Amazon today announced the Beta of its SNS (Simple Notification Service) service. SNS is a “push” messaging service for delivering real-time notifications to subscribers. Amazon already offers a non-push messaging service (SQS) which is primarily used for distributed applications to communicate. SQS messages are persisted in a queue so that other connected applications can ‘poll’ the queue and pull messages when they are ready. For example, a cloud app taking customer orders may send the orders as SQS messages, these could then be picked up by an on-premise order fulfillment application at the factory.
SNS, by contrast, is intended for real-time communications and will probably be consumed by people as opposed to applications. In the above example, SNS could be used to send relevant parties a confirmation/notification email of the order received. Currently SNS supports HTTP, email, and email-JSON protocols but SMS is due to be added in future. Pricing for HTTP notifications is $0.06 per 100,000 notifications sent (the first 100,000 are free), and $2.00 for 100,000 Email/Email-JSON notifications (first 1,000 are free).
This is a very useful addition to the AWS platform and will greatly reduce the amount of effort developers had to put in to create notification systems.
See the AWS SNS page for full details.