Getting Started on the Cloud with Amazon Simple Storage Service

Slalom Consultant Jeff Barber

Jeff Barber is a Seattle-based leader in Slalom Consulting’s mobility solutions practice. He's a mobile technology expert with deep experience helping clients “operationalize” mobile technologies.

This is the first of a series of posts about Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS is’s answer to cloud computing and provides a unique and compelling set of service offerings, in my opinion, when compared to offerings by Microsoft, Google and co-location providers.

AWS is not for everyone, but it is especially well suited to e-commerce, SaaS, and digital content storage and delivery applications—no surprise there, given who created it—and there is a growing base of companies who have launched entire businesses and technology solutions that otherwise would have been cost-prohibitive using AWS.

If you’re not familiar with the wonders of AWS, the first service you should know about is Amazon S3. S3 stands for Simple Storage Service. It’s basically a virtual, scalable FTP server in the cloud that uses configurable “buckets” (folders) to store your files. Files within buckets can be programmatically referenced using URLs to launch cloud-based files from websites and applications.

S3 interacts with two complimentary AWS content management offerings:

  1. Amazon CloudFront content delivery service enables global distribution of media files through 14 edge server locations in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. With the recent addition of streaming audio and video using Adobe Flash Media Server, CloudFront has truly become a world-class (albeit entry-level) player in the CDN space.
  2. Amazon Import/Export enables the transfer large data sets directly onto and off of portable storage devices using Amazon’s high-speed internal network and bypassing the Internet. Have you ever had a project on a tight deadline blocked for over a day waiting for a cross-country database copy-and-restore operation? I have, and I can tell you what a valuable service this is.

Of course, S3 can be used along with other Amazon Web Services to build, deploy, and operate a complete solution infrastructure in the cloud. All AWS services are offered on a pay-for-what-you-use basis, making them a convenient and affordable option to investing in dedicated hardware. S3 in particular is so insanely affordable that individuals can use them for project work, tapeless off-site backup and storage, or home computing applications.

Signing up for Amazon S3 is free and easy; if you already have an account, it’s even easier. Visit for more information.

Author’s note: Amazon Web Services LLC or its affiliates did not compensate or incent me in any way to provide this and future recommendations for AWS. What can I say, I’m a fan!

– Jeff

Follow Jeff on Twitter: @jbarber_slalom

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About Jeff Barber
Jeff is a senior Business Analyst and Product / Program Manager, a leader in Slalom Consulting's Mobility Solutions practice with deep experience helping clients “productize” new technologies.

One Response to Getting Started on the Cloud with Amazon Simple Storage Service

  1. Pingback: Storing Data on the Windows Azure Platform « SlalomWorks

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