Back in December of 2008, I wrote about a new initiative from Amazon to make large sets of public data more accessible. Amazon offered to mount the data for free, and for developers writing applications elsewhere in the Amazon Web Services ecosystem even the bandwidth cost of communicating with GenBank, the PubChem Library, the US Census and similar resources was zero. As I wrote at the time,
"By offering free hosting for public data, then, Amazon are doing the wider community a huge service. Much of the data there today is reasonably readily available from other sources, so the biggest immediate benefits are those of speed and cost... For existing or potential users of Amazon’s Web Services to power their applications, this is yet another reason to consider Amazon."
Sir Tim Berners-Lee recently called on the holders of data to loosen their grip, demanding Raw Data, Now! For those prepared to take that step, and unsure where to go next, offers such as those from Talis and Amazon are certainly worth a very close look.
Disclaimer: Talis is my former employer