An Amazon Storage Space For Developers

Amazon Web Services today rolled out Amazon S3, a new storage service to help programmers house large amounts of data for their Web development projects.

Amazon S3, which stands for “simple storage service,” is an Internet-based storage option that frees Web builders from worrying about where they are going to store data as they work on projects that need to scale.

Internet giants Google, AOL, Yahoo and MSN are all preparing storage services.

But while those service providers are targeting their wares for consumers, Amazon said a corporation might use S3 as an off-site storage solution for data backup.

Or, a developer may be building an e-commerce site for a business that needs to handle transactions during a busy commerce season. Developers could also create consumer applications that let people store their photos, music and documents.

Amazon S3 could be the answer.

The developer could use S3 as his storage infrastructure during the creation of almost any project. There is no additional hardware involved, so it costs less than if he used traditional storage arrays.

The software includes a Web services application programming interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data from anywhere on the Internet.

The interfaces, based on REST and SOAP Web services, allow developers access to the same storage infrastructure Amazon uses to run its own Web sites.

Features of S3 include the ability to write, read and delete objects containing 1 byte to 5 gigabytes of data each. The number of files that can be stored is unlimited, and each one is stored and retrieved with an assigned key.

In true policy-based fashion, files can be made private or public, and rights can be assigned to specific users.

S3 charges developers for what they consume at a rate of 15 cents per gigabyte of storage per month and 20 cents per gigabyte of data transferred.

While most of the world knows Amazon for its e-commerce brand, the Seattle-based company created a different jungle in 2002: the Amazon Web Services platform, which provides technology and product data from Amazon to help developers build their own applications.

More than 150,000 developers have signed up to use Amazon Web Services to build anything from podcast transcription services to marketplaces for Web site advertising space. Developers make money by selling the applications they build or charging for the services they offer.

Podcast transcription service provider CastingWords is already using Amazon S3.

The company transcribes audio files into text at a rate of 42 cents per minute of audio and uses Amazon S3 to store and retrieve the audio files and the texts.

In another scenario, Amazon said, a maker of software for the motion picture industry, is using Amazon S3 to store and share digital storyboard elements with its customers around the world.

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