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Amazon's New Storage Service 237

dlaur writes to tell us that today Amazon announced their Simple Storage Service (S3) allowing users to store unlimited amounts of data at $0.15 per GB paid monthly. From the article: "S3 was purportedly built to support both Amazon's own internal applications and the external users of the Amazon Web Services platform. That should be proper motivation to build a service that's fast and robust enough for mission critical use, yet flexible enough to support any storage task thrown at it."
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Amazon's New Storage Service

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  • Encryption (Score:5, Interesting)

    by grahamsz ( 150076 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @03:28AM (#14922423) Homepage Journal
    I wonder how long it'll take to build a backup solution that encrypts your data locally with a private key before sending it off to amazon. That way they wouldn't be able to look through it, and at 15c/month/gig it'd be pretty affordable for home backups
    • Re:Encryption (Score:5, Insightful)

      by this great guy ( 922511 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @03:31AM (#14922431)
      Current hard disks sell for 40c/gig. If you plan to keep your data for >3 months, it is more economical to use you harddisks. Though your solution has other advantages (data accessible from anywhere, no need to administer yourself your servers, etc).
      • Re:Encryption (Score:4, Insightful)

        by grahamsz ( 150076 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @03:36AM (#14922449) Homepage Journal
        But hard disks present their own challenges.

        You should really use some sort of redundant arrangement to make sure that a failure of your backup device wont result in data loss.

        You then need to either offsite the drives or keep them in a firesafe, in which case you probably need two sets of them so that you can keep one live and the other somewhere safe.

        And of course the amazon solution leaves your data accessiblwe from anywhere.
        • Re:Encryption (Score:5, Insightful)

          by eric76 ( 679787 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @03:46AM (#14922482)
          First, hard drives are a very poor choice for backups. In addition to media failure, you also have serious problems with failure of the electronic hardware. There are just too many single points of failure. Tape is far superior.

          Second, unless you have an extraordinary fire-proof safe, off site if far superior. Fire-proof safes are really only fire resistant -- it is merely a question of how long it takes for the internal contents to get warm enough to destroy the contents.
          • I'm of the belief that hard drives can be built into an excellent backup system. So long as you expect that they'll all fail and design around that then you can do fairly well.

            I'm not really sure about the fire-safe issue. I know my old univerirsty (Edinburgh) had a catastrophic fire a few yaers ago and they pulled the backup tapes from the firesafe the following day and they were back up and running in no time.

            The other problem with tape is that you need discipline. You need to actually go in each day/week
            • It is important to note that tape is less reliable than HDD at a consumer level. If you only back up your data (not media) then the web solution means that you are likely to pay only ~$1.80/year for offsite storage of your truely important data (scans of marrige/birth certs, passport, SS card, masters thesis, etc.)
          • No. The pb with tapes is that their data throughput is slow, they are not random access devices, not as reliable as what you would think, more expensive than hard drives, and currently losing popularity. I interviewed about 2 year ago at a petroleum company which has Petabytes of data to backup weekly and they were precisely migrating to hard drive-based backup systems for these very reasons. The higher rate of failure of hard drives can easily be compensated by making 2 or 3 copies of your backups. The f

          • First, hard drives are a very poor choice for backups

            I beg to differ. Hard drives are the fastest, easiest to use, and most convenient option available today. Tapes simply haven't kept up with the growth of hard drive capacity.

            Tape is far superior.

            Nope. If you're doing anything other than a complete dump or restore, tapes are a major pain to deal with. It's far more likely that I'll be recovering a single file than an entire volume, and I can be waiting for a LONG time if that file happens to be near
            • by Dibblah ( 645750 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @05:56AM (#14922793)
              Not with any of the recent tape formats. They're all "serpentine" - That is, a very narrow track (up to 1/512 of the width of the tape) goes from the start to the end of the tape. The head then moves down a fraction, and writes the next track "backwards".

              This means that the seek time is reduced by up to 512x. Of course, this isn't free - Tape wear is increased since there are many, many more passes over the tape.
          • Re:Encryption (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Master of Transhuman ( 597628 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @04:54AM (#14922658) Homepage
            Here we go again.

            Tape has fewer points of failure than a hard drive?

            Oh, please...

            Explain to me why the entire industry is moving to disk-to-disk recovery backup with tape relegated to archival backup.

            Explain to me why most data is kept on hard drives for day to day use if they are so failure prone.

