Amazon expands its NoSQL story with JSON support in DynamoDB

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Credit: Barb Darrow

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is stepping up its presence in the NoSQL database market, and the competition with MongoDB, by adding support for JSON documents to its already-popular DynamoDB service. JSON is the preferred format for data generated by many web applications and other situations where it’s preferable to serve data in a machine-readable manner (think “the internet of things”), and MongoDB is the most-popular database around for storing, serving and querying JSON data.

Launched in 2012, AWS’s DynamoDB has traditionally been more like a key-value store, although it could store JSON documents. I’ve heard it referred to numerous times as the fastest-growing service within the AWS portfolio and, true or not, it’s almost certain to receive a boost in users with the new capabilities.

Although MongoDB is wildly popular, in part because it’s so easy to use, and the eponymous company behind it has raised well over $200 million in venture capital, the product has been dogged by questions about its scalability.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels explained the types of things AWS will enable for JSON documents. Aside from being able to query them and return results based on the nested data contained in them, AWS is adding support for on-demand creation of global secondary indexes, object sizes up to 400 kilobytes and easier scaling on the throughput front.

It’s also expanding the free tier thresholds on DynamoDB to 25 gigabytes of data and more than 200 million requests per month.

Supporting JSON was an inevitable move for AWS not just because it probably wants to steal some market share from MongoDB, but also because JSON support is actually becoming rather common even among relational database vendors. And more importantly, AWS’s fiercest rivals in the cloud computing space, [company]Microsoft[/company] and [company]Google[/company], both offer database services that support JSON documents. Microsoft announced its new Azure DocumentDB service in August.

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