Thursday, May 21, 2009
After a recent talk that I gave on cloud computing, one of the attendees contacted me with some questions about the "safety" of the data and also wanted to talk about vendor lock-in. It is no secret that I am a fan of the Amazon Web Services cloud platform and so it followed that these questions all had to do with the way Amazon stores the data. While these are typical questions, today the second question became much easier to answer. Amazon Web Services announced the availability of AWS Import/Export. Quite simply, Amazon is offering its customers a very easy way to ship a disk of data to them and they will push it into S3 to your specifications or grab your data out of S3 and put it on the disk for you. This is very attractive because it can take days to actually move hundreds of GB on your office network into or out of S3 because of the simple limitations of bandwidth at the average workplace. I am not a fan of vendor lock-in and have thought long and hard how to avoid it. Any code that we write storing to and from Amazon's infrastructure is isolated enough so that we can switch it to another provider by reimplementing that single area. But, the fact still remains that it would take weeks to move all of our data and it would have to be done over an extended period of time. A strategy for this is to move data between two cloud providers instead of bringing it down locally and putting it back up. While moving over a backbone is still going to be faster, it will not be optimal. With AWS Import/Export you are one step closer. For $80.00 and $2.49 per hour, you can currently have all of the data on a disk pushed into Amazon's cloud and the export facility is coming soon. I commend Amazon for providing so many tools and conveniences.