Amazon SimpleDB a complete flop?
Today Amazon slashed the price on storage in SimpleDB from $1.50 per Gb per month to just $0.25 per Gb per month.
Note that you can buy a 1TB hard drive these days for $75. That’s 7.5 cents per Gb for as long as the drive lasts. So Amazon were charging 200 times the price of retail hard disk storage per month. Yes, the AWS storage is replicated, and you don’t need a data center or employees, but a 200X markup (per month) seemed a bit excessive. Until last night, that $1.50 figure was the first price in the pricing section of the SimpleDB page – not a smart move (sticker shock). The storage price is now the last thing in the pricing section.
I spend a bunch of time talking to folks working at other startups. I hear about EC2 and S3 usage all the time, but I’ve never heard of anyone using SimpleDB. I hadn’t really thought about it too much. I had noticed that the price for storage in SimpleDB is (was) 10 times higher than for storage in S3, and thought that created an opportunity for Fluidinfo. But that huge difference is now gone – in fact SimpleDB is now free for everyone for the first 6 months following the public beta.
I found myself asking “What’s going on?” It’s not like Amazon to suddenly offer their services for free. The free offer coming with the service entering beta seemed pretty thin. If anything it should get more expensive, or stay the same, not suddenly transition to free.
Then I began to explicitly wonder just how many people are actually using SimpleDB. So I just ran some sample Google queries to get an idea. The results are amazing:
|“using amazon simpleDB”||68|
|“we are using simpleDB”||0|
|“we are using amazon simpleDB”||0|
|“we use amazon simpleDB”||1|
|“we use simpleDB”||4|
Note that all queries are entered into Google in quotes.
Given just these results, and knowledge that SimpleDB was launched a year ago, I think you’d have to conclude that SimpleDB is a complete flop. Either that or Google is playing evil tricks due to their own appEngine offering. That would seem unlikely. Plus, the numbers for the obviously popular S3 and EC2 are much much higher: If you try these queries with S3 or EC2 instead of SimpleDB, you’ll see 5K, 10K, 15K results.
I find the above numbers astounding. I’m deadly curious to know what’s going on here. Was SimpleDB just too expensive to consider using? Is its model too awkward? If it sucked, people would say so. But there’s virtually nothing out there. It’s as though developers took one look and completely ignored it. That would be my guess (in fact it’s what I did, so I’m probably biased in my explanation of what others may have done).
At least we can say that more people love SimpleDB than hate it :-)
It’s not my intention to bash Amazon or AWS. I love and use S3 and EC2 every single day. They’ve changed the world, and this is only the beginning. But I have no use at all for SimpleDB. I’d always assumed it was a big success too, but it looks like that may be wrong.
Comments very welcome. Do you know anyone using SimpleDB?