S3QL supports different backends to store data at different service providers and using different protocols. A storage url specifies a backend together with some backend-specific information and uniquely identifies an S3QL file system. The form of the storage url depends on the backend and is described for every backend below.
All storage backends respect the http_proxy and https_proxy environment variables.
Google Storage is an online storage service offered by Google. To use the Google Storage backend, you need to have (or sign up for) a Google account, and then activate Google Storage for your account. The account is free, you will pay only for the amount of storage and traffic that you actually use. Once you have created the account, make sure to activate legacy access.
To create a Google Storage bucket, you can use e.g. the Google Storage Manager. The storage URL for accessing the bucket in S3QL is then
Here bucketname is the name of the bucket, and prefix can be an arbitrary prefix that will be prepended to all object names used by S3QL. This allows you to store several S3QL file systems in the same Google Storage bucket.
Note that the backend login and password for accessing your Google Storage bucket are not your Google account name and password, but the Google Storage developer access key and Google Storage developer secret that you can manage with the Google Storage key management tool.
Amazon S3 is the online storage service offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). To use the S3 backend, you first need to sign up for an AWS account. The account is free, you will pay only for the amount of storage and traffic that you actually use. After that, you need to create a bucket that will hold the S3QL file system, e.g. using the AWS Management Console. For best performance, it is recommend to create the bucket in the geographically closest storage region, but not the US Standard region (see Important Rules to Avoid Losing Data for the reason).
The storage URL for accessing S3 buckets in S3QL has the form
Here bucketname is the name of the bucket, and prefix can be an arbitrary prefix that will be prepended to all object names used by S3QL. This allows you to store several S3QL file systems in the same S3 bucket.
Note that the backend login and password for accessing S3 are not the user id and password that you use to log into the Amazon Webpage, but the AWS access key id and AWS secret access key shown under My Account/Access Identifiers.
S3QL does not allow the use of reduced redundancy storage. The reason for that is a combination of three factors:
There are two different storage URL for the OpenStack backend that make use of different authentication APIs. For legacy (v1) authentication, the storage URL is
for keystore (v2) authentication, the storage URL is
Note that when using keystore authentication, you can (and have to) specify the storage region of the container as well.
In both cases, hostname name should be the name of the authentication server. The storage container must already exist (most OpenStack providers offer either a web frontend or a command line tool for creating containers). prefix can be an arbitrary prefix that will be prepended to all object names used by S3QL, which can be used to store multiple S3QL file systems in the same container.
When using legacy authentication, the backend login and password correspond to the OpenStack username and API Access Key. When using keystore authentication, the backend password is your regular OpenStack password and the backend login combines you OpenStack username and tenant name in the form <tenant>:<user>. If no tenant is required, the OpenStack username alone may be used as backend login.
Rackspace CloudFiles uses OpenStack internally, so it is possible to just use the OpenStack/Swift backend (see above) with auth.api.rackspacecloud.com as the host name. For convenince, there is also a special rackspace backend that uses a storage URL of the form
The storage container must already exist in the selected region. prefix can be an arbitrary prefix that will be prepended to all object names used by S3QL and can be used to store several S3QL file systems in the same container.
You can create a storage container for S3QL using the Cloud Control Panel (click on Files in the topmost menu bar).
As of January 2012, Rackspace does not give any durability or consistency guarantees (see Important Rules to Avoid Losing Data for why this is important). However, Rackspace support agents seem prone to claim very high guarantees. Unless explicitly backed by their terms of service, any such statement should thus be viewed with suspicion. S3QL developers have also repeatedly experienced similar issues with the credibility and competence of the Rackspace support.
The S3 compatible backend allows S3QL to access any storage service that uses the same protocol as Amazon S3. The storage URL has the form
Here bucketname is the name of an (existing) bucket, and prefix can be an arbitrary prefix that will be prepended to all object names used by S3QL. This allows you to store several S3QL file systems in the same bucket.
S3QL is also able to store its data on the local file system. This can be used to backup data on external media, or to access external services that S3QL can not talk to directly (e.g., it is possible to store data over SSH by first mounting the remote system using sshfs and then using the local backend to store the data in the sshfs mountpoint).
The storage URL for local storage is
Note that you have to write three consecutive slashes to specify an absolute path, e.g. local:///var/archive. Also, relative paths will automatically be converted to absolute paths before the authentication file (see Storing Authentication Information) is read, i.e. if you are in the /home/john directory and try to mount local://s3ql, the corresponding section in the authentication file must match the storage url local:///home/john/s3ql.