This is the question Alistair Croll first asked Werner Vogels in the fireside chat session at ECS. Werner admitted he’d been caught off guard by the question but admitted that the future is automation for sure and scripts are powerful tools to achieve this.
An example of an enterprise use case for cloud computing
Werner related the case of the NASDAQ which had a lack of capital, which was restricting innovation and making it difficult for them to solve the technical problems around handling complex historical stock queries.
They solved this by having every ticker symbol for 10 minutes written to a text file in Amazon S3. An Adobe Air application was created which allowed you to specify a symbol and a date range. The app would download the text files for that time period – meaning you can do joins, queries etc. The computation is done by the customer’s desktop which means there is no resource investment. They were able to use cloud technology to keep things “nice and simple”
Cost savings can include people
Werner talked about the idea that when assessing the cost of cloud computing versus in-house infrastructure, you have to think about the total cost of ownership not just hardware. Werner talked about the example of the Indy 500. He said they have a very nice website which offers a flash environment with multiple video streams including views from the cockpits of drivers’ cars with audio feeds and telemetry. This is a high load application but it only runs three times a year. They found that they had to move a lot of engineers into data centers to keep their servers up. When they moved to cloud infrastructure they made 75% cost savings, the majority of which was on the people side; now they can manage everything from their armchair at home.
On Amazon direction and strategy