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Amazon Takes Aim at Hosted Storage

Amazon, better known for books than bytes, today is unveiling a new storage service for firms struggling to develop applications with limited IT resources.

S3, which stands for Simple Storage Service, is essentially a Web services interface to Amazon's own back-end storage. Amazon execs tell Byte and Switch that S3 can host a range of applications, from file backup services to ring tones.

"This is intended to be very flexible to support any application a developer might build," says Adam Selipsky, Amazon's vice president of product management, adding that there is no limit to the amount of storage to which users can gain access.

The idea is that firms can now develop and employ applications on Amazon's systems via the Internet, removing the need to buy their own storage hardware. Selipsky tells Byte and Switch that users will be charged, on a monthly basis, 15 cents per Gbyte of data stored and 20 cents for each Gbyte moved on or off Amazon's systems.

Don Alvarez, development manager at, which develops storyboard software for the movie industry, is already using the service. The exec tells Byte and Switch that S3 helped him dodge a storage hardware bullet. "Building the data center storage on our own would have been well in excess of $1 per Gbyte," he says.

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