            Optimum backup requires disk-to-disk for quick and absolutely reliable recovery. For security, disk-to-disk over the network to an offsite location allows for fully automated reliable offsite backup, but it is expensive in bandwidth even if you only transmit deltas. For offsite storage where netword bandwidth is not available or too expensive, for long-term archival storage, tape is useful - provided the tapes are maintained properly, stored properly and not overused.

            Modern tape systems can be very fast and very large, and can cost less than equivalent capacity disk drives, but the fact of the matter is that industry studies show more problems with tape backups than with disk backups. Between equipment failure and operator error, tape backup is problematical for recovery purposes.

            • Re:Encryption (Score:5, Insightful)

              by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @06:55AM (#14922938)
              Tape has fewer points of failure than a hard drive?

              It does, because, unlike hard-drives, the media and the reading mechanism separate components. If your read head drives on your hard-drive, it is difficult and expensive (but not impossible) to retrieve your data.

              Explain to me why the entire industry is moving to disk-to-disk recovery backup with tape relegated to archival backup.


              Explain to me why most data is kept on hard drives for day to day use if they are so failure prone.


              Hard drives are more prone to failures than tape drives, but that can be alleviated through stuff like RAID. Hard drives are more convenient than tape for all but the most fundamental backup needs (full backup, full restore).I prefer to use hard drives too; but they are more prone to failure than tape. If I had to choose to trust all my data to a single tape or a single hard drive, I'd go tape every time. If I had the capacity to create a redundant array of hard drives, I'd go with hard drives. If I needed offsite storage on a budget, I'd go with tape - it's easier to transport and store than a hard drive array. If I had the money for it, or my needs were simple enough that the solution wasn't that expensive, I'd go for a local hard drive array backup, and a remote network backup.

              That last one is, in fact, the backup system I use at home. I have a cheap RAID array, and a script that encrypts my most important files and FTPs them to a friend's computer once a week. My important files are mostly source code and documents I've written myself - it doesn't chew through much bandwidth or storage space.
              • Aside from convenience and speed, you're forgetting another component: cost. Hard drives are significantly cheaper than tape, and don't require regular replacement.

                At a previous job, our typical SAN solution was a fibre RAID (or two if super-redundant) that was backed up to a larger SATA array. A hard drive backup was about half the price of tape, significantly faster, and much more convenient. With RAID 5 and a hot spare (or two) the only downside of backing up to SATA is the lack of portability...but if y
            • You are both right and both wrong.

              There is no such thing as "the general purpose backup problem". There are two problems - backup as a defence against a luser error or minor failure and backup as a defence against a system failure or a catastrophic failure. Or in backup architecture terms you have to deal with operational recovery and disaster recovery.

              Tapes suck rotten eggz for operational recovery. With all advances they are much slower then disk based solutions.

              Disks suck for disaster recovery. Once you
              • > Once you add removeability in the equation the cost of backup to disk for disaster (offsite or fire safe) recovery is much higher than tape.

                An external IDE case with USB 2.0 and Firewire ports is about $50 at CompuUSA.
                Now explain to me how adding 'removeability' to the equation makes disk much more expensive than tape?
      • Obviously Amazon S3 doesn't fill that niche. However, there is inherent value to offsite storage that the local harddrive cannot fill. Disaster recovery is getting to be a big deal, less than a year out from Hurricane Katrina. The question is, if I put my data on S3, what is Amazon's redundancy plan? This is a pay service so I expect that if that datacenter gets blown away, there will be a backup of some sort. This is a pay service and you may have some enterprises relying on this.
    • Re:Encryption (Score:5, Informative)

      by The Hobo ( 783784 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @03:41AM (#14922461)
      Upload truecrypt files

      Open source, cross-platform, creates a strongly encrypted file that the program can mount as a real HD, you can mount it on any platform, does transparent encryption (for example in WinXP, it mounts itself with a drive letter, you can throw stuff in directly just as if it were a real drive, and it encrypts as it goes in) []

      You can do it in say N meg chunks or something, I guess you'd have to create a new truecrypt partition every time, but I don't really know much about it, just tried it out and it seems neat
      • If by "cross platform," you mean "Windows XP/2000/2003 and Linux."

        Call me back when it runs on OS X.
      • There's no Mac version, and no plans for one either according to the current forums and FAQ. Windows + Linux != cross-platform; maybe you could call it "dual platform." Too bad, it sounds like useful software.
      • I love TrueCrypt. I have been using it daily to mount an encrypted volume from a USB Flash Drive drive with portable apps [] like Portable Thunderbird, Portable Firefox, Portable GAIM, and Portable FileZilla on it. Very easy to use, and keeps my personal information under wraps.

