Amazon Web Services Adds DynamoDB for Database Scaling

1/18/12Follow @curtwoodward

Amazon Web Services is unveiling a new service that it says will allow developers to adopt fast-scaling databases to handle the explosive growth that can squeeze digital companies.

It’s called DynamoDB, and is designed to give customers a simple interface that will allow them to quickly dial up or down the performance they need from a set of distributed databases, the kind needed to handle the large amounts of unstructured data that flows through most Web services and software-as-a-service offerings.

Or, in cloud-speak, it’s a “fully managed NoSQL database service.”

“Amazon has spent more than 15 years tackling the challenges of database scalability, performance and cost-effectiveness using distributed systems and NoSQL technology. Amazon DynamoDB is the result of everything we’ve learned,” Amazon chief technical officer Werner Vogels said in a statement. Vogels has much more of the backstory on his blog, All Things Distributed.

Vogels said the DynamoDB service was already being used internally by several Amazon teams, including Amazon Cloud Drive, IMDb, and Kindle. Amazon already had lined up customer kudos from some early testers, including SmugMug, the Mountain View, CA-based photo-sharing service.

I found one of SmugMug’s quotes to be really illustrative of the significance: “Even though we have years of experience with large, complex architectures, we are happy to be finally out of the business of managing it ourselves,” CEO Don MacAskill said. By taking on one of the biggest challenges for rapidly growing Web and mobile-based digital companies, Amazon is swallowing an ever-larger chunk of the computing power for today’s connected economy.

Amazon Web Services is already thought by some analysts to be in the neighborhood of a $1 billion annual business, and we saw less than a year ago just how much was being parked on AWS servers when a section of the service crashed for several days. And as ZDNet notes, Amazon offering a NoSQL product could ramp up the number of companies willing to plunge into big-data processing.

Here’s a video from Amazon describing the new service. Vogels also was scheduled to do a webcast about the announcement at 9 am Pacific.

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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