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AWS takes NoSQL database to the cloud with DynamoDB

Solid-state drives power scaling system

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Amazon Web Services (AWS) is expanding its database cloud-service offerings beyond Oracle with DynamoDB, a non-relational NoSQL database that is run on solid-state drives (SSD) to handle fluctuating demand.

The huge increase in web applications needs scalable database access, which makes a cloud-based delivery system logical, AWS CTO Werner Vogels said in a blog post. AWS has set up networks of dedicated SSD drives with triple-replicated data that are ready to react to changes in demand with a claimed reaction time of milliseconds, while allowing admins to work on a pay-as-you-go model rather than commit to contracts.

DynamoDB draws heavily on the SimpleDB service AWS has been running for five years, but Vogels said that that the systems was too limited in key areas. Some operations required all the data to be stored on a single server and item indexing was a significant problem.

“We concluded that an ideal solution would combine the best parts of the original Dynamo design (incremental scalability, predictable high performance) with the best parts of SimpleDB (ease of administration of a cloud service, consistency, and a table-based data model that is richer than a pure key-value store),” Vogels wrote.” These architectural discussions culminated in Amazon DynamoDB.”

AWS is also eating its own dog food: it’s already using DynamoDB for its e-commerce platform and on sites like IMDB, SmugMug, and Elsevier. A software development kit has also been published, and the company is keen for developers to get cracking on the service.

There’s currently 100MB of free storage, with five writes/second and 10 reads/second (up to 40 million per month), so people can try out the basics. The base costs for the data storage is a dollar per gigabyte per month, although Amazon warns that it’ll be adding 100 bytes per item for indexing. Transmission costs are on a sliding scale of five to 12 cents per gigabyte for data coming out of the system, with incoming data free to receive, and full location control.

“As with all AWS services, customers have full control over their data and they decide which [of the eight] AWS regions they want to store their data,” an AWS spokeswoman told The Register in an email.

The DynamoDB service is still in beta, and will initially only be available in the US East (Northern Virginia) region, but a quick expansion looks likely once any teething problems have been worked out. ®

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