    • Re:Encryption (Score:5, Insightful)

      by misleb ( 129952 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @04:04AM (#14922539)
      Except that the upload speeds for most home users is pretty bad. You'd spending a lot of time pushing files depending on exactly what you chose to backup.

    • I wonder how long it'll take to build a backup solution that encrypts your data locally with a private key before sending it off to amazon.

      If you're using a Mac, then it's basically already done. Create an encrypted disk image in the Disk Utility program, mount it, use it like any other volume, and send the .dmg file to Amazon anytime you want it backed up.

      • Re:Encryption (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Xenna ( 37238 )
        The way you describe it makes it sound quite useless. We need full as well as incremental backups (who wants to upload 10 GB every night???) that can be automated to run nightly. Manual backups are worse than useless.

        A good Open Source encrypted back up solution that makes use of this in an intelligent way would be great. I really want to automatically store my photo's and important document outside my house. Houses do burn occaionally, computers get stolen by burglars. No need to loose all your important d
    • Poor Amazon. What awful timing. Google are about to offer the same thing for free, yet Amazon think people will pay $0.15 per month ($1.80 a year) per gigabyte stored?

      For businesses, a tape backup is better and cheaper than S3.
      For home users, a DVD+/-R is better and cheaper than S3.

      Google's won't be better than the tape/DVD options, but at least it will be cheaper. (free)

      Of course, this is all assuming Google are going to offer their storage service for free, but I think that's a safe bet.
      • For businesses, a tape backup is better and cheaper than S3.
        For home users, a DVD+/-R is better and cheaper than S3.

        Except that tape/DVD backup doesn't, in and of itself, guarantee geographic redundancy. You need to then take those tapes or DVDs and store them in a secure location offsite. That may or may not be expensive, depending on how paranoid your are, or how sensitive your files are. But even if you just take them home and put them under the mattress, it's impossible to automate.

        Whereas w
        • Whereas with an offering like S3, you could simply setup a cron job to zip, crypt, and send your critical files each night. This is obviously only good when only a reasonably small amount of data needs to be transferred - even good connections are going to have trouble sending 10 gig of data each night.

          Also, TFA goes on to say: "Apart from the storage fee, you pay $0.20 per gigabyte transferred". That would add up quickly to pay for redundant physical storage of your own. It also mentions the various ways

  • API proliferation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gordyf ( 23004 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @03:30AM (#14922430)
    It's good to see more sites adding APIs to their web services (Amazon already has other web services [], as does Yahoo and Google of course). It's becoming even easier for "mere mortals" to link together new technologies to make innovative new systems, but I wonder if this reliance on third-party systems comes at a cost, perhaps to reliability or security?

  • by DrJimbo ( 594231 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @03:32AM (#14922437)
    For each Gig of storage you use, Amazon gets a free Gmail account and uses that for storing your data.

    With virtually no cost for this storage, they can make a killing charging $0.15/Gig/month.

  • by dcapel ( 913969 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @03:32AM (#14922439) Homepage
    The Department of Homeland Security announced it has started a data hosting service. They encourage backing up of family pictures, journals, and irc chats, among other things. There is no monthly cost, but encrypters need not apply. When questioned on how this is a good use of taxpayers money, they simply replied that they wanted material to test their new indexing algorithms on.

    Apply now at

  • by Nomihn0 ( 739701 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @03:32AM (#14922440)
    This is an interesting case of diversification. Amazon, no longer content to be the middle man e-tailer, is shifting it's weight into Google's territory with a service-based profit model. If this trend continues at Amazon, I have to wonder if Google will make a hostile bid for its newfound competitor.
      Here is a Link to EPIC [], a speculative piece on the future of media, including the GoogleZon segment.
  • Sign me up (Score:2, Insightful)

    This sounds good, as of lately my maxtor one touch HDD has been getting more and more corrupt sectors, and I am sick of running chkdsk overnight on it. I figure it's going to die on me soon and I don't look forward to getting another HDD.

    Anyways, back on topic, at $0.15 a gig, it would take a long time before buying a hdd would be more affordable for me. (my hdd is 250g, I use about 100g, 100g = 15$, so after 10 months thats 150$... Still cheaper than this HDD that I didn't even get a year ago, on sale, for
    • Re:Sign me up (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EvanED ( 569694 ) <evaned@gmail. c o m> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @03:56AM (#14922513)
      Anyways, back on topic, at $0.15 a gig, it would take a long time before buying a hdd would be more affordable for me. (my hdd is 250g, I use about 100g, 100g = 15$, so after 10 months thats 150$... Still cheaper than this HDD that I didn't even get a year ago, on sale, for 200$)

      Um, you should look at hard drive prices of today if you're going to be comparing server prices of today. Even retail prices put a 160 GB hard drive [] at $120. If you are willing to count the rebate price of that drive (it was at the top of the list; I didn't choose it because of the rebate explicitly), it's $50. That's 80 cents and 31 cents per gig respectively. Even if you count just the 100 GB, with rebate that's only 50 cents/gig. In under 4 months that way you'll break even.

