The online retail giant is now housing more than 800 million digital objects in its gigantic rent-by-the-month storage service.
Amazon Simple Storage Service, launched last March by the online retail giant primarily for software developers to stow their Web applications, is filling up its servers in only its sixth month of availability, a company spokesperson told eWEEK Aug. 25.
S3 (Amazon Simple Storage Service), headquartered in Seattle, Wash., has tabulated more than 800 million total data objects saved in its rent-a-NAS-type storage server farm. Developers can store unlimited amounts of data on Amazon servers for 15 cents per gigabyte, paid monthly.
S3 was designed to support both Amazons own internal applications and the external users of the Amazon Web Services platform, but any kind of software storage is allowed.
Users can access the storage space using standard SOAP and REST interfaces, and networking is handled by HTTP and BitTorrent protocols, the spokesperson said.
The data streams are encrypted with customer-specific keys, and access rights are granular enough to provide private or public storage object by object, and user by user.
In addition to the storage fee, users pay 20 cents to transfer each gigabyte of data somewhere else, but there are no setup costs.
S3 can be used as an online backup drive or backend storage for a homebrew data warehouse with distributed, reliable access from anywhere and on demand, the spokesperson said.
The recent World Cup soccer championship sparked an upsurge in use of S3, the spokesperson said.
Early World Cup victories by Argentina triggered a flood of Web site traffic for the countrys second-largest online newspaper, La Nacion.
Uncertain whether its banner ads would survive the traffic spike, Lanacion.com searched for a better way to store and serve ads that was cheap enough not to cut into advertising profits, simple enough to get up and running immediately, and massively scalable in case the team kept winning. Thats when Lanacion.com decided to use S3.
Within hours, the site started storing ads in Amazon S3 to ease the load on its servers. After seeing how well Amazon S3 performed and how much the paper saved by using the service, Lanacion.com moved all of its ads to Amazon S3.
Read more here about Amazons storage offerings for developers.
Amazon neighbor Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash., wanted to expand its MSDN Direct Student Download program.
"We needed a storage and delivery solution that made it simple, fast, and dependable for students in hundreds of countries around the world to download our software at any time," said Joe Wilson, director of Academic Initiatives in the Developer Marketing division at Microsoft.
Microsoft wanted to scale the program up without any upfront or increased ongoing expenses, which is why it chose Amazon S3.
Microsoft expanded the program while managing to cut storage costs by more than 90 percent since switching to Amazon S3.
Amazon certainly isnt alone in offering to become the back end for Web services.
eBay has turned its Web platform into a free service. Google has APIs available for every service it offers, from GMail and Google Maps to search and advertising, all at no charge.
Yahoo has a similar range of tools available for free, and Microsofts MSN Developer Center offers yet another choice of Web platforms.
For more information on Amazons S3, go here.
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Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz