First we had the Simple Storage Service, S3. Little more than a big disk in the Cloud, it offered an affordable means by which anyone could make large amounts of data available for download by large numbers of people. Second Life client downloads come from S3, as do Talis podcasts. Several of my colleagues use S3 for backing up their laptops (I use Mozy myself, but that's another story).
Then we got the Elastic Compute Cloud, EC2. This commoditised availability of virtual computers, making it relatively straightforward for those experiencing rapid growth - or needing short-term access to additional computing power for some other reason - to call upon additional computers as required, configure them as needed, use them for as long as necessary, and then throw them back into the pool when done.
Unsurprisingly, given Amazon's e-Commerce heritage, a payment service came next. This essentially opened Amazon's own e-Commerce capabilities to third party developers, and allowed them to build it into their own applications. Although we knew that this would come, I should admit here that the pundits at Talis (including myself) were sure that Amazon's third web service would be the one they actually only announced today. Given our interest in data and their interest in e-Commerce, it's perhaps not surprising that we prioritised them differently.
Next in the path, a Service Level Agreement. Essential, if Amazon are to move beyond the early adopters and actually see mass market numbers of mainstream enterprises rely upon their web services.
Which brings us to today, and the unveiling of Amazon SimpleDB. It had to come, and now it has, offering;
“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.”
It's great to see, and in some ways the conceptual use of Cloud-based 'content' and 'metadata' is similar to our own ideas around the Talis Platform... although with very different emphasis and realisation.
And yes, I know I missed SQS and Mechanical Turk, and various other Amazon web services from my story...
Story originally posted on the Nodalities blog