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Another Nifty Service From Amazon

04.07.2010
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Messaging in the cloud took another step forward today with the unveiling of Amazon's Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS).  Now developers using web services on EC2 will have an easier time sending messages to the users of their applications.  Amazon SNS is currently in beta and developers can use this service for free right now.

Amazon SNS is a web service for easily setting up and sending notifications from cloud-based applications to subscribers or other applications.  SNS uses a simple web services interface for creating topics of interest, subscribing users to the topics, and sending automated email, HTTP, or other messages.  The service also eliminates the need to "poll" for new updates and information.  SNS can be used to update subscribers automatically when there is a change in the status of their applications or an important update.

Here are the steps in customizing and using SNS:

  • Create Topic - This is the access point that identifies a specific subject or event type for publishing and enabling client subscription.
  • Set Policies - Topic owners can limit who publishes messages or subscribes to notifications.  They can also identify notification protocols (HTTP/HTTPS, email).
  • Add Subscribers - Clients can subscribe to a topic or be subscribed by a topic owner.  This system works much like an email confirmation when creating accounts and signing up for newsletters.
  • Publish Messages - Topic owners who wish to notify their subscribers about an update can do so by publishing those messages to the topic and letting Amazon SNS configurations do the rest. 

Amazon SNS Data Transfer Pricing:

Data Transfer In  
All Data Transfer Free until June 30, 2010 *

Data Transfer Out **  
First 1 GB per Month $0.00 per GB
Up to 10 TB per Month $0.15 per GB
Next 40 TB per Month $0.11 per GB
Next 100 TB per Month $0.09 per GB
Over 150 TB per Month $0.08 per GB

Developers can use SNS to build highly reliable, event-driven workflows and messaging applications without having to build your own messaging service.  Enterprise applications that rely heavily on push notifications will benefit the most from this service.  Running these applications on top of the EC2 cloud will keep your messages backed up and it lets you push an unlimited number of messages, says Amazon.  You can get started with Amazon SNS by using just three APIs (CreateTopic, Subscribe, and Publish) in most cases. 

Amazon gives users the first 100k SNS requests for free as well as the first 100k HTTP notifications and first 1,000 email notifications.  After you pass those thresholds, it costs 6 cents for either 100k Amazon SNS API requests or 100k HTTP/HTTPS notifications.  Its $2 for 100k Amazon SNS Email/Email-JSON messages.  Data transfers are free until June 30th.