Amazon Web Services Gets Less Redundant

One day, Amazon Web Services announces that it’s adding additional redundancy to its services. A few days later, Amazon announces they’re giving users of their Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) cloud storage solution the option for less redundancy as a cost-saving measure. I don’t know what to think. Here are the facts of the matter, and you can decide for yourself.

In the post, Amazon says that whether you go with the normal redundancy or opt for less, your cloud data is backed up multiple times across multiple data facilities.

The difference is how many: a standard S3 file is resilient enough to stand the concurrent loss of data from two centers before irrecoverable loss; in the case of lowered redundancy, it can only lose one. Less cross-facility replication, less cost.

Amazon Web Services says the difference between the two is a matter of a few nines. Specifically, 99.99% durability vs. 99.999999999%, though both are backed by Amazon’s SLA.

On reflection, it seems like this is a move aimed at making Amazon S3 more competitive, pricing-wise, with consumer cloud storage options like Box.net and personal favorite Dropbox. Photos of kittens don’t need nine-nines of reliability, and it’s probably to Amazon Web Services’ advantage that they monetize that fact.

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