If you’re developing cloud applications, now could be the time to take a look at Amazon Simple Queue Service: Amazon Web Services has announced that the first 100,000 SQS requests per month are now free. Better yet, they’ve amped up the message size limit and how long it can be retained in the cloud. Here’s the scoop.

Amazon SQS is the AWS solution for storing messages and moving data between distributed application components and creating a workflow.

In the official blog post, AWS explains that while many applications that leverage Amazon SQS may well be able to operate within that free limit, each additional 100,000 requests past the first costs $0.10. Moreover, the fine print says that data transfer fees still apply.

And for existing Amazon SQS users, the 8 kB message size limit is a thing of the past -- the maximum is now configurable up to 64 kB. Similarly, the old four-day limit on stored messages can be diminished to an hour or lengthened to 2 weeks. AWS says it’s designed to give application developers the flexibility to accommodate varying message consumption rates or want to have tighter control over message retention behavior.

SQS is designed to integrate with other AWS offerings like the Amazon EC2 cloud platform, Amazon S3 cloud storage, and Amazon SimpleDB. And if they’re making Amazon SQS (mostly) free to drive MSP’s adoption of those other services -- well, they might just be onto something.

Still, we're watching Amazon Web Services (AWS) closely for service level agreement (SLA) issues. A few readers have told us that they've moved off AWS because the platform didn't quite meet the performance of rival cloud options such as Rackspace. And Kaseya has gone on-record stating that they decided to shift their own SaaS plans from Amazon to Rackspace and Kaseya's own data centers.

We don't have official SLA stats for Amazon but we're listening closely to reader feedback.

Additional reporting by Joe Panettieri. Sign up for MSPmentor’s weekly Enewsletter, Webcasts and Resource Center. And follow us via RSS, Facebook, Identi.ca; and Twitter. Plus, check out more MSP voices at www.MSPtweet.com.