back to article Amazon SimpleDB: a database server for the internet

Amazon has announced SimpleDB, the latest addition to what is becoming an extensive suite of web services aimed at developers. It is now in beta. Why bother with SimpleDB, when seemingly every web server on the planet already has access to a free instance of MySQL? Perhaps the main reason is scalability. If demand spikes, …


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  1. Chris C

    Completely useless

    I'm sorry, but if a DATABASE is not CONSISTENT, then it is, indeed, completely bloody useless. If you are not guaranteed to read what you have written, it is useless.

    But it sure does explain a lot about the Amazon shopping and ordering experience (such as an item being "In stock, ships in 24 hours" when you purchase it, then you get an email saying "Out of stock").

  2. BoldMan

    Pointless and a potential support nightmare

    This seems like an utter waste of time. As you pointed out, MySQL is almost universally available and if a particular configuration is constrained to the localhost, go find a different hosting company that doesn't have this limitation.

  3. Marcus Bointon

    Not the only one

    Out of the box, MySQL does little in the way of ensuring consistency either, and its default tables do not support foreign key constraints or transactions, yet many web apps built on it survive well enough. InnoDB tables solve many of these problems, but even its replication features are not transactional - if you write to a master then immediately read from a slave, there's no guarantee you will get what you just wrote.

  4. Matt

    Agreed, slow and useless.

    I don't think any of the DB vendors from MySQL to Sybase, from DB2 to Oracle will be losing any sleep over this one. They may have lost a few minutes productivity laughing though.

    As a previous comment says, it explains a lot about the Amazon ordering process!

  5. adrian

    smells like Pick to me

    Items and attributes. Takes me back to my youth.

  6. Matt Hamilton


    So its an object oriented database? Like many already out there. Like the Zope Object DB for instance -- you know, the one that has been out there in use for over a decade and is transactional etc. It has always amazed me why web developers insist on mapping *everything* to a RDBMS when what they are doing is rarely relational.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "pointless ... support nightmare"

    Plenty of people would say that about Windows too, and many of them would be right.

    Unlike MS, Amazon aren't starting from a position of market dominance, but there are plenty of examples that show that a product doesn't have to be *good* at what it does to sell better than one which actually performs better but is missing some market magick. The usual classic example is VHS vs Beta.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Sounds a lot like Lotus Notes to me

    ...and so some people will get a long way quickly with this model, but they will run out of road at some point. It may scale in data/demand terms but it won't in terms of maintainability.

  9. Mike VandeVelde
    IT Angle


    sounds like a poor man's lotus notes? bring-your-own-frontend? my world is not shattered. no significant it angle ;-)

  10. Jose Ramirez


    "Unlike MySQL, Oracle, DB2 or SQL Server, SimpleDB is not a relational database server."

    Please, PLEASE stop referring to ANY database management system out there as relational. They are SQL database management systems and SQL does NOT force compliance to the relational model.

  11. Paul Wells
    Thumb Up

    It's looking more and more like Pick

    Every bit of information that comes out suggests it's either based on or at least inspired by Pick.

  12. Mo

    Smells like LDAP

    Different types of item? Multiple attribute values?

    Sounds just like every directory service I've ever used.

    This could, in fact, be incredibly useful.

  13. Chris Peterson

    SQL façade for SimpleDB?

    How long until someone writes a SQL-compatible façade on top of SimpleDB?

  14. Garry Furey

    Jumping on the train

    Like Google, Amazon is jumping on the SaaS (Software as a Service) train. Don't be surprised if they release more online app next year or simply buy up web 2.0 company to fill the ranks!!

    All abroad.........

  15. Leon Markham

    VHS vs Beta myth @Anonymous Coward

    It's really a bit of a myth that Beta was better than VHS - in fact any demonstrably superior technology tends to win out - it's just that in our complex world the reality is often more ambiguous than one thing simply being better than the other.

    Originally Betamax was perceived to offer higher quality picture and sound (although VHS played catch-up), HOWEVER Betamax had a lower capacity per cassette, which meant that you often had to get two of them to show a whole film.

    As people in the IT industry we often make strident statements about one technology being better than another because of some technical advantage - essentially we are all twelve year old boys at heart and like to play top-trumps...however reality too often refuses to behave like a perfect sphere moving in a vacuum.

    I do remember as a child, though, that Staffordshire County Council insisted on having Betamax video players. This has the unintended side-effect of making them virtually un-nickable, as your local smack-head couldn't get anything for a player which would only, by then, play educational videos nicked from the school.

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