What Amazon S3’s 566 billion objects say about cloud use

Amazon Web Services (s amzn) said Tuesday night that it’s now hosting 566 billion objects in its Simple Storage Service (S3) — a high number for sure — but one that’s even more impressive in context. The volume has more than doubled since the fourth quarter of last year and actually has grown by 26 percent since the end of June this year. If that doesn’t suggest that cloud use is picking up, I don’t know what does.

Just to be clear: of the 304 billion objects that S3 has added in the past nine months, 117 billion have come in the last three months. The pace is picking up. Additionally, S3’s rate of transactions has increased 28 percent to 370,000 requests per second from 290,000 requests per second as of the second quarter’s end.

These numbers are important, because they illustrate that not only are people using cloud computing, but they’re using it more with each passing month. This is in stark contrast to some recent surveys downplaying cloud usage, such as the newly released “State of the Cloud” report from Symantec finding that “roughly two-thirds [of respondents] are still in early discussions, in trials or simply not considering a move to cloud.”

I think the discrepancy between AWS’s numbers and those from some surveys highlights a couple of key things. One is that the executives often surveyed still don’t know their developers are using the cloud, even if it’s not officially sanctioned. Another is that most surveys overlook that cloud computing has enabled an entirely new class of startups and small businesses that aren’t always easy to reach because they’re not the customers of software companies that often conduct these surveys.

In that sense, surveys become a little misleading. “With cloud” is there really “more talk than action” as Symantec suggests, or is there more talk than action among the managers and executives that it surveyed? If it keeps up the pace, Amazon S3 will be storing more than a trillion objects by this time next year and will likely be approaching a million transactions per second.

Something tells me AWS and other cloud providers whose CEOs have told me they’re killing it in terms of revenue aren’t sweating survey results. They will let their numbers do the talking.