Amazon DynamoDB Offers Big Data Cloud Processing With Managed Services

This week, Amazon Web Services announced the availability of Amazon DynamoDB, a fully managed cloud-based database service for Big Data processing. The announcement represents yet another move by Amazon Web Services to consolidate enterprise market share by providing an offering that can store massive amounts of data with ultra-fast, predictable rates of performance and low latency waiting times. Amazon DynamoDB is a NoSQL database built for customers that do not require complex querying capabilities such as indexes, transactions, or joins. DynamoDB constitutes a greatly enhanced version of Amazon SimpleDB. One of Amazon SimpleDB’s principal limitations is its 10 GB limit on data within containers known as domains. Moreover, Amazon SimpleDB suffered from performance issues due to indexing all of the attributes for an object within a domain and a commitment to eventual consistency of the database taken to an extreme. Amazon DynamoDB builds upon the company’s prior experience with SimpleDB and Dynamo, the precursor to NoSQL, by offering the following features:

• Managed services

Amazon DynamoDB managed services take care of processes such as provisioning servers, configuring a cluster, and dealing with scaling, partition and replication issues.

• No Upper Bound On Data

Customers can store as much data as they would like. Data will be spread out across multiple servers spanning multiple Availability Zones.

• Speed

The solid state drives on which Amazon DynamoDB is built help optimize performance and ensure low latencies. Applications running in the EC2 environment should expect to see latencies in the “single-digit millisecond range for a 1KB object.” Another reason performance is optimized involves a design whereby all attributes are not indexed.

• Flexible schemas and data models

Data need not adopt a particular schema and can have multiple attributes, including attributes that themselves have multiple values.

• Integration with Amazon Elastic MapReduce (Amazon EMR)

Because DynamoDB is integrated with the Hadoop-based, Amazon Elastic MapReduce technology, customers can analyze data in DynamoDB and store the results in S3, thereby preserving the original dataset in DynamoDB.

• Low cost

Pricing starts at $1 per GB per month.

With this set of features, Amazon DynamoDB represents a dramatic entrant to the Big Data party that features Oracle, HP, Teradata, Splunk and others. The product underscores Amazon Web Services’s strategic investment in becoming a one-stop service for cloud and Big Data processing. Moreover, the managed services component of Amazon DynamoDB represents a clear change of pace by Jeff Bezos’s spin-off because of its recognition of the value of managed services at the enterprise level for technology deployments. Amazon DynamoDB’s managed services offering is expected to appeal to enterprises that would rather invest technical resources in innovation and software development as opposed to the operational maintenance of a complex IT ecosystem. Assuming that AWS can quantify the degree to which DynamoDB’s managed services offering ends up being responsible for sales, expect to see more managed service offerings from Amazon Web Services in both the cloud computing and Big Data verticals. Going forward, the technology community should also expect partnerships between Amazon Web Services and business intelligence vendors that mimic the deal between Jaspersoft and Red Hat’s OpenShift given how Amazon Web Services appears intent on retaining customers within their ecosystem for all of their cloud hosting, Big Data and business intelligence analytics needs.

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