Getting started with SNS and SQS

Getting started with SNS and SQS

Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) and Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS) are the famous services which is leveraged to architect applications which are event driven and decoupled.

Event-driven architecture

Event-driven architecture (EDA) is one where the components of the architecture are triggered whenever an event has occurred. My first post on Dev.To explains more about EDA. {%post zachjonesnoel/what-why-when-event-driven-architecture-4fpa %}

Decoupled architecture

Whenever a system is architected, it is designed with the key concept of decoupling where the components of the architecture are not dependent on each other rather it functions as a stand-alone component and communicates whenever required. This exponential removes high dependence between components. And if something fails, it does not disturb the rest of the system. This is also the idea behind event-driven architecture which is extensively adapted in the serverless world.


FIFO which is abbreviated as First In First Out which preservers the order of messages such that the first message sent is the first message which is delivered.

What is SNS?

Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) as the name goes it is a notification service which works on the publisher-subscriber (Pub/Sub) messaging model. This is a fully managed messaging service for application integrations. Pub/Sub

The concepts of Pub/Sub -

  • Topic : A common medium/channel for the message delivery between a publisher and subscriber.
  • Message : The serialized message which the publisher sends to the topic without the information as to who are the subscribers and what is the action done after receiving the message.
  • Publisher : The component which sends/publishes the message to a specific topic.
  • Subscriber : The component which has subscribed/registered to listen for any incoming message from a specific topic.

SNS facilitates with publishers from external or triggered from AWS Services such as EventBridge or triggers from S3 object events, Lambda fns and many more or it could be involved programmatically with sns:publish which publish to a designated topic and all the subscribers to that specific topic receives the message.

Key features of SNS

  • Pub/Sub model makes it really easy to integrate with an existing application.
  • The types of topics offered by SNS are - Standard Topics and FIFO Topics.
  • Multiple publisher supported with AWS services natively such as S3, EventBridge, SQSand also for application integration and programmatic integration for publishing message to a topic.
  • Multiple subscribers are supported for a topic which could be Lambda fns, SQS, Kinesis, HTTP endpoint. The subscribers are not only limited to applications but also email notifications, push notifications on the mobile apps and SMS messages.
  • Attribute based filtering is supported on a topic where you can filter the message based on the message's attribute where the subscribers uses a subscription filter policy based on which the message is delivered to the satisfying subscriber.
  • Message encryption is considered an important aspect for any messaging service, this is achieved with AWS Key Management System which uses the customer master key (CMK) and 256-bit AES-GCM algorithm to encrypt the message in rest and the message is decrypted when the subscribers receive the message.


SNS pricing is categorized with type of topic and the sms cost. SMS messages are modeled as pay-as-you-go for both transactional and promotional messages. Due to geographic restrictions and also international SMS cost would apply. Based on topic cost is - Standard topic has first 1 million requests per month free and $0.50 per 1 million requests thereafter FIFO topic has Publish API requests $0.30 per 1 million and $0.017 per GB of payload data. Subscription messages are $0.01 per 1 million and $0.001 per GB of payload data. More details available in SNS Pricing.

What is SQS?

Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS) is the message queuing service. This fully-managed service helps applications which leverages serverless architectures, micro-services architectures and distributed services to design and architect a perfect decoupled application. SQS

Key features of SNS

  • Types of queues offered by SQS - Standard Queue and FIFO Queue.
  • Dead Letter Queue (DLQ) supported for the messages which are not processed.
  • Message encryption with AWS Key Management System is supported where the message is encrypted as soon as it is pushed into the queue and encrypted until in the queue whereas it is decrypted when sent to the consumer.
  • Long polling helps reducing the cost of explicit polling. The long polling request can wait upto 20 seconds until the next message is received when the queue is empty.
  • Recently, AWS announced SQS Queues can be trigger Lambda functions which belong to another AWS Account. {%post aws-builders/sqs-queue-with-across-account-lambda-triggers-4job%}


SQS has the free tier with 1 million SQS requests free and after which the cost is categorized with the type of queue per million requests. More details available in SQS Pricing