Why Amazon S3 Is Great

by Anton on April 7, 2010

Welcome to The SprightlySoft blog.  This article will give an overview of what the Amazon S3 service is and why it’s great. 

S3 stands for Simple Storage Service.  It’s a file repository that makes files available through the Internet.  You upload your files to Amazon and you can share them with anyone in the world.   Amazon originally created S3 for their own use.  They had some unique challenges that required them to build a system that can accommodate many users. 

Think about Oprah’s book club and how it affects Amazon.  Oprah goes on TV and promotes a book.  That day millions of people go on the Internet and search for more information on that book.  They find the book on Amazon’s site.  Thousands of people load the book’s web page at the time.  In most situations the web site would go down because too many people are trying to access the same files.  Amazon created a system that distributes files over many computers so all the computers together can handle the load.

Amazon did something wonderful; they opened up this service to the public.  Now anyone can upload their files to the Amazon system.  You can create a web application just as powerful and reliable as the Amazon web site without building the infrastructure required to do everything Amazon’s system does.

If you were to put your files on a traditional web hosting account your files would reside on a single computer.   If your web site became popular that computer would not be able to server all the requests and your web site would go down.  There is no automatic process to replicate your files to more computers if your web site becomes popular. 

If you wanted to build your own scalable system you would need to procure several servers, house them in a facility that can support the load, and configure the network to distribute the load over the set of computers.  This would take people with specialized skills and it would take money.  There would also be the cost of maintaining and upgrading the system.

The nice thing about the Amazon system is you only pay for what you use and there are no upfront fees.  If your site only gets a few visitors you will pay a few cents a month.  If your site becomes popular your site will say online and you will pay a reasonable price for your usage.

I highly recommend using Amazon S3 for your Internet storage needs.

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