March 28, 2011, 9:34 PM — The company
2010 Revenue: $34 billion
CEO: Jeff Bezos
What They Do: The company's Web Services business offers infrastructure services that let companies offload computing, storage, database and other functions to the cloud. Users pay as they go for what they use, rather than having to invest up front in hardware.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) wants to save you money. "Instead of spending millions on a data center and servers, you can simply pay as you go," says Adam Selipsky, vice president at AWS. Companies can use the service to run applications and store data in the cloud, paying only for what they use and scaling up or down as needed.
Most early AWS users were small companies, but Selipsky says enterprise adoption has accelerated during the past two years as Amazon added features and services. For instance, Elastic Beanstalk, released in January, lets customers upload a Java application and have AWS automatically handle deployment details such as computing-capacity provisioning, load balancing and autoscaling. Without Elastic Beanstalk, users must interact with each related service individually. In many cases that means writing code to control them--work many companies don't have either the skills or the desire to do.