LINUXWORLD - Amazon CIO stresses services over datacenters

Executive cites shifting paradigms in online retailer's new offerings in software services rather than physical resources

Amazon.com's CTO emphasized Tuesday the benefits of accessing compute resources as services instead of having to maintain large, underutilized datacenters.

Companies need to focus on differentiation rather than worry about datacenters, said Werner Vogels, vice president and CTO of Amazon.com, during a presentation at the concurrent LinuxWorld Conference & Expo and Next Generation Data Centers events in San Francisco. Thusly, accessing compute resources as services is the way to go, he stressed.

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

Vogel's vision of virtualization 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 centralized, 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 decentralized, modular, loosely coupled, and people-centric.

Pitching Amazon's own offerings, Vogel noted the company's datacenter services for third parties. These include: Amazon Flexible Payment Service, featuring Web services APIs providing for e-commerce payment services; Amazon S3, providing storage to developers and online businesses; Amazon SQS (Simple Queue Service) for storing messages; and Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud), providing resizable compute capacity in the cloud.

With Amazon services, users can access a complete virtualized infrastructure on which to build a business, Vogel said.

"You don't think about datacenters," he said.

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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