Amazon’s SimpleDB in the Bigger Picture

I had a gut feeling that as soon as I wrote my previous post on Amazon’s SimpleDB that I was not happy with my casual dismissal. Of course I was being a little snarky, but there was some meat behind it: most of the very successful projects I’ve been on in the last dozen years have had very slick, very integrated, databases (mostly Microsoft SQL Server, from 4.21 onwards to SQL 2005). So reading that SimpleDB was going to eat Microsoft’s and Oracle’s lunch in the area where I’ve had great results came off as a little trite, and my first instinct was indignation.

However, I’ve been reading more about SimpleDB, and SaaS and mashups in general – including just buying the Wrox Press book Mashups — and I came across this post by Bob Warfield, which reads in part:

Because of the learning curve, I don’t plan to go out and short Oracle immediately, but the sand has started running in the hourglass. There will be more layers added to the cloud, and over time it will become harder and harder to ignore. There will be economic advantage to those who embrace the new ways, and penalties for those who don’t. This is a bet-your-business drama that’s unfolding, make no mistake. At the very least, you need to get yourself educated about what these kinds of services offer and what they mean for application architecture.

My own history with technology is that I tend to be a bit conservative: I was behind by a year or two on browser-hosted applications; behind on .NET; behind on OLAP, behind on AJAX. I tend to catch up quickly, but I don’t see the train coming at first. That’s a bad habit I have, and I’m going to try to be more conscious of it and learn from past mistakes.

First resolution: I’m going to release the source code for my little Snapper project via a link to S3.  So there!


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