Customers had to get all their data out by the end of September or, in effect, face losing it.They had 13 days to do it. Below the fold I ask what would happen if Amazon made a similar announcement about S3 - not because I think that is possible but to show how impossible it is.
Lets assume that Amazon decided to shut S3 down and gave its customers the same 13 days to recover their data that Nirvanix did. As of last April Amazon claimed that S3 held 2*1012 objects. They don't say how big the average object is, but lets assume that it is 106 bytes. That means that the outbound bandwidth needed to extract the data in 13 days is about 1.5*1013bit/s or 15
Even assuming the customers have enough inbound bandwidth to accept their share of the traffic, they need a place to store the data they are extracting. So in 13 days they need to buy 5*105 4TB disks, or 12% of the world's total storage production in that time. At retail they would pay $7.5*107. When the Thai floods destroyed 40% of the world's disk production capacity prices doubled overnight. So S3's customers are going to have to pay over the odds for their drives. Add in the costs of staff time and general disruption, and we are looking at $109. A billion dollars.
What this thought experiment shows is that AWS, and S3 in particular, has become "too big to fail" just like the big banks. A threat by Amazon to shut down would be so disruptive that governments would be forced to step in to prevent it. Note that governments would themselves be among the customers most affected by the threat.