A Developer's Guide to Amazon SimpleDB


The Complete Guide to Building Cloud Computing Solutions with Amazon SimpleDB

Using SimpleDB, any organization can leverage Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon’s powerful cloud-based computing platform–and dramatically reduce the cost and resources associated with application infrastructure. Now, for the first time, there’s a complete developer’s guide to building production solutions with Amazon SimpleDB.

Pioneering SimpleDB developer Mocky ...

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A Developer's Guide to Amazon SimpleDB

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The Complete Guide to Building Cloud Computing Solutions with Amazon SimpleDB

Using SimpleDB, any organization can leverage Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon’s powerful cloud-based computing platform–and dramatically reduce the cost and resources associated with application infrastructure. Now, for the first time, there’s a complete developer’s guide to building production solutions with Amazon SimpleDB.

Pioneering SimpleDB developer Mocky Habeeb brings together all the hard-to-find information you need to succeed. Mocky tours the SimpleDB platform and APIs, explains their essential characteristics and tradeoffs, and helps you determine whether your applications are appropriate for SimpleDB. Next, he walks you through all aspects of writing, deploying, querying, optimizing, and securing Amazon SimpleDB applications–from the basics through advanced techniques.

Throughout, Mocky draws on his unsurpassed experience supporting developers on SimpleDB’s official Web forums. He offers practical tips and answers that can’t be found anywhere else, and presents extensive working sample code–from snippets to complete applications.

With A Developer’s Guide to Amazon SimpleDB you will be able to

  • Evaluate whether a project is suited for Amazon SimpleDB
  • Write SimpleDB applications that take full advantage of SimpleDB’s availability, scalability, and flexibility
  • Effectively manage the entire SimpleDB application lifecycle
  • Deploy cloud computing applications faster and more easily
  • Work with SELECT and bulk data operations
  • Fine tune queries to optimize performance
  • Integrate SimpleDB security into existing organizational security plans
  • Write and enhance runtime SimpleDB clients
  • Build complete applications using AJAX and SimpleDB
  • Understand low-level issues involved in writing clients and frameworks
  • Solve common SimpleDB usage problems and avoid hidden pitfalls

This book will be an indispensable resource for every IT professional evaluating or using SimpleDB to build cloud-computing applications, clients, or frameworks.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780321623638
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley
  • Publication date: 8/16/2010
  • Series: Developer's Library Series
  • Pages: 269
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Mocky Habeeb is the head of web architecture and development for Infrawise Inc., where he leads development on the web side of the house for the company’s flagship product suite. He is actively involved in SimpleDB application development, and in his spare time, he puts that expertise to work by providing answers and guidance to developers who visit the official SimpleDB web forums. Over the past 13 years, he has worked in various software development positions, as a Java instructor for Sun Microsystems, and before that as a tank driver in the United States Marine Corps. Mocky studied Computer Science at SUNY, Oswego.

