By Kato Mivule
Online retailer Amazon sent shock waves into the Database tech community in 2007 with the launching of the Amazon SimpleDB  that led some to question the future of Relational Databases and in particular the future of SQL.  Microsoft also launched launched a service similar to Amazon’s SimpleDB in 2008, signaling a great interest in the new database architecture that Amazon employed with the SimpleDB. 
SimpleDB is based on a Distributed System Architecture that stores data in excess on devices across the Distributed Architecture of the same Sphere. In the case of Amazon’s SimpleDB, data is stored on various distributed servers in the Amazon Domain.
SimpleDB is based on Amazon’s S3 – Simple Storage Service in which users are granted unlimited data storage capacity at very inexpensive rates. Data in the S3 system is stored across a number of servers or storage devices in the Amazon scalable distributed network. SimpleDB and S3 are extensions of the Cloud Computing Architecture in which computing resources, software applications, and data are shared across the web on a demand basis.
Software resources such as Applications and Data are stored on distributed servers so when a user demands use of a Word Processing Application, that instance is provided to the user via the web browser. So, the user need not keep or store applications or data on their computing devices but will depend on the reliability and availability of the internet for access.  
Amazon defines Cloud Computing Architectures as the inherent computing base in which Applications are utilized only when as demanded or needed. Once the demanded application is no longer needed or done with, the resources being utilized are discarded.  It is in this type of Cloud Computing architecture that SimpleDB is built on that Amazon refers to as the Elastic Compute Cloud or EC2 because the on-demand application utilizes resources elastically. 
Therefore SimpleDB is mainly a distributed Database tool that stores and retrieves user data across Amazon’s distributed servers or cloud computing architecture giving it the scalability advantage. SimpleDB does not follow the traditional database relational model in which data is stored on a central server.
As InformIT notes in their description of Amazon’s SimpleDB,  there are a number of problems with the SimpleDB database Technology, with the most trouble being a lack of schema.  This lack of structure in database definitions and constraints provides problems when it comes to data manipulation. For example since data is not defined, it becomes difficult carrying out mathematical calculations on data, even as InformIT notes that data in SimpleDB is stored as a variable characters.  This is the greatest setback to SimpleDB that out weighs any advantages.
As InformIT notes, SimpleDB provides scalability.  SimpleDB therefore would be best suited for quick data retrieval mechanisms rather than as a serious data management application. As one computing blogger noted, data integrity is never warranted, database aggregate transactions are not fostered and very difficult to code, and that Relational Database Technology has greatly improved in the area of scalability to the point that web applications like Facebook and LiveJournal use employ Relational Database Technology like MySQL. 
The issue of Security and Privacy are also of great concern when it comes to SimpleDB. It is easy to attain some degree of privacy when data is managed of specific known servers. Yet with the SimpleDB architecture, data is stored across many devices that should one device be compromised, some portion of data is at risk.
In conclusion, Relational Database Models will stay and while Amazon’s SimpleDB might not be the next big thing, it could be employed for non critical data management for fast storage and retrieval. Say for example, if one would simply want to store web address that are none critical, SimpleDB could be utilized in such circumstances.
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