Amazon Web Services just rolled out a fully managed NoSQL database service that promises fast and predictable performance with seamless scalability. DynamoDB aims to compete with Oracle, Salesforce.com and Database.com, as well as Microsoft Azure and Google App Engine.
With DynamoDB, Amazon's big idea is to help enterprises offload the admin burdens of operating and scaling distributed databases. In Amazon's view, that means no hardware provisioning; no set up; no configuration; no replication; no software patching; no partitioning; and no cluster scaling. DynamoDB offers pay-as-you-go pricing.
"Amazon has spent more than 15 years tackling the challenges of database scalability, performance and cost-effectiveness using distributed systems and NoSQL technology," said Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon. "Amazon DynamoDB is the result of everything we've learned from building large-scale, non-relational databases for Amazon.com and building highly scalable and reliable cloud computing services at AWS."
Low Cost, Low Complexity
Amazon is hammering its differentiator: scalability. While traditional databases aren't designed to scale to the performance needs of modern applications, which can experience explosive growth and cause a single database to rapidly reach its capacity limits, Amazon said DynamoDB mitigates the risk of automatically partitioning and re-partitioning as needed to meet the latency and throughput requirements of highly demanding applications.
"We are always evaluating new technologies that will enable us to handle our large, varying workloads," said Darren Person, chief architect of Elsevier. "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."
Amazon said customers typically witness single-digit millisecond latencies for database read and write operations. DynamoDB stores data on solid-state drives and replicates it synchronously across multiple AWS Availability Zones in an AWS Region to provide built-in high availability and data durability.
100 Percent Cloud
Amazon DynamoDB also integrates with Amazon Elastic MapReduce, or Amazon EMR. Amazon EMR gives businesses the tools they need to perform complex analytics of large datasets using a hosted, pay-as-you-go Hadoop framework on AWS.
Businesses can also use Amazon EMR to access data in multiple stores, such as Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon RDS, and Amazon S3, do complex analysis over this combined dataset, and store the results of this work in Amazon S3.
Don MacAskill, CEO of SmugMug, called DynamoDB a truly revolutionary product -- one that allows the photo sharing site to finally realize its goal of being 100 percent cloud-based. He pointed to specific features, like the ability to provision a desired throughput and achieve low latency and seamless scale, even with constantly growing workloads.
"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, and to be using DynamoDB to get even higher performance and stability than we can achieve on our own," MacAskill said. "Most importantly, DynamoDB allows SmugMug to spend even more time and energy on what really matters -- our product and experience."