First Looks: Programming Amazon Web Services: S3, EC2, SQS, FPS, and SimpleDB

The Lowest Price we could find is $49.99 $6.99

Building on the success of its storefront and fulfillment services, Amazon now allows businesses to “rent” computing power, data storage and bandwidth on its vast network platform. This book demonstrates how developers working with small- to mid-sized companies can take advantage of Amazon Web Services (AWS) such as the Simple Storage Service (S3), Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Simple Queue Service (SQS), Flexible Payments Service (FPS), and SimpleDB to build web-scale business applications.With AWS, Amazon offers a new paradigm for IT infrastructure: use what you need, as you need it, and pay as you go. Programming Amazon Web Services explains how you can access Amazon’s open APIs to store and run applications, rather than spend precious time and resources building your own. With this book, you’ll learn all the technical details you need to: Store and retrieve any amount of data using application servers, unlimited data storage, and bandwidth with the Amazon S3 serviceBuy computing time using Amazon EC2’s interface to requisition machines, load them with an application environment, manage access permissions, and run your image using as many or few systems as neededUse Amazon’s web-scale messaging infrastructure to store messages as they travel between computers with Amazon SQSLeverage the Amazon FPS service to structure payment instructions and allow the movement of money between any two entities, humans or computersCreate and store multiple data sets, query your data easily, and return the results using Amazon SimpleDB.Scale up or down at a moment’s notice, using these services to employ as much time and space as you needWhether you’re starting a new online business, need to ramp up existing services, or require an offsite backup for your home, Programming Amazon Web Services gives you the background and the practical knowledge you need to start using AWS. Other books explain how to build web services. This book teaches businesses how to take make use of existing services from an established technology leader.


This is a good overview of the suite of services that comprise Amazon Web Services (AWS), I’d have given it a 3.5 star rating if I could. It talks about all of them, but it spends the bulk of its time, very reasonably, discussing S3 (the persistent storage system) and EC2 (the compute cloud – basically Amazon’s Rackspace in the clouds) – each getting about 100 pages devoted to it.

As others have noted it is out of date – but any book would have the same problem due to the moving target that AWS is. The biggest news is that EC2 is going to be getting persistent storage, which I believe will change the game completely when it is rolled out to the public. Instead of needing some elaborate connection with S3, now instances will behave much more like a typical physical machine with real disk drive. The book, on the other hand, provides almost no real advice on how to deal with the problem of non-persistence of EC2’s current storage mechanism. This is a signifcant problem that everyone will have to deal with and glossing over it is a failing of the book.

This is also a Ruby book, which I found fairly annoying. Nowhere in the description does it suggest that it is done in Ruby. And while Ruby certainly is trendy these days, the actual number of Ruby developers is small – it gets undue weight in computer texts. At the end of the day, though, it generally provides the actual request strings and XML requests and responses for non-ruby folk to come to their own conclusions.

This is a worthwhile book to get if you’re interested in quickly getting a good and broad idea on how to work with AWS. It will give a good foundation to get more out of the documentation and forums found on Amazon’s AWS site itself.

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