Amazon Web Services launches CloudSearch

Service is based on Amazon's A9 technology and aims to simplify integration of fully managed and highly scalable search into applications

Amazon Web Services has introduced CloudSearch, which allows users of its cloud to integrate fully managed and highly scalable search functionality into their applications, the company said on Thursday.

CloudSearch is based on the same A9 technology that powers search for Amazon.com, the company said

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To use the search functionality, IT staff start by creating a search domain and uploading the data they want searchable. CloudSearch then automatically provisions the technology resources required and the indexes needed, the company said.

To make data searchable, it first needs to be described in the Search Data Format, which can be done using JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) or XML text files, according to an FAQ.

CloudSearch automatically scales as the amount of searchable data increases or as the query rate changes, and enterprises can change search parameters, fine tune search relevance and apply new settings at any time without having to upload the data again.

Settings are changed using the AWS Management Console, which is also used to administer Amazon's other services.

As with its other cloud services, Amazon pitches the new addition as way to add search capabilities without needing a lot of expertise.

However, figuring out what the service will cost may not be as simple. Users are billed on a monthly basis for search instances, document batch uploads, IndexDocuments requests, and data transfer.

As a managed service, CloudSearch determines the size and number of search instances required to deliver low latency, high throughput search performance. The service builds an index and picks the appropriate initial search instance type to ensure that the index can be stored in RAM.

Instance types come in small, large and extra large, which cost $0.12, $0.48 and $0.68 per hour.

New IndexDocuments are created by CloudSearch when the IT staff make configuration changes to the index, for example by adding a field. The cost is $0.98 per gigabyte of data stored in the search domain.

Added to that is $0.10 per 1,000 batch upload requests, which each can be up to 5MB. The last part of the bill is a charge for the amount of data transferred out of CloudSearch. In the US East region, the first 10TB costs $0.12 per GB, according to Amazon.

On the CloudSearch website, Amazon details a cost example that includes 100MB of data and adds up to $86.94 per month.

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