LinuxWorld: Amazon chooses IT services over large datacentres

Amazon.com's chief information officer emphasised the benefits of accessing computer resources as services instead of having to maintain large, underused datacentres.

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Amazon.com's chief information officer emphasised the benefits of accessing computer resources as services instead of having to maintain large, underused data centres.

Companies need to focus on differentiation rather than worry about datacentres, said Werner Vogels, vice president and CIO at Amazon, during a presentation at the LinuxWorld Conference and the Next Generation Data Centres event in San Francisco. Accessing computer resources as services is the way to go, he stressed.

"Most of this presentation is actually about how I hate data centres," Vogels said. Investing in data centres is not what makes a company compete, he said.

Vogel's vision of virtualisation is one in which engineers do not have to manage physical resources. In the old model of computing, demand is anticipated and systems are built from a top-down design that is centralised, according to Vogels. Systems are tightly coupled and resource-centric, while participation is restricted and resources are pushed to the solution.

But with the new model, resources are pulled to the problem when needed and released when not needed. In this model demand is uncertain, and the system is decentralised, modular, loosely coupled and people-centric.

Pitching Amazon's own offerings, Vogel noted the company's datacentre services for third parties. These include Amazon Flexible Payment Service, Amazon S3, providing storage to developers and online businesses, Amazon SQS (Simple Queue Service) for storing messages, and Amazon EC2, providing resizable computer capacity in the cloud.

With Amazon services, users can access a complete virtualised infrastructure on which to build a business, Vogel said. "You don't think about data centres," he added.

At Amazon, the company offers a platform that is an SOA. "You click a page, it'll go to about 150 services. It's a huge SOA," Vogels said. "We know everything about running software as a service."

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