TechCrunch reports on a new offering from Amazon called S3. S3 is a web-service that will allow developers to leverage Amazon’s backend infrastructure to provide low cost storage services to their customers. The pricing is,
- $0.15 per GB-Month of storage used
- $0.20 per GB of data transferred
This compares very favourably with the competition. However there is an issue here for most users. Most of the competition use a flat fee model for a given amount of storage (e.g. IBackup charges you $9.95 a month for 5GB of space). This is the price you pay whether you use it or not. Amazon uses a variable pricing model that charges like a utility for the time period the storage was used and the amount of storage used for that period. This will not sit well with end-users who are uncomfortable using services where they cannot easily predict the costs.
This might fly for storage costs alone, but when you include bandwidth costs it becomes impossible to predict the final price. Ask any user how much bandwidth they consumed reading and writing files in the last day, month, year and you’ll find most people are pretty clueless (myself included).
The competition offers no bandwidth pricing or caps at the moment so you can expect their prices to drop in line with Amazon’s in order to compete. At that point Amazon will have to address their bandwidth pricing policy to stay in the game.