By Matthew Dublin
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has launched a fully managed NoSQL database service in the cloud called DynamoDB that aims to provide seamless scalability on the fly. AWS is claiming that their new service will offload administrative tasks such as hardware provisioning, setup, configuration, replication, software patching, and cluster scaling.
According to their announcement, "developers can create a database table that can store and retrieve any amount of data, and serve any level of request traffic. DynamoDB automatically spreads the data and traffic for the table over a sufficient number of servers to handle the request capacity specified by the customer and the amount of data stored, while maintaining consistent, fast performance. All data items are stored on Solid State Disks and are automatically replicated across multiple Availability Zones in a Region to provide built-in high availability and data durability."
Amazon's CTO Werner Vogels has a post on his blog discussing the announcement, where he describes DynamoDB as the result of 15 years of "learning" in the areas of large-scale non-relational databases and cloud computing. "Several years ago we published a paper on the details of Amazon’s Dynamo technology, which was one of the first non-relational databases developed at Amazon. The original Dynamo design was based on a core set of strong distributed systems principles resulting in an ultra-scalable and highly reliable database system."
With a NoSQL database there is no strict schema, so data is collapsed into one very fat table where each row stores a huge amount of data. The NoSQL database contains a lot of data redundancy, which means more storage space and computational power is required compared to SQL databases.
AWS might attract customers in genomics with this offering as there have already been several use cases of NoSQL in the cloud for omics research. For example, last October, Monsanto deployed Cloudant's NoSQL database as the foundation of their genomics data analysis system.
DynamoDB users can get started with a free tier account that enables 40 million of requests per month free of charge. Additional request capacity is priced at cost-efficiently hourly rates as low as $.01 per hour for 10 units of Write Capacity or 50 strongly consistent units of Read Capacity, with replicated solid state disk storage at $1 per GB per month.