Although it boasts having "Earth's biggest selection,"Amazon.com Inc.'s reach has stretched to Mars.
Better known for being an e-commerce giant, Amazon has become a major player in cloud computing, with NASA'sJet Propulsion Laboratory using the company's Amazon Web Services to store images and data collected from the Mars Exploration Rover and Mars Science Laboratory missions.
With so much large-scale data processing to be done, JPL is leading the adoption of cloud computing in the federal government, said Khawaja Shams, manager for data services at La Canada Flintridge-based JPL.
"At this point, JPL's data centers are filled to capacity, so we're looking for ways to cost-effectively expand the computational horsepower that we have at our disposal," he said. "Cloud computing is giving us that opportunity."
Using Amazon's cloud platform to operate NASA's Mars website, Shams noted, enables JPL to get images and developments to the public quickly, without having to build a costly infrastructure in-house.
Amazon began offering cloud computing to businesses in 2006. Companies that use Amazon Web Services include Yelp, Netflix and Pinterest.