If you've any doubt that cloud storage is a huge market, Amazon's numbers ought to be very persuasive. The latest figures from Amazon indicate the company has added about 143 billion objects to S3 in one quarter. But it also looks like Amazon's growth may be slowing - somewhat.

Amazon reported tripling the number of objects stored in 2011. By Amazon's figures, the company added about 500 billion objects to S3. That's roughly 125 billion per quarter, though it's unlikely it's an even split per quarter.

If the pace remains the same, Amazon would be on track to add another 429 billion through 2012 - or a total of 572 billion for the full year. That would leave Amazon with 1.3 trillion objects and change hosted in S3.

The number of requests is growing for Amazon as well. At last report, Amazon's Jeff Barr reported that Amazon processed 500,000 requests per second at peak times. Now Barr says that Amazon "routinely" handles 650,000 requests per second, "with occasional peaks substantially above that number."

One interesting thing Barr points out - the growth that Amazon is seeing right now comes after adding features for object expiration and multi-object deletion. To put it another way, the company may see slower object growth in S3 as developers make use of features to get rid of files more easily. The object expiration, in particular, might have an impact if companies are using Amazon for storing substantial amounts of data that have policy-driven storage periods.

Signs of Slowing

After more than six years, Amazon's S3 growth is showing no signs of stopping - though it may be slowing.

Amazon averaged 125 billion objects added per quarter in 2011. It averaged 40 billion added per quarter in 2010, and 15 billion in 2009. While 143 billion objects added in one quarter is nothing to sneeze at, it does indicate that S3 growth may be slowing somewhat.

Maybe the object expiration and deletion features are having an impact. It could also be that competing offerings are starting to get traction and capture some of the cloud storage market. It seems doubtful that demand for cloud storage is tapering off at this point.

It will be interesting to see if Amazon continues to break down storage figures by quarter or not. I expect that it'll make some noise when it breaks the one trillion object mark, which should be in late May or early June.