Tech Friday: Amazon’s Web Services – Database

Every so often somebody makes a prediction which at the time seems plausible, but maybe somewhat out in front of things. They always with start with the word “Someday…” For example:

  • Someday, you will be able to go to a machine and withdraw money from your checking account.
  • Someday, there will be a little box that knows where it is at all times.
  • Someday we’ll all buy our computing power just like we buy electricity.

So it was interesting to see an announcement by Amazon yesterday about the Amazon SimpleDB database, a sort of do-it-yourself pennies per hour Oracle database. Well, maybe not Oracle, but a substantial database back end that can be used to host a major application. Actually, the SimpleDB appears to be primarily a querying component; for hosting a large dataset, Amazon offers S3, the Simple Storage Service.

Just a quick browse around shows support for C# and Ruby-on-Rails, among other development languages. In addition, Red Hat is offering Red Hat Enterprise servers as part of the Amazon offering. Their FAQ about “cloud computing” is located here.

This is something to keep an eye on, perhaps the next logical step after virtualization of existing servers in your machine room. Why have any servers at all? Why have a machine room?

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