WTIA: Scaling into the Cloud with Amazon Web Services

Earlier this evening I attended the Washington Technology Industry Association event Scaling into the Cloud with Amazon Web Services. Adam Selipsky, VP of Amazon Web Services gave an overview of AWS and was followed by two AWS customers each of which talked about their services and how they use AWS. My rough notes follow.

Adam Selipsky, VP Amazon Web Services

· 490k registered developers

· Amazon is primarily a technology company.

o Started experimenting with web services in 2002

o Each page in the Amazon retail web site makes calls to 200 to 300 services prior to rendering

· AWS design principles:

o Reliability

o Scalability

o Low-latency

o Easy to use

o Inexpensive

· Enterprises have to provision to peak – 10 to 15% utilization is a pretty common number

· Amazon web services:

o Simple Storage Service, Elastic Compute Cloud, SimpleDB, CloudFront, SQS, Flexible Payment Service, & Mechanical Turk

· SimpleDB: 80/20 rule – most customers don’t need much of the functionality of relational systems most of the time

· What were the biggest surprises over the last three years:

o Growth:

§ AWS Developers: 160k in 2006 to 490k in 2008

§ S3 Objects Stored:: 200m in 2006 to 40B in 2008

§ S3 Peak request rate: 70k/s

o Diverse use cases: web site/app hosting, media distribution, storage, backup, disaster recovery, content delivery, HPC, & S/W Dev & Test

o Diverse customers: Enterprise to well funded startups to individuals

o Partners: IBM, Oracle, SalesForce, Capgemini, MySQL, Sun, & RedHat

· Customer technology investment:

o 30% focused on business

o 70% focused on infrastructure

· AWS offloads this investment in infrastructure and allows time and capital invested into your business rather than infrastructure.

o Lowers costs

o Faster to market

o More efficient use of capital

· Trends being seen by AWS:

o Multiple services

o Enterprise adoption

o Masive atasets and large-scale parallel processing

o Increased nee for support and transparency so customers know what’s happening in the infrastructure:

§ Service health dashboard

§ Premium developer support

o Running more sophisticated software in AWS

· Animoto case study

o Steady state of about 50 EC2 instances

o Within 3 days they spiked to 5000 EC2 instances

Smartsheet: Todd Fasullo

· Not just an online spreadsheet. Leverage the spreadsheet paradigm but focused on collaboration

· Hybrid model AWS and private infrastructure

· Use CloudFront CDN to get javascript and static content close to users

· Benefits & savings:

o S3: 5% of the cost of our initial projects from existing hosting provider

o CloudFront: <1% cost of traditional CDN

o No sales negotiations

Picnik and AWS: Mike Harrington

· Photo-editing awesomeness

· Built-in editor on flkr

· Facebook application

· About Picnik:

o Founded in 2005

o Based in Seattle

o 16 employees

o No VC

· Flash based application

· 9m unique visitors per month

· Hybrid model where base load is internally provided and everything above base load is EC2 hosted.

· Heavy use of S3

James Hamilton, Amazon Web Services

1200, 12th Ave. S., Seattle, WA, 98144
W:+1(425)703-9972 | C:+1(206)910-4692 | H:+1(206)201-1859 |

H:mvdirona.com | W:mvdirona.com/jrh/work | blog:http://perspectives.mvdirona.com

2 comments on “WTIA: Scaling into the Cloud with Amazon Web Services
  1. I’m sure the confusion is mine. I’m taking notes in real time so likely screwed up on that one. Thanks,


  2. Eric Boyd says:

    > CloudFront: <1% cost of traditional CDN

    Either a typo or he’s way off. According to http://aws.amazon.com/cloudfront/

    pricing goes from 0.17 to 0.05 per GB in the US. If we assume he’s sending a *ton* of traffic through cloudfront and getting their 0.05 per GB rate, that’s still implying that other CDNs are charging > $5.00 per GB which is absurd. I’ve been pricing a bunch of CDNs lately (talk about an industry in decline) and I see $0.05-$0.15 as typical for a site doing 50-100 TB per month.

    I expect he got confused in CDN pricing, which is often quoted as $17 per Mbps at 95% level for the month, or $0.17 per GB.

    Got me excited there for a second thinking I’d found virtually free CDN!

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