Amazon S3: Unlimited Simple Storage
March 15, 2006 5:48 AM   Subscribe

Amazon launched S3: Unlimited Simple Storage. Take advantage of Amazon's global infrastructure to serve content, store data, and serve bittorrents.
posted by ph00dz (30 comments total)
Wait till Google does that
posted by elpapacito at 6:14 AM on March 15, 2006

Slashdot posters have done some math that indicates Amazon's pricing is ridiculously expensive compared to doing it yourself.
posted by pmurray63 at 6:21 AM on March 15, 2006

Pmurray: expensive compared to what? A standard hosting package?

The problem with a standard hosting package is that you could (and most people do) end up using far less then they pay for. I certainly know I always have. They're charging 20¢ per GB. So transferring 100gb/mo would cost $20/mo. That's fairly expensive, but I wouldn't call it "ridiculous".

Obviously you'd save money if you ran the server yourself, but you'd need to buy disks upfront, and maintain the server yourself.
posted by delmoi at 6:28 AM on March 15, 2006

Sure it's cheaper to host files from your home PC, but who wants to download something at 30kb/sec (assuming no one else is downloading at the same time)?

As long as your estimated useage falls under $10-a-month, this is the cheapest uncapped filehosting that I know of.
posted by solipse at 6:31 AM on March 15, 2006

I'm on the Amazon web services newsletter emailing list... and I ended up seeing this on Metafilter about half an hour before their own announcement showed up in my inbox!
posted by Zinger at 6:33 AM on March 15, 2006

Solipse: You forgot the cost of administrative overhead. That's the biggest component of most IT implementations. I'm guessing that it would cost at most a tenth as much to use Amazon's offering versus dedicated hosting. You'd have to save a shitload of money to justify doing it yourself at that rate -- or have other needs Amazon can't satisfy.
posted by lodurr at 6:44 AM on March 15, 2006

It's expensive by some measures, but in terms of building a web application using this storage (which your users are then paying for) it's cheap, because Amazon does all the work for you, you just interface with the API.
posted by cell divide at 6:45 AM on March 15, 2006

I don't think it's hosting, I think it's load balancing.
posted by jefgodesky at 6:46 AM on March 15, 2006

I could see hosting images and whatnot on here, ads 'n' that kind of thing.
posted by ph00dz at 7:01 AM on March 15, 2006

As someone who rents a dedicated server, and has bandwidth to spare - what strikes me as most appealing about this service is the potential to use it as a sort of digital safe deposit box. Sure, I have backup drives and DVD archives of all my work (and ten years of digital photos), but that does me no good if my drunken neighbor falls asleep smoking and my whole buiding goes up in flames.
posted by MaxVonCretin at 7:12 AM on March 15, 2006

My colo host charges something like $50 a month to backup 10Gb to a tape. With S3, that would cost me $15 for the same thing.

Once there are some more toolkits, interfaces, and other means to get data into and out of S3, I just might use it as an offsite backup for weekly saves of databases and sites.
posted by mathowie at 7:38 AM on March 15, 2006

Actually, I was wrong, my 10Gb backup would run $1.50 per month, with some transfer fees. That's pretty incredible.
posted by mathowie at 8:18 AM on March 15, 2006

But is it reliable enough to use as a backup? I mean, they don't guarantee anything do they? So it's only good for backing up stuff you don't mind losing anyway. Would GM backup their payroll data there? If not, why would I...
posted by GuyZero at 8:23 AM on March 15, 2006

pmurray63: Those slashdot posters are comparing this with the costs of storing many hundreds of Gb of media (audio, video, etc). Low-value data, stored in bulk.

That's not what this is for, IMO. Lets say I have a 50Mb customer database. Backing up the entire thing nightly, onto Amazon's multiply-redundant systems, is going to cost less than a dollar a month.
posted by Leon at 8:30 AM on March 15, 2006

One of their "design requirements":

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.

That's a helluva lot better than what most DIY dedicated hosting providers offer. Can't wait until Google and Microsoft get into this game and drive those prices down to zero. I love the way it's so nicely geared to small upstart and experimental applications.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 9:00 AM on March 15, 2006

It seems like Amazon is trying to catch up to Google in the realm of online diversification. Who would have though that the little online bookstore would be getting into web hosting? This sort of move seems to parallel Google's forays into areas like book and music searches/gmail/etc.
posted by craven_morhead at 9:03 AM on March 15, 2006

Awesome. So you could host a website on this thing, right? Or maybe just the content (like images, ads if you've got 'em, etc)? And I don't need corporate-level integrity, but is this basically as safe a backup option as storing my stuff on potentially-damagable physical media?