      Besides, whatcha gonna do? Run your programs remotely? Run your OS over the internet? I don't think so. You'd need a local mirror anyway, so you'd need that new hard drive.

      This service has a lot of use, but from a backup standpoint I do NOT think it's at all a good option. Too expensive and too much hassle transferring that much data to make it worth it. (Are you really going to upload 100 gig? Even at a sustained rate of 150 KB/s upload (quite good from my experience over cable) that'd take over a week.)
      • The initial bandwidth required to get a large quantity of data online is quite high, but the incremental cost is probably not.

        Largely i'd want to back up my documents and my digital photos, and while i probably have about 15 gigs right now, i dont produce more than a couple of hundred megabytes a week. For $3 or $4/month i'd take that over pissing around with my own backups (or probably in addition to).
      • Re:Sign me up (Score:2, Insightful)

        by EvanED ( 569694 )
        I know it's lame to reply to yourself, but I want to amend this by saying that I think it would work great for small backups, like if you just want to backup the documents you've written. But doing that has little impact on the hard drive situation anyway, because you'll still need to get a new one before the current one dies or face a LOT of time reinstalling stuff (at which point you'll wish you spent the money now). Putting stuff on Amazon might let you delay a bit more though and still keep the peace of
      • This service has a lot of use, but from a backup standpoint I do NOT think it's at all a good option. Too expensive and too much hassle transferring that much data to make it worth it.

        3 words: Off-site backup.

        The hassle isn't too great when your place burns down, or lightning strikes your box (and don't think a "surge suppressor" is going to save you), or the cops come and grab all your computer stuff. Some stuff you don't want to lose.

        • 3 words: Off-site backup. The hassle isn't too great when your place burns down, or lightning strikes your box (and don't think a "surge suppressor" is going to save you), or the cops come and grab all your computer stuff. Some stuff you don't want to lose. 17 words: Shoving A DVD-R In An Envelope And Sending It To Your Mom's Place In Your Own Name
        • It's still easier and, in the long term, cheaper to get an extra hard drive (or really two, so that you can rotate) and back up to that. If you're talking about doing a full hard drive back up, Amazon would be way too slow and cost-prohibitive. Even ignoring bandwidth charges, it'd take under a year to recoup the extra initial investment in getting a hard drive. Bandwidth would be unmatched. Just do, say, weekly rotations of two drives. Back up to one drive, at the end of the week move it offsite and get th
  • Worthless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mindcry ( 596198 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @03:42AM (#14922468)
    lets see... for a year of 200gigs, that's $360 USD.

    couldn't I jut buy a new hard drive every year or burn hundreds of DVDs for far far less? not to mention they'd be secure from whatever prying eyes or security holes an online backup provides.
    • Re:Worthless (Score:4, Insightful)

      by grahamsz ( 150076 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @03:47AM (#14922485) Homepage Journal
      But what if that hard drive fails.

      Well sure, hard drives are cheap why not just keep two of them.

      But then what if your house burns down. You'd better make another set of your backup drives so that you can have one array live and one array off-site.

      This seems like an amazingly good price for managed storage, if it's as reliable as amazon claim then there's certainly some data that i'll put on it.
    • Clearly it isn't good for all uses. Does it sound damn tempting for a person a few gig of personal documents they want backedup? Hell yes. HDs and DvDs can break or be lost. For a couple of bucks a month you could back up everything, have it in a safe place that is not going to break or burn down, and know exactly where it is.
    • Re:Worthless (Score:4, Informative)

      by mikeage ( 119105 ) <> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @04:45AM (#14922639) Homepage
      you could. But not everyone wants to back up 200GB worth of data.

      I have my backups categorized as follows:

      High priority (documents, records, etc): 150MB
      Medium priority (digital pictures, code, etc): 8GB
      Low priority (movies, mp3, etc): 430GB

      The first gets backup up nightly to a remote machine, as well as weekly dumps to CDs
      The second is rsync'ed nightly to my website (not my machine -- shared hosting)
      The third gets a RAID5 array, but that's it

      For the first (and maybe the second) category, Amazon would be much more economical than doing it myself onto another, designated, disk.
      • my first use of this is to back up my itunes purchases. 507 songs, say at 4 MB per song, is about 2 GB of data. the upload will cost $0.40 and it will cost $0.30 per month to store the songs there. this is PERFECT.

