Amazon S3: Disruptive Force or Non-Event?

There’s been lots of activity in the web storage sector in recent weeks. Today’s buzz is all about Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service), which the giant Internet retailer is offering tons of storage space to serve as the backend for web applications. The service was profiled today on TechCrunch. Unlike Google’s rumored GDrive – which seems likely to be of greater interest to consumers than the business market – Amazon seems to be positioning itself for a change in the way web applications are deployed. Like Google, Amazon is using its scalable infrastructure as a tool to build relationships with customers that own content and information.

Is Amazon S3 a revolutionary concept, or more spaghetti being flung against the Web 2.0 wall to see what will stick? Is this the genesis of broader changes in the way developers build and deploy applications? Could these new models represent a threat to current data center service providers?

There are lots more questions than answers at the moment. Issues of control and trust loom large in any outsourcing of business apps. As the world’s largest storefront, Amazon has relationships with many huge companies. It’s a known quantity, which may help Amazon convince people to trust them with their data. But enterprises are notoriously careful about outsourcing critical data, as data center providers know well. It’s too early to say whether S3 (and the similar services that will certainly follow) is the start of something big or an experiment.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.