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April 12, 2012

Amazon's CloudSearch Aims to Break New Ground in Cloud-based Searching

By Kerry Doyle, Contributing Writer

A primary goal of cloud computing is to reduce the cost of computing resources, while increasing system flexibility and scaling. Should a company need short-term server access, cloud computing offers a means to acquire it without signing a long-term agreement, and systems can be powered down when not needed and payment made only for usage.

Those with consistent and ongoing requirements can still avoid investment in expensive servers, or the need to hire multiple systems administrators to keep their IT efforts running at optimum efficiency. These are longstanding attractors to the cloud. Now, Amazon has announced

another new service to its broad set of offerings, CloudSearch.

CloudSearch uses search technology that powers search on (News - Alert) and, as the name implies, is a cloud-based, fully managed search facility. The service hides all of the complexity and all of the search infrastructure from the endorser. Customers simply provide the service with a set of documents and decide how to incorporate search into the application. There is no indexing, query parsing, query processing, results handling, or any other requirements. Users don't need to worry about running out of disk space or processing power or rewriting code to add more features.

A far more complete platform, technologically, as compared to MS Azure and Google’s (News - Alert) AppEngine, Amazon’s EC2 has set the bar high. Now with advanced cloud searching, users can access faceting and fielded search, relevance tracking and stop words. CloudSearch customers interface with the technology manually using the AWS management console or programmatically through CloudSearch APIs.

According to Amazon, CloudSearch is flexible enough to provide search for a wide range of applications. Given the significant investment being made in cloud computing by many of the world’s leading companies, it is possible that this new search function will be a true differentiator. Searches are performed using search instances, of which there are three sizes (small, large and extra large), which range in price from $0.12 to $0.68 per hour. As a customer's data grows, CloudSearch can automatically scale to up to 50 search instances, a number that Amazon says will increase over time.

Edited by Jamie Epstein
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