Cloud Computing Economies of Scale

Today , I’m at the Self Managing Database Systems workshop which is part of the International Conference on Data Engineering in Shanghai. At last year’s ICDE, I participated in a panel: International Conference on Data Engineering 2008. Earlier today, I did the SMDB keynote where I presented: Cloud Computing Economies of Scale.

The key points I attempted to make were:

· Utility (Cloud) computing will be a big part of the future of server-side systems. This is a lasting and fast growing economy with clear economic gains. These workloads are already substantial and growing incredibly fast. And, it’s a new frontier where there are many new tough problems to be solved. Reminiscent of the RDBMS world 20 years ago.

· High-scale service workloads are very different from enterprise workloads. Enterprise workloads typically have people as the number 1 cost. Utility computing affords greater scale, a deeper investment in automation and, as a consequence, people costs are actually very low. H/W costs are dominant and power and functionally related costs are soon to take over. The optimizations affordable in the utility computing world are much different from the enterprise computing world and the cost equations and drivers are very different.

· The Recovery Orient Computing Model is an incredibly powerful management technique that doesn’t eliminate human administration but reduces it by a factor of 10 leaving only the interesting and tough problems. I argue that administrators that are working on only tough problems not amenable to automation are more effective, more valuable, and make less mistakes. Drudgery are repetition drives errors.

· If workloads are partitioned, synchronously redundant, and well monitored, they can be managed by ROC techniques with a savings of over 10x possible. This is how the best services are managed and it is a technique that will (slowly) spread to the enterprise.

· I walk through a variety of interesting management & optimizations problems in the service world and pointed out that the current solutions are nowhere close to as good as they could be. Huge improvements will be made over the next decade. It’s a great research area and a great area to in which to be working.

The slides I presented are up at:


James Hamilton, Amazon Web Services

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3 comments on “Cloud Computing Economies of Scale
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  2. Shanghai is a pretty cool city. I’m flying out later today so I’m not here long but I did a long walk around the hotel yesterday between talks and took some pictures. Yesterday evening Ashraf Aboulnaga, Ken Salem, Anastassia Ailamaki, Verena Kantere and I went down to the Huangpu River for dinner. After dinner we walked the river front and enjoyed the amazing architectural diversity. It’s a shame to need to get back to work – I would have preferred to see the rest of ICDE but it was good to attend the portion I did. Its looking like it’s going to be a good conference.


  3. Haonan Zhang says:

    great insights! and have fun in shanghai.

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