We're living in interesting times. With today's release of Amazon.com's S3 on-line storage service, we're one step closer to the cheap on-line storage that so many don't believe will be useful.

Amazon S3 provides a simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. It gives any developer access to the same highly scalable, reliable, fast, inexpensive data storage infrastructure that Amazon uses to run its own global network of web sites. The service aims to maximize benefits of scale and to pass those benefits on to developers.

Amazon's initial pricing is $15 for 100GB/month. Objects in the store can range from 1 byte to 5 gigabytes and you can store an unlimited number of them. Interestingly, this service is offered by "Amazon Digital Services, Inc." which must be an A9-like subsidiary of Amazon.com.

In related news, some guy had 300MB of "CRUCIAL data" stored in Gmail and found his account deleted. He had no backups and claims that he "fell victim to Google." He ends by asking for advice because "this is an emergency for me."

How about getting a clue? All I can think is "what kind of dipshit doesn't backup his CRUCIAL data?!" Seriously. Gmail is a free beta service.

Thankfully, more than a few people in the forum comments are pointing out what a dumb idea that was. To add insult to injury, people have posted the story to Digg. Oh, the comedy!

My suggestion is that he build a system that replicates Gmail data into Amazon's S3 and charges a nominal fee for the service. :-)

Posted by jzawodn at March 14, 2006 07:32 AM

Reader Comments
# Rob Said said:

I don't use GMail as my primary store, but it does make a nice backup store.

Use Gmail to back up data with PGP and Google Drive ( http://www.viksoe.dk/code/gmail.htm ), up to 2GB of storage per Gmail account.

on March 14, 2006 07:43 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Heh. That seems like a great way to get your account nuked.

on March 14, 2006 07:50 AM
# pmp said:

How does this advance Amazon as the premier online shopping destination? I don't get it. This seems more appropriate for Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, or Google.

Next we will see B&N offering Fantasy Football leagues.

on March 14, 2006 07:56 AM
# Jeremy Wright said:

Jeremy, to be fair, by having it on Gmail wasn't he technically "backing it up"? ;-)

Yeah, I know, it's still stupid to rely purely on Gmail for something "CRUCIAL".

on March 14, 2006 08:07 AM
# watt said:

well, I kind of wanted to trust google mail not to lose data. I now will proceed to try and download all stuff my gmaail account using POP.

on March 14, 2006 08:19 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Technically, no. If you don't have easy access to the backups, they really aren't yours. Gogole might have been backing it up, but that doesn't help him much, does it?

on March 14, 2006 08:21 AM
# Prasenjeet Dutta said:

Re deleting accounts, Yahoo recently nuked my mail account (apparently because of "inactivity" (which is odd because I was a happy and regular Yahoo Mail beta user). I had nothing 'crucial' in it, but it was still a bit of a shock.

I sure wouldn't call this guy a dipshit simply because he drank the Web uber alles kool-aid and relied on Gmail. Jeremy, there are a lot of Yahoo users out there who 'rely' on Yahoo's free services too! Maybe these freeloaders also deserve whatever's coming to them?

on March 14, 2006 08:30 AM
# Dave T said:

I download my GMail account to my home computer via POP periodically. The only problem is that if I haven't deleted spam it gets that too. I wish there was a nice efficient way to keep my GMail mail backed up without the spam.

on March 14, 2006 09:00 AM
# Todd Huss said:

I think you're being too harsh by calling this guy a dipshit. While some of us are tech savvy enough to forward all our gmail to 2nd source, my mom and dad sure wouldn't know to do that and Google has abused the term "beta" to the point of making it meaningless for their products. Yes, he should have thought it through before putting crucial data there but if Gmail were to dissappear tomorrow there would be a lot of bright people hurting because they didn't think to forward their mail to a secondary backup source. I think in general the public trusts companies like Google and Yahoo to take care of their data!

on March 14, 2006 09:01 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Todd, I don't know.

There's this saying that goes "if it's too good to be true, it usually is."

Have people stopped learning that lesson as part of growing up?

on March 14, 2006 09:06 AM
# Pablo said:

Wow. I really hope your opinion's not reflective of Yahoo's on customer service. Users have been sold on the perception that Google & Yahoo are trustable companies. I think there is a level of accountability on a company when you foster that perception. Simply slapping a beta tag on a product (when that has become meaningless) does not excuse Google. Poor guy...

on March 14, 2006 09:12 AM
# Metlin said:

Wow. I really hope your opinion's not reflective of Yahoo's on customer service.

