Amazon: Grid Storage Web Service Launches

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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”.

I was able to speak with Adam Selipsky (Amazon Web Services VP of Product Management and Developer Relations), Dave Barth (Product Manager for Amazon S3) and Andrew Herdener (Senior Public Relations Manager for Amazon) today about the service.

They’ve built the back end for the number one requested company that I wrote about late last year – reliable and cheap online storage. I’ve been watching this space very closely, even profiling a number of new entrants, and I have to say that S3 changes the game entirely. Move over Google Drive, Amazon just stole your thunder (for now).

Until now, a sophisticated and scalable data storage infrastructure like Amazon’s has been beyond the reach of small developers. Amazon S3 enables any developer to leverage Amazon’s own benefits of massive scale with no up-front investment or performance compromises. Developers are now free to innovate knowing that no matter how successful their businesses become, it will be inexpensive and simple to ensure their data is quickly accessible, always available, and secure.

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.

See Rob Hof at Business Week for his thoughts on S3 as well. He says “it should put to rest the notion, still popular among a few analysts, that Amazon is just a retailer.”

  • Robert Scoble

    What I call “the world wide talk show” is just starting. Glad to have seen this post show up in FriendFeed where I could both like it and come over here and comment on it. What a world, huh?

  • Old Timer

    Once again Steve Gillmor presents us with a wild array of non-sense from his stone aged brain. Fortunately you’ll likely be the first to go when TechCrunch has it’s up coming round of layoffs.

    Thanks Fred Flintstone.

    • Robert Scoble

      Actually, I hope TechCrunch fires its group of anonymous asshole commenters first. They add less value to the world than 1000 Gillmor posts.

      • Robert Scoble

        That didn’t come out right. I meant that Gillmor adds more value in one post than the assholes add in 1,000 comments. Heh.

      • Karoli

        So after our debate on Saturday, Robert, I indignantly shrugged my shoulders and intentionally ignored your ‘value add’ comment with regard to Twitter.

        However, I wholeheartedly agree with your comment here, so perhaps that could be considered meeting you halfway.

        Commenters are not all created equally. Twitter communities are because each of us creates the community we want.

  • francine hardaway

    I wish for another fifty years of life and health so I can see what happens next. I went to a fondue party tonight and realized I hadn’t been to one since the 60s. The only common thing about the party was the fondue. Everything else in the world has changed except fondue recipes.

    Loved this post, of course. My 6-day old grandson has a blog, a Twitter account, and a gmail account. What’s he missing? Ah, yes, the college fund.

    • Karoli

      I wish for you to have another fifty years of life and health, too.

      Fondue parties…those were the days. Real-time conversation around pots of chocolate and cheese.

      Got a laugh out of the notion of your grandson having the blog, tw*tter and gmail accounts. Truly, we live in weird and wonderful times. Perhaps they are the key to the college fund.

  • Vezquex

    It’s obvious that something profound is happening here. I’d say it’s ancient message board and chat technology going fully mainstream and mobile, plus automated and human-powered aggregation coming to fruition. In other words: talk to everyone about everything all the time. Video draws a crowd, but I don’t think it makes much difference beyond destroying TV and appealing at an emotional level.

    But it’s boggling to see the obvious optimizations to be had. SMS and cell service are highway robbery, and the global conversation is but a few lines of code away (i.e. something that writes comments back to the original source).

  • Aronski

    My mind once again finds itself pulling towards a joke about a joke where the punchline points out that it’s all about “ti-MING”, the accent grave, the laugh as inside as it can get. The sense of critical mass that we’ve been feeling for 40 years is still there, denser, more urgent and coming in over a few different channels in differing definitions of real time. Any generalities I can make about people can be argued against, but it seems that the simplest UI’s and experiences seem to win with the masses, because of laziness or the lack of time or personal processing power.

    To see an octogenarian using a mobile phone that has predictive text to send a message is as revolutionary (if not more) than a pre-schooler. No need for re-grooving (FST reference, check wiki), some adapt to the current communications standard, not being stubborn about their telegraph skills but wanting to be in touch, bending, listening, sharing. Why not? I have learned more in single sentences from my elders who have the ability to refine a lifetime of experience than me watching the Matrix wash over me. I still have to be willing and able to hear what they have to say.

    Timing again, is not a coincidence, so much of our current world in flux, the trimming and trashing of the current bloat in the material culture mirrors this parsed communications we have been experimenting with in the last few years. I truly enjoyed seeing 110 different kinds of olive oil at Whole Foods but will never try them all, parts of the long tail will whither and die as well as the fat spare tire of the middle should dwindle, hopefully not killing us in the process. We’re seeing actions and reactions I’ve not seen in my short lifetime, so current templates don’t seem to have much worth.

    Last night I watched an episode of Elvis Costello’s new program Spectacle, which airs on Sundance ( ). I recommend that you take the time to watch is just for the convergence factor I witnessed. I tend to be drawn to the eclectic, but this was very much about what we are talking about here, on NGL and the Gillmor Gang. The host begins by performing “Mystery Train” with a small group which includes the amazing James Burton, who was on a lot of Elvis Presley’s original tracks. The main guest was Pres. Bill Clinton who was being interviewed from a humanistic and musical slant. The host is a thoughtful and intelligent interviewer, shaking the trees of this man who was our president for 8 years, about how music influenced him as a man and a politician. Clinton made some points that were great, in that he said he felt that some of the skills he used and uses are more like jazz improvisation than classical music. The ability to adapt to the direction of a group as it plays changes made perfect sense to me. Putting your personal feelings for the man aside, hearing him discuss handling difficult decisions and turning to music during and after for guidance and solace was fascinating. Another piece of the puzzle for me, without a doubt.

    The show closed with Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny performing a piece for New Orleans that was a delicate sorbet for all the information that had gone before. If you have access to this channel, it’s well worth the hour and can be found in the On Demand menus.

    Will we be able to adapt this country to the time from it’s current condition? Will we be able to communicate quickly and clearly with these new networks in a way that will help this transition? I hope so. Let’s keep this thread going and see where it goes.

    • Karoli

      I’m hoping some of these technologies will unlock shows like the one you describe above. Sounds fascinating, would love to watch it, but we don’t get Sundance channel here, it’s not available on the web, so I guess we’ll wait until it comes to DVD or some other means of viewing. Steve’s vision of having this stuff in the cloud has some strong meaning in that context.

      We live in exciting, fast, odd times. Real time can be overwhelming and exhilarating all at the same time. The time when we look back and say “Remember when Twitter was all THAT?” and shake our heads isn’t far off.

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