I have been a huge fan of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and all their services since I first came across them a few years ago for a project at work. While that project didn’t work out I still kept my eye on its development and always said that when I could find an opportunity to leverage it I would. That opportunity came a few months ago when I was looking at a more optimal way to deliver high quality video to our website readers. While running the content straight from our servers was the cheapest solution, from a performance standpoint it wasn’t optimal. I looked around at a lot of different solutions but most of the major players in the space wanted too much money per month and since we can’t accurately predict our video usage from month to month I didn’t think it would be a good use of money.
After going back and forth I decided to try something radical, I was going to stream my high resolution video content from Amazon’s S3. Amazon S3 provides a simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. The beauty of all of Amazon’s web services is that you only pay for what you use and to be honest its dirt cheap per GB. I have already had people download over 130GB of video this month and its looking like it won’t even cost me $20 and that was the kind of value that I was looking for. By utilizing Amazon’s extensive infrastructure I am able to deliver high quality video to readers all over the world easily and without putting any excess load on my server.
As I started to use S3 more and more I only had one gripe with it, I had to log into Amazon’s AWS interface to upload content and that just took way to long for even what I considered small uploads. From their I began to look for tools that might help me to upload and manage content from my Amazon S3 account without actually having to log into the web interface every time. I also wanted a tool that would give me faster uploads, something that worked more like an FTP tool. There aren’t as many options here as I thought there would be especially since I think that AWS is going to be the next big thing. After looking around a bit I came across a tool called S3 Browser and that was pretty much all she wrote. S3 Browser is a free Windows program lets you perform all the functions that you can do from the web interface from a nice little window on your desktop. The program worked really well as far as grabbing content and allowing me to upload and manage it easily. But I still had one problem, more of an inconvenience rather. The free version of S3 Browser lets you do tons of different stuff but in my configuration I needed to be able to control what files were publicly accessible and which were not. You can easily make a file or folder public from the web interface but you can’t do that with the free version of S3. To me this was something that was a vital part of my workflow since videos won’t stream properly if the file permission isn’t set to public. This is where S3 Browser Pro comes in to save the day.
S3 Browser Pro is the same program, you just buy a key that unlocks more functionality and if this is something that you do a lot then trust me its well worth it. The program normally retails for what I think is a more than reasonable $29.95 but we reached out to the folks that make S3 Browser and they agreed to give you a deal. If you use this link, you can get 5.00 off the price which makes this an even better deal in our opinion. So if you are looking for a great tool to access your Amazon S3 account then trust me this is it. We use it daily to upload and manage video for our family of sites and it works like a charm. If any of you decide to try it out, let us know what you think.