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Business-Driven Architect

Brenda Michelson

Cloud Computing Environments, Events & Event Clouds: Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS)

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Here we go.  Event Processing and Cloud Computing are natural allies.  Events can be used in the monitoring, notification, and adjustment of cloud computing environments (CCE), and in the monitoring, notification, adjustment of, and in response to, the business capabilities running on those CCEs.   As I've mentioned numerous times, I believe event-based data integration will be critical to information, and therefore, business synchronization. 

In addition to being an event generator, and responder, cloud computing can also be a highly efficient, scalable, event processing platform.  For proof, just ask my friend Colin Clark at Cloud Event Processing.

So, it's with no surprise, but great expectations, that I'm noting the beta release of Amazon's Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS).  From the Amazon service page:

"Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) is a web service that makes it easy to set up, operate, and send notifications from the cloud. It provides developers with a highly scalable, flexible, and cost-effective capability to publish messages from an application and immediately deliver them to subscribers or other applications. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers.

Amazon SNS provides a simple web services interface that can be used to create topics you want to notify applications (or people) about, subscribe clients to these topics, publish messages, and have these messages delivered over clients' protocol of choice (i.e. HTTP, email, etc.). Amazon SNS delivers notifications to clients using a "push" mechanism that eliminates the need to periodically check or "poll" for new information and updates. Amazon SNS can be leveraged to build highly reliable, event-driven workflows and messaging applications without the need for complex middleware and application management. The potential uses for Amazon SNS include monitoring applications, workflow systems, time-sensitive information updates, mobile applications, and many others. As with all Amazon Web Services, there are no up-front investments required, and you pay only for the resources you use."

From the SNS Functionality Overview, the service appears to be cloud based publish-subscribe:

  • "Create a topic: A topic is an "access point" - identifying a specific subject or event type - for publishing messages and allowing clients to subscribe for notifications.
  • Set policies for your topic: Once a topic is created, the topic owner can set policies for it such as limiting who can publish messages or subscribe to notifications, or specifying which notification protocols will be supported (i.e. HTTP/HTTPS, email). A single topic can support notification deliveries over multiple transport protocols.
  • Add subscribers to a topic: Subscribers are clients interested in receiving notifications from topics of interest; they can directly subscribe to a topic or be subscribed by the topic owner. Subscribers specify the protocol format and end-point (URL, email address, etc.) for notifications to be delivered. Upon receiving a subscription request, Amazon SNS will send a confirmation message to the specified end-point, asking the subscriber to explicitly opt-in to receiving notifications from that topic. Opting-in can be done by calling an API, using a command line tool, or - for email notifications - simply clicking on a link.
  • Publish messages / send out notifications: When topic owners have updates they wish to notify their subscribers about, they publish those messages to the topic - which immediately triggers Amazon SNS to deliver this message to all applicable subscribers."

Of the features list, "scalable" caught my attention:

"Scalable - Amazon SNS is designed to meet the needs of the largest and most demanding applications, allowing applications to publish an unlimited number of messages at any time."

Largest and most demanding? Tweets, market data, click-stream, blue mussels, Internet of Things ... 

Amazon's SNS is a springboard to industrial strength event processing and the active information tier.  As I said, "here we go".

[Cross posted from Elemental Cloud Computing, because it's Event Processing too.]

Brenda Michelson, Principal of Elemental Links, shares her view on architectural strategies, technology trends, business, and relevance.

Brenda Michelson

Brenda Michelson is the principal of Elemental Links an advisory & consulting practice focused on business-technology capabilities that increase business visibility and responsiveness. Follow Brenda on Twitter.


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