Amazon Debuts Public Data Cloud - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Cloud
Commentary
12/4/2008
01:29 PM
John Foley
John Foley
Commentary
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Amazon Debuts Public Data Cloud

Amazon.com has introduced a new service in which it hosts large data sets -- economic, demographic, scientific, and medical data, for example -- that are open for anyone to access. It's an interesting proposal, but one that casts Amazon in the potentially difficult role of having to be an information gatekeeper.

Amazon.com has introduced a new service in which it hosts large data sets -- economic, demographic, scientific, and medical data, for example -- that are open for anyone to access. It's an interesting proposal, but one that casts Amazon in the potentially difficult role of having to be an information gatekeeper.The new offering, hosted on Amazon's recently introduced Elastic Block Storage, is called Amazon Web Services (AWS) Hosted Public Data Sets. Amazon first described the service a few weeks ago; today marks the official launch.

So far, Amazon has assembled a half dozen or so data sets from a variety of sources, including a repository of 3-D chemical structures, and census, labor, transportation, and economic stats from the U.S. government. It's looking to expand the number and types of data sets hosted on AWS.

Here's how it works: Data sets are hosted for free on Amazon's Elastic Block Storage, and users then use the data set to create their own volume, which they can modify and manipulate. The catch is that users need to have an EC2 account, and they'll pay for any compute and storage resources consumed in the process. Amazon says most data sets range from 1 GB to 1 TB in size; it can accommodate larger data sets by divvying them into 1 TB volumes.

What kind of data qualifies? Amazon says, vaguely, that the data must be "useful and interesting" and that the person or organization sharing it must have the right to do so. That seems straightforward enough with data made available by the feds, but it could get dicey depending on the nature of the data or its source. For example, many kinds of health care, financial, and demographic information may have privacy or governance implications, and there could be copyright issues with other kinds of content.

When I asked Amazon VP Adam Selipsky where the company would draw the line between what data gets accepted as a public data set and what doesn't, he admitted that Amazon doesn't have clear-cut guidelines. "We use judgment there," he said. It will be interesting to see how well Amazon adapts to this role as information steward and how long it takes before someone cries foul.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of Data and Analytics
Today's companies are differentiating themselves using data analytics, but the journey requires adjustments to people, processes, technology, and culture. 
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll