James Hamilton Joins Amazon.com

I’ve resigned from Microsoft and will join the Amazon Web Services team at the start of next year. As an AWS user, I’ve written thousands of lines of app code against S3, and now I’ll have an opportunity to help improve and expand the AWS suite.

In this case, I’m probably guilty of what many complain about in bloggers: posting rehashed news reported broadly elsewhere without adding anything new:

· http://techhermit.wordpress.com/2008/12/11/microsofts-container-progenitor-to-leave/

· http://www.techflash.com/microsoft/Key_data_center_architect_leaves_Microsoft_for_Amazon36057114.html

· http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2008/12/12/james-hamilton-leaving-microsoft/

· http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=1765

· http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12/12/amazon_goes_containers/

· http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/amazon/archives/156853.asp

· http://www.readwriteweb.com/jobwire/2008/12/james-hamilton-leaves-micfroso.php

· http://blogs.msdn.com/stevecla01/archive/2008/12/12/dick-hardt-in-james-hamilton-out.aspx

Job changes generally bring some stress, and that’s probably why I’ve only moved between companies three times in 28 years. I worked 6 years as an auto-mechanic, 10 years at IBM, and 12 years at Microsoft. Looking back over my 12 years at Microsoft, I couldn’t have asked for more excitement, more learning, more challenges, or more trust.

I’ve had a super interesting time at Microsoft and leaving is tough, but I also remember feeling the same way when I left IBM after 10 years to join Microsoft. Change is good; change challenges; change forces humility; change teaches. I’m looking forward to it even though all new jobs are hard. Onward!


16 comments on “James Hamilton Joins Amazon.com
  1. Hi Zach. I hope school is going well for you this term. I’m predictably busy having been at Amazon for 7 days so far but I’m having fun. Lots of new stuff to learn.


  2. Zach Hill says:


    Somehow I missed this post earlier. It was great to work with you at MSR last summer. Best of luck at AWS, and keep them on their toes. I keep up with your blog regularly, and occasionally your boating blog as well, and I’ve enjoyed the insight (from both).

    The intern who didn’t bother you quite as much as Thilina,

  3. jam says:

    Great hearing from you Kelly and congratulations on your new job. I’ll bet you are having a ball at UofT.

    If I’m in Toronto I would love to give a guest lecture for you. I did one for Ed Lazowska last month and it was fun.


  4. Thanks for dropping me a note Thilina. I am indeed looking forward to my new adventures at Amazon.

    Stay in touch and have a good year.


  5. Kelly Lyons says:

    Hey James — big news — congrats! I’m at University of Toronto Faculty of Information (change is stressful, change is good!) .. I’m teaching Databases this term … if you ever want to give a guest lecture and visit Toronto, you know who to call … :-)

  6. Hi James,
    Wish you a very happy new year & all the best for the new job you are starting today. Hope you’ll find interesting adventures @ Amazon…

    The intern who troubled you so much,

  7. Great hearing from you Jeff and I’m looking forward to working with you as well. I’ll be in the office on Jan 2nd. I’ll drop you a note to see if you are going to be around. Thanks,


  8. Jeff Barr says:

    Hi James, I am looking forward to working with you. Have a great holiday and we’ll surely meet in early January. Feel free to drop me an email before then.

  9. Thanks Lili. I miss working with you already.


  10. lili says:

    Sorry to see you leave… still waiting for my datacenter in the storage car ! ;) take care..

  11. Thanks for the note and the kind words Alan. Have a good holiday.


  12. Alan Fekete says:

    Best wishes in the new job; I hope that you will continue to play your wonderful role in the database community and in the blogosphere.

    -Alan Fekete

  13. Nathan, thanks for the note. I hope all is well on your end.

    I do plan to keep blogging on //perspectives.mvdirona.com as I come across interesting trends in technology. I’m planning to post something on the cost of storage next week. I last had a detailed look at high-scale storage costs nearly two years ago and it’s now under ¼ what it was then. I shouldn’t be amazed but I am.


    Amazon Web Services

  14. Nathan Howell says:

    Wow, I heard the news from Sam a few days ago… Your internal blog was one of the things I knew I would miss when I left Microsoft (just a few months ago, seems crazy). I hope you will continue posting after getting things sorted at Amazon.

    Best of luck sir

  15. Thanks Kip. I’m up in Canada’s Gulf Islands over Christmas. January 2nd, I’ll start at AWS. I’m speaking at the Conference on Innovative Data Systems (http://www-db.cs.wisc.edu/cidr/cidr2009/index.html) on Jan 8th. Tomorrow (I hope) I’ll finish the CIDR paper – It reports on an experiment I’ve been doing building servers out of high-volume, low-power client parts looking at work done/$, work done/joule, and work done/rack using a high scale internet service as a workload.

    Have a good holiday.


  16. kip says:

    Good luck, James! I’ve really enjoyed reading this blog, hope you keep it up, pretty exciting times for data centers, containers, cloud computing, and even tents! Can’t wait to hear what you’re up to next.

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