Sunday, March 23, 2008

Is number of objects true indicator of Amazon S3 growth?

In my last blog post, I estimated the data stored on Amazon S3 in exabyte range using 18 billion objects stored reported by Amazon CTO, Werner Vogels in his blog post.

In retrospect, it was an over-estimation by several order of magnitude (my bad) that was promptly corrected by MikeDoug using another data point AWS revenue. MikeDoug estimated (comment excerpts below) the data stored to be in 20PB (petabyte) range, way short of my estimates and may be more closer to reality.

No, doubt, it is still a significantly large number for a service that is only few years old. But, S3 growing up fast may not be as obvious from growth in stored objects as Vogels would like us to believe.
A recent report puts ALL of AWS at the 50 to 70 million in revenue for the year.

Let us pretend that, of the 70 million, 40 million in revenue was attributed to S3 alone for last year. That would be $3,333,333 a month for S3. This converts to 22,222,222 gigabytes, or 0.02 exabytes.
Other interesting tidbits if S3 has 20PB of stored data, 18 billion objects and 330,000 registered developers:

On average, each object is only storing about a megabyte of data. This number seems quite low so either deleted objects are being included in the published number of objects or developers are keeping object size low to prevent transfer timeouts.

On average, each developer is only storing 54GB of data. Considering some services like SmugMug are storing terabytes of data on S3, most probably there are lot of registered developers either not using S3 actively for storing data or have services under development.


  1. With regard to the "per developer" average, note that many people who use S3 are not developers at all. For example, I use JungleDisk as a network backup for my computers at home, and for this purpose JungleDisk requires I use my own AWS account. This sort of consumer use on S3 will skew the "per-developer" average lower.

  2. Do not forget the data transfer costs to S3. So if every bit stored to S3 was transferred from outside AWS it also cost $0.10. This is about the same cost as a GB-month storage in S3. This halves the 22 PB to 11 PB.