January 2008

Newsletter #33

Greetings AWS Developers,

Happy New Year! After ending 2007 with a bang, here’s what’s new in the AWS world: two new service launches (Amazon SimpleDB and Amazon DevPay), new features for Amazon S3 and Amazon Mechanical Turk, and of course the conclusion to the AWS Start-up Challenge, with Ooyala taking the top prize. Read on for more…

Kathrin Jackson
Amazon Web Services

  • Announcing Amazon SimpleDB (Limited Beta)
  • Announcing Amazon DevPay (Limited Beta)
  • Amazon Mechanical Turk: Transaction History and Prepaid HITs
  • Amazon S3: Announcing POST Support
  • Ooyala wins AWS Start-up Challenge
  • Developer Resources
  • Solutions Catalog Highlights: What Your Peers Are Building
  • Upcoming Events
  • Announcing Amazon SimpleDB (Limited Beta)

    In late December, we announced Amazon SimpleDB, which is available in limited beta. 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. 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.

    We’re very excited about the strong interest our community has shown in the beta program. At this stage, we have limited spots available, and ask for your patience as we work to enable additional developers. In the meantime, you can read more about the service, and sign up to be notified when a spot becomes available for you. To do so, simply click the “Sign Up For This Web Service” button on the web site below and we will record your contact information. Note that you’ll also need to have a valid payment method on record with AWS in order for us to be able to accommodate you when more capacity becomes available.

    Read more and sign up for the wait list by clicking “Sign Up for This Web Service”

    Announcing Amazon DevPay (Limited Beta)

    Last month, AWS launched Amazon DevPay, a simple-to-use billing and account management service that makes it very easy for developers to get paid for applications they build on Amazon Web Services. Amazon DevPay removes the pain of having to create or manage your own order pipeline or billing system. It allows you to quickly sign up customers, automatically meter their usage of AWS services, have Amazon bill them based on pricing you set, and collect payments. If you have an Amazon EC2 AMI or Amazon S3-based application for which you’d like to charge, please browse through the resources below, and read about companies already using Amazon DevPay.

  • Red Hat: offering the standards of supported Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Amazon EC2
  • Zmanda: offering a plugin for Amanda Enterprise software that provides backup, archiving and recovery to Amazon S3
  • Wowza Media: offering a reliable, scalable and cost-effective Flash streaming server built on Amazon EC2
  • RunBlast: offering clustering technology on top of Amazon EC2, without the big upfront purchase or the hassles of maintaining latest versions of major tools and databases
  • Amazon Mechanical Turk: Transaction History and Prepaid HITs

    Amazon Mechanical Turk has released two new pieces of functionality that will make certain tasks easier for requestors. You can now prepay for Mechanical Turk HITs using a credit card, debit card, Amazon Payments account balance or U.S. bank account. The option to use a credit/debit card or your Amazon Payments account will allow you to load and pay for HITs immediately – with no waiting period. In addition to the new payment functionality, Requesters can now view and download a detailed transaction history for the previous 18 months of their payments to Workers, payments for fees, and pre-payments of Mechanical Turk HITs.

    Amazon S3: Announcing POST Support

    In response to customer feedback, we’ve added POST support for Amazon S3. POST simplifies the process of uploading data by allowing you to upload content directly from the browser to Amazon S3. In addition to simplifying uploads, POST can reduce upload latency and save you money by eliminating the need to generate the PUT request on your server.

    POST documentation

    Ooyala wins AWS Start-up Challenge

    Out of over 900 business plan entries submitted by developers building their products and services using the AWS platform, Ooyala was announced as the winner of the Amazon Web Services Start-Up Challenge. Ooyala delivers a high quality interactive video experience with monetization and analytics tools for video publishers and advertisers. As the grand prize winner, Ooyala will receive $50,000 in cash, $50,000 in Amazon Web Service credits and an investment offer from

    Developer Resources

    A trio of tutorials for building efficiently on Amazon EC2:

    Deploying Distributed J2EE Applications Using Amazon EC2
    Adriaan de Jonge provides a few tips on configuring Apache and Tomcat to support load balancing J2EE applications across multiple Amazon EC2 instances.

    Using Parameterized Launches to Customize Your AMIs
    PJ Cabrera explains how to use parameterized launches and a simple Ruby script to easily configure Amazon Machine Image (AMI) instances.

    Configuring Amazon EC2 for RAID
    Take advantage of the Large and Extra Large instances by configuring them to use RAID for more fault tolerance or better disk throughput.

    Solutions Catalog Highlights: What Your Peers Are Building

    An online invoicing application that helps service providers get paid faster and look professional. Built using Amazon FPS.

    An online community where thousands of users come together to remix the hottest music from their favorite artists. In short, we allow regular people to do more than just listen, making it simple and fun for fans to get involved with the music they love. Built using Amazon S3 and EC2.

    Morph helpME
    Quickly create online help and training manuals to assist your customers. Built using Amazon S3 and EC2.

    Not listed in the Solutions Catalog yet? Start with our community co-marketing.

    Check out the AWS blog for more news about AWS developers and their applications.

    Upcoming Events

    Don’t forget to let the AWS evangelists know where you’d like them to visit!

    Raleigh Area Ruby Brigade – Raleigh, NC
    January 15, 2008
    Mike Culver

    Raleigh/Durham Adobe Users Group – Durham, NC
    January 16, 2008
    Mike Culver

    Mobile Web USA 2008 – San Francisco, CA
    January 22, 2008
    Jeff Barr

    San Diego Software Council – San Diego, CA
    January 24, 2008
    Mike Culver

    Maine Java User Group – Portland, ME
    January 30, 2008
    Mike Culver

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