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While Google has been talking for some time about moving into the online data backup market, and may be closer than ever to doing so according to some news reports, the online search engine specialist will find rival Amazon and a multitude of service provider partners already in the game.
Amazon S3, an offering of Amazon Web Services, is a Web service that provides a highly scalable, reliable, and inexpensive data storage infrastructure on which other businesses can build an online storage infrastructure for their own services.
Unlike many online data storage services, which require a minimum charge for capacity which may or may not be fully utilized, Amazon S3 charges all users 15 cents per Gbyte of storage used per month, and 20 cents per Gbyte of data transferred.
Several service providers have based their data storage infrastructure solely on Amazon S3, while others use Amazon S3 in conjunction with other data storage infrastructures. Such service providers may provide the Amazon S3 capacity as part of their monthly billing, while others provide the technology for customers that sign up directly with Amazon.
One of those is BeInSync, a San Jose, Calif.-based online backup service provider which has based its entire storage infrastructure on Amazon S3.
Adi Ruppin, vice president of marketing at BeInSync, said his company opened its services from Day One using Amazon S3 for its storage, and within 60 days had tens of millions of files uploaded to Amazon.
"Think about it," Ruppin said. "If we had to build our own infrastructure, we could never tell how much capacity we'd need. Amazon is scalable. We will soon announce deals with customers storing Tbytes of data. This is the only way to go."
BeInSync offers consumers and businesses online data backup with such features as security and encryption, a user accounting system so each user has his or her own space, management capabilities for small and midsize businesses, continuous data protection, and data snapshots. The actual data is stored on Amazon S3's infrastructure. "Amazon for our purposes is a very big disk," Ruppin said.
BeInSync sells its services to small and midsize businesses for a charge of $10 per month for a license for one user. That price includes 15 Gbytes of storage space. Customers can purchase additional storage capacity for 30 cents per Gbyte.
"You may find services that look cheaper than 30 cents per Gbyte," Ruppin said. "One company offers 25 Gbytes for close to free. But if you want to do restore, you pay more. When you do backups, you really need to be able to do restores. If it's cheaper than what we provide, you really need to look at reliability."
Ruppin said it is hard to match the reliability of Amazon S3 in terms of protecting data. "Amazon has multiple data centers," he said. "Everything is replicated at least three times in at least two data centers geographically separated. We're happy with their APIs and reliability."
BeInSync is currently talking to managed service providers, solution providers, and OEMs about reselling its technology, with an OEM announcement expected to come soon, Ruppin said. "There's lots of interest in on-line backup," he said.
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