Amazon debuts cloud database for Web apps

January 19th, 2012 | by Aaron Tan


Amazon Web Services (AWS) has launched DynamoDB, a cloud database service designed to meet the growing needs of demanding Web-based applications.

DynamoDB will allow developers to launch new database tables and moderate their database capacity without downtime and performance overheads. All data is housed on solid state drives and replicated across multiple AWS availability zones to ensure high availability and durability of data.

The service is built on SimpleDB, Amazon’s other cloud database service that launched in December 2007.

According to Amazon, traditional databases are not designed to meet the performance needs of modern applications, especially popular ones that can cause a single database to reach its maximum capacity quickly.

While the problem can be fixed by distributing database workloads across multiple servers, the process is complex and requires significant time and engineering effort.

With DynamoDB, developers can focus on improving their apps, while AWS will take care of hardware provisioning, software patching and partitioning, among other administrative tasks.

Additionally, Amazon’s pay-as-you-go pricing means you only pay for the resources you need.

“Dynamo was born out of our need for a highly reliable, ultra-scalable key/value database,” said Werner Vogels, AWS’ chief technology officer, in a blog post.

“This non-relational, or NoSQL, database was targeted at use cases that were core to the Amazon e-commerce operation, such as the shopping cart and session service,” he added.

Besides Amazon, early adopters of DynamoDB include IMDB and science information provider Elsevier, which publishes thousands of books, nearly 2,000 journals and over 250,000 articles housed on rapidly changing datasets.

Darren Person, Elsevier’s chief architect, said: “Operating a distributed data store on our own is orders of magnitude more complicated and expensive to manage than traditional databases. DynamoDB delivers a high-performance service that can be easily scaled up or down to meet our needs, helping us eliminate complexity and lower costs.”

You can get started with Amazon DynamoDB using a free tier that provides 100MB of storage, and five writes and 10 reads per second (up to 40 million requests per month) at no cost.

Additional capacity is priced at hourly rates as low as US$0.01 per hour for 10 units of write capacity or 50 strongly consistent units of read capacity, while replicated SSD storage is priced at US$1 per GB per month.

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