Well what do you know, I had never thought of this approach, I guess I will toy with that some, if it works Ill be sure to post. Thaks for the info.
@avro... Yah until i really looked into it, I had no idea - for high storage with medium transfer rates it can be a huge savings. Now if a gig file is being downloaded 300 times a day, then i could get pricey, but not to out of line with what you would be paying from you host. The pricing structure does however discourage hosting small image files for CDN like use, they will charge for get requests past a certain amount, so you wouldn't want your entire filesystem to be on S3... just storage items.
I would like to point out, the S3 figures totally depend on usage and maybe higher depending on how often your media get accessed, but as you can see the benefits can be large, especially for a large community.
I expect to have a lot, around 50 images a day, anywhere from 1-8 meg each. Of course it could be much more. I would also like to be able to allow users to upload videos to their gallery, so 50 meg for a video upload wouldn't be unexpected at that point.
I run my hosting from linode.com and its a VPS, for me to add 2gig storage to my host is $2 bucks a month.
Because Amazon S3 inbound data transfer is free, and the first gig of outbound is free, it give me great rates or storage with minimal access fairly cheaply, the first 2 gigs would essentially be free for me to host on S3 - of course this depends on the actual gallery views. if I grow to 20 gig of storage, the storage alone on S3 would cost me a whopping 2.02 cents a month. Similar storage space for my VPS host would be $20/month.
Part of the reason Amazon S3 is so attractive for storage like gallery, is that not all of the galleries will be accessed all the time, thus it is mostly storage with occasional views. I also get the added benefit of Amazon automatically serving the image from the best physical location for that user and S# will act as a CDN for the images and attachments.
To further expand on this, if S3 could be configured for Forum attachments as well it could be both a cheaper solution for you as well as increased performance for your forums an its users load times.
That being said,if there is a third part dev willing to work on this, I would be willing to pay for the custom work and woudl be willing to share the cost with anyone else interested, the feature would be HUGE for my community.
I have actually used the amazon S3 php library in quite a few of my projects, unfortunately i cannot figure out exactly how to use it in conjunction with gallery, IP.board does alt of things in the gallery code and it takes some time to figure out.
I actually just had people concerned about my space limits on the gallery and would love to remove that with cheap storage like S3, i might have to look again myself.
I did some poking around and asked a few questions and I was surprised to find out that Gallery does not support offsite image repositories for file storage.
I would specifically like to see implementation off site storage for Amazon S3, it will work well for reduced storage cost and also will act as CDN, helping reduce load on your sever and splitting the resource calls across servers decreasing page load time.
Amazon provides a great PHP SDK to work with S3 that is fairly simple to deploy, and is free. http://aws.amazon.com/sdkforphp/