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Werner Vogels of Amazon: Compete on ideas not resources

„Shut up!“ Werner Vogels of Amazon makes it very clear that all the chatting isn’t really appreciated. The new-found silence is greeted by the audience with applause. Now we can start. Animoto serves as an example to demonstrate Amazon’s Webservices. Animoto, which is basically a slideshow creator on speed (that combines images and sounds to create compelling videos) lives completely in the cloud. Practically all info is pulled in from external services (Flickr etc.) and processed on flexible Amazon server cycles, where the videos are rendered.
Werner Vogels of Amazon
This may not sound too special, but it really is, if you think about it: There’s basically no hardware in the whole company, no server infrastructure to be maintained. Everything you need you can rent on the web as you grow: Animoto wa slowly growing until they launched a Facebook app – and went completely viral. Just a few years back, this would have lead to insurmountable scalability issues, these days you can think about scaling when you actually need it. So here we pretty much have a radically different situation for entrepreneurs. (According to the presentation, web companies used to spend 70% of their time on infrastructure work and only 30% on innovation. Amazon claims this has changed. A lot.)
Another issue with regular, central server centers: You might remember the major outage of a big San Francisco-based service provider a few months back. Despite their eight diesel power generators, during a power outage they couldn’t keep up their servers – six of the backup generators failed, according to this speech. A good chunk of the web services based in the Bay Area died that day. This might actually really be a good reason for decentralized hosting.
So far, this speech has been more convincing than some of the presentations in the Elevator Pitch Panel, so it should be interesting to see what the more technologically inclined members in the audience will be asking. Server admins, step forward!
Question from the audience: What about Security? Of course, that’s one of the key aspects for practically any serious startup. Legal jurisdictions are a challenge here – depending on where your data is stored, different laws and regulations apply, different governmental and non-governmental players could get access to your (and your users‘) data.
I’d be curious: Who has experience with Amazon webservices or their Automatic Backup USB Stick? If you do, please share in the comments.