Bezos didn't trot out the term "muck" as he had in the past, perhaps wary of offending those wading knee-deep in IT. But he did pitch Amazon's pay-by-the-drink infrastructure as a way for companies to manage the heavy lifting, the basic IT services that are the "price of admission" for Web-scale businesses today.
The on-demand services Amazon offers include E-Commerce Service, Simple Que Service, Simple Storage Service (S3), Elastic Compute Cloud, Mechanical Turk, and Alexa Web Services.
If Bezo's message -- buy your infrastructure by the sip and the byte from Amazon -- hadn't changed appreciably, demand for Amazon Web Services had. Bezos reported that Amazon's S3 had reached 5 billion objects, up from 800 million in July.
As far as metrics go, that's a hard one to judge: huge numbers of files, while impressive for sheer size, don't translate easily into customers. A fivefold increase in nine months could be just a few dozen guys with a lot of photos, or something like that.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and O'Reilly Media CEO Tim O'Reilly on stage during the Web 2.0 keynote
Photo courtesy James Duncan Davidson
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At least Bezo's figures point to an obvious increase in demand for on-demand IT.
Bezos described how the service proved useful for his space startup, Blue Origin. Back in January, Blue Origin posted video of a trial flight. That prompted links from Slashdot.org and BoingBoing.net, both of which can send huge amounts of traffic to a Web site.
Large traffic spikes typically will crash a Web server or lead to hosting problems if not anticipated. But Bezos explained that because Blue Origin had served the videos from S3, the sudden 758-Gbyte data spike that occurred as a result of the links didn't cause any problems and resulted in a bill of only $304.23 that month.
Just before Bezo's arrival on stage, O'Reilly observed that as the Web develops "we're becoming part of a great machine." If that's true, Amazon and its Web services will surely be there to feed us on-demand.