S3 Provides Application Programming Interface for Highly Scalable Reliable, Low-Latency Storage at Very Low Costs
SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 14, 2006-- Amazon Web Services today announced "Amazon S3(TM)," a simple
storage service that offers software developers a highly scalable,
reliable, and low-latency data storage infrastructure at very low
costs. Amazon S3 is available today at http://aws.amazon.com/s3.
Amazon S3 is storage for the Internet. It's 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, fast,
inexpensive data storage 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 Functionality
Amazon S3 is intentionally built with a minimal feature set. The
focus is on simplicity and robustness.
Amazon S3 Design Requirements
- Write, read, and delete objects containing from 1 byte to 5
gigabytes of data each. The number of objects that can be
stored is unlimited.
- Each object is stored and retrieved via a unique
- Objects can be made private or public, and rights can be
assigned to specific users.
- Uses standards-based REST and SOAP interfaces designed to work
with any Internet-development toolkit.
Amazon built S3 to fulfill the following design requirements:
- Scalable: Amazon S3 can scale in terms of storage, request
rate, and users to support an unlimited number of web-scale
applications. It uses scale as an advantage: adding nodes to
the system increases, not decreases, its availability, speed,
throughput, capacity, and robustness.
- Reliable: Store data durably, with 99.99% availability. There
can be no single points of failure. All failures must be
tolerated or repaired by the system without any downtime.
- Fast: Amazon S3 must be fast enough to support
high-performance applications. Server-side latency must be
insignificant relative to Internet latency. Any performance
bottlenecks can be fixed by simply adding nodes to the system.
- Inexpensive: Amazon S3 is built from inexpensive commodity
hardware components. As a result, frequent node failure is the
norm and must not affect the overall system. It must be
hardware-agnostic, so that savings can be captured as Amazon
continues to drive down infrastructure costs.
- Simple: Building highly scalable, reliable, fast, and
inexpensive storage is difficult. Doing so in a way that makes
it easy to use for any application anywhere is more difficult.
Amazon S3 must do both.
A forcing function for the design was that a single Amazon S3
distributed system must support the needs of both internal Amazon
applications and external developers of any application. This means
that it must be fast and reliable enough to run Amazon.com's web
sites, while flexible enough that any developer can use it for any
data storage need.
Amazon S3 Design Principles
Amazon used the following principles of distributed system design
to meet Amazon S3 requirements:
- Decentralization: Use fully decentralized techniques to remove
scaling bottlenecks and single points of failure.
- Asynchrony: The system makes progress under all circumstances.
- Autonomy: The system is designed such that individual
components can make decisions based on local information.
- Local responsibility: Each individual component is responsible
for achieving its consistency; this is never the burden of its
- Controlled concurrency: Operations are designed such that no
or limited concurrency control is required.
- Failure tolerant: The system considers the failure of
components to be a normal mode of operation and continues
operation with no or minimal interruption.
- Controlled parallelism: Abstractions used in the system are of
such granularity that parallelism can be used to improve
performance and robustness of recovery or the introduction of
- Decompose into small, well-understood building blocks: Do not
try to provide a single service that does everything for
everyone, but instead build small components that can be used
as building blocks for other services.
- Symmetry: Nodes in the system are identical in terms of
functionality, and require no or minimal node-specific
configuration to function.
- Simplicity: The system should be made as simple as possible,
but no simpler.
"Amazon S3 is based on the idea that quality Internet-based
storage should be taken for granted," said Andy Jassy, vice president
of Amazon Web Services. "It helps free developers from worrying about
where they are going to store data, whether it will be safe and
secure, if it will be available when they need it, the costs
associated with server maintenance, or whether they have enough
storage available. Amazon S3 enables developers to focus on innovating
with data, rather than figuring out how to store it."
S3 lets developers pay only for what they consume and there is no
minimum fee. Developers pay just $0.15 per gigabyte of storage per
month and $0.20 per gigabyte of data transferred.
Early S3 Applications
University of California Berkeley "Stardust@Home" Team: The
science team at the University of California Berkeley responsible for
NASA's "Stardust@Home" project
(http://stardustathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/) is using Amazon S3 to store
and deliver the 60 million images that represent the data collected
from their dust particle aerogel experiment. These images will be
delivered to 100,000 volunteers around the world who scan the images
looking for dust particles from comet Wild2.
