Amazon's blueprint for cloud computing

Amazon.com CTO Werner Vogels outlines the core objectives and principles that cloud computing must meet to be successful.

In the early morning at Structure 08, AMR Research's Jonathan Yarmis described various tech trends around cloud computing . Mendel Rosenblum, a founder and technical lead behind VMware, outlined the role of virtualization in data centers.

Amazon CTO Werner Vogels Dan Farber

Now Werner Vogels, vice president and CTO at Amazon.com, is talking about why Amazon is in the cloud computing business, how it got there, and why customers should want it. Instead of every company or developer doing the heavy lifting, dealing with the "muck" as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos likes to say, Amazon opened up its software-as-a-service stack (Amazon Web Services) and infrastructure (Elastic Compute Cloud, S3, and SimpleDB) to external parties.

I've heard the Amazon story many times, but Vogels offered a few new tidbits, such as S3 is storing 18 billion objects and how Amazon thinks about building to its 1,000 services.

"Amazon built these services internally as tools, not as a framework. Each team can use whatever development tools they need. Infrastructure services need to be very generic and people can switch to competing services internally," Vogels said. For example, users could work with Amazon EC2 and a different storage service than S3.

Vogels outlined the core objectives and principles that cloud computing must meet to be successful:

  • Security

  • Scalability

  • Availability

  • Performance

  • Cost-effective

  • Acquire resources on demand

  • Release resources when no long needed

  • Pay for what you use

  • Leverage other's core competencies

  • Turn fixed cost into variable cost

    Vogels noted that cloud computing is in its infancy, but it's not difficult to see the broad outline of how it will evolve. Nick Carr's book The Big Switch tells the story.

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