Amazon Announce “CloudSearch”

We’ve done the topic of Amazon’s development of core DAM services to death in various previous posts.  The latest update “CloudSearch” is further encroachment by Amazon on the services which many of their customers are already offering:

Amazon CloudSearch is a fully managed search service in the cloud. You can set it up and start processing queries in less than an hour, with automatic scaling for data and search traffic, all for less than $100 per month. CloudSearch hides all of the complexity and all of the search infrastructure from you. You simply provide it with a set of documents and decide how you would like to incorporate search into your application. You don’t have to write your own indexing, query parsing, query processing, results handling, or any of that other stuff. 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. With CloudSearch, you can focus on your application layer. You upload your documents, CloudSearch indexes them, and you can build a search experience that is custom-tailored to the needs of your customers.” [Read More]

Amazon are obviously boosting the low entry costs of CloudSearch; granted you can use Lucene and various other open source search tools, but they are still a fair bit of hassle to set up compared with this.

What I would predict next, is that Amazon will open their API to ‘semi-trust’ third party services vendors who will fill in the rest of the options that are a lot more DAM-specific (embedded metadata and possibly video transcoding comes to mind).  The same effects will be happening in other markets like CRM and HR also.  Those that have committed themselves to the Amazon platform will be able to take advantage of various other services provided by others that Amazon have deemed not profitable enough to be worth bothering with.  As discussed in yesterday’s article, existing vendors can expect to see the ground cut beneath from their feet in terms of the functionality available to new entrants to the market and the dramatically reduced cost of developing it.  Some of them might even decide it’s no longer worth offering their own end-user product and switch to core services for others to have a go with instead.

As with a lot of Amazon Cloud stuff, although the capital costs are low (or nill in many cases) they make their money from ‘dollar and dime’ style pricing where you pay for everything that might be of potential value (as this is the only way they can recoup their capital expenditure).  As anyone who has purchased Amazon Cloud hosting will testify, this often works out more expensive than buying it from a conventional provider that has invested in their own data centre.  In these fiscally tightened times, however, the opportunity to not fork out a lot of cash up-front and cut losses by exiting quickly if the app looks like it’s going nowhere will appeal to many.  Corporate budgets with their period oriented spending limits and visibility that extends only as far as the next financial year end are practically pre-programmed to favour this type of arrangement.  So expect to see a lot more corporate interest in Cloud DAM, combined with a dramatic rise in competing vendors to service them at ever lower prices too.

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