Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Keynote - From Application to Platform - Werner Vogels - CTO

Werner Vogels has been with since the beginning, when the strategy was "Get Big Fast". This left Amazon with the most unwieldy, unmanageable architecture - the whole platform ran using one executable, with a 2 tier stateless architecture (web server, database) horizontally scaled. In its last incarnation, the executable took four days to build - making it completely unmanageable to test or fix.

In 2001 started to transform their architecture bit by bit into an SOA, tasking teams on focusing meeting the service specification, by any means. Some teams used Python, some Java, some Perl, Smalltalk and Ruby. However, the focus was on providing the right service for the job.

Over time, the services fell into two categories, Data Services and Aggregation Services. All in all, to serve up the front page of over 180 different, disparate services are called, some providing data, and others aggregating data and page information into the presentation tier.

Adopting this entirely service oriented architecture allowed to move into new spheres of service provision. Capitalising on their well tested (160 million customers worldwide) e-commerce platform, started to offer storage services, re brand their e-commerce platform and resell it - did you know Marks Spencers, Mothercare, are all powered on platform, hosted at's datacenters? Did you know that they resell all of their services, from e-commerce to delivery?

The platform is breaking new ground with application service provision, offering pay as you go infrastructure, in an on demand model, offering horizontal scaling at the application level (e.g only running (and paying) for 5 application servers at night, but scaling up to 30 for daytime trading) and almost unlimited storage using their S3 service.

A fascinating presentation from a serious leader in architecture. Amazon's platform is so much more than books.

1 comment:

DIANA said...

Thanks for blogging about QCon! I just wanted to let you know that we quoted and linked from this entry on the over all QCon 2007 blogger's key takeaway points and lessons learned article:

Feel free to link to it and of course blogging about this articles existence would help even more people learn from your and other bloggers takeaways.

Thanks again!