From Mike Arrington's post Amazon: Grid Storage Web Service Launches on TechCruch we learn
Amazon Web Service is launching a new web service tonight called
S3 - which stands for "Simple Storage Service". It is a storage service
backend for developers that offers "a highly scalable, reliable, and
low-latency data storage infrastructure at very low costs".
Here are the facts: This is a web service, and so Amazon is not
releasing a customer facing service. They are offering standards-based
REST and SOAP web services interfaces for developers. Entire classes of
companies can be built on S3 that would not have been possible before
due to infrastructure costs for the developer.
Virtually any file type is allowed, up to 5 GB. Files may be set as
public, shared or private and will have a unique URL. Pricing is
cheaper than anything else I’ve seen: $0.15 per GB of storage per
month, and $0.20 for each GB of data transferred up or downstream. This
translates to $15 per month for 100 GB of storage,
net of any transfer fees (to move that much data on to S3 would be a
one time cost of $20). These prices are going to be significantly below
the development and ongoing costs for small or medium sized storage
projects - meaning a lot of the front end services I’ve previously
profiled will be much better off moving their entire back end to S3.
This is game changing.
A reader of my blog asked me to give my thoughts on Amazon's S3. The
first question was what I thought about this in relation to Google's upcoming GDrive service.
Both offerings aren't competing but they are related. GDrive will
likely be an ad funded consumer service that offers functionality
similar to that of sites like XDrive
which enables users to store files in the "cloud" and interact with
them via a website and/or a user interface integrated into the file
explorer of their operating system. S3 is a service that can be used by
applications to store files for a set cost. One could probably build a
competitor to GDrive or XDrive using Amazon's S3.
Since my team owns Storage in the "cloud" for Windows Live, building
something like Amazon's S3 is something I've thought quite a bit about
but never actually pitched at work due to business ramifications.
Giving programmatic access to cloud storage needs a revenue model but
no one wants to charge for stuff like that since the assumption is that
Google or Yahoo! will just give it away for free. What would work
better is having something like GDrive which is ad-funded then giving
users the ability to access their files using any application that
supports the GDrive API. There is still the problem of how you prevent
"abuse" (i.e. apps that only go through the GDrive API and thus the
user never sees ads).
Being a curious developer type I read the online documentation for the Amazon S3 service
to see how hard it would be to build something like GDrive on top of
it. The tricky part seems to be that applications only get 100 buckets
which are collections of data which can contain an unlimited amount of
objects. So my GDrive app wouldn't be able to map each user to a
bucket. Instead it would either have to map each user's data to an
object (a tarball or ZIP file?) or instead come up with a custom way of
partitioning buckets into subgroups each mapping to an individual
By the way did anyone else notice that bandwidth per GB costs more
than storage per GB? The question for you viewers at home is whether
this is surprising or expected. ;)