Doing stuff in the cloud
The cloud is pretty pervasive these days and the growth of it’s use is nothing short of spectacular. We mostly know the benefits of stuffing applications and services onto the cloud but there is no harm in re-capping.
- Removal or reduction of upfront hardware costs of deployment
- Scaleability, both upwards and downwards, based on demand
- Simpler sizing and capacity planning
- Tick-box management of everything from backup to content delivery
- Reduced complexity of de-commissioning and porting
- Ease of learning, the curve is flatter and less skilled than traditional hosting methods
So it’s not just about the cost of deploying traditional applications and frameworks, it gives smaller companies access to the kind of computing power that wasn’t commercially available or viable just a few years ago. Every day, a start-up called the Climate Corporation performs over 10,000 simulations of the next two years’ weather for more than one million locations in the United States. It then combines that with data on root structure and soil porosity to write crop insurance for thousands of farmers.
This is one of a thousand examples of new start-ups that carries out computing tasks that a decade ago would have been impossible without a major investment in computers. Most, however, own little besides a few laptops.
Thousands of other companies now rent data storage and computer server time from Amazon, through its Amazon Web Services division, for what they say is a fraction of the cost of owning and running their own. We have something rather similar with myBookingWizard.com, the application service is hosted using a range of Amazon Web Services and although it can deal with up to 1,000,000 concurrent booking requests the service spends much of it’s time in an idle state burning little in the way of cost and virtually zero management effort.
Launched almost exactly ten years ago, AWS now comprises seven major data center complexes across three continents, serving billions of pageviews per day (the sort of scale that, unfortunately, becomes most obvious when one of these “Availability Zones” goes down). But what’s most interesting is the company’s continued ambitions. AWS is estimated to bring in $1 billion every year, and the division’s head, Andrew Jassy, says he expects it to grow by a factor of ten. The AWS website currently lists more than 600 job openings, giving some idea of the growth that Amazon is planning in just the immediate future, with its size far outstripping competitors such as Microsoft’s Windows Azure and Google’s nascent Cloud Storage and Compute Engine.