If you read this blog, then you know that I’m a fan of Jeff Bezos and Amazon.com. In particular, their Amazon Web Services suite is taking the company (and the Internet industry) in a new and very exciting direction.
A few days ago, Amazon announced its latest web service, SimpleDB. As the name implies, it’s a store for structured data. As with other Amazon Web Services, it is designed so that you can start small and scale quickly and it is priced on a pay-as-you-go basis.
So why is this exciting?
Well, it’s a pretty well known fact that the single biggest barrier to scaling a web site is the database. The typical solution is to cluster database servers, which is a complex and costly endeavor. Here’s a quote from Dave Winer’s post on SimpleDB:
Today, when a company raises VC, it’s probably because their app has achieved a certain amount of success and to get to the next level of users they need to spend serious money on infrastruture. There’s a serious economic and human wall here. You need to buy hardware and find the people who know how to make a database scale. The latter is the hard problem, the people are scarce and the big companies are bidding up the price for their time. Now Amazon is willing to sell you that, to turn this scarce thing into a commodity, at what likely is a very reasonable price. (Haven’t had time to analyze this yet, but the other services are.) Key point, the wall is gone, replaced with a ramp. If you coded your database in Amazon to begin with you will never see the wall. As you need more capacity you have to do nothing, other than pay your bill.
Put simply, SimpleDB significantly reduces the capital (and time) required to scale a web-based business. When I saw Amazon’s announcement, I had the same thought as Fred Wilson:
The funny thing about Amazon’s platform play is that it feels like something Google would have done. But they didn’t (or at least they haven’t yet). Amazon is out googling Google.
Maybe it’s time to buy some AMZN.