said on Friday it will soon begin a limited-release test of its SimpleDB, a Web-based database service that will be an upgrade of its current S3 storage offering.

S3 is designed to store files or objects of larger sizes while SimpleDB will allow users to store smaller amounts and multiple sets of data accessible through a simple Web services interface.

The service is intended for smaller companies and developers with tighter budgets since users can scale their applications and create new domains as their data grows instead of having to pay up front.

SimpleDB provides the core functionality of a database, real-time lookup and simple querying of structured data, without the operational complexity, according to information posted on's web site.

An Amazon SimpleDB domain is like a worksheet, items are like rows of data, attributes are like column headers and values are the data entered in each of the cells, the company explained.

Unlike a typical spreadsheet, SimpleDB allows for multiple values to be associated with each cell. With SimpleDB, each item can have its own unique set of associated attributes; it also automatically indexes data for easier and quicker searches, according to Amazon.

Users interested in participating in the limited beta test, which is scheduled to start in several weeks, can sign up on the site. To be a tester, the user needs to have an Amazon account.

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