Amazon S3 Storage and Firefox S3 Organizer Addon

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News Posted: Mon, Dec 1 2008 3:36 AM

As part of Amazon's AWS service they provide online storage at very low rates via the Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3). S3 combined with the S3 Amazon Firefox Add-on provide an extremely easy to use means to upload files via the Firefox web browser just by opening the add-on that resides in the lower right portion of Firefox, selecting (double-click) a destination folder or "bucket" as Amazon calls them and then use windows explorer to browse to the file or files you want to transfer, select them, and then drag and drop into the add-on user interface. You are then presented with upload status bars that show the progress until complete. Voila, your files are now uploaded and available to you or anyone you choose via a Unix like Access Control List that sets permissions on folders and files. You are able to grant the read permission to all and then right click (In the Add-on) and select "Copy url to clipboard" then paste the link in an email, chat session, or etc, to give others access to the file or files you have granted Everyone Read permissions.

Some of the uses I have found for the S3 service are:
  • Uploading work projects or documents that I need access to from remote locations.
  • Backing up my MP3 collection.
  • Uploading large files or video presentations to be downloaded or streamed to others thereby offloading the bandwidth load on a website at more favorable rates.
  • Backing up critical files.
  • A quick means to upload a file to give a customer or friend access to
Once you have setup your account and Firefox add-on I am sure you will find a mulititude of uses and be very surprised at the low cost.

This tutorial will cover the basic setup and use of the S3 service and Firefox Add-on as all the possible uses are beyond the scope of this article.

United States Pricing:

Storage
  • $0.150 per GB – first 50 TB / month of storage used
  • $0.140 per GB – next 50 TB / month of storage used
  • $0.130 per GB – next 400 TB /month of storage used
  • $0.120 per GB – storage used / month over 500 TB
Data Transfer
  • $0.100 per GB – all data transfer in
  • $0.170 per GB – first 10 TB / month data transfer out
  • $0.130 per GB – next 40 TB / month data transfer out
  • $0.110 per GB – next 100 TB / month data transfer out
  • $0.100 per GB – data transfer out / month over 150 TB
Requests
  • $0.01 per 1,000 PUT, COPY, POST, or LIST requests
  • $0.01 per 10,000 GET and all other requests*
* No charge for delete requests

1) Create S3 Account

Go to http://aws.amazon.com/s3/ and click Sign Up For Amazon S3. You are then presented with a login screen for amazon with a place to create a new account if you do not have one. Once you have logged in or created a new account proceed through and fill in the rest of the information as needed then supply a payment method, confirm your information and click to complete the setup. If all goes well You will then receive a confirmation email with a link to the page that has your access keys that you will need to access your storage and setup the Firefox S3 add-on. The link you need to click will be the second one in the email, usually:

http://aws-portal.amazon.com/gp/aws/developer/account/index.html?action=access-key


Click on the "+ Show" on your access key page to show your secret key. Copy your Access Key ID and Your Secret Access Key into notepad as the next step will restart Firefox during the install process

2) Install S3 Firefox Organizer add-on


Open a new Firefox instance and proceed to https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3247
Click on "Add to Firefox" and when the install is completed click the restart Firefox button in the add-on GUI. Once Firefox has restarted you will notice the new S3Firefox text in the bottom right of Firefox - Double-Click it to bring up the Add-On.



3) Configure S3 Firefox Organizer add-on:
Once the Add-on is open click on the "Manage Accounts button at the top and fill in the fields as follows:
  • Account name - Friendly name you decide on
  • Access Key - Access Key provided by Amazon
  • Secret Key - Secret Key provided by Amazon


Click close and you will be presented with an empty root folder:



Time to add a bucket. Right click in the blank space of the Add-on and click create directory:



Name the directory or "bucket" as Amazon calls it.



Now that the bucket is created, double-click to open it:



Open windows explorer and browse to a file or files that you would like to upload. Select them and drag to white area of Add-on. The Add-on will now display the Transfer view with a progress indicator:



Click the remote view tab to return to the file view where you will now see the file you just uploaded. Now lets set the access permissions by right clicking in the white area once again this time choosing "edit acl":



Now lets set the permission so others may access the file (If you are so inclined):



After setting the permissions click Ok to close and then right click the file and click "Copy URL to Clipboard":



In this case if you pasted the URL into a browser you would get:

https://hhdemo.s3.amazonaws.com/vmSBS2008.jpg

Now its your turn. There are many useful applications for this service and we have just barely skimmed the surface.




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Nice. Everyone can use a little online storage.

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Sounds good, but the slow upload speeds and expensive Internet in NZ will probably force me to buy an external harddrive instead.

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