Amazon Offers Pay-per-use Service for Data Hosted on S3

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Amazon has rolled out a new option for its Simple Storage Service (S3) that lets data holders charge another entity for the cost of accessing their information.

Previously, someone with information on S3 would have to pay for the storage in addition to data transfer costs when another service uses the data, Amazon said. The new "Requester Pays" option relieves the data provider of that burden.

Amazon said the feature could be useful when working with large data sets, such as zip code directories, reference data, geospatial information or Web crawling data, according to the company's guidance.

The feature gives those using S3 the potential for business models where the data itself could be sold for profit, Amazon said.

Using the "Requester Pays" option alone will only save a developer on bandwidth costs. To enable data to be sold for profit, the Requester Pays option must be used with Amazon's DevPay, a system for billing usage of online services hosted through Amazon.

Those offering data could charge a monthly fee, in addition to a markup on data transfer costs and a markup for "GET" requests.

When the "Requester Pays" option is invoked, the entity being billed must be authenticated, which allows Amazon to identify and bill the requester, the company said.

S3 lets developers store information, or "objects" ranging from 1 byte to 5GB in a so-called data "bucket." It can be used in combination with Amazon's EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud), a system that provides scalable computing services.

Data transfers and requests between S3 and EC2 within the same region, such as the U.S. or Europe, are free even when the "Requester Pays" option is enabled, Amazon said.

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