Amazon’s S3 and trust

[tags]amazon,s3,aws,storage,simple,startup[/tags]

Artur Bergman, over at O’Reilly Radar, has started an interesting discussion about Amazon’s S3 service and how start-ups/companies are relying on the service without having any guarantees to its availability or uptime.

So, if your company is based on AWS: What does your disaster recovery plan look like? How do you react if Amazon goes down or if Amazon decides to shut down AWS? What happens next December when a busy holiday season makes Amazon divert bandwidth from S3 to their main business, Amazon.com?

From Amazon’s site, their definition of Simple Storage Service:

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, 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.

I’ve been brewing an idea in my head for a new business that, if it went ahead, would heavily utilise Amazon’s S3 service as it would require lots of highly available storage without the huge startup costs usually associated with implementing redundant, distributed storage arrays and networks.

But the idea of relying solely on Amazon’s service for critical data does scare me, as they provide no SLAs, contracts, or other guarantees that the service will be available for any set length of time. On the other hand, if the business is successful then there should be funds available to implement a secondary, backup copy once the money starts rolling in.

I like Artur’s suggestions to Amazon about implementing optional SLAs that customers can pay a premium for:

  • Change the T&C to at least promise to give paying customers a notice of a certain amount of days if they choose to shut the service down.
  • Publish their current uptime and availability to their customers.
  • Show you how many copies of a file exists, and how quickly a file uploaded to them becomes redundant.

O’Reilly Radar > Amazon Web Services and the lack of a SLA

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