When we think about cryptographic keys, we tend to think about closely guarded secrets. Keys are the only thing that keeps the attacker away from your encrypted data. Some keys are usually treated with the appropriate level of respect. Security professionals in the payments industry, or those that have deployed a PKI, know all too well about the importance... 

Richard Moulds

The Data World: AWS Reaches 1 Trillion

The Data World: AWS Reaches 1 Trillion

According to recently released statistics, Amazon Web Services’ S3 Services (Simple Storage Service) is now home to more than a trillion (12 zeros) objects, courtesy of its cloud computing clients. The newly released figures once again prove the tremendous growth of cloud computing.

Simple Storage Service is Amazon Web Services’ online storage service. It was launched in the US in March 2006, and was followed by a European launch in November 2007. As its name implies, S3 is a cloud storage service provider offering above average uptime, low latency, and scalability, while retaining simplicity and keeping costs reasonable.

The details behind S3’s makeup are not available to the public, however, S3 is being used as a host and storage facility by a number of very popular online services – some of whom are also widely known as cloud storage providers – such as Dropbox and Tumblr. Zmanda and Ubuntu One also offer online backup and sync services using S3 as the backend storage and transfer facility. Minecraft also hosts its game updates and player skins on Amazon’s S3 servers. Formspring and Posterous use the service to host database files and images.

Just How Big is a Trillion Anyway?

S3’s milestone figures are undoubtedly a massive success in the industry. Amazon’s Jeff Barr emphasized just how big a trillion is in his recent blog posts announcing the new peak. For example, the current S3 numbers are basically akin to 142 objects for every person on the planet, or 3.3 objects for every star in the Milky Way.

Counting one object every second, it would take a person 31,710 years to finish counting all the objects stored in Amazon’s servers. Another good example of just how big a trillion is can be gleaned from TED founder Richard Saul Wurman’s recent statement regarding the national debt. He said that in order to reach a 1 trillion dollar debt, the country would have to lose $1 million daily for a period of 2,730 years.

What Can We Expect in the Future?

Amazon S3’s success is amazing enough, but what’s more amazing is that we have barely even scratched the surface. More and more big-data services use S3 for their clouds, and we can only expect the numbers to increase exponentially over the next few years.

Regarding Amazon S3’s rate of growth, you should take into consideration a recent report which mentioned that it was already hosting 566 billion objects by October last year, only for the numbers to balloon to 762 billion in January this year, followed by 905 billion last April. According to Barr, the recent numbers show that their rate of growth is roughly 3.5 billion objects daily, or 40,000 new objects every second.

It’s safe to say that it won’t be long until we hit the quadrillion mark.

By Kaamil Nakhasi