You may not much like the idea of putting your data out in the cloud, let alone running analytics on it out there, too, but Amazon Web Services is doing its best to sway your opinion.
Today comes AWS's latest effort, Amazon DynamoDB. The message: You don't need to be hamstrung by your relational databases.
As many enterprises are quickly learning, the relational database is the bane of big data. As I discussed recently with Tony Jewitt, vice president of big data solutions at enterprise Web and search consulting firm Avalon Consulting, many companies are in need of solutions that aren't encumbered by underlying architecture being on a relational database. "Truly, the relational database management system has held up really well over the years. It really has. But we're reaching a breaking point for many."
NoSQL will provide the answer for many -- and that's right where Amazon DynamoDB fits in. It's a managed NoSQL database service the company touts as providing fast and predictable performance with seamless scalability.
Werner Vogels, Amazon CTO, pointed to the company's 15 years of experience contending with database scalability and performance while achieving cost-effectiveness using distributed systems and NoSQL technology. It's everything the company has learned from building huge non-relational databases for Amazon.com and cloud computing services at AWS. Various teams and products, including the Amazon.com advertising platform, Amazon Cloud Drive, IMDb, and Kindle already use DynamoDB, he said in a press statement.
Elsevier, a science and health information company; SmugMug, a photography site; and Formspring, a social Q&A site, have given their public endorsements of the database service, too. Here, for example, is what Darren Person, chief architect of Elsevier, had to say about the service: "Operating a distributed data store on our own is orders of magnitude more complicated and expensive to manage than traditional databases. DynamoDB delivers a high-performance service that can be easily scaled up or down to meet our needs, helping us eliminate complexity and lower costs."
Particularly important for the analytics crowd is Amazon DynamoDB's integration with Amazon Elastic MapReduce (EMR). Amazon EMR, available for almost three years, is a hosted, on-demand Hadoop framework on AWS. With Amazon EMR, enterprises can run complex analytics of large datasets on a pay-as-they-go basis.
AWS painted this scenario in describing how its myriad cloud options can come together for an enterprise implementation: Analyze datasets stored in DynamoDB, then archive the results using the cloud storage service, called Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3). The original dataset on DynamoDB stays intact. Or, businesses can use Amazon EMR to access data in multiple stores -- Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Relational Database Service, Amazon S3 -- do complex analysis over this combined dataset, and store the results of this work in the storage cloud.
Do you find Amazon's NoSQL service enticing? Are you using, or are you thinking about using, Amazon EMR for your analytics requirements? Share your thoughts on the message board below.
tinym -- I kind of think that'll fall to whoever he hands over his business to once he finally decides to retire. He's soooo behind the times, yet still always has a full waiting room, that his way seems to be working just fine for him.
Shawn, and @Broadway, I think it's important to note that the types of doctors' offices you're talking about here are the one-offs and small practices. Physicians associated with bigger practices are swept up in the federal electronic health records mandate. Many of the bigger firms bumped up work on EHR programs incentivized by stimulus dollars.
@Broadway, I can imagine that of my eye doctor's office. It really is pretty decrepit, but I don't have the heart to stop going to him as he's been my doctor since I was a kid. He's got to be well into his 70s, and his office hasn't been spruced up in decades. There's not a PC in sight, and I'm certain he's not backing up his paper files. In fact, a couple years ago I went there on a Saturday morning and he and his receptionist were all in a tizzy because a pipe in the office above had burst over the weekend and water was leaking into their storage room. As the receptionist said, "God only knows what's in there!"
Broadway, you are right. Still most of the small and medium level companies used to take printouts and filing it. They always have an uncertainly and reliability issues about computer data storage and document keeping. I think in such cases, it's better to redirect them for cloud service and online storage technology.
Don't see these tools as replacing more expensive options, epecially high end enterprise applications for larger companies and organizations. (See again the post above.) However, I do believe they provide an opportunity for smaller firms who might never have used such tools otherwise.
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