Amazon S3 is storage for the Internet. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers.
Amazon S3 provides a simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. It gives any developer access to the same highly scalable, reliable, secure, fast, inexpensive infrastructure that Amazon uses to run its own global network of web sites. The service aims to maximize benefits of scale and to pass those benefits on to developers.
Amazon S3 is designed to provide 99.999999999% durability and 99.99% availability of objects over a given year.[
Amazon S3 is reported to store more than 762 billion objects as of December 2011. This is up from 102 billion objects as of March 2010, 64 billion objects in August 2009, 52 billion in March 2009,29 billion in October 2008,] 14 billion in January 2008, and 10 billion in October 2007.
S3 uses include web hosting, image hosting, and storage for backup systems. S3 comes with a 99.9% monthly uptime guarantee which equates to approximately 43 minutes of downtime per month.
Amazon S3 Functionality
Amazon S3 is intentionally built with a minimal feature set.
- Write, read, and delete objects containing from 1 byte to 5 terabytes of data each. The number of objects you can store is unlimited.
- Each object is stored in a bucket and retrieved via a unique, developer-assigned key.
- A bucket can be stored in one of several Regions. You can choose a Region to optimize for latency, minimize costs, or address regulatory requirements.
- Objects stored in a Region never leave the Region unless you transfer them out.
- Authentication mechanisms are provided to ensure that data is kept secure from unauthorized access. Objects can be made private or public, and rights can be granted to specific users.
- Options for secure data upload/download and encryption of data at rest are provided for additional data protection.
- Uses standards-based REST and SOAP interfaces designed to work with any Internet-development toolkit.
- Built to be flexible so that protocol or functional layers can easily be added. The default download protocol is HTTP. A BitTorrent™ protocol interface is provided to lower costs for high-scale distribution.
- Includes options for performing recurring and high volume deletions. For recurring deletions, rules can be defined to remove sets of objects after a pre-defined time period. For efficient one-time deletions, up to 1,000 objects can be deleted with a single request.
Those who are using Amazon S3 include SmugMug, Apache Hadoop file systems, Dropbox, Zmanda, Ubuntu One, Minecraft, Tumblr, Formspring and Posterous among others.