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Amazon CloudSearch: What It Is & Why Should You Use It

Amazon CloudSearch: What It Is & Why Should You Use It

Amazon CloudSearch: What It Is & Why Should You Use It
date_range - 3 weeks ago

People today upload and consume a lot more content than they did just several years before.

And this affects the way people search for content. From smaller personal blogs to huge webshops with hundreds of thousands of items, nowadays almost every website has an implemented search engine. And rightfully so - there’s so much data online that web visitors want to scour through the content as efficiently as possible to find what they want.

The function of search engines is to go through this data (documents) and to find the best matching results for the web visitor’s query. The most relevant items are listed first. The content that the search engine goes through can be unstructured, which is usually the case with smaller/simpler websites. Larger websites with more advanced databases can input additional fields or attributes to the data that can be searched individually. For example, listeners can search for a particular genre on a music streaming website.

Amazon CloudSearch

Amazon CloudSearch is defined as ‘a managed service in the AWS Cloud that makes it simple and cost-effective to set up, manage, and scale a search solution for your website or application’.

Amazon CloudSearch supports 34 languages and is focused on adding rich search functionality to an application to manage a large quantity of data. It is possible to implement it without investing in hardware, setup, and maintenance. Also, it is very easy to operate so you don’t have to be a search expert.

Building a search solution with Amazon Cloudsearch is a 3 step process: 1) you create and configure your search domain, 2) you upload the data to that domain for Amazon CloudSeach to index it and deploy the search index, and 3) search your domain. You can always further modify search parameters to fine-tune the relevancy and edit the settings.

Amazon CloudSearch is capable of indexing and searching both plain text and structured data. It has a lot of features, some of them are:

  • Geospatial search;
  • Highlighting;
  • Autocomplete suggestion;
  • Faceting;
  • Field weighting;
  • Term boosting;
  • Free text, Boolean, and Faceted search;
  • Sloppy phrase search;
  • Support for multiple query parsers: simple, structured, lucene, dismax;
  • Full text search with language-specific text processing;
  • Enhanced range searching for all field types.

Benefits: why you should use it

Amazon CloudSearch has several benefits over running your own search service.

These are the most important ones:

Simple

Amazon CloudSearch is simple to create, edit, and maintain. There are three ways of configuring and managing it: through the AWS management console, AWS CLI (AWS Command Line), and AWS SDKs. When you point to a sample of your data, Amazon CloudSearch will automatically give suggestions on how to configure the indexing options of your domain. Furthermore, you can modify search choices, and add and delete index fields.

Scalable

If you manage a successful website, it will grow with time - you will experience larger traffic (query volume), or have to upload more data. Either way, Amazon Cloudsearch offers robust autoscaling. It will automatically scale your domain’s resources up and down, depending on the volume changes and traffic. You can regulate and control that scaling yourself if you are expecting a surge in website visitors.

Cost-Effective

Amazon CloudSearch is cost-effective. The hourly rates are low, with a pay-as-you-go pricing plan, which means you only pay for the resources you use (search instances, document batch uploads, IndexDocuments requests, and data transfer). There are no extended contracts or up-front costs. Therefore, the overall cost of ownership is very low, especially compared to maintaining your own search engine.

Secure

Amazon CloudSearch feature uses AWS Cloud Trail to perform audits, supports HTTPS, and integrates with AWS IAM (Identity and Access Management) which governs access to the services, documents, and search. When authenticating users it employs advanced cryptographic algorithms to prevent unwanted access.

Fully Managed

With Amazon CloudSearch you don’t have to think about setup and configuration, patching, monitoring, data partitioning, data durability, scaling, or hardware and software provisioning. It is a fully managed custom service that does everything for you.

Conclusion

If you are running a website, you should implement a search engine, especially if you have a lot of traffic. Your website visitors want to be able to efficiently scour through all the data to find the content they’re interested in.

Amazon CloudSearch is a managed AWS Cloud service that adds rich search functionality to your application or website. It is easy to operate, and it supports 36 languages. It has a lot of features such as autocomplete suggestion, highlighting, geospatial search, field weighting, faceting, term boosting, etc.

There are many benefits to using CloudSerach: it is reliable, fully managed, and offers high performance. It is simple to create and edit. It is very cost-effective, with a pay-as-you-go model. It automatically scales with your website and it is secure.

If you want to know more:

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