Amazon have gotten pretty damn big in the selling-things-to-us game. They're doing electronics now, too, and their prices are often the best I can find (the super-saver delivery thing helps there).

... it still feels kind of creepy to root for a company that size, though, regardless of the apparent benefits they bring - same as with Google. My hippy sense is tingling. There must be a down-side somewhere.
posted by Drexen at 9:18 AM on March 15, 2006


"There must be a downside somewhere."

Possibly as to how willing Amazon will be to let law enforcement paw through your stuff without a warrant. Not saying they will, but not being in charge of one's own servers always means this is a possibility.
posted by jscalzi at 9:29 AM on March 15, 2006

uhh, my host offers 250 gb transfer a month for $3. if my math is correct, s3 would charge $50. how is this awesome? i mean, theres gotta be something im not getting.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 9:38 AM on March 15, 2006

Presumably, you don't have the ability to deliver that 250gb quickly to people all over the world, you'd have to dribble it out over the course of the month. If you do high-volume stuff, this would be a real help.
posted by ph00dz at 9:46 AM on March 15, 2006

my host offers 250 gb transfer a month for $3

I imagine if you started using that much every month, you'd soon find out they don't really offer that. Either they'd insist you upgrade to a more expensive plan, or else they'd go out of business. Nobody can offer 250 GB a month for $3 unless the vast majority of customers don't actually use anywhere near that much.

S3 strikes me as Akamai for the rest of us.
posted by kindall at 10:14 AM on March 15, 2006

uhh, my host offers 250 gb transfer a month for $3

Try actually using all of that transfer they offer you for a few months and see how long you remain a customer of your host. Hosts like that oversell their capacity because they know that nobody is going to actually use anywhere close to that. If you do start using it, you'll be kicked out.
posted by willnot at 10:15 AM on March 15, 2006

This sounds like a really nice idea, but as stated by others, wait an see what happens when there's more competition.

I might actually write something to take advantage of this, but the first order of business would be to slap some pretty heavy-duty encryption on anything I send to them. I can almost guarantee that amazon, the government, hackers and anyone with a curious streak will be able to get access to anything stored there, if they really want to.

The internet is turning more and more into a brothel, everyone is open for business and wants your money, but before you pay make sure you wrap up your valuables.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:45 AM on March 15, 2006

willnot & kindall - they're a HUGE host with LOTS of infrastructure. I wouldn't surprise me if they actually could offer 250 for $3, but you've inspired me to test their claim.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 10:50 AM on March 15, 2006

Can't wait until Google and Microsoft get into this game and drive those prices down to zero.

Google: I wouldn't be surprised if they roll out something similar along with the rumored Google Wallet service. From what I've heard, the current payment system used at Google Video is horrible to use and fraught with mistakes.

Microsoft: There's already something similar in beta. Not much of a stretch to offer extra bandwidth for usage fees. Passport is being converted to Live ID and Microsoft has explicitly stated their intentions to focus on paid online services over installed software.
posted by junesix at 1:00 PM on March 15, 2006

I ended up seeing this on Metafilter about half an hour before their own announcement showed up in my inbox!

And I saw it two days ago on Techcrunch. Metafilter is way behind the attentioneconomy curve with most everything these days.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:04 PM on March 15, 2006

The ยข20 per GB won't be too much of an issue, as you can use S3 to permanently seed a torrent, with amazon running the tracker. only the minimal bandwidth costs of initial seeding and maintanence seeding when other peers drop out will be billed.

One of the issues with a buisness trying to keep a torrent seeded indefinetly is that, for worthwile applications, it can take up a lot of memory and cpu on the seeding server. Amazon has solved this by abstracting it away to their massive server farms.
posted by blasdelf at 10:26 PM on March 15, 2006

how could that stay legal tho? And couldn't you then use Amazon server space to distribute the actual things they sell on Amazon?
posted by amberglow at 10:43 PM on March 15, 2006

how could that stay legal tho? And couldn't you then use Amazon server space to distribute the actual things they sell on Amazon?

He is referring to legal torrents. An example would be a game publisher using s3 and bittorrent to get out there game demos or a small movie producer selling copies of his film or trailers using s3 & bittorrent.

I don't know what kind of due diligence amazon will have chasing down copyright infringers?
posted by Dreamghost at 3:45 AM on March 16, 2006

ahhh...will they have the right to deny certain things from being stored, or the right to poke around inside people's storage space?

And have they revealed info to the govt. before (purchasing info, or other stuff, a la public libraries have had to) ?
posted by amberglow at 2:57 PM on March 16, 2006

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