Amazon today announced a new service to let Web sites grow to enormous sizes quickly without slowing down performance.It’s the latest addition to Amazon Web Services, which is used by companies to offload certain tasks — like data storage — without spending millions on hardware and software.
A new form of database known as NoSQL makes for Web sites to grow really huge without slowing down performance. NoSQL does this at low cost by spreading the load over cheap servers and ordinary storage.
Now Amazon will offer NoSQL as a cloud service, making it even more affordable for startups — customers will pay only for what they use. Amazon is also using solid-state storage to make it even faster.
Amazon has been offering other databases as cloud services for a while. DynamoDB is its third such service.
But NoSQL is different. It is one of the hottest technologies of 2012 and is used to create a whole new breed of Web application.
Traditional databases need the data to be very structured (names need to be labelled as names, as do addresses, customer ID numbers and so on). They also need to be loaded on a single bank of hardware (servers and storage) to work at their best. As the database grows, it gets slower and more expensive. NoSQL works with less structured data and it runs across many servers and storage drives, growing bigger instantly and shrinking back again without missing a beat.
Several companies sell NoSQL databases. Couchbase is one of the largest. A freebie version of that software, known as CouchDB, is available from the keeper of big open source projects, the Apache Foundation. Big database companies like Oracle also offer NoSQL products that customers can install themselves.
Enter Amazon’s new service. It can make NoSQL implementations easier and cheaper for startups and software developers because they won’t have to worry about servers and storage needed to run it.
“DynamoDB is the result of 15 years of learning in the areas of large scale non-relational databases and cloud services,” writes Amazon CTO Werner Vogels in his All Things Distributed blog. “Today’s web-based applications often encounter database scaling challenges when faced with growth in users, traffic, and data. With Amazon DynamoDB, developers scaling cloud-based applications can start small with just the capacity they need and then increase the request capacity of a given table as their app grows in popularity.
Developers can try DynamoDB for free for applications that don’t exceed 40 million requests per month. Paid subscriptions start at $1 per GB per month and $0.01 per hour for every 10 units of Write Capacity and $0.01 per hour for every 50 units of Read Capacity, Vogels says.
More pricing and performance details can be found on Amazon.