More than 365,000 web sites hosted on the Amazon EC2 cloud computing platform, and that number is growing fast, according to Netcraft, the UK research firm. The number of sites hosted on EC2 has increased in each of the past eight months, and the current toal represents growth of 33 percent since December 2009, Netcraft says in its most recent Web Server Survey.
The growing use of EC2 to run web sites represents a competitive challenge for web hosting companies. Many hosts are launching their own cloud computing services in a bid to retain customers interested in the cloud model.
The Netcraft data tracks the growth trends for Amazon EC2 reported by Guy Rosen, who complies data based on the top 500,000 sites. Netcraft tracks more than 200 million sites in its Internet census, which it has been conducting on a monthly business since mid-1995.
Web hosting provides only a small snapshot of how companies are using Amazon’s cloud, and doesn’t include the use of EC2 for back-end and back-office systems or for research. The use of EC2 for web site hosting became viable for major sites in March 2008, when Amazon introduced static IP addresses and “availability zones” to provide a backup web site should one instance or data center experience trouble.
Amazon doesn’t offer regular updates on the size and growth of its cloud computing operation, although it noted earlier this year that its S3 storage service is now storing more than 100 billion objects.