Markham Johnson

Computing for Rents

As Amazon perfected its back-end computer systems for its own business, it soon became apparent that there was a lot of slack in the system. Just to be prepared for periodic peak traffic, Amazon had to build bulletproof systems, but all too often, 90% of the computing and storage capacity lay idle.

Starting a few months ago, Amazon decided it could put that capacity to good use and make a few bucks. First, it announced the Simple Storage Service, or S3, which offers businesses storage on Amazon’s disk drives for 15 cents per gigabyte per month. Then in September, it offered the Elastic Compute Cloud, which is computing power that is offered like electricity over the Internet. Companies such as the photo-sharing site SmugMug and the soon-to-launch search engine Powerset are using it to bolster their services without spending extra on servers and storage arrays.

Those guys with the dogs are the cofounders of the photo-sharing site SmugMug, CEO Don MacAskill (left) and father and President Chris MacAskill.

Read the story: Jeff Bezos' Risky Bet
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