Amazon Simple Notification Service Announces SMS Support

Amazon have announced that the Simple Notification Service (SNS) now supports SMS text messages as a new method for notifications. This is a welcome addition to the SNS service.

Amazon SNS is a Web service that allows applications to send notifications from the cloud. These are then delivered to subscribers or other applications for consumption. Working with SNS requires the setting up of a topic which can be viewed as the asynchronous communication channel between senders and receivers. Subscribers can register their interest in receiving messages from the topic. When registering, the protocol to be used is selected from HTTP(S), SMTP, SMTP (JSON), Amazon SQS and now the newly added SMS. Senders publish a message to the topic which then delivers it to all registered subscribers.

SNS provides application developers with a highly scalable, flexible and cost effective communication channel. I have used it in my companies retail application for a number of scenarios, including customer order status notifications and also emailing special offer deals. The addition of SMS support offers even more opportunities for us to use SNS.

There are some restrictions to the SMS support at the moment. Firstly, it is currently only available for topics configured in the US-east coast region and for US phone numbers. Each message payload is restricted to 140 ASCII characters or 70 Unicode characters. Any message exceeding these restrictions will be truncated. Support for other regions is to be provided over the next few months. The pricing is attractive – the first 100 SNS SMS notifications per month are free and then $0.06 per 100,000 SNS notifications thereafter.

The new SMS support provided by SNS is another example of the way Amazon AWS continues to grow by adding more services that integrate with those already there to provide cost effective infrastructure solutions. For anybody wishing to gain an in-depth understanding of Amazon Web Services and how to effectively use the services and integrate them into a coherent cloud computing solution for your organisation, Learning Tree have developed a 4 day hands-on course. If you are interested, more details can be found here.

Chris Czarnecki

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