It's Not About How Many Servers Amazon's Got, But How Long It Will Matter
Stories have been bouncing all over the place since Huan Liu, a researcher for Accenture, counted up the publicly available IP addresses for Amazon Web Services, multiplied the number by a presumed 64 servers per rack, and came up with a prediction that their cloud draws its amazing computing goodness from almost half a million servers.
Okay, I simplified things a bit, but since Liu's post was released on March 13th, the guess-timate has shifted a bit based on (fairly) friendly feedback in his comments section. Are there 4 servers per rack? 8? 16? What's the heat load in comparison to their facility size or authorized power use? Do they take advantage of IT gods captured from the wild, summoning forth heretofore unseen magical blade-chassis configuration prowess?
While pondering the size of Amazon's global scale, my mind shifted to the big name companies relying on AWS: Ericsson, Newsweek, Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, PBS, Yelp, IMDB, Second Life, Ticketmaster, Foursquare, Playfish, Virgin Atlantic, Sega and so very many more.
Always seems this way in an emerging industry — one visionary company starts it all, getting really good at it before others catch on to the 'secret sauce'. The early bird scales up nicely while others roll their eyes nervously, even scoffing at what seems like wasted investment. Pie in the sky. When foresight begins to pay off big, everyone else jumps onboard and rides the coattails, copying (and even innovating) to their own rapid success.
Think of the introduction of Apple's iPhone, and how long it took for a competitor to even get a toe-hold in that new market first created by Steve Jobs, then mastered through sheer guerrilla marketing success. Remember the early scoffing at the iPad's very name? Once the glowing reviews rolled in, almost everyone wanted to take one for a spin. Years later we're still reading stories about whether or not any tablet can loosen the iPad's market stranglehold, and Apple's stock went from $200 pre-iPad to breaking $600 today.Continued on the next page