        (until google comes out and is free.)
  • by lux55 ( 532736 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @03:44AM (#14922474) Homepage Journal
    Since this is nothing more than an API to access data, I wonder if this couldn't be used as the backend storage for existing file storage services, instead of paying for servers and bandwidth yourself...

    This limits costs to storage actually used (at $0.15/GB which is a very fair rate), and bandwidth actually used. The cost that could add up is the bandwidth, where you'd obviously have to direct users to the amazon URL directly to avoid using bandwidth to get the file then to pass it on too.

    Plus, at $0.20/GB of bandwidth, upload/download could get expensive still, with no cap on that cost. For example, 2,000 GB of bandwidth, which is bundled with most low-end dedicated servers nowadays (ie. even the sub-$99/mo. machines), this would cost you $400 from Amazon. That's pretty steep, and may be the limiting factor making it unfeasible for this idea. Interesting nonetheless.
    • by the ed menace ( 30307 ) <edwardjung@ h o t m a i> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @04:01AM (#14922531)
      In general you might think that the cost per gig you pay and the cost per gig that Amazon pays is similar. And you would be right. But to obtain high reliability you will pay more.

      Amazon, or anybody who tries to build a large distributed storage service, can spread out the probability of disk errors over a larger set of users than you are able to do. The marginal cost to replace a disk that has failed, on a per user basis, is therefore lower for Amazon.

      Moreover, the overhead to manage many disks does not increase linearly to the number of disks. Put another way, their per user cost to manage the disks is lower than you.

      The cost equation is less about purchasing the storage than maintaining it through the inevitable failures over time. This makes the gigabyte-based usage cost very fair, since it is proportional to the rate of error. The access cost manages their bandwidth expense.

      What I would like from a service like this is a pricing guarantee -- if they maintain the same pricing two years from now, it will be a ripoff given the diminishing cost of storage and bandwidth. It would be nice to have it pegged to some kind of disk/bandwidth industry index.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Internet hard drives were tried years ago during the dot-com bubble and failed miserably. What's different about Amazon's service? If I can buy a whole new hard drive for about 30 cents a gig, why would I want the hassle of uploading and downloading from a remote site?

    Not to mention the time it would take to upload a few gigabytes -- cable modems are good at downloading, but they are NOT good at uploading.
    • Upload speeds years ago were far lower than they are now. The slowest upload speed you get on British ADSL is 256kB/s which works out at just over 9 hours per gig. That's not great, but anyone wanting the upload gigabytes of data on a regular basis would probably have a faster connection (SDSL with 1 meg up isn't too expensive for the kind of business likely to have that much data - and that's just on a phone line. Special lines can get much higher). Leaving your photo collection to upload over night (m
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @03:58AM (#14922520)
    While $0.15/Gb/month is reasonable, the poster fails to mention Amazon will also charge $0.20/Gb on transfer. So while you will pay $15/month for your 100 Gb pr0n collection, you will also pay $20 to upload it, and a further $20 to download the whole lot to your cube-buddy's computer.

    From TFA: "Apart from the storage fee, you pay $0.20 per gigabyte transferred, but there are no minimum fees and no setup costs, so you pay as you go."

    Still, not bad - but the economics for the home user are a little less ideal than first reported.
    • but the major upload/download are 1 time costs. you're not going to be uploading 100gb everyday or month. You'll probably upload 100gb the 1st time you set up your backup account, and then every night, you just update the files that changed or new files that got added, which might amount to a couple hundred megs which is a few pennies.

      And you'd never have to download until you really need it, and at that time, cost is hardly ever a factor.
    • by OpticalPaul ( 936448 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @05:11AM (#14922693)
      When Amazon lets me pay for the storage, and have other registered users pay the bandwidth charges (plus my profit) to access my content, then they'll have an interesting business. Unless Google beats them to it.

      As it is, online remote storage with ongoing upload, download, and storage fees hardly seems interesting.

    • Not that bad for 100 gigs of content, but you would probably just lend him an external HD for some days and have it back.

      I prefer that than some kind of restriction on the number of people I can share the data with. Anyway I agree on the importance of that figure.
  • Terms Of Service (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kristoph ( 242780 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @04:03AM (#14922534)
    8) If your Application is determined (for any reason or no reason at all, in our sole discretion) to be unsuitable for Amazon Web Services, we may suspend your access to Amazon Web Services or terminate this Agreement at any time, without notice.

