". The "box usage" formula was reverse-engineered and shown to be fairly simple: http://www.daemonology.net/blog/2008-06-25-dissecting-simple...

This is a big step forward in transparency, although I would suggest that SimpleDB's pricing shouldn't have been obscured in the first place.

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