Amazon SimpleDB, Amazon Web Services


Amazon SimpleDB

Amazon SimpleDB is a web service for running queries on structured data in real time. This service works in close conjunction with Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), collectively providing the ability to store, process and query data sets in the cloud. These services are designed to make web-scale computing easier and more cost-effective for developers.

Traditionally, this type of functionality has been accomplished with a clustered relational database that requires a sizable upfront investment, brings more complexity than is typically needed, and often requires a DBA to maintain and administer. In contrast, Amazon SimpleDB is easy to use and provides the core functionality of a database – real-time lookup and simple querying of structured data – without the operational complexity.  Amazon SimpleDB requires no schema, automatically indexes your data and provides a simple API for storage and access.  This eliminates the administrative burden of data modeling, index maintenance, and performance tuning. Developers gain access to this functionality within Amazon’s proven computing environment, are able to scale instantly, and pay only for what they use.

Amazon SimpleDB Functionality

Amazon SimpleDB provides a simple web services interface to create and store multiple data sets, query your data easily, and return the results.

You organize your structured data into domains and can run queries across all of the data stored in a particular domain.  Domains are comprised of items, and items are described by attribute-value pairs.  To understand these elements, consider the metaphor of data stored in a spreadsheet table. An Amazon SimpleDB domain is like a worksheet, items are like rows of data, attributes are like column headers, and values are the data entered in each of the cells.

However unlike a spreadsheet, Amazon SimpleDB allows for multiple values to be associated with each “cell” (e.g., for item “123,” the attribute “color” can have both value “blue” and value “red”).  Additionally, in Amazon SimpleDB, each item can have its own unique set of associated attributes (e.g., item “123” might have attributes “description” and “color” whereas item “789” has attributes “description,” “color” and “material”).  Amazon SimpleDB automatically indexes your data, making it easy to quickly find the information that you need.  There is no need to pre-define a schema or change a schema if new data is added later.

To use Amazon SimpleDB you:

  • CREATE a new domain to house your unique set of structured data.
  • GET, PUT or DELETE items in your domain, along with the attribute-value pairs that you associate with each item.  Amazon SimpleDB automatically indexes data as it is added to your domain so that it can be quickly retrieved; there is no need to pre-define a schema or change a schema if new data is added later.  Each item can have up to 256 attribute values.  Each attribute value can range from 1 to 1,024 bytes.
  • QUERY your data set using this simple set of operators: =, !=, <, > <=, >=, STARTS-WITH,  AND, OR, NOT, INTERSECTION AND UNION.  Query execution time is currently limited to 5 seconds.  Amazon SimpleDB is designed for real-time applications and is optimized for those use cases.
  • Pay only for the resources that you consume. Amazon SimpleDB, Amazon Web Services


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