I hope you’ve at least heard about Amazon’s web services — they’ve opened up an impressive collection of services at prices drastically lower than comparable services. They’re a true game changer, and Drupal lets us take advantage of some of them already, thanks to some of our favorite contributed modules.
The center of the collection of services — and the one I’m most interested in right now — is S3, or Simple Storage Service. Amazon provides incredibly inexpensive remote storage for data — it starts at $.15. gig and only gets cheaper as your needs grow. You also only pay for what you use, and don’t commit to a service plans.
So far i’ve explored two uses for Amazon S3:
- Media Storage & Delivery: Sometimes, Youtube just isn’t the right answer. In our case, since we work with education and Youtube is pretty reliably blocked by school district firewalls, it’s important to be able to deliver video in ways other than the large public video sites. At the same time, hosting the video on your own site is problematic — depending upon your hosting package, bandwidth may be throttled and delivering that video to one visitor is roughly equivalent to delivering more typical web content to hundreds. But using modules like Mediafront we can reference a video file stored on an external server — like Amazon S3’s cloud.
- Scheduled Backups. Have I mentioned the Backup and Migrate module? If I could, I think this is the module I’d take to prom. Recent updates to this really important module add functionality to define destinations for backups — and one of the options is an S3 storage account. With a few minutes of configuration you can set up your site to back itself up (and also restore from) your S3 account. There’s even a module for backing up the files directory as well, as an add-on, but that module has some additional server requirements that may not work in all environments, so your mileage may vary.
Anyone out there using S3 for something else? Or leveraging other AWS services in their Drupal sites?