Amazon Launches Bulk E-mail Service

Add transactional e-mail hosting and distribution to the list of services offered by Amazon Web Services.

The company today launched Simple E-mail Service (SES), which it describes as a highly scalable bulk and transactional e-mail distribution offering for businesses that send thousands or even millions of messages at once. In announcing SES, Amazon pointed to its history of using transactional messaging for its core e-retailing service.

SES is the latest addition to the Amazon cloud portfolio; it introduced Elastic Beanstalk last week, a tool designed to makes it easier for developers and IT administrators to provision and manage their apps in Amazon's cloud services, by automatically handling such deployment matters as capacity planning, load balancing, scaling, and monitoring the health of applications.

SES integrates with other Amazon cloud services, including Elastic Beanstalk, enabling customers to distribute large amounts of e-mail from applications hosted on its EC2 infrastructure. It has an API that allows access to Amazon's e-mail infrastructure, allowing developers to build, test, debug and deploy their transactional messaging applications.

"You'll be able to send e-mail without having to worry about the undifferentiated heavy lifting of infrastructure management, configuring your hosts for optimal sending, and the like," said Amazon Web Services evangelist Jeff Barr in a blog post. "Amazon SES also provides you with access to a number of metrics that will provide you with the feedback needed to tune your e-mail strategy to maximize deliverability."

Barr explained that when customers initially register, they will have access to a SES sandbox, where they can only send e-mail to addresses that they have verified. Once that is done, they can send up to 200 messages per day at a rate of one per second, enabling development and testing of applications.

"This address verification process is intended to allow you to develop and debug your application in a controlled environment," Barr noted. "It will also help to maintain your reputation as a sender of high quality e-mail."

Once an application is running, developers need to request production access using the SES Production Access Request Form. At that point, they don't have to verify addresses. SES will incrementally allow increased sending quotas based on the number of bounces and complaints that come from recipients, Barr explained.

Quotas will incrementally expand from 10,000 to 1 million daily messages within a period of weeks. The maximum send rate will start at one e-mail per second and extend to 90 per second within a period of a few weeks, he added.

Pricing for SES is 10 cents per thousand messages sent. Furthermore, Amazon is letting customers send 2,000 messages each day when the e-mails originate from EC2 or its newly announced Elastic Beanstalk tool.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.