Happy 15th Birthday Amazon S3 — the service that started it all

15 years is a long time in the world of technology. Back when S3
launched on March 14, 2006 (also known as “Pi Day” to some), iPhones
didn’t exist, neither did tweets or likes, Facebook was still only used
by a few colleges and universities, and you couldn’t hail a ride or
order lunch with an app.

Back then, Amazon was ~2% of its size today, and was growing faster
than traditional IT systems could support. We had to rethink everything
previously known about building scalable systems. Storage was one of our
biggest pain points, and the traditional systems we used just weren’t
fitting the needs of the Amazon.com retail business.

When we took a hard look at our storage for the Amazon ecommerce web
site in 2005, we realized that the majority of our data needed an object
(or key-value) store. We had images for products sold on Amazon.com,
video files, etc., and we needed the low cost with high reliability that
wasn’t readily available in storage solutions. At the time, the universe
of data storage lived in blocks and files. Object storage platforms
existed, but they wouldn’t scale to fit our ambitions. As we laid it out
in the original S3 press release, we needed a storage service that met
the following design criteria: