Amazon S3 Storage Cloud: Nearly 500 Billion Objects Stored

Amazon Web Service's massive growth

But the cloud stalwart this week gave a small peak into its metrics, revealing that the cloud giant's Simple Storage Service (S3) holds nearly 500 billion objects.

"As of the end of the second quarter of 2011, Amazon S3 holds more than 449 billion objects and processes up to 290,000 requests per second for them at peak times," Amazon cloud evangelist Jeff Barr wrote in a short blog post containing a chart detailing Amazon S3's rapid growth.

According to the chart, the number of objects stored in Amazon's cloud ballooned to 449 billion in the second quarter of 2011, an massive increase from the 262 billion objects stored on Amazon S3 in the fourth quarter of 2010. And from the fourth quarter of 2006 to the fourth quarter of 2009, the amount of stored objects on Amazon's cloud increased by more than 100 percent each year, from 2.9 billion in 2006, to 14 billion in 2007, to 40 billion in 2008 and to 102 billion in 2009.

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Amazon's processing of 290,000 requests per second at peak times is a jump from the 200,000 at the end of 2010.

Amazon said the 449 billion stored objects is enough for every resident of the U.S. to have 1,440 objects stored in Amazon S3, or for each person on Earth to have 64 objects stored on Amazon's storage cloud. That 449 billion objects stored on S3 equals four objects for every neuron in a human brain, and there are about as many Amazon S3 objects as there are stars in the Milky Way, Amazon contended.

Detailing the number of objects stored on S3 is a break from Amazon's typical secrecy around its cloud operations. The massive online retailer, which launched its Amazon Web Services cloud services roughly five years ago, doesn't divulge the number of customers using S3 or its cloud Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) cloud infrastructure.

There has also been question around the amount or revenue Amazon's cloud computing offerings generate. The tight-lipped cloud provider lumps its cloud revenues in with a host of other plays in its earnings reports in a category dubbed "other," which also ties in revenue made through marketing and promotional arrangements and additional revenue drivers. In Amazon's first quarter financial results from 2011, the company reported revenue of $9.86 billion for the quarter. Of that $9.86 billion, $311 million, or 3 percent of Amazon's overall revenue, was "other" revenue not generated by media or electronics or other general merchandise.

In a report last year, UBS analysts Brian Pitz and Brian Fitzgerald predict that Amazon Web Services revenue will hit $500 million in 2010. In 2011, AWS revenue will hit about $750 million, the analysts predicted. And come 2014, AWS could capture roughly $2.5 billion in revenue.