From the little experience I've had of Yahoo's "customer service" - I use the term loosely, mind you - yes.

on March 14, 2006 09:56 AM
# Charles said:

Note that the price of a 100Gb hard drive is as low as $40, less than the cost of 3 months of online rental backup of 100Gb.

There is a "3 month rule" we used to use in PC rentals. My old company used to set the monthly rental price of a PC at about 1/3 of the street price of the PC. So if you were going to rent the PC for 3 months or more, it was cheaper just to buy it outright.

That's a good test of the cost of a rental. This data rental fails the test, it's way cheaper to buy than rent. You would have to judge the online portability factor to have a LOT of benefit, to consider S3's services a good deal.

on March 14, 2006 10:00 AM
# Pablo said:

Yeah, a local harddrive is cheaper. I've personally been looking for insurance against local issues. What if you ad a fire in your place, earthquake, or flooding. That would zap your hard drive and all your info. The best solution would be one with bulletproof security but hosted somewhere so you minimize risk of a catastrophic event destroying your data.

on March 14, 2006 10:03 AM
# Rob Said said:

>That's a good test of the cost of a rental. This data rental fails the test, it's way cheaper to buy than rent.

I think you're missing the point. This is _off site_ backup.

It may only cost $40 to buy a hard drive. However, to get the same benefits as with Amazon, you'd also have to buy a computer to house the hard drive, a building to house the computer and an employee to maintain the computer.

Yes, you could just buy a second hard drive, install it in your machine and cron a regular backup, but what if your building burns down, gets flooded, or gets burgled?

on March 14, 2006 10:51 AM
# Andrew said:

Since you quoted me in the refered to post I thought I needed to say something ;) I never said that it won't be USEFUL. I think it would be WONDERFULLY useful. My concern was that it would be hard to take advantage of with current broadband speeds. To upload all of my data it on my 250Kbs cable upload speed it would take ~200 days (500GB). You make a good argument with the "filling the pool" analogy, but I'd still need tools that can smartly handle a 200 day upload (e.g. restart when connections are dropped, etc.)

on March 14, 2006 01:06 PM
# grumpY! said:

props to amazon for trying to monetize web services.

although if i am paying hosting fees to a colocation facility (or hosted development environment like yahoo store), i expect them to provide fault-tolerant, high-performance, edge cached storage as part of the package. so i guess i'm not entirely sure who this product is aimed at.

as for "dipshit" man, why was he to expect that his gmail account would be dropped without warning? if the account was being abused, thats one thing, but otherwise i think its fair for him to issue a "WTF???".

on March 14, 2006 01:12 PM
# bharath said:


similar idea. Opens up a wide range of possibilities.

on March 14, 2006 07:02 PM
# Scott Johnson said:

Check this URL:

From what I see there, logged in w/my AWS account, the pricing is as follows:

* Pay only for what you use. There is no minimum fee, and no start-up cost.
* $0.15 per GB-Month of storage used.
* $0.20 per GB of data transferred.

on March 14, 2006 09:05 PM
# James Day said:


What is your ETA for the MySQL Gmail and S3 storage engines you're writing? Maybe Jeremy Cole could present them at the UC? :)

on March 15, 2006 03:02 AM
# Joseph Essas said:

I don't know if you should blame this guy so hard. After all, it is pretty reasonable to expect from a simple guy to trust a big company like Google. How many times have you heard about an active email account diappearing from Yahoo or Hotmail?

Especially will all the press that Google is getting - people expect some basic service, like backups.

on March 15, 2006 09:47 PM
# Jeremy Wright said:

Yeah, Yahoo once deleted my Yahoo account, which lost me all my Launchcast votes and Wallet info and everything. I was pissed, even though there was no expectation that they'd keep it around forever (even though I used it daily).

That was when I switched to Google as my backup email system (ie: forward all email from my main email to Gmail). I don't like Gmail, but it's fast for searching, easy enough to use and since I don't use it for primary mail I don't really need features.

on March 17, 2006 09:06 AM
# Simmy said:

Yes, Simply slapping a beta tag on a product (when that has become meaningless) does not excuse Google.

on March 21, 2006 10:23 PM
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