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Table of Contents

Preface xvi

Acknowledgments xviii

1 Introducing Amazon SimpleDB 1

What Is SimpleDB? 1

What SimpleDB Is Not 1

Schema-Less Data 2

Stored Securely in the Cloud 2

Billed Only for Actual Usage 3

Domains, Items, and Attribute Pairs 3

Multi-Valued Attributes 3

Queries 4

High Availability 4

Database Consistency 5

Sizing Up the SimpleDB Feature Set 6

Benefits of Using SimpleDB 6

Database Features SimpleDB Doesn’t Have 7

Higher-Level Framework Functionality 7

Service Limits 8

Abandoning the Relational Model? 8

A Database Without a Schema 9

Areas Where Relational Databases Struggle 10

Scalability Isn’t Your Problem 11

Avoiding the SimpleDB Hype 11

Putting the DBA Out of Work 12

Dodging Copies of C.J. Date 13

Other Pieces of the Puzzle 14

Adding Compute Power with Amazon EC2 14

Storing Large Objects with Amazon S3 14

Queuing Up Tasks with Amazon SQS 15

Comparing SimpleDB to Other Products and Services 15

Windows Azure Platform 15

Google App Engine 17

Apache CouchDB 17

Dynamo-Like Products 18

Compelling Use Cases for SimpleDB 18

Web Services for Connected Systems 18

Low-Usage Application 19

Clustered Databases Without the Time Sink 19

Dynamic Data Application 19

Amazon S3 Content Search 20

Empowering the Power Users 20

Existing AWS Customers 20

Summary 21

2 Getting Started with SimpleDB 23

Gaining Access to SimpleDB 23

Creating an AWS Account 23

Signing Up for SimpleDB 24

Managing Account Keys 24

Finding a Client for SimpleDB 24

Building a SimpleDB Domain Administration Tool 25

Administration Tool Features 25

Key Storage 25

Implementing the Base Application 26

Displaying a Domain List 28

Adding Domain Creation 28

Supporting Domain Deletion 29

Listing Domain Metadata 29

Running the Tool 31

Packaging the Tool as a Jar File 31

Building a User Authentication Service 31

Integrating with the Spring Security Framework 32

Representing User Data 32

Fetching User Data with SimpleDBUserService 34

Salting and Encoding Passwords 36

Creating a User Update Tool 37

Summary 39

3 A Code-Snippet Tour of the SimpleDB API 41

Selecting a SimpleDB Client 41

Typica Setup in Java 42

C# Library for Amazon SimpleDB Setup 43

Tarzan Setup in PHP 45

Common Concepts 45

The Language Gap 45

SimpleDB Endpoints 45

SimpleDB Service Versions 47

Common Response Elements 47

CreateDomain 48

CreateDomain Parameters 49

CreateDomain Response Data 49

CreateDomain Snippet in Java 49

CreateDomain Snippet in C# 50

CreateDomain Snippet in PHP 50

ListDomains 51

ListDomains Parameters 51

ListDomains Response Data 51

ListDomains Snippet in Java 52

ListDomains Snippet in C# 52

ListDomains Snippet in PHP 53

DeleteDomain 54

DeleteDomain Parameters 54

DeleteDomain Response Data 54

DeleteDomain Snippet in Java 55

DeleteDomain Snippet in C# 55

DeleteDomain Snippet in PHP 55

DomainMetadata 56

DomainMetadata Parameters 56

DomainMetadata Response Data 56

DomainMetadata Snippet in Java 57

DomainMetadata Snippet in C# 58

DomainMetadata Snippet in PHP 58

PutAttributes 59

PutAttributes Parameters 60

PutAttributes Response Data 62

PutAttributes Snippet in Java 63

PutAttributes Snippet in C# 64

PutAttributes Snippet in PHP 65

GetAttributes 65

GetAttributes Parameters 65

GetAttributes Response Data 66

GetAttributes Snippet in Java 67

GetAttributes Snippet in C# 68

GetAttributes Snippet in PHP 69

DeleteAttributes 70

DeleteAttributes Parameters 70

DeleteAttributes Response Data 71

DeleteAttributes Snippet in Java 72

DeleteAttributes Snippet in C# 72

DeleteAttributes Snippet in PHP 73

BatchPutAttributes 73

BatchPutAttributes Parameters 74

BatchPutAttributes Response Data 75

BatchPutAttributes Snippet in Java 76

BatchPutAttributes Snippet in C# 77

BatchPutAttributes Snippet in PHP 78

Select 79

Select Parameters 79

Select Response Data 80

Select Snippet in Java 81

Select Snippet in C# 83

Select Snippet in PHP 85

Summary 86

4 A Closer Look at Select 87

Select Syntax 87

Required Clauses 88

Select Quoting Rule for Names 88

Output Selection Clause 89

WHERE Clause 90

Select Quoting Rules for Values 90

Sort Clause 91

LIMIT Clause 92

Formatting Attribute Data for Select 93

Integer Formatting 94

Floating Point Formatting 95

Date and Time Formatting 95

Case Sensitivity 97

Expressions and Predicates 97

Simple Comparison Operators 98

Range Operators 98

IN() Queries 99

Prefix Queries with LIKE and NOT LIKE 99


Multi-Valued Attribute Queries 100

Multiple Predicate Queries with the INTERSECTION

Operator 101

Selection with EVERY() 102

Query Results with the Same Item Multiple Times 102

Improving Query Performance 103

Attribute Indexes 103

Composite Attributes 104

