To make it short: a ton of companies do. Because it’s cheap and easy for them to use.
Now for the details:
What does AWS stand for? AWS stands for Amazon Web Services, which is owned by and run by Amazon. They provide computers that companies (and people) can rent out when they need, which are located in multiple places around the world.
Wait, it’s owned by Amazon. Like amazon.com? The very same company. Amazon doesn’t just run the name brand Amazon site, they run many other things.
How many companies rely on AWS? That number is hard to say, as Amazon doesn’t give exact numbers so we are left to estimates. Synergy Research Group estimates just over 30% of the worldwide cloud computer service spend is on AWS, which may seem like a lot until you see that “Others” is a bit more than AWS at anywhere from 38 to 40%.
What are some big and well-known companies that use AWS? Netflix is a huge one (and is listed on the AWS website), BBC iPlayer uses it, Slack uses it for processing and delivery, Twitter uses it for their timelines.
Why do companies use AWS? Amazon has tons of computer power around the world and they have [99.99% monthly uptime agreement])https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_availability#Percentage_calculation) (except when they go down and half of the internet seems to go down as well). It doesn’t require any companies to have their own data centre, or pay someone to do all the maintenance and updates on those servers. AWS is cost-effective (they can be as cheap as $0.0061 per hour). Amazon does have very high security and they take your data very seriously, and there are also many best practices. Companies can quickly add more computing power if they need (then stop using it once they don’t need it anymore).
Why should you care how many companies are using the same company for their hosting? You should care because it means if AWS has any sort of issues then many (or all) of the websites you use will be down. It’s always best to decentralize as wide as you can so that if one major player goes down it doesn’t mean everything goes down. This is hard in practice as most of the time people don’t care where the website they use is hosted, as long as it’s up. If you care, to make sure not every company you use is hosted by the same company, you can use a site like WhoIsHostingThis.com.
What alternatives to AWS are there? There are many alternatives, which all depends on your needs and budget. Some of the more popular AWS EC2 alternatives are, Heroku, DigitalOcean (affiliate link), Vultr, Linode, Microsoft Azure (affiliate link), Google Cloud Platform, OVH, Scaleway, Cloudways (affiliate link), Luna Node (affiliate link), Alibaba Cloud.
Many companies rely on AWS because it’s easy and relatively inexpensive and they are one of the most popular companies that rent out computers. But there are many other alternatives that should be looked into.
This is post number 61 as part of 100 Days To Offload.