Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said yesterday that Amazon S3 now hosts more than 5 billion objects, up from 800 million in July 2006. S3 (short for Simple Storage Service) offers tons of storage space to serve as the backend for web applications, and is part of a broader suite of utility infrastructure services offered by the giant Internet retailer. Dan Farber of ZDNet has a summary of Bezos' talk at the Web 2.0 Expo. An excerpt:
Bezos said that Amazon is not making money yet on its infrastructure services. "We are already rapidly deploying new infrastructure, disks and servers, to support [growth]. EC2, for example, is completely capacity constrained and invite only. For S3 Amazon is taking all comers," he said. "We would like our current customers to get good service before taking on new customers. We are trying to get ourselves into position where we are demand constrained rather than capacity constrained," Bezos said.
Some securities analysts have expressed puzzlement about Amazon's infrastructure strategy, but the response from web developers and startups reflects the larger appetite for affordable utility hosting. S3 has been the beneficiary of rave reviews from online photo site SmugMug and a high-profile test drive by blogging pioneer Dave Winer, which have showcased the cost savings possible using the service. The bigger question, which Bezos noted in his quote, is whether periodic performance problems for S3 will deter prospects. The latest growth numbers suggest that hasn't been the case.