Amazon SimpleDB is a highly available NoSQL data store that offloads the work of database administration. Developers simply store and query data items via web services requests and Amazon SimpleDB does the rest.

Unbound by the strict requirements of a relational database, Amazon SimpleDB is optimized to provide high availability and flexibility, with little or no administrative burden. Behind the scenes, Amazon SimpleDB creates and manages multiple geographically distributed replicas of your data automatically to enable high availability and data durability. The service charges you only for the resources actually consumed in storing your data and serving your requests. You can change your data model on the fly, and data is automatically indexed for you. With Amazon SimpleDB, you can focus on application development without worrying about infrastructure provisioning, high availability, software maintenance, schema and index management, or performance tuning.

The service allows you to focus fully on value-added application development, rather than arduous and time-consuming database administration. Amazon SimpleDB automatically manages infrastructure provisioning, hardware and software maintenance, replication and indexing of data items, and performance tuning.

Amazon SimpleDB automatically creates multiple geographically distributed copies of each data item you store. This provides high availability and durability – in the unlikely event that one replica fails, Amazon SimpleDB can failover to another replica in the system.

As your business changes or application evolves, you can easily reflect these changes in Amazon SimpleDB without worrying about breaking a rigid schema or needing to refactor code – simply add another attribute to your Amazon SimpleDB data set when needed. You can also choose between consistent or eventually consistent read requests, gaining the flexibility to match read performance (latency and throughput) and consistency requirements to the demands of your application, or even disparate parts within your application.

Amazon SimpleDB provides streamlined access to the store and query functions that traditionally are achieved using a relational database cluster – while leaving out other complex, often-unused database operations. The service allows you to quickly add data and easily retrieve or edit that data through a simple set of API calls.

Amazon SimpleDB is designed to integrate easily with other AWS services such as Amazon S3 and EC2, providing the infrastructure for creating web-scale applications. For example, developers can run their applications in Amazon EC2 and store their data objects in Amazon S3. Amazon SimpleDB can then be used to query the object metadata from within the application in Amazon EC2 and return pointers to the objects stored in Amazon S3. Developers can also use Amazon SimpleDB with Amazon RDS for applications that have relational and non-relational database needs. Data transferred between Amazon SimpleDB and other Amazon Web Services within the same Region is free of charge.

Amazon SimpleDB provides an https end point to ensure secure, encrypted communication between your application or client and your domain. In addition, through integration with AWS Identity and Access Management, you can establish user or group-level control over access to specific SimpleDB domains and operations.

Amazon SimpleDB passes on to you the financial benefits of Amazon’s scale. You pay only for resources you actually consume. For Amazon SimpleDB, this means data store reads and writes are charged by compute resources consumed by each operation, and you aren’t billed for compute resources when you aren’t actively using them (i.e. making requests).

Since Amazon SimpleDB allows you to completely offload the work required to run a production database, many developers find it an ideal, low-touch data store for logging information about conditions or events, status updates, recurring activities, workflow processes, or device and application states. Amazon SimpleDB lets you cost-effectively “set and forget” these data logs and use them for diverse purposes, such as:

  • Monitoring or tracking
  • Metering
  • Trend of business analysis
  • Auditing
  • Archival or regulation compliance

Application examples include:

  • Storing server logs centrally to reduce the space they consume on each running server
  • Logging operational metrics or the results of ongoing performance tests for later analysis
  • Auditing access entries or configuration changes for applications or networked devices
  • Capturing and monitoring environment conditions (temperature, pressure levels, humidity, etc.) at various locations and programming alerts for particular conditions
  • Logging and tracking geolocation information about objects or process status for activities in a workflow

Multiple attributes of Amazon SimpleDB make it an attractive data store for data logs:

  • Central, with High Availability – If your data logs were previously being trapped locally in multiple devices/objects, applications, or process silos, you’ll enjoy the benefit of being able to access your data centrally in one place in the cloud. What’s more, Amazon SimpleDB automatically and geo-redundantly replicates your data to ensure high availability. This means that unlike a centralized on-premise solution, you’re not creating a single point of failure with Amazon SimpleDB, and your data will be there when you need it. All of the data can be stored via web services requests with one solution and then accessed by any device.
  • Zero Administration – You store your data items with simple web services requests and Amazon Web Services takes care of the rest. The set it and forget it nature of the service means you aren’t spending time on database management in order to store and maintain data logs.
  • Cost-efficient – Amazon SimpleDB charges inexpensive prices to store and query your data logs. Since you are paying as you go for only the resources you consume, you don’t need to do your own capacity planning or worry about database load. The service simply responds to request volume as it comes and goes, charging you only for the actual resources consumed.

For developers of online games on any platform, Amazon SimpleDB offers a highly-available, scalable, and administration-free database solution for user and game data.

Common data online games can store, index, and query with Amazon SimpleDB includes:

  • User scores and achievements
  • User settings or preferences
  • Information about a player’s items or user-generated content
  • Game session state (when play is saved or interrupted)
  • Dynamic game content (applying a service-oriented architecture to your game and storing and serving new challenges or content for players with Amazon SimpleDB)
  • Indexed metadata for large objects used by your game and stored in Amazon S3

Multiple properties of Amazon SimpleDB make it well-suited to be a data store for online game data:

  • High Availability (automatic geo-redundant replication and failover): Amazon SimpleDB achieves high availability by automatically creating multiple copies of your data and managing failover to an available copy in the event one copy becomes unavailable. This means you avoid the complexity of setting up database clusters, but your game and users still enjoy reliable, interruption-free access to key data.
  • No-touch scaling: As your user base grows and player activity fluctuates, Amazon SimpleDB simply responds to traffic and request volume as it comes and goes without the need for developer intervention. You only pay for the resources you actually consume.
  • Zero administrative overhead: Avoid the hassles of database management and eliminate the work of infrastructure provisioning, software setup, creating and maintaining a schema, building indices, or tuning query performance. You can get back to building fun games and features for your users, and stop being the database administrator.

Many developers use Amazon SimpleDB in conjunction with Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). Amazon SimpleDB can be used to store pointers to Amazon S3 object locations and detailed information about the objects (metadata), thereby supplementing Amazon S3 with the rich query functionality of a database. For developers storing large numbers of objects in Amazon S3, Amazon SimpleDB offers a flexible, scalable, and inexpensive way to store object metadata while offloading all of the administrative overhead associated with running a database. Common examples of object metadata that can easily be stored, indexed, and queried in Amazon SimpleDB include:

  • Data type or format (image, video, document)
  • User associations or access designations
  • Dates the object was created, accessed, or modified
  • Name or location of related objects
  • User ratings and comments
  • Subject or category tags
  • Geolocation tags

Storing metadata like the examples listed above is valuable for content delivery, media applications, backup and archiving applications, and many other application types. Amazon SimpleDB makes an ideal home for metadata because it provides:

  • Flexible, schema-less design: Easily append additional metadata attributes without “breaking” a rigid schema. If you want to start tracking user ratings for video objects, it won’t involve time-consuming database changes.
  • Multi-valued attributes: A metadata attribute can have multiple values. This means photos can be tagged with multiple people or music files with multiple genres.
  • Zero administrative overhead: In addition to removing the hassles of infrastructure provisioning and software installation and maintenance required to run a database, Amazon SimpleDB automatically indexes your data, tunes query performance, and creates geo-redundant copies of your data.

Amazon SimpleDB also provides low-friction scaling, automatically responding to changes in request volume, and only charging you a cost-effective amount for the resources you actually consume.