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Amazon S3 is cloud 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 provides highly durable and available cloud storage for a variety of content, ranging from web applications to media files. It allows you to offload your entire storage infrastructure onto the cloud, where you can take advantage of Amazon S3’s scalability and pay-as-you-go pricing to handle your growing object storage needs. You can distribute your content directly from Amazon S3 or use Amazon S3 as an origin store for pushing content to your Amazon CloudFront edge locations.

For sharing content that is either easily reproduced or where you’re storing an original copy elsewhere, Amazon S3’s Reduced Redundancy Storage (RRS) feature provides a compelling solution. For example, if you’re storing media content in-house but you need to provide accessibility to your customers, channel partners, or employees, RRS is a low-cost solution for storing and sharing this content.

Whether you’re storing pharmaceutical data for analysis, financial data for computation and pricing, or photo images for resizing, Amazon S3 is an ideal location to store your original content. You can then send this content to Amazon EC2 for computation, resizing, or other large scale analytics – without incurring any data transfer charges for moving the data between the services. You can then choose to store the resulting, reproducible content using Amazon S3’s Reduced Redundancy Storage feature (or, of course, you can store it using Amazon S3’s standard cloud storage as well).

Amazon S3 offers highly durable, scalable, and secure cloud storage for backing up and archiving your critical data. You can use Amazon S3’s Versioning capability to provide even further protection for your stored data. If you have data sets of significant size, you can use AWS Import/Export to move large amounts of data into and out of AWS with physical storage devices. This is ideal for moving large quantities of data for periodic backups, or quickly retrieving data for disaster recovery scenarios. You can also define rules to archive sets of Amazon S3 objects to Amazon Glacier’s extremely low-cost cloud storage service based on object lifetimes. As your data ages, these rules enable you to ensure that it’s automatically stored on the cloud storage option that is most cost-effective for your needs.

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You can host your entire static website on Amazon S3 for an inexpensive, highly available hosting solution that scales automatically to meet traffic demands. Self-hosting a highly available website that can handle peak traffic loads can be challenging and costly. With Amazon S3, you can reliably serve your traffic and handle unexpected peaks without worrying about scaling your infrastructure. Amazon S3 is designed for 99.99% availability and 99.999999999% durability, and it gives you access to the same highly scalable, reliable, and fast infrastructure that Amazon uses to run its own global network of web sites. You also benefit from pay-as-you-go pricing. You pay only for the capacity you use. Amazon S3’s website hosting solution is ideal for websites with static content, including html files, images, videos, and client-side scripts such as JavaScript. (Amazon EC2 is recommended for websites with server-side scripting and database interaction).

Amazon S3 is based on the idea that quality online storage should be taken for granted. It helps free developers from worrying about how they will store their data, whether it will be safe and secure, or whether they will have enough object storage available. It frees them from the upfront costs of setting up their own object storage solution as well as the ongoing costs of maintaining and scaling their storage servers. The functionality of Amazon S3 is simple and robust: Store any amount of data inexpensively and securely, while ensuring that the data will always be available when you need it. Amazon S3 enables developers to focus on innovating with data, rather than figuring out how to store it.

Amazon S3 was built to fulfill the following design requirements:

Built to provide infrastructure that allows the customer to maintain full control over who has access to their data. Customers must also be able to easily secure their data in transit and at rest.

Store data with up to 99.999999999% durability, 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.

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.

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.

Amazon S3 is built from inexpensive commodity hardware components. All hardware will eventually fail and this 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.

Building highly scalable, reliable, fast, and inexpensive cloud 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’s websites, while flexible enough that any developer can use it for any data storage need.