Netcraft discovers size of Amazon Web Services

cloud services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is now running around 158,000 web-facing servers, according to research carried out by UK research company Netcraft.

The overall figure could be far higher when taking non-web facing servers hosted by the company for other purposes such as government applications and data batch processing.

AWS became the world’s biggest hosting provider in September last year. Since then its tally of servers had grown by a third. The research firm tracks more than 200 million websites in its internet census since the mid-nineties.

Netcraft also said that the number of websites hosted on AWS’s cloud infrastructure increased 71 per cent to 11.6 million in May from 6.8 million in September. But AWS is not the biggest in terms of number of websites hosted. According to Netcraft, Go Daddy has 37 million websites running on just 23,000 web-facing computers.

But the figures do not put a number on the total number of servers Amazon has. Many customers use EC2 for batch processing data and do not reveal the majority of servers run on Amazon’s GovCloud, which is run for US government services. Netcraft only managed to find just 27 web-facing computers within the government cloud.

Netcraft said that given “its intended role, it would not be surprising if a large proportion of the computers used in the region are not web-facing.”

The two largest EC2 regions are US East (Northern Virginia) and EU West (Ireland). These two data centres account for over three quarters of all EC2 usage measured by the research company.

Sydney, the newest AWS region, now accounts for less than one per cent of all measured web-facing computers using AWS, having almost tripled in size in the past four months.

Notable large users of EC2 include Netflix, Instagram and search engine DuckDuckGo.

Netcraft also surveyed websites using AWS’ S3 storage service. In May this year, it noted nearly 139,000 hostnames using the service - a growth of 11.4 per cent in four months.

The company also reported an increase in the use of the Platform-as-a-service Heroku. Heroku is owned by but uses AWS, especially its EC2 infrastructure. In May this year, the platform hosted 69,781 domains, a rise of six per cent over just two months, according to Netcraft.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.