    I am not sure I see the point of using a storage service that has the right to unilaterally terminate my agreement and thus, presumably, destroy anything I have stored.

    • Actually, a little further in the agreement they specify that they are only allowed to delete your data 30 days after terminating the agreement with you. So they certainly intend to give you safety against that (the details of how you get your data back after the agreement was terminated I don't know, but at least it's nice to see that they have recognized the concern).
  • by DieByWire ( 744043 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @04:05AM (#14922542)
    Users with data like yours also had the following data...
  • by Toby The Economist ( 811138 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @04:06AM (#14922545)
    I find it disturbing that I do not trust the State enough to place my data with a third party provider for fear of my privacy potentially being violated.

    Of course, my data is unimportant and the State has no interest in me; but *as such* it should be the case that my data isn't even *potentially* accessable to the State - and yet I rather suspect that it is.

    As such, I am actually now being suppressed by the State; the State behaves in such a way that I, to preserve my privacy, have to protect myself.

    The State is way, way too big for its own good; it's destroying now the freedoms it was created to protect.
    • I find it disturbing that I do not trust the State enough to place my data with a third party provider for fear of my privacy potentially being violated.

      Why trust the state, or Amazon? Just encrypt anything you put on their servers. Trust the math.

      The State is way, way too big for its own good;

      For it's own good, or for our own good?


    • I find it disturbing that I do not trust the State enough to place my data with a third party provider for fear of my privacy potentially being violated.

      This is a result of the current political climate.

      File hosting services have been around forever, e.g. Yahoo Briefcase. It's when stories are leaked about domestic spying, governments pressing service providers for private information, law-abiding people getting bullied for being Muslim or critical of the current administration, that's when things you

  • by vuzman ( 888872 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @04:08AM (#14922549)
  • forget it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by penguin-collective ( 932038 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @04:10AM (#14922554)
    My minimal requirements would be Webdav, sftp, and rsync-ssh; SOAP and REST I don't care about.

    Oh, and also it should come from a company that isn't running a vast data mining operation.
    • Re:forget it (Score:4, Informative)

      by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @06:17AM (#14922845)
      Apparently all the objects you create in their 'buckets' are encrypted and secure from everyone. So, fine with that.

      I would like to see them implement rsync to get data to them, but as its primarily a data-storage service, and not a backup-service (ie its for your web app to hold and access data, not to dump nightly backups on), I doubt we'll see rsync ever, especially as rsync does require CPU time which I bet they have little of in comparison to the vast amounts of storage space.

      Google are apparently working on a simialr storage system, so we'll have to see what they come up with. If you want backups.. bqinternet are very popular, and support rsync, and is roughly the same price as Amazon once you start storing a certain amount.
      • I would like to see them implement rsync to get data to them, but as its primarily a data-storage service, and not a backup-service (ie its for your web app to hold and access data,

        rsync is a general protocol for transfering data between different machines; it's not just useful for backup.

        Furthermore, many UNIX applications store data in directories and use file system primitives for moving them around; rsync is a good choice for that.
  • I'll just keep MY data on my OWN machine where the government cannot get their grubby little hands on it.
    • Backdoors, keys to which the goverment has access, internet traffic sniffing, wiretapping phone calls and always having the backup option of sending some guys to knock on your door.. Never think the goverment can't get their hands on your data, chances are, all your data is already belonging to them :-)
    • I'll just keep MY data on my OWN machine where the government cannot get their grubby little hands on it.

      Do you have a means to destroy your drives if the government shows up with a warrant? If not, don't kid yourself: they'll get their grubby hands on your data anytime they choose to do so.

  • 1. Use $150,000,000 to request an exabyte of information for a month.
    2. Proceed to write internet worm that does a distributed upload of random garbage.
    3. Amazon is unable to satisfy your requests since no one has ever produced an exabyte.
    4. Demand Amazon pay you back damages with a multiple of your original investment.
    5. Profit!

    I rub my hands together in evil dictatorial glee. Mwahahahaha.
  • Backup Buddies? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @04:23AM (#14922584) Homepage

    It seems like this new service would be best for offsite backup of prescious data.

    However, it isn't all that cost-effective. A local disk is very cheap comparatively, but (as a friend of mine found out) if someone steals your computer, they steal your backup too.

    Are there any services out there which connects people with reasonable connections over long distances to back-up eachothers data? I'd be willing to get a new 80GB drive and make it available via a private FTP server if someone else would do the same for me.

