Notes from AWS Start-Up Tour (NYC)

Posted by Mike Brittain on September 18, 2008
Cloud Computing

I attended the Amazon Web Services “Start-Up Tour” in New York today.  Though I’ve been using AWS for some time now, I learned a few little bits that I thought I would share.  Some of these might have been in press releases that I missed, but I still thought they were interesting.

1. 400K registered developers. Surely not all of these are active developers, or even doing anything large.  But this seems like a pretty good developer base for a set of services that are mostly still in “beta”, and most people consider them to be bleeding edge.

2. “Muck”. This is the term that Amazon uses for all of that infrastructure that you shouldn’t need to build when you’re starting a company… because someone else has already done it.  Stop reinventing the wheel and get focused on your real business priorities.  I’ve heard this term before, but I love it.

3. Start-ups shouldn’t need an ops team. Using AWS, a start-up can get a real infrastructure setup without having to hire an operations team, go through capacity planning, purchase equipment, rent a rack in a colo, deal with power, bandwidth, security, etc.  Companies like RightScale can ease the implementation process, and at least one of the NYC panelists who was speaking at the Start-Up Tour made use of RightScale.  Slightly more expensive for hourly charges, but keep in mind that you won’t need a such a heavy-duty developer to manage your infrastructure.

4. S3 data redundancy. I was aware that data stored in S3 was replicated across multiple nodes, but according to Mike Culver (from AWS): 1.) S3 stripes across multiple nodes, 2.) Rebuilding a node doesn’t reduce performance of the striped system, and …drumroll… 3.) Data is replicated across multiple datacenters.  That’s the good part I didn’t know about.

5. 22 billion served. Well, not really “served”, but as of 2008 Q2, S3 has over 22 billion objects stored.

6. Upcoming products and features. Today, AWS announced that they will be providing a content delivery service for objects stored in S3 — high-speed, low-latency delivery.  Additionally, from what I heard talking with one of the evangelists, AWS is working on a long list of features requested by their customers.  When you think about a high-performance web application, there are a number of moving pieces — front-end servers, app servers, databases, storage, caching, load balancing, DNS, etc.  Lots of “muck” in there that isn’t already provided by AWS, but it sounds like they’re working on a number of these problems.  I’m looking forward to what may come out in the next year.

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