Hey Mike, Yup -- all very good points. This thinking is sort of in line with what I mentioned in the post regarding the caching tier... "the best way to prolong the effectiveness of the database tier you have is…to not need it" :) As you mention, finding ways to get every drop out of your current configuration will allow you to postpone implementing scaling changes in the future. I try to keep my posts away from RightScale promos, but much of what you mention is captured in our ServerTemplates (MySQL configuration tuning based on selected instance sizes), our Professional Services engagements (identifying sub-optimal queries, etc.), and also through our partner network (CodeFutures, Couchbase, etc.). Thanks again for your thoughts!