The news hit this week: "As of the end of 2011, there are 762 billion objects in Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service). We process over 500,000 requests per second for these objects at peak times," blogged Amazon.com This represents an annual growth rate of 192 percent.
Pretty good for a cloud company still growing a retail business. The growth can be attributed to Amazon Web Services' focus on building a successful cloud storage offering and the rapid adoption of AWS -- including the S3 cloud storage service -- as the cloud computing standard.
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More enterprises are seeking storage in the cloud as they rapidly fill up their on-premise storage and as the cloud storage providers become more secure, reliable, and cost competitive. AWS is typically first on business buyers' lists. In fact, I'm finding that more and more ask only for AWS; others are not even considered.
As cloud computing continues its rapid growth, we could face the reality that we have a single cloud computing provider that's far ahead of the competition. Indeed, AWS -- all its components, not just S3 -- is becoming to the enterprise what Windows was to the desktop in the 1990s. Amazon.com could have a virtual lock on the market, with better third-party support, and become the de facto standard. Maybe it already is.
Of course the market has not played out. It's just beginning to grow to align with the hype over the last few years. I suspect that in the short term, AWS's success will benefit other cloud providers, as it validates the cloud as a viable option for business computing and as the overall cloud market continues to define itself.
But in a few years, I do see a time when just a few providers will dominate the market. The investment in infrastructure it takes to operate a cloud computing service makes that inevitable. And there's no question that AWS will lead that pack, like Microsoft has in operating systems and office productivity tools and SAP has in ERP.
Personally, I would rather see 100 cloud computing providers rather than just three or four -- that just seems healthier. But IT historically prefers a dominant provider for compatiility, integration, and other standardization reasons. And it now seems to be making a similar choice in the cloud.
This article, "Amazon Web Services: The new Microsoft Windows," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.