    Or are there cheaper offsite solutions than Amazon's?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Comment removed based on user account deletion
      • I just looked at DIBS ... I'm very impressed.

        It's a good concept -- everyone gives some space on their local drive, and in exchange gets to break up their files and store them across others' systems, in encrypted form.

        It seems like another one of those projects where the most difficult part is going to be boot-strapping the userbase and community necessary to create the pool of always-available hardware resources so the thing will function. I haven't looked into it too much, maybe it's already there.
    • Re:Backup Buddies? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kfg ( 145172 )
      . . . if someone steals your computer, they steal your backup too.

      If you're silly enough to keep your solitary backup in your frickin' computer.

      Go tell your friend that God has invented external drives. Then tell him that you'll keep his if he'll keep yours.

    • Allmydata (Score:3, Interesting)

      by P!Alexander ( 448903 )
      I've tried Allmydata [] in the past and had some success. They use a peer-to-peer system to back your files up. The free plan requires a 10:1 ratio (you share 10 megs, you get 1 meg). Not bad if you have a lot of free drive space sitting there doing nothing. I think it uses bittorrent as its transfer method but I can't remember exactly how it works and the web page is short on details.

      I just got the most recent version (1.3) and haven't played with it much but the last one I had a lot of trouble with, sometime
  • I was hoping for a bookshelf. I wanted a somewhere to store my books and all I got was this lousy online file store.
  • by core plexus ( 599119 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @04:39AM (#14922626) Homepage
    "Only wimps use tape backup: _real_ men just upload their important stuff on ftp, and let the rest of the world mirror it ;)" (1996)

    Quickplacer, the fastest robot in the world []

  • BitTorrent (Score:5, Interesting)

    by elrond1999 ( 88166 ) * on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @04:44AM (#14922637)

    Built to be flexible so that protocol or functional layers can easily be added. Default download protocol is HTTP. A BitTorrent (TM) protocol interface is provided to lower costs for high-scale distribution. Additional interfaces will be added in the future.

    Amazon supports BitTorrent for the storage. Does that mean they run the tracker? Interesting way to save on transfer fees that :)
  • by Leolo ( 568145 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @04:48AM (#14922647) Homepage
    I read the documentation this afternoon. Very clever use of REST, SOAP and BitTorrent. They provide client libraries for many languages.

    I can see why Amazon is providing this; to make money off their excess bandwidth and storage space.

    I can't really see why a customer would want to use it though. Why not just use a real web host? Amazon S3 has is no minimum monthly fee, has redundancy built into it, guaranteed availability.

    Compared with Dreamhost (say) which has a bundle for almost 10 USD/mo. That deal has 20GB + 1TB transfers. For the same amout on Amazon S3 you only 5 GB + 64GB transfers, and doesn't have FTP nor SSH access, nor your own domain, etc etc.

    Maybe we should think of it as an inexpensive web cache, like akamai.

    I suspect that even Amazon doesn't know what this will be useful for. The developed it for their own use, then polished up for resell. Now they wait for the applications to appear.
    • I've got a number of accounts with Dreamhost, and quite a large amount of data stored there. Probably half of it is, in fact, encrypted backups of data I have at home, since the accounts have a lot more storage and transfer than I ever come close to using.

      However, I have absolutely no idea what their fault tolerance story is there. They probably run them, but at best I'm sure its just RAID. I can't imagine they actually provide real backups for their hosted sites (although I may be wrong... I ran a hosting
  • by FleaPlus ( 6935 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @04:59AM (#14922669) Journal
    It looks like Amazon managed to get their storage product out before the rumored Google Drive (TechCrunch article [], Slashdot article []). I wonder how Amazon's product will compare to Google's, whenever Google's is released. I'm particularly interested in seeing how Amazon and Google will end up competing with each other in terms of price and transfer speeds.
  • With Googles's library initiative, the leaks on GDrive, the A9 search, Google vs Amazon is starting to look like an epic fight ( googol vs amazon - does sound like a corny clash of the titans). Can't be much longer before MS and Amazon partners unless Amazon is too (rightly) suspicious of MS's long term plans..

    Good for us though, Google and Amazon seem to take different approaches to most things, and ultimately that will provide variety, and good innovative competition (unlike MS).

    As an aside, the fact that
  • Where is the best place to get write-only media?
  • What they don't mention in the news item (and you have to trawl through 3 sites just to find the bloody thing), is that while Amazon charge $0.15 per GB used, they also charge $0.20 per GB transferred. So you actually get stung twice, or even four times if you backup weekly.

