Upload Files Directly to the Cloud
What is Cloud Storage?
When you create a highly-capable photo-sharing service, storage space can be an issue. The traditional way to solve this is to add dedicated storage servers as the site grows. But maintaining infrastructure increases overhead. If your core business is to offer people online services you don’t want your engineers spending their valuable time maintaining storage servers.
To avoid this, it's a good idea to outsource storage to cloud storage with a special file hosting provider. One of the biggest hosting providers is Amazon, with its Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). There are a number of other major providers in this sector, such as Nirvanix Storage Delivery Network, or Google Storage. These companies all offer cloud storage solutions. They maintain the infrastructure and deal with power requirements, air conditioning to keep the servers operating efficiently, software and hardware versioning compatibility in the servers, and every other headache that comes with running a data center.
Cloud storage is simply the purchase of an account that allows you to store your files in a data center that someone else is maintaining. The system automatically distributes files among multiple nodes, provides load balancing, maintains security, backup, etc. To integrate cloud storage with your website, both Amazon and Nirvanix provide a special API. This architecture allows for an easy-to-use, reliable, secure, and fast system.
How does Image Uploader work with Cloud Storage?
The most obvious method of uploading files to Amazon S3, Google Storage or Nirvanix is to transfer them to a web server first. Instead of saving files on a local hard drive, this web server can send files right to cloud storage through web services.
This method is easy to use with any upload technology, and you can quickly modify an existing upload code for this purpose. However, it means that you sacrifice two very important features of cloud storage - reliability and high speed as your web server becomes a bottleneck. If your traffic skyrockets, your server will suffer from denial of service until you add more servers or increase a bandwidth, and you will be supporting a lot of inbound and outbound traffic.
Fortunately, with Image Uploader you are able to upload files to Amazon S3 or Nirvanix Storage Delivery Network directly, bypassing the intermediary web server.
This approach has a number of clear benefits:
Upload service remains available even when upload volume increases drastically.
Upload speed remains high regardless of the number of users uploading their files.
Your bandwidth is not occupied with heavy inbound and outbound traffic.
You do not have to write server-side code to process uploads.
The good news is that Image Uploader allows you to do this very easily without heavy coding! Check out the Quick Start for the Amazon S3 Upload article for more details.