Amazon S3 servers have been a popular cloud storage solution for startups and businesses for some time now.  Their low-cost, managed solutions have been one of the most cost effective ways for companies to serve large amounts of digital files to users.  A lot of people don’t even realize how often they interact with Amazon’s servers, such as all user avatars on Twitter are stored there.

While things such as avatars are just tiny little pieces of data, other companies are storing massive amounts of files there, and uploading those can be a chore when you consider that the United States ranks 30th on some charts of the world for Internet speeds.  Can you imagine what a chore it would be to upload a couple of terrabytes of data to a server at those speeds?

amazon s3To combat this issue, Amazon has launched a new service where they will allow companies or individuals to ship them a physical storage device and they will input the data on their high-speed internal network.  The cost is $80 per physical device, and $2.49 per hour for the input time.  When they’re all done with the project they will ship the device back to you.  Since there is an upload fee for S3, Amazon has provided an online calculator to figure out which method is more cost effective for you, but seeing the amount of time and frustration it will save you, even when it’s a few more dollars to ship the drive off, I would.

Currently there are processing sites in Seattle, WA, Virginia and Dublin, Ireland.  Of course this tells you that it isn’t just the United States that has Internet speed issues, but in general there is a very definite problem when it is would be faster to ship a loaded external hard drive halfway across the country than to upload it.  Yes, in general we’re talking about 2 TBs on average, but should that really be an issue in this day and age?

This is certainly not Amazon’s fault, and a tip of the hat to them for coming up with a workaround for the problem, but come on Internet companies, lets get our butts in gear before the next embarrassment involves a company suggesting we deliver large files via Pony Express.

What say you?  Shouldn’t broadband be able to handle data in these amounts with no problem?