    • For my purposes incremental nigthly backups (something like encrypted rsyncs) would be just perfect.

      I think this is a great idea, but I think I'll just wait for the Google offering before I start on writing my incremental encrypted backup Perl script.

  • Backup (Score:2, Interesting)

    by scoutts ( 602221 )
    Running .15 per Gig plus .20 per Gig transfer is not very economical for power users, nor very practical (upload speeds etc) This is pretty well covered. However..for the typical end user that can barely patch their machine, , may or may not understand to renew their virus definitions adn only use their computer to store digital pictures of their grandkids this is a good service. I often wonder how many grandparents lose their photo collection everytime a hard disk crashes (3-5 years at most) because i d
  • Let's compare (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EmagGeek ( 574360 ) <(gterich) (at) (> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @07:01AM (#14922945) Journal
    Let's take a 300GB System that needs to be backed up:

    900GB at $0.20/gb = $180.00 transfer fee
    Monthly at $0.15/gb = $135.00/month recurring charge
    Weekly incremental of 30GB = $6.00/wk = $24/mo recurring charge

    So $180.00 + $159/month = $2088 just for the first year, plus whatever you have to pay your ISP for abusive bandwidth charges.

    Let's look at it from another perspective:

    4 WD3200SD 320GB Raid-Edition SATA Drives: About $600
    1 4-Port SATA Raid Card: About $250
    Expected Lifetime: 5 years

    So, buying a whole other raid-5 array to mirror your 900GB of stuff costs nearly $10K to store for 5 years on Amazon versus $850 to store locally. Hell, even if you were paranoid and replaced one of the hard disks every 3 months, you'd still be at less than half the cost.

    I won't even get into which is more secure. If it's not on your site or some place you have physical control over, it is not secure.
    • Re:Let's compare (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @09:25AM (#14923297) Homepage Journal
      Mom & Dad

      5GB at $0.20gb = $1.00 transfer fee
      Monthly at $0.15gb = $.75/month recurring charge

      $0.75 for a year is $9.00 dollars.

      Throw some pictures up there, taxes, and other essentials using a third party program that "helps" you gather what really should be stored in case of emergency (can you say this program might be a good idea for someone in the open-source community?)

      Far better than what they have now and its safe from fire. Throw a little encryption through that 3rd party app accessing the Amazon storage and it would be secure.

      The difference here is that I used numbers I expect of data that should be backed rather than just dumping stuff on the drives because its there. The amount of stuff people just dump on drives for backup is amazing and wasteful.
  • there's the relevant part of the contract...

    who do you trust? yerself, or amazon?
  • fees and limits (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MORTAR_COMBAT! ( 589963 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @09:18AM (#14923272)
    so, $0.15 per GB/month storage, $0.20 per GB transferred.

    questions: how do i put a cap on my storage (and more importantly transfer) so a runaway service doesn't screw me?
  • With stuff like this [] going on, do you really want your data online? Sorry, I will pass and by myself two hard drives that will mirror each other. There is my storage medium - so if the gov't wants to inspect my files, they have to come into my home - not go to another company - where I may never get notified.
  • If you follow this link [], you'll notice that they are supporting bit torrent.

  • by WPIDalamar ( 122110 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:09AM (#14923490) Homepage
    From the terms of service...

    2) You may make calls at any time that the Amazon Web Services are available, provided that you either: (i) do not exceed 1 call per second per IP address, or send files greater than 40K; or (ii) do not exceed the limits set forth in the Service Terms for a particular Service. If you build and release an Application, the stated limitations apply to each installed copy of the Application.
  • See this description []. Amazon is just offering a raw service with an API for developers to use. Amazon does not provide a WebDAV or similar interface. So it's not ready for home users, just yet... which, at that price, is a pity.

    So for now, don't dump your .Mac iDisk.

    Undoubtedly we will see independent developers offering home and SOHO backup tools that use A3... and undoubtedly they'll mark up the price.
  • People are moaning about how tape is cheaper or HDD is cheaper per GB than this. So they are planning to use that for there backups.

    I definitely want an offsite backup for my family photos, this could be a good solution. Sure IN THEORY I could backup to USB Key, HDD, CD-R etc, and in fact I do have a one touch drive. But what happens if my house burns down (fairly unlikely), or worse get's broken into and my shiney looking HDD and PC gets stolen (possible)...bang photos gone.

    So what about moving CD's or

If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then a consensus forecast is a camel's behind. -- Edgar R. Fiedler