How many large companies are using the Amazon Web Services cloud computing platform to host their public web sites? Of the top 500,000 web sites, 1,422 are hosted on Amazon's EC2 service, according to data from Infibase, which works out to about 0.28 percent of that sampling. The analysis is based on an analysis of the top 500,000 sites tracked by Quantcast and analyzed by tools developed by InfiBase, a cloud startup.
The data 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.
It should also be noted that a sample of the top 500,000 web sites represents a small slice of the larger web. Netcraft's Web Server Survey found more than 238 million web sites in June.
The data offers fuel for cloud computing's boosters, and its detractors as well. Although the economics of EC2 are perhaps more attractive for large-scale computing jobs than hosting web sites, the data suggests that a number of sites with meaningful traffic are using EC2 as their primary hosting provider.
At the same time, the 0.3 percent market penetration by the cloud computing standard bearer could be seen as evidence that the adoption of cloud hosting is still in its early stages, and that cloud hype is running well ahead of implementation.
And what of InfiBase and its motivations? The company describes itself as an "early stage startup working on a revolutionary solution for cloud computing." While it's in stealth mode, the company is offering cloud data analysis. "Although we can't hope to estimate Amazon's financials, I hope that our numbers can cast some light into the size and growth of Amazon's elastic compute cloud," writes InfiBase's Guy Rosen.