Amazon’s Simple Storage Service, or simply S3 for short, is a product designed for storing objects (or files are most people know them) in their proprietary cloud hosting (AWS).

Since S3 was first released on March 14th of 2006, it has gained amazing amounts of popularity online, particularly from web and software developers.

It’s quite interesting to know what S3 really is under the hood and how large it has become.

What is S3 really?

S3 behind the scenes is actually a key value store and not a file system at all.

What makes it so powerful is that it is very reliable due to it being able to be distributable across any amount of nodes that amazon throws at it. This is why they can truly say that it is ‘unlimited storage’ – as soon as a spike is detected one of their auto scaling groups (just like you see in AWS Console) can throw more machines at it, replicate this across multiple zones and immediately cater for a much larger load.

How much is stored in S3?

As of 2013, they were storing 2trillion objects in S3, which was a trillion more than just short of a year before that.

The service has been growing so rapidly due to heavy users such as Dropbox, Tumblr, Pinterest, Reddit and many others. Even Apache’s Hadoop file system is capable of being stored entirely on S3.

This means that measuring the overall size of S3 on a day to day basis is almost impossible as many thousands, if not millions of users and sites contribute to it’s every growing ecosystem.

It’s currently estimated that S3 stores approximately 5trillion objects.