The next opening keynote – Everything fails, All the Time

Our third keynote this morning was by Dr Werner Vogels – CTO

His second question to the audience “How many of you don’t shop at Amazon?” When one or two people raised their hands he commented, “Can I talk to you later.”

He was here to talk about Amazon as the technology company, forget about shopping. Think about the technology that drives that. There were some large and impressive numbers about Amazon. The one stood out was 3.9M shipments for peak day (didn’t mention which day)

Some points from the session.

  • Some Big News — Persistence Storage for Amazon EC2
  • Amazon started as technology consumer, we are now a technology provider.
  • We were enterprise scale, now we are at web scale.
  • Taking the approach, get big fast, the result was every architectural principle was broken.
  • Moving into Software as a Service
  • Develop -> Test -> Operate
  • There is a box between Test and Operate (undifferentiated heavy lifting)
  • We seem to put data centers in the same places as trailer parks.
  • At Amazon we expect our data centers to fail.
  • We expect our software to tolerate these fails.
  • We want to be able to loss a data center and not have this affect our customers.
  • Amazon, brings data centers down multiple times a year, just to show the software survives.
  • The provider model — Scalable, Cost Effective, Reliable, Simple
  • Addressing Uncertainty.

He used the 365 main power failure example. Large Web 2.0 Web sites were down including: Live Journal, Craigslist, Technorati, TypePad, Yelp and USA Today.

Is Amazon a viable option in these times? Worthy of consideration.

Updated You can view more links including video courtesy of Sheeri Kritzer at MySQL Forge Conference Notes


  1. says

    I’ve been using AWS for a while now, EC2 quite extensively. Ronald, would you care to pontificate on why the design of Amazon’s SimpleDB makes for a more scalable database architecture? I’d love to know your thoughts on it.