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I've looked at Amazon's S3 and I'm planning on moving stuff over to it, but I'm wondering what stuff should be moved and what shouldn't. Is it that much of a benefit to move all of my images there so that those requests don't come through my web server? In the grand scheme of things will that make much difference?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

First, you need to ask yourself what problem are you trying to solve. Only when that has been answered can you truly determine if it is worth it for you to move all or part of your site to S3. If you can't figure out if you have a problem that needs to be solved, chances are good that it's very much not worth your time to move things to S3.

S3 provides several benefits. A few of the main ones are:

  • data redundancy
  • high availability
  • high scalability
  • reduced hosting costs (possibly - depending on your host)
  • high bandwidth
  • ease of getting your data into a CDN (CloudFront)
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I think it's worth mentioning the fact that you can also access your data from one location. This is critical when doing any sort of Load Balancing or Auto-Scaling if you have user uploads or similar to worry about. S3 saves you from having to roll your own solution, like Gluster. –  Drew Khoury Apr 5 '13 at 14:30
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I help run photoblog.com and we switched to s3+cloudfront due to

  • no need to worry about backups
  • no need to worry about adding new image server

Also in the end we are saving around $200 a month from what we'd pay with 3 servers.. now using 1.5TBs of images on s3

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One more reason not mentioned so far: You are effectively outsourcing the maintenance of this part of your system. You no longer have to speed time updating the web server, operating system and hardware behind the content stored on S3. Depending on the value of your time and how much time you have and what else you could be doing with it, the hourly staffing costs saved may be a bigger win than savings in monthly hosting fees.

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