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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Simple Storage Service (S3) Available From Amazon

Amazon announced S3 their new online storage solution for web applications, and now you can store unlimited amounts of data on Amazon servers for US$.15 per gigabyte, paid monthly

This is their stated design philosophy:

Scalable: Amazon S3 can scale in terms of storage, request rate, and users to support an unlimited number of web-scale applications. It uses scale as an advantage: Adding nodes to the system increases, not decreases, its availability, speed, throughput, capacity, and robustness.

Reliable: Store data durably, with 99.99% availability. There can be no single points of failure. All failures must be tolerated or repaired by the system without any downtime.

Fast: Amazon S3 must be fast enough to support high-performance applications. Server-side latency must be insignificant relative to Internet latency. Any performance bottlenecks can be fixed by simply adding nodes to the system.

Inexpensive: Amazon S3 is built from inexpensive commodity hardware components. As a result, frequent node failure is the norm and must not affect the overall system. It must be hardware-agnostic, so that savings can be captured as Amazon continues to drive down infrastructure costs.

Simple: Building highly scalable, reliable, fast, and inexpensive storage is difficult. Doing so in a way that makes it easy to use for any application anywhere is more difficult. Amazon S3 must do both.

The storage space is accessed by standard SOAP and REST interfaces, and networking is handled by HTTP and BitTorrent protocols. The data streams are encrypted with customer-specific keys, and access rights are supposed to be granular enough to provide private or public storage object by object, and user by user. Apart from the storage fee, you pay $0.20 per gigabyte transferred, but there are no minimum fees and no setup costs, so you pay as you go. And the Amazon APIs overall are quite generic and should be usable for writing services that have nothing to do with Amazon per se. It's a lightweight, scalable, flexible, and redundant storage solution, and Amazon says it's secure, too.

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