Australian software company QSR International offers software that helps qualitative researchers to compile and analyse. Like most software developers, it offers a wealth of online documentation, demonstrations and trial versions of its products for download.
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QSR’s customers download around 1.5 terabytes of this material each month and QSR was being charged for these downloads at $US.0.49 per gigabyte.
Amazon S3 offered a cheaper way to offer the same download facility and the company has gladly taken up its $US0.17 per gigabyte download charge.
“We took two thirds off our download costs,” says Adam Long, QSR’s Chief Technology Officer. “We did not have to do any coding. We just created an alias on our domain that points to our storage on Amazon. It was all pretty much done in an afternoon.”
Long says using cloud storage in this way simplifies the company’s storage affairs.
“The great thing with something like Amazon is that we have as much scalability as we need. We do not have to worry about spikes in demand. If we release a new product the spike in downloads is not a problem. It simplifies things for us because we just pay for what we need.”
QSR has also adopted S3 as backup for its web site and Long says it is costing the company “eighty cents a month” for storage in the USA and Europe.
But he believes further use of S3 is made difficult by restrictions on the amount of bandwidth in Australia. “Where our offices are located, we can only get ADSL2+,” he says. “We would have to pay for fibre to be installed to get more bandwidth.” He has, however, noted Amazon’s promise to investigate methods whereby Australian companies can send storage devices to Amazon for an initial upload to kick off their cloud storage implementations and says that if this service comes to fruition he will consider further S3 applications.