Photo sharing service SmugMug received much attention when they published their business case for using Amazon's S3 storage service. The 2002 startup describes how the service saves them between half a million to a million USD per year.
At Headshift, we have made use of the S3 service too, most recently on a project where video is a part of the user experience.
But it is not just startups that benefit from Amazon's cloud computing services. Techcrunch asks who the biggest users of Amazon Web Services are and quotes an Amazon source who reveals that big companies make up a large proportion of the 60,000 customers.
In my view, the reason for large companies to use cloud computing is not just the potential cost advantage, it is the ability to do new and exciting stuff - such as introducing social software. Like many other FTSE100 companies, one of our client's IT operations are optimised for steady state stability. Provisioning a server for a project takes several months and costs tens of thousands of dollars. They now have a two day process to approve and set up a virtual server using a combination of Amazon's EC2 and S3 services, with user identity provision tied to existing systems.
Look to the cloud to help innovation along.