AWS is Driving for the Enterprise

The continuing evolution of AWS is now ready for the Enterprise - according to Dr Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon Web Services. Amazon's Virtual Private Cloud seems to be one of the main reasons enterprises are looking at AWS now. Partial solutions for security, privacy, and compliance are also emerging but need much more maturity. Even Mike Culver admits they are not using the publicly available AWS for very much since it is a legacy application.

At the Amazon Web Services for the Enterprise Seminar at the Sofitel Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA on Oct 15, 2009 Werner gave a standard overview of AWS and took a few questions. AWS's Mike Culver and Steve Riley also delivered talks.
This followed with a series of customer profiles and then a social in/around the 8 partner booths in the lobby.
It was well attended by 200+ people that asked rather smart questions.

AWS began because of an internal need by Amazon ecommerce. By 2001 -"make" timed out (The Unix command to compile the application couldn't finish because it was too big).

AWS is purely infrastructure as a service (IAAS)
In Aug 2006, Jeff Bezos was on cover of Business week - wall street wanted him to just "mind the store".

AWS is Currently operating at 125K transactions/sec and growing

Recognizes Gartner's definition: a style of computing where massively scalable IT and related capabilities are provided 'as a service' across the Internet to multiple external customers
But 2 things are missing: On Demand + Pay as you Go
Precursors: SaaS, Distributed Computing (Werner's background), Virtualization (CPU, network bandwidth(didn't exist 5 years ago)), SOA(description of servers plus the protocols, etc.)

Forces driving new resource models
- increasing uncertainty
- growing abundance
- intensifying competition
- growing power of customers
- limited access to capital

Fed gov't is adopting cloud to get projects implemented within 6 mos-1yr.

Some AWS History:

250-300 web services produce each page on
Each one has a small team that "owns" the app.
Engineers became experts in highly scalable distributed application
However, the effect was the opposite of the intention (to relieve the developers to iterated on and increase the value of the app)
70% of time was spent on infrastructure
30% of time spend on increasing value of the application/service

So a shared infrastructure was developed for: Compute, Storage, and Messaging:
- Compute - It took 5-6 hours to get on a machine, so led to hoarding. Could have used grid technology, but that forced programmers to use the same platform. So the unit of computation is the virtual machine -> EC2
- Storage - was all relational database, but not possible to implement in a distributed way. Realized 90% of the data was not relational any way. So it was actually overkill for storing key-value pairs. Single table, multiple attribute, return a set but no transactions on it -> simpleDB
- SQS=Simple Queue Service
- EBS=Elastic Block Storage - persistent storage - a "big hard disk" 1GB-1TB mounted to an EC2 image.

Some customer profiles that use AWS:
Indy Speedway
Autodesk Project dragonfly
Eli Lilly - instantiate, collaborate, then pull data back into
eHarmony - uses HPC to find matches
pfizer - use HPC, but use virtual private cloud on premise
Malbec - financial modeling
Intuit- turbotax online emulation for stress testing

Some are using AWS to resell their own services:

Reserved EC2 instances
Roadmap depends on customer feedback. Continue to invest in operational excellence to remain top provider in the cloud market
Launching new regions (West (LA) and Asia)
Focusing on: Security, Scalability, Availability, Performance, Cost-effectiveness


Customer Profiles (3 of these use Ubuntu, 1 uses Fedora):

Skifta - by Bruce Jackson and Edward G. Smith
Owned by Qualcomm - media on the move. Let's you bring your media with you wherever it is stored.
Bruce Jackson-CEO, Ed Smith-COO
Media-music, photos, podcasts
consumer electronics have been implementing DLNA/UPnP media technologies in their products to stream media around the home
Access to both media and social media
Use AWS to scale, monitor, upgrades in 2 minutes, stress test


eHarmony - by Carlos Moreno
20M users - questionnaire produces lots of data
Use Hadoop to analyze the data
HIVE helps empower engineers and non-engineers to create Bus Intel analytic jobs on the fly
Going forward - tools for integration to and from a traditional DB/DW to a Hadoop cluster
Uses AWS to move and analyze 40GB of data each day; it takes 30 minutes to move the data in/out each day


Reddit - by Jeremy Edberg
Owned by CondeNast
Initially used to distribute their logo (updated daily)
Thumbnails -
Uses S3 - example: a Single bucket with 20M images - no noticeable performance hit
190 virtual CPUs
228 GB Ram
2TB of S3
7TB of Data out/mo
2TB of Data in/mo

$23K vs $16K / month
Only 23% cheaper but:
No delay in procurement, no racking, free DR, free upgrades, elasticity

90% of sysadmin skills were transferrable
AWS Forums are good - 6 things seem to happen over and over, so plenty of info.

Pain points:
Latency within AWS network. memcache calls. revised memcache calls to request more data on each call.
EBS slows down - use caching and replication with read slaves to avoid relying on a single disk
instances go away - avoid single points of failure and make sure your servers have automated configs
* Fixing these weaknesses in the architecture made the app more reliable and available
Best Practices - multiple zones , EBS for persistence sna options, no secret keys on the instance, different functions in different security groups,
full stack in each zone, all data stored as kv pair, more use of queues


Geodelic - by Rahul Sonnad and Nick Ohanian
A Santa Monica company founded 18 months ago
A location based service application for mobile devices (Android and iPhone)
Where ever you are - it shows you top 10 things that you might care about
Greenopia - like lonely planet to find earth-friendly shopping/activities
Can't cache since location is always changing
"AWS is a business saver" for Instant infrastructure load testing, scaling
Tmobile(Google Android) used Geodelic's Sherpa application
The iPhone app is currently available for Universal City Halloween promotion


Mike Culver - evangelist
Deploy internal apps for greater cost
Host a quick and effective emarketing campaign
take advantage of new business opps

Amazon Virtual Private Cloud - use VPN to connect to an electrically isolated portion of AWS

Now on VPC:
EC2 on-demand and reserved
Linux/Unix, Windows

Coming on VPC:
Direct Internet access
Multiple AZs
Elastic IPs
Security Groups
Auto scaling


Steve Riley - evangelist, Worked at MS for 10 years for MS app security whitepaper on use cases
Encrypt everything and deal with the tradeoffs.

SOX - ongoing
HIPAA - whitepaper was published on how to use AWS for HIPAA
SAS 70 Type II - in progress for Physical security, access controls change mgt, operations


Lastly, BMC described their successful and long-running methodology for Service Delivery to provision and configure network services. It now incorporates cloud services such as AWS along with on-premise physical and virtualized infrastructures. Lifecycle management, compliance, configuration management, and performance management are some of the aspects of computing that are essential to enterprises to maintain a coherent infrastructure. Now, enterprises can incorporate cloud services to control costs and improve time to market and still have the necessary control to maintain security, performance, and compliance.