Judicious Use of LIKE 105

Running on EC2 106

Skipping Pages with count() and LIMIT 106

Measuring Select Performance 107

Automating Performance Measurements 109

Summary 110

5 Bulk Data Operations 111

Importing Data with BatchPutAttributes 112

Calling BatchPutAttributes 112

Mapping the Import File to SimpleDB Attributes 112

Supporting Multiple File Formats 113

Storing the Mapping Data 113

Reporting Import Progress 113

Creating Right-Sized Batches 114

Managing Concurrency 114

Resuming a Stopped Import 115

Verifying Progress and Completion 115

Properly Handling Character Encodings 116

Backup and Data Export 116

Using Third-Party Backup Services 117

Writing Your Own Backup Tool 118

Restoring from Backup 119

Summary 119

6 Working Beyond the Boundaries 121

Availability: The Final Frontier 121

Boundaries of Eventual Consistency 123

Item-Level Atomicity 123

Looking into the Eventual Consistency Window 124

Read-Your-Writes 125

Implementing a Consistent View 125

Handling Text Larger Than 1K 128

Storing Text in S3 128

Storing Overflow in Different Attributes 129

Storing Overflow as a Multi-Valued Attribute 130

Entities with More than 256 Attributes 131

Paging to Arbitrary Query Depth 131

Exact Counting Without Locks or Transactions 133

Using One Item Per Count 134

Storing the Count in a Multi-Valued Attribute 136

Testing Strategies 138

Designing for Testability 138

Alternatives to Live Service Calls 139

Summary 139

7 Planning for the Application Lifecycle 141

Capacity Planning 141

Estimating Initial Costs 141

Keeping Tabs on SimpleDB Usage with AWS Usage

Reports 142

Creating More Finely Detailed Usage Reports 145

Tracking Usage over Time 146

Storage Requirements 146

Computing Storage Costs 147

Understanding the Cost of Slack Space 147

Evaluating Attribute Concatenation 148

Scalability: Increasing the Load 148

Planning Maintenance 150

Using Read-Repair to Apply Formatting Changes 150

Using Read-Repair to Update Item Layout 152

Using a Batch Process to Apply Updates 152

Summary 153

8 Security in SimpleDB-Based Applications 155

Account Security 155

Managing Access Within the Organization 155

Limiting Amazon Access from AWS Credentials 157

Boosting Security with Multi-Factor Authentication 158

Access Key Security 159

Key Management 159

Secret Key Rotation 160

Data Security 161

Storing Clean Data 161

SSL and Data in Transmission 162

Data Storage and Encryption 164

Storing Data in Multiple Locations 165

Summary 165

9 Increasing Performance 167

Determining If SimpleDB Is Fast Enough 167

Targeting Moderate Performance in Small Projects 167

Exploiting Advanced Features in Small Projects 168

Speeding Up SimpleDB 169

Taking Detailed Performance Measurements 169

Accessing SimpleDB from EC2 169

Caching 170

Concurrency 172

Keeping Requests and Responses Small 173

Operation-Specific Performance 174

Optimizing GetAttributes 174

Optimizing PutAttributes 178

Optimizing BatchPutAttributes 179

Optimizing Select 180

Data Sharding 181

Partitioning Data 181

Multiplexing Queries 181

Accessing SimpleDB Outside the Amazon Cloud 182

Working Around Latency 182

Ignoring Latency 183

Summary 183

10 Writing a SimpleDB Client: A Language-Independent

Guide 185

Client Design Overview 185

Public Interface 186

Attribute Class 188

Item Class 190

Client Design Considerations 191

High-Level Design Issues 191

Operation-Specific Considerations 193

Implementing the Client Code 196

Safe Handling of the Secret Key 196

Implementing the Constructor 197

Implementing the Remaining Methods 198

Making Requests 200

Computing the Signature 208

Making the Connections 210

Parsing the Response 214

Summary 216

11 Improving the SimpleDB Client 217

Convenience Methods 217

Convenient Count Methods 217

Select with a Real Limit 219

Custom Metadata and Building a Smarter Client 219

Justifying a Schema for Numeric Data 220

Database Tools 221

Coordinating Concurrent Clients 221

Storing Custom Metadata within SimpleDB 221

Storing Custom Metadata in S3 222

Automatically Optimizing for Box Usage Cost 222

The Exponential Cost of Write Operations 223

QueryTimeout: The Most Expensive Way to Get Nothing 225

Automated Domain Sharding 228

Domain Sharding Overview 228

Put/Get Delete Routing 228

Query Multiplexing 231

Summary 232

12 Building a Web-Based Task List 233

Application Overview 233

Requirements 233

The Data Model 234

Implementing User Authentication 235

Implementing a Task Workspace 238

Implementing a Task Service 241

Adding the Login Servlet 244

Adding the Logout Servlet 249

Displaying the Tasks 249

Adding New Tasks 252

Deployment 252

Summary 254

Index 255

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