Amazon Web Services Moves Beyond Books


Amazon has announced a new addition to their Web Services platform: Simple Queue Service (SQS).

The Amazon Simple Queue Service offers a reliable, highly scalable hosted queue for buffering messages between distributed application components. The Amazon Simple Queue Service reduces the costs associated with resolving the producer-consumer problem that arises in distributed application development. Such costs include increased application development time, and potentially significant investment in server and network infrastructure to support distributed application messaging. Amazon has already invested in the large-scale computing infrastructure that runs the Queue Service, and since the Serviceās interface is exposed via Web services, integration with applications is fast and easy.

Using the Amazon Simple Queue Service, you can decouple components of your application so that they run independently, with the Queue Service easing messaging management between components. Any component of a distributed application can store any type of data in a reliable queue at Amazon.com. Any other component or application can then later retrieve the data, using queue semantics. The queue acts as a buffer between the work-producer that is saving the data, and the work-consumer that is retrieving the data for processing. Thus, the queue resolves issues that would otherwise arise if the producer were producing work faster than the consumer can process the work, or if the producer or consumer were only intermittently connected to the network.

Registered developers have free access to the Simple Queue Service during the Beta, but storage is limited to 4,000 queue entries per developer.
From Amazon.com : Help / AWS home page / Simple Queue Service
Referenced Wed Nov 03 2004 20:35:11 GMT-0700

What's interesting about this is that its an infrastructural service rather than an end service. AWS eCommerce services have always been about buying things from Amazon. SQS could be used as infrastructure for a Web services completely unrelated to Amazon's core business. This is an important step in the "Amazon as platform" idea and shows that Amazon is not going to concede that idea to Google without a fight. I think Grand Central Development would be an interesting acquisition for Amazon in that regard.

The service provides any number of asynchronous message queues that can be used to store and retrieve XML messages. Here's the WSDL for the Queue operations and there are also some sample applications

The RESTful sample (XSLT) shows how to use the queue to store a list of ASINs and then retrieve them to populate an iFrame with formatted product information. Change the ASINs in the queue and get different content in the iFrame. I played around with it for a bit. The queues are indeed easy to use. Pretty cool.