Amazon launches home-grown NoSQL database

Amazon Web Services (s amzn) is adding a home-grown NoSQL database to its ever-expanding roster of cloud computing offerings. DynamoDB is what Amazon CTO Werner Vogels called a “fully managed” NoSQL implementation the company built and tested over the years.
The demand for NoSQL databases is booming with the growth of big data and web applications: something of which Amazon and other tech providers are well aware. Amazon already offers a range of relational database services and SimpleDB, another home-grown, non-relational database, which is easy to use and powerful but has some domain scaling limitations. But NoSQL is built to scale along with unstructured web data and is also suited for the distributed nature of web applications.
Modern “high-volume applications require a simple data model but low latency and high-frequency processing,” Vogels said in an interview. NoSQL is great for social gaming and web applications but is also critical for the big data applications demanded by business today, he said. Such applications require the collection and analysis of not only in-house transactional data, but also information coming in over the transom from many sources — Twitter, Facebook, email, office documents — and in many formats.
DynamoDB uses the sheer scale of AWS to spread a customer’s data across enough hardware to achieve the scale needed and, unlike the other database services, DynamoDB will use solid state drives (SSDs) to assure very fast data access, Vogels said. Here is Vogel’s blog about the news.
DynamoDB has been beta tested for months by select customers, including Reed Elsevier and SmugMug. The company also moved its own Amazon Cloud Drive metadata from an unspecified relational database to DynamoDB before the holidays to handle the anticipated spike in traffic, partially driven by the new Kindle Fire, Vogels said.
Amazon opted to build its own NoSQL because it had so much database experience from its own massive operations, Vogels said.  There are no plans to offer additional, third-party NoSQL options, but Vogels said the company will respond to customer demand.
“In the past, businesses [that used tools like this] had to manage their hardware, their replication, their batching and clustering manually, but with DynamoDB, we’ll take care of all of this for you,” Vogels said. The developer can add or subtract database capacity, transactions per second and other features by turning a dial on the AWS Management Console, he added.
A “perpetual” free tier of the DynamoDB service with storage and a set number of reads and writes per month will be offered, said Adam Selipsky, VP of product management for AWS. Amazon typically offers a try-before-you-buy level of its services, but some of them, like the new free Windows EC2 micro-instances (s msft) announced this week, time out after a year.
With the availability of DynamoDB, Amazon shows its willingness to keep rolling out significant new capabilities as demand requires.