"We quickly ran into challenges when we started the project using
our own infrastructure," said Andrew Westphal, project director of
Stardust@Home. "Using Amazon S3 has allowed us to proceed without
having to worry about building out the massive storage infrastructure
we realized that we needed to successfully complete the project. The
fact that Amazon S3 is an Internet-connected storage service is
particularly useful to us as we expect the data examination phase of
the project to take only a few months. We can quickly ramp up and back
down again without a huge investment."
CastingWords: Podcast transcription service provider CastingWords
is already using Amazon S3. CastingWords transcribes audio files into
high-quality text at a rate of $0.42 per minute of audio. Another
Amazon Web Services solution, Amazon Mechanical Turk
(http://aws.amazon.com/mturk), lets CastingWords access a network of
humans to transcribe the podcasts inexpensively, quickly, and with
high quality. CastingWords uses Amazon S3 to store and retrieve the
original audio files and the transcribed texts.
"Amazon S3 provides CastingWords with easy-to-use, reliable
storage that allows us to concentrate on building our business and not
worry about storage solutions. Its reliability and Internet
accessibility mean that it's always there when and where we need it,"
said CastingWords founder Nathan McFarland. "It is simple to use and
it works so well that it eliminated one of the many things we have to
think about, which is huge when starting a small business."
FilmmakerLIVE.com: Developer of storyboarding software for the
motion picture industry, FilmmakerLIVE.com is using Amazon S3 to store
and share digital storyboard elements with its customers around the
world. After only a few weeks of using Amazon S3, the company realized
it could also help other filmmakers and entrepreneurs take advantage
of Amazon's economies of scale that Amazon S3 offers.
FilmmakerLIVE.com's development manager Don Alvarez is currently
building this new service, which he expects to announce this summer.
"Building a data center that meets the needs of online filmmakers
is serious business when you consider the redundant hardware, racks of
hard drives, filtered power lines, 24x7 monitoring, and all the other
necessary components," said Alvarez. "With Amazon S3, we have instant
access to a virtual data center that was far beyond anything we could
have hoped to build ourselves. The biggest benefit for us is that
Amazon S3 lets us concentrate our resources on what we do best,
building tools for filmmakers."
About Amazon Web Services
Launched in July 2002, the Amazon Web Services platform exposes
technology and product data from Amazon and its affiliates, enabling
developers to build innovative and entrepreneurial applications on
their own. More than 150,000 developers have signed up to use Amazon
Web Services since its inception. Applications built using Amazon Web
Services range from podcast transcription services and marketplaces
for web site advertising space to enhanced sites that advertise Amazon
products from Amazon sites and integrated solutions for retailers
selling merchandise on Amazon sites. Developers make money by selling
the applications they build, charging for the services they offer, or
generating referral fees from the Associates sites they build. Amazon
Web Services is a division of Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
About Amazon.com, Inc.
Amazon.com, Inc., (Nasdaq:AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in
Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers
Earth's Biggest Selection. Amazon.com seeks to be Earth's most
customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover
anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its
customers the lowest possible prices. Amazon.com and other sellers
offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories
such as health and personal care, jewelry and watches, gourmet food,
sports and outdoors, apparel and accessories, books, music, DVDs,
electronics and office, toys and baby, and home and garden.
Amazon and its affiliates operate websites, including
www.amazon.com, www.amazon.co.uk, www.amazon.de, www.amazon.co.jp,
www.amazon.fr, www.amazon.ca, and www.joyo.com.
As used herein, "Amazon.com," "we," "our" and similar terms
include Amazon.com, Inc., and its subsidiaries, unless the context
This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the
meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ
significantly from management's expectations. These forward-looking
statements involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others,
risks related to competition, management of growth, potential
fluctuations in operating results, international expansion, outcomes
of legal proceedings and claims, fulfillment center optimization,
seasonality, commercial agreements, acquisitions and strategic
transactions, foreign exchange rates, system interruption, significant
amount of indebtedness, inventory, limited operating history,
government regulation and taxation, payments, fraud, consumer trends,
and new business areas. More information about factors that
potentially could affect Amazon.com's financial results is included in
Amazon.com's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission,
including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December
31, 2005, and all subsequent filings.
Amazon Media Hotline, 206-266-7180