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S3 Meets R3 (Reliability, Robustness, and Resilience)

Overall Observations and Assessment

  1. S3 reads (GET) are faster than S3 writes (PUT). There are three overall factors that may contribute to this difference:
    1. Cable Modem Download is over a magnitude faster than Upload.

    2. Most likely, a conservative write scheme is deployed by Amazon to ensure that the files being stored are backed up for high reliability.

    3. For S3 reads, potential in-memory file caching by S3 removes latency of reading from disks.

  1. Regardless of message size, the Amazon S3 Service reads (GET) are noticeably faster than SCP reads. The following factors may contribute to this difference:
    1. Most likely, Amazon deploys SSL concentrators or accelerators. The SCP protocol has no such cryptographic acceleration.

    2. The SCP reads do not support caching whereas, most likely, S3 has sophisticated caching enables for reads.

  1. S3 Service writes (PUT) are somewhat slower than SCP writes. Most likely, S3 has a data mirroring schemes that requires multiple writes, where SCP directly writes to a single file system.

  1. S3 supports both MIME and DIME standards for SOAP with Attachments. For writes (PUT), there was little difference in performance between DIME and MIME for small files, with DIME performing slightly better. However, for large files DIME performed much better than MIME. For reads (GET), only DIME is returned and the user has no control over switching to MIME.

Enterprise-Class Service

Amazon’s S3 Services provide a standards-based and high performance mechanism for managing content. S3’s performance characteristics make it ideal for end-user as well as enterprise applications where cost-effective data back up is desired. During our regression we never had a problem with reading or writing files. The S3 service had enterprise-class availability and reliability.

We anticipate that a number of both end-user application as well as complex enterprise-class applications will proliferate the market that are built on storage services such as S3. Such storage services and their derived applications will fulfill regulatory requirements for industries that have third party auditing and record keeping mandates. We also anticipate a number of privacy and integrity related services to be built on top of such storage services. The best part -- after a couple of weeks of testing with numerous uploads, downloads and large file storage, the Amazon S3 service cost us a mere 52 cents.

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