The era of cloud hyper-giants, providers so big and so critical to the delivery of information and commerce, is clearly here. But unlike an electric utility, which can give an exact count of customers and power consumed, understanding the true size of a cloud provider hasn't been as easy.
But DeepField Networks, a new cloud intelligence company operating in semi-stealth mode, posted some eye-popping findings Wednesday about the breadth of Internet activity Amazon is now responsible for.
Fully one third of all Internet users now access Amazon's cloud site at least once a day, according to Craig Labovitz, DeepField's CEO and co-founder. And about 1% of all Internet consumer traffic in North America goes to the Amazon cloud. While that may seem small, it isn't.
YouTube last year accounted for 6% of all Internet traffic, and a high-definition video can easily use the bandwidth required for millions of tweets, said Labovitz. The Amazon cloud platform doesn't host video content on the scale of a YouTube.
Whether it's Google, Microsoft or Amazon, the cloud services offered by these firms "are becoming the Internet," and act as large utilities providing a variety of services, said Labovitz in an interview. "The nature of what the Internet looks like is changing very quickly," he said.
The importance of Amazon was clearly established last year when a partial outage at the site triggered problems for a number of high-profile consumer sites.
DeepField gets its data from agreements it said it has with a number of large network providers. It only measures subscriber traffic, and excludes machine-to-machine communications and things such as "the nearly constant barrage of scanning/intrusion attempts from China," wrote Labovitz.
Companies that access Amazon cloud infrastructure were also ranked. In the top spot was Truste.com, which offers an online privacy seal program that is widely used in commercial sites. Almost 21% of the daily consumer connections to Amazon's cloud go to Truste.
Patrick Thibodeau covers cloud computing and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.