Friday, October 27, 2017 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Inside Amazon Web Services

David Pogue:

Over the last decade, Amazon has quietly built up the world’s largest cloud-services company, called AWS (Amazon Web Services). In terms of income and profit, it’s much bigger than (the division that sells stuff by mail-order).

It’s also much bigger than its rivals, which include Microsoft, IBM, and Google; in fact, AWS says that it’s bigger than its next 14 competitors combined.


POGUE: Snowball, you call it?

WOOD: It’s 100 terabytes of storage. And you just connect this up to your data center, load your data on. And then you just physically ship it back to us, and then we load it into the cloud from our data center.


POGUE: That leads into my other question, which is that 70% of the cloud, 70% of the world’s internet traffic, flows through data centers in Loudoun County, Virginia. Should we be worried about that concentration?

WOOD: No, that data is backed up across multiple different physical locations. And we do that to limit the blast radius. If something does happen, or we have a power event, or there’s a flood in one specific location, that data is held redundantly in other locations, as well. So the cloud just keeps running.

Update (2017-10-28): Tim Bray:

Some of our services are cooler than others, but what I think customers care about most is confidence that the services, cool or boring, will be there 24/7/365. What that means is that everything has to be automated, and much of the most brilliant engineering at AWS, done by some of the smartest people, does its work behind the scenes where nobody will ever see it.


If you’re the kind of person who’s OK with spending a lot of time constructing carefully-written narratives, and being in meetings that start with 20+ quiet minutes while every one reads the narrative, you’ll like working here, and if not, definitely not.


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