Amazon S3 Launches Cheaper Level of Online Backup

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-05-19

Amazon Web Services, perhaps feeling pressure from a spate of competing services from conventional storage companies as well as startups, came out May 19 with what amounts to a price cut option for its Simple Storage Service cloud backup service.

Amazon S3 Reduced Redundancy Storage is designed to store noncritical, reproducible data and files at lower levels of redundancy-meaning fewer replications on less-expensive disk storage in the S3 data center-than's standard storage.

Pricing for this brand of storage starts at 10 cents per gigabyte, compared with 15 cents per gigabyte for's regular storage. The price per gigabyte at both levels decreases as users store more data.

For example, if your business is simply keeping a backup of data or files for legal or regulatory reasons-files that are already safely stored on-site or in some other venue-then this less expensive online option might be one to consider.

Most businesses in the United States and elsewhere, however, keep such data on digital tape, either in their own data centers or with a service such as CommVault, i365 or Iron Mountain.

Digital tape, a business sector that is slowly losing market share to disk storage but still is widely used across a range of industries, remains by far the least expensive and most power-conserving way to store noncritical business and personal data and files.'s RRS option, which started operations on May 19, breaks files into data chunks and stores them on numerous devices across multiple facilities, just as its regular online storage service does.

The only difference is that it does not replicate objects as many times as standard storage, a company spokesperson said. Both storage options are designed to be available 24/7 and are backed by Amazon S3's top-line Service Level Agreement.

Plenty of new competition in the marketplace

A relatively new entry into this market, Cloud Leverage, is now offering storage at 5 cents per gigabyte with no additional charges. A number of other new providers are also elbowing each other for business, despite facing the barrier of being relatively unknown compared with, which started offering online backup in 2006.

Research has shown unequivocally that trusting a vendor with their files is the most important factor customers use in selecting an online backup provider.

Two popular online storage services charge a fee per month or per year. MozyPro Desktop charges $3.95 per month plus 50 cents  per gigabyte, per month, for unlimited storage. Carbonite Online Backup charges a flat $54.95 (with no per-gigabyte charge) for a one-year subscription to unlimited storage.

To directly compare online storage services and pricing, including Mozy, eVault (now i365), AT&T, Iron Mountain Digital, Asigra and Granite Mountain, check out this Website.

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