Is Amazon Web Services a 'good fit' for decision support and OLTP?

by Daniel J. Power
Editor, DSSResources.COM

Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosts many popular Web applications including: Instagram, Vine, IFTTT, Netflix, Heroku and Airbnb. AWS delivers a set of services that together form a "reliable, scalable, and inexpensive computing platform 'in the cloud'". On Sunday, August 25, 2013, AWS Server issues crashed a number of applications including Instagram (, a photo and video sharing service. Chris Velazco at reported AWS was having problems at the north Virginia data center. AWS was "reporting issues with its EC2, relational database, and load-balancing services". Can companies rely on Amazon Web Services for relational database transaction processing and online analytical processing?

AWS provides "cloud computing", on-demand delivery of IT resources via the Internet with pay-as-you-go pricing. The claimed benefits are: 1) No upfront investment; 2) Low ongoing cost; 3) Flexible capacity; 4) Develop and deploy applications faster; 5) Focus on projects that differentiate your business, not the infrastructure; 6) global reach, deploy an application in any or all of the nine AWS regions around the world.

According to promotional materials, "You can use the point-and-click AWS Management Console interface to launch Database Instances (including highly available and reliable Multi-AZ deployments), take real-time snapshots of a DB Instance, and view important statistics like read and write throughput, latency, free storage space and more, all from your browser. The AWS Management Console support enhances the simplicity of running a MySQL database with Amazon RDS, making it even easier to get started."

AWS and "cloud computing" may not be a good fit for high demand, ACID transactional processing and decision support (OLAP). Perhaps organizations are creating too much centralized dependency and hence a single point of failure problem. Does the cloud centralize too many applications on the same infrastructure?


Amazon Web Services at

Velasco, C. "AWS Server Issues Take Down Instagram, Vine, Airbnb And IFTTT," 8?25/2013 at 7pm Eastern, at URL

Last update: 2013-08-25 07:59
Author: Daniel Power

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