I read about the new Amazon S3 grid based storage web service today. Very cool stuff. The general gist is that they give you access to store and serve files from a large computing grid, at pennies on the dollar ($0.15/gig storage per month and $0.20/gig transfer). In a small players world, those are rock bottom prices. I suspect when you start dealing in serious bandwidth, the numbers don’t look quite as good, but hopefully, at that point, you’re making enough cash to have other options.
As someone who’s in the process of starting a web based startup, service like this look particularly attractive. What would be even more attractive here would be to have a web service that looked much more like an RDMS. Granted, Amazon claims they’ll allow you to store really small files (as small as 1 byte), I question how you could index that in an efficient manner, particularly if your data is typically quite small and piecemeal.
Another, much more sinister thing to consider, is the terms of service. Accoring to the terms of service:
You may provide text, images, reviews and other informational content (”Content” about a product to Amazon. If you do so, you hereby grant to Amazon a perpetual, paid-up royalty-free, nonexclusive, worldwide, irrevocable right and license to: (i) use, reproduce, perform, display and distribute the Content in any manner; (ii) adapt, modify, re-format and create derivative works of the Content for any purpose;(iii) use and publish your name in the form of a credit in conjunction with the Content; and (iv) sublicense the foregoing rights to its affiliates or any third parties.
That’s pretty darn evil, IMO. What business would agree to those terms? I wonder if perhaps this is a blanket policy for all Amazon services, and thus got tacked on to S3. However, the way I read it, it still applies. Definitely a deal breaker, if you ask me.