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Amazon CloudSearch for AWS Adds Fully-managed Search to Your Web Apps

Amazon Web Services LLC introduced today a new cloud sercice dubbed “Amazon CloudSearch,” that allows customers to easily integrate a fast, fully managed and highly scalable search functionality into their applications.

“Developers simply create a search domain, upload the data they want searchable, and Amazon CloudSearch automatically provisions the technology resources required and deploys the highly tuned search indexes needed – as simple as that, the search functionality is up and running,” explains Amazon.

Amazon CloudSearch seamlessly scales as the amount of searchable data increases or as the query rate changes, and businesses can change search parameters, fine tune search relevance and apply new settings at any time without having to upload the data again.

Amazon CloudSearch

Amazon CloudSearch offers low, pay-as-you-go pricing with no up-front expenses or long-term commitments. “You’ll be billed based on the number of running search instances. There are three search instance sizes (Small, Large, and Extra Large) at prices ranging from $0.12 to $0.68 per hour (these are US East Region prices, since that’s where we are launching CloudSearch),” explains Jeff.

Amazon aims to make CloudSearch easy to implement and use, as CTO Werner Vogels points out that setup is as simple as creating the search domain, uploading the data it would like to be searchable, and begin querying the database. Additional data can be uploaded through the AWS console, or by sending their own HTTP POST requests to the upload endpoint. Google uses a sitemap to control what is indexed through its search offering.

“You don’t have to write your own indexing, query parsing, query processing, results handling, or any of that other stuff,” AWS evangelist Jeff Barr explains. “You don’t need to worry about running out of disk space or processing power, and you don’t need to keep rewriting your code to add more features”.

It has a number of advanced search capabilities including faceting and fielded search including:

  • Faceting allows you to categorize your results into sub-groups, which can be used as the basis for another search. You could search for “umbrellas” and use a facet to group the results by price, such as $1-$10, $10-$20, $20-$50, and so forth. CloudSearch will even return document counts for each sub-group.
  • Fielded searching allows you to search on a particular attribute of a document. You could locate movies in a particular genre or actor, or products within a certain price range.

How Does it Work?
The Amazon CloudSearch model is really simple, but don’t confuse simple, with simplistic — there’s a lot going on behind the scenes!

Here’s all you need to do to get started (you can perform these operations from the AWS Management Console, the CloudSearch command line tools, or through the CloudSearch APIs):

  1. Create and configure a Search Domain. This is a data container and a related set of services. It exists within a particular Availability Zone of a single AWS Region (initially US East).
  2. Upload your documents. Documents can be uploaded as JSON or XML that conforms to our Search Document Format (SDF). Uploaded documents will typically be searchable within seconds. You can, if you’d like, send data over an HTTPS connection to protect it while it is transit.
  3. Perform searches.

To get started with Amazon CloudSearch, visit http://aws.amazon.com/cloudsearch.

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