Amazon offers hosted storage for developers

The online retailer gives third-party developers a place to store some data on the Web for a monthly fee.

Amazon.com on Tuesday launched a hosted storage service for developers, part of the company's efforts to generate revenue from its technology platform.

Called S3, the service houses data used as part of a Web application. For example, CastingWords, a podcasting transcription company, is an early customer that stores audio files and transcribed text on the S3 site.

The S3 service is part of Amazon Web Services, the technology that the company launched in 2002. With Amazon Web Services, Amazon provides third-party software developers ways to build Web applications that tap into Amazon's hosted services , such as its electronic commerce and search services. For example, BookBurro is a site that uses Amazon's book search to compare book prices.

Amazon said the S3 is another service it has developed to encourage developers to work with the company. "Amazon S3 enables developers to focus on innovating with data, rather than figuring out how to store it," Andy Jassy, vice president of Amazon Web services, said in a statement.

Established Web properties Google, Yahoo and eBay have developer outreach programs designed to drive traffic to their sites. Like Amazon, they publish technical information, including application programming interfaces (APIs), which instruct programmers on how to write Web applications that include their sites.

In addition to publishing APIs, Amazon has developed some hosted technical infrastructure services. Last year, Amazon rolled out the beta of a service called Amazon Simple Queue Service, which provides developers with a system for reliably sending data over the Internet.

S3 has no limits on the amount of data that can be stored, but individual items cannot exceed 5 gigabytes each. The storage service can be accessed via two methods, either through an XML-defined REST interface or through the Simple Object Access Protocol.

Developers pay 15 cents per gigabyte of storage per month and 20 cents per gigabyte of data transferred.

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