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War of the Online Services

If multiplying options are any gauge, online storage "cloud" services are growing in popularity. And as choices proliferate, access speed appears to be an important filter for buyers.

I say "appears to be," because that's the key issue that two big players -- Amazon S3 and Nirvanix -- are touting as central to choosing a provider.

Last week, Nirvanix issued a press statement boasting average download times of 4.21 seconds for a large file, compared with 7.45 seconds for S3. These results were part of a commissioned report by Nirvanix.

Amazon S3, contacted by Byte and Switch for comment on the stats, remained silent on the challenge.

But elsewhere, there appears to be some argument for the speediness of S3. In an interview published last week, Claude Corbois, associate VP for data product R&D at Nasdaq's OMX Group, told online pub User Interface Resource Center that he was a fan of S3's speed. Indeed, the Nasdaq uses S3 to ensure speedy access to data for its Market Replay stock service.

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