Use Amazon S3 storage to lower hosting costs

  • Overview

    Some communities are not particularly active, or not particularly busy, but do have a ton of content.

    If your in the situation where your site is getting large, say over 500GB in size, but is not particularly busy, then you might not need so much processing power, but do need a lot of storage.

    This is the target audience for this How To. We will look at integrating Amazon S3 to get cheaper storage for larger sites.
  • Jamroom Hosted

    Jamroom Hosted
    Jamroom Hosted can handle sites up to almost 2TB in size
  • By far the fastest option for serving media is using Jamroom Hosted. All Jamroom Hosted plans run on 100% enterprise grade (1000+ mbps) SSD drives, so everything is pretty much "instant" when it comes to how long it takes to start a media stream, view an image, etc.

    This type of high performance SSD disk space is not cheap however, and the Jamroom Hosted plan that can support a 500GB site would cost $449 per month. Again - it's going to be blazing fast and is your best option. But what happens if you have 2 terabytes of videos? Or more?

    This is where using Amazon S3 can really help - it gives you basically "unlimited" storage space to grow your site. This let's you choose a smaller Jamroom Hosted server that meets your performance requirements for the database, but still have a much larger space for media files.
  • Concerns about Amazon S3

    Amazon S3 storage prices are very cheap. 500GB of monthly storage should cost less than $50 (per month).
    Bandwidth on the other hand, is very expensive (at about 9 cents per GB), so it really comes down to how much bandwidth you think you would use in order for this to be cost effective.

    Jamroom Hosted includes unlimited bandwidth, so it is important to evaluate how much media you have and how much access it receives to determine if this option is a good fit for your site.
  • Activate the Amazon S3 Media Module

    The Amazon S3 Media module is available in the jamroom marketplace and can be installed via your ACP of your Jamroom site.

  • screenshot of the Amazon S3 Media module's INFO tab in the ACP
  • Get the AWS Access Key

    If you don't already have an account with amazon, you can get started here:

    Amazon S3
  • screenshot of the Amazon S3 starting page with "Try Amazon S3 for Free" highlighted
  • Complete the Amazon Web Services signup

    Complete the Amazon Web Services signup
    screenshot of the welcome screen after signup has completed
  • Create a new bucket

    Click the Launch Management Console and select S3.
  • screenshot of the S3 section of AWS
  • screenshot of the create a new bucket button
  • screenshot of the options for creating a new bucket
  • Choose the bucket name you want to use and the region that is closest to where your server is.
  • screenshot of the newly created bucket
  • Get your AWS Access Key

    Click on 'Security Credentials' in the menu under your name in the top right menu to get to the location to create your Access Key.

    Click on the Access Keys (Access Key ID and Secret Access Key) section and create a new key.

    It is important that you copy+paste the details that you get because it is not possible to retrieve the 'Secret Access Key' once you close the window. (You'd have to create another key)
  • screenshot of the 'AWS access key' and 'AWS secret key'
  • Set the AWS Access Key and Secret Key

    In the GLOBAL CONFIG tab you are going to be asked for the credentials of your Amazon S3 account to allow Jamroom to connect to it.
  • screenshot of the location to enter your AWS server credentials
  • GLOBAL CONFIG with the credentials entered
  • Media Transfer

    Once you have the connection setup, its time to transfer all your media over to the Amazon S3.

    From TRANSFER MEDIA tab of the Amazon S3 Module in your ACP select the direction of transfer to be towards the Amazon Server.
  • screenshot of the transfer media tool pointed toward the amazon server
  • screenshot of the transfer of files to Amazon S3 bucket
  • Last Steps

    Once you have it configured and transferred profiles, you're good to go - just make sure the Core -> Global Config -> Media System is set to use S3.
  • screenshot of the active media system setting
  • Conclusion

    Now your sites media will all be being fed from your Amazon S3 server. When an image shows on your site, it will be coming from Amazon S3.

    This will mean a portion of bandwidth is used from your amazon allowance. If your site is extremely busy the cost savings made by using the cheaper storage could be eaten up by the bandwidth cost, so keep an eye on your amazon costs to make sure it is actually cheaper than going with a Jamroom Hosted Server, because Jamroom Hosted will be the higher performing solution.