Web Admin Blog Real Web Admins. Real World Experience.


Amazon Web Services S3, EC2 and other AWS services

First Speaker: VP of Amazon Web Services - Adam Selipsky

Motivation for building AWS - Scaling Amazon.com through the 90's was
really rough.  10 years of growth caused a lot of headaches.

What if you could outsource IT Infrastructure?  What would this look like?
Compute abilities

Core Services:
Scalability - Lots of companies have spiky business periods
Performance - CoLo facility and other silos in the past have shown that developers do not want slowness and wont accept it
Simplicity - No learning curve or as little as possible
Cost Effective - Prices are public and pay as you go.  No hidden fees.  Capital expenses cut way down for startups

Initial Suite of services: S3, EC2, SimpleDB, FPS, DevPay, SQS, Mechanical Turk

Computing is a buzz word and allowing infrastructure to be managed by
someone else.  Time to market is huge since you dont have to buy boxes,
CoLo hosting, bandwidth, and more.

Second Speaker:  Jinesh Varia, Evangelist of AWS
Promise to see their roadmap for the next 2 years.
Amazon has 3 business units
Amazon.com, Amazon Services for Sellers, and Amazon Web Services
Spent 2 billion on infrastructure costs already for AWS

- Electricity generated somewhere else doesnt really add any value.
There is a certain amount of undifferentiated services.  Server
Hosting, Bandwidth, hardware, contracts, moving facilities, ... Idea to
product delay is huge.

Example of Animoto.com

They own no hardware.  None.  Serverless startup.

They went from 40 servers to 5000 in 3 days.  Facebook app.  Signed 25,000 users up every hour

Use Cases
Media Sharing and Distribution
Batch and Parallel Processing
Backup and Archive and Recovery
Search Engines
Social Netowrking Apps
Financial Applications and Simulations

What do you need?
S3, EC2, SimpleDB, FPS, DevPay, SQS, Mechanical Turk

50,000 Transactions Per Second is what S3 is running right now.
99.9% Uptime

Unlimited Compute power
Scale Capacity up or down.  Linux and OpenSolaris (uggh, Solaris) are accepted
Elastic Block Store is finally here!  Yay!

Not a Relational, no SQL.  But highly available and highly accessible.  Index Data...

Acts as a glue to tie all services together.  Transient Buffer?  Not sure how I feel about that.

DevPay and FPS
Developers get to use Amazon's Billing Infrastructure.  Sounds lame and sort of pyrimad schemey

Mechanical Turk
you to get people on demand.  Perfect for high-volume micro tasks.
Human Intelligence tasks.  Outsource dummy work I guess...  Not sure.

Sample Architecture

He wrote a Cloud Architecture PDF

Future Roadmap

Focus on security features and certifications
Continued focus and operational excellence
US and international expansion
Localization of technical resources
EC2 GA and SLA - Out of Beta and SLA delivered << This is really
good for us!  Now if gmail would get out of beta after 5 years!
Windows Server Support
Additional services

Amazon Start-Up Challenge is open.  100K


Jinesh Varia, jvaria@amazon.com

Customer Testimonials
used AWS to host a development camp and start an instance.  Email instructions and SSH keys.  Free, Open Source.  DevCamp.
Fabulatr at @Google Code  It starts up an instance gets it ready, sends email with ssh key to user
Another Use Case - Sales Engineering - POC, Joint work with Support, A place to play, Splunk Live Demo
Splunk blog and there are some videos on blog.
Put splunk in your cloud


blogs.splunk.com/thewilde  -> Inside the Cloud Video


Rightscale, cant use elastic fox from iPhone, you can use RightScale


on Monday.  Helps users manage inbox.  Emails from OnStar, Receipts
from Apple.  OtherInbox allows me to give out different addresses.
Seems like a cool app.
Use Google Docs to grab information ad hoc.
They use DB's on EBS in a Master/Slave relationship for SQL, formerly on EC2 w/o EBS, now EBS is awesome.
Built on Ruby on Rails > MVC and SproutCore (JavaScript framework)


MyBaby Our Baby
Share, Organize, Save all of the videos and pictures for kids
Invite friends and family to your site, they get emails about your kids when you add content
Other people can add photos of your children and pictures from other parents (at the park, babysitter, ...)
Uses S3 only

Architecture for LB

Two Front End Load Balancing Proxy Servers that hit the right app servers.
to read on Scalr (Pound)  HAProxy was also recommended.  He also
mentioned that Scalr is cool, but AWS is coming out with a LB and tool
for us to use.  He said to give it some time, but they would have
something for us!

GoDaddy vs AWS.  GoDaddy sucks...  but under all circumstances, "you need a geek" to get this running.

need a Linux System Administrator under all circumstances and a lot of
people seemed miffed by this.  I dont see what the big deal is and
under the AWS scenario, you don't need all the infrastructure
(hardware) needed before and you need a lot less people than the
traditional model.  You always still need someone who knows how to work
the systems, but now you need fewer and you really need people that are
linux admins but also web admins that know traditional web services and
applications.  There will never be a magic button that just spins up
servers ready to go for your unique app, Amazon makes it easier, but
you still need a geek...  They make the world work...

Amazon has a long track record for success and there is a lot of trust from Other Inbox.


Cloud Headaches?

The industry is abuzz with people who are freaked out about the outages that Amazon and other cloud vendors have had.  "Amazon S3 Crash Raises Doubts Among Cloud Customers," says InformationWeek!

This is because people are going into cloud computing with retardedly high expectations.  This year at Velocity, Interop, etc. I've seen people just totally in love with cloud computing - Amazon's specifically but in general as well.  And it's a good concept for certain applications.  However, it is a computing system just like every other computing system devised previously by man.  And it has, and will have, problems.

Whether you are using in house systems, or a SaaS vendor, or building "in the cloud," you have the same general concerns.  Am I monitoring my systems?  What is my SLA?  What is my recourse if my system is not hitting it?  What's my DR plan?

Cloud computing is also being called "PaaS," or Platform as a Service.  It's a special case of SaaS.  And if you're a company relying on it, when you contract with a SaaS vendor you get SLAs established and figure out what the remedy is if they breach it.  If you are going into a relationship where you are just paying money for a cloud VM, storage, etc. and there is no enforceable SLA in the relationship, then you need to build the risk of likely and unremediable outages into your business plan.

I hate to break it to you, but the IT people working at Amazon, Google, etc. are not all that smarter than the IT people working with you.  So an unjustified faith in a SaaS or cloud vendor - "Oh, it's Amazon, I'm sure they'll never have an outage of any sort - their entire system or localized to my part - and if they do I'm sure the $100/month I'm paying them will cause them to give a damn about me" - is unreasonable on its face.

Clouds and cloud vendors are a good innovation.  But they're like every other computing innovation and vendor selling it to you.  They'll have bugs and failures.  But treating them differently is a failure on your part, not theirs.

Tagged as: , , 2 Comments

Scalr project and AWS


For those of us getting into amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (ec2), this is a really cool idea.  The idea is that your load grows and a new node is ready to handle additional capacity.  Once load lessens, boxes are turned off.  Integrating this with box stats, response times, monitoring per service makes sense.

I wanted everyone to be thinking of the consumable computing model.  Pay as you go for what you use is really attractive.  No more do you have to have 10 boxes in your www cluster all day long if your spike is only during 8am to 3pm.   Now you can run the 10 boxes during those times and use less boxes during non peak times...  Pretty cool.  And cheap!