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Amazon is due to announce the size of its Web Services product. Amazon Web
Services is a set of cloud services often used by startups, big
companies, and government agencies. You might know AWS better as the
serves that run Netflix and Instagram.

AWS lets companies buy powerful computers cheaply and whenever they need
them to handle traffic, to store video, to power a database.  Its not an
understatement to say that AWS is the piece of infratsructure that has enabled
the current tech boom. The only single technology which might come close to
it is the smartphone.

Why? the 2010s tech industry is built on quickly scaling a product to as many
users as possible. Its based, on other words, on fast growth. AWS and its
competitors are what permit that fast growth. They have taken the normally
considerable equipment costs of servers, cables, hard drives, and power
supplies and abstracted them away. Entrepreneurs and coders can think about
and purchase computing power on an as needed basis, while the physical data
centers they're actually using sit far away in Virginia or Oregon


Since its launch nine years ago, when it was the first such cloud service, AWS
has come to dominate the market. But this is the first time Amazon will report
AWS's size. Previously it reported AWS revenue and profit as part the rest
of the company's business in North America. In 2014, that segment claimed
revenue of 5.4 billion.

You can catch glimpses of the vastness of AWS, but its hard to get a sense
of the true importance of the service. Whats enchanting about AWS is whats
enchanting about the cloud. It works in the background, silent, invisible, and
powerful, never announcing itself until Vine, Instagram, and Airbnb all go
down at once.

So while we wait to learn just how much money AWS makes, heres an
incomplete yet still mind boggling list of technological, social, economic,
and cultural infrastructure powered by Amazons quiet goliath.


AWS provides the guts that lets Netflix stream billions of hours of movies and
TV shows, so both the modern habit of unplanned binge watchingg and the
aversion to network TV shows is made possible by the service.

- AWS is what kept Paper Mag's servers from not breaking when it "broke the

- Spotify hosts its music on the company's cloud storage service, S3. The
ability to listen to any albumn, whenever, at work or home. AWS permits that.

- Even the police body camera debate turns on AWS. Tasers hosted service for
body cam footage and other kinds of digital evidence., is
actually a shell built on AWS.

- And fianlly- Last year, the CIA moved much of its computing power to a custom
AWS setup.

No lines are longer than 80 characters, TYVM. Other specified properties aren't being scored automatically at this time so this is not necessarily good news...