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January 27, 2017

AWS Cloud Directory takes on hierarchical data

Fancy your directory with a tree-like structure? AWS might have the right solution for you.

By James Nunns

The development cycle at Amazon Web Services is so fast and constant that it’s never really a surprise when the company launches a new product or service.

While many of the updates coming out of the company are relatively small additions, sometimes the cloud business comes out with something new that potentially offers plenty of value to businesses.

This time the company is launching Cloud Directory, a purpose-built service for storing large amounts of strongly typed hierarchical data. In a hierarchical database model the organisation of the data is in a tree-like structure.

AWS calls this a “building block” that is already being used to power some of its other services such as Amazon Cognito AWS Organisations. Jeff Barr, chief evangelist for AWS, said: Because it plays such a crucial role within AWS, it was designed with scalability, high availability, and security in mind (data is encrypted at rest and while in transit).”

AWS Cloud Directory hierarchical data

The managed service will only require users to define the schemas, create a directory, and then populate the directory by making calls to the Cloud directory API, which is said to be designed for speed and scale, with batch-based read and write functions.

Given the lengthy lifespan expected of a directory, AWS has future proofed it by building it around a model that makes room for change.

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Barr said: “You simply extend your existing schemas by adding new facets. This is a safe operation that leaves existing data intact so that existing applications will continue to work as expected. Combining schemas and facets allows you to represent multiple hierarchies within the same directory.

“For example, your first hierarchy could mirror your org chart. Later, you could add an additional facet to track some additional properties for each employee, perhaps a second phone number or a social network handle. After that, you can could create a geographically oriented hierarchy within the same data: Countries, states, buildings, floors, offices, and employees.”

You can find details about creating a Cloud Directory here.

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