James Governor's Monkchips

“It would be hard to convince me Amazon needs IBM”. Bonus Erlang dorkery

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Pretty striking line, that, from thecapacity.

The piece argues:

Amazon has moved from being an online presence to enabling others, which is a powerful transition because it leverages other business’s success, avoiding the burden of their failures and acts as a force multiplier for their revenue!

To be a platform, what really matters is the money you make for other people. Amazon really seems to understand that. If IBM had bought Amazon at its share price at the time of my recommendation, it would be looking golden by close of play 2007.

The latest news from Amazon is SimpleDB, which gets even closer to the un-relational data switch and store in the sky we’ve all been waiting for. According to Amazon:

“Many developers simply want to store, process, and query their data without worrying about managing schemas, maintaining indexes, tuning performance or scaling access to their data. Amazon SimpleDB removes the need to maintain a schema, while your attributes are automatically indexed to provide fast real-time lookup and querying capabilities. This flexibility minimizes the performance tuning required as the demands for your data increase.

Amazon SimpleDB eliminates administrative complexity by providing a simple set of APIs focused on the core functionality necessary to store, process, and query your data. The simplicity of this set of APIs, and the ability to access this service “in the cloud,” allow you to quickly develop sophisticated applications without employing a DBA. Amazon SimpleDB allows you to easily scale your application based on your needs. You can quickly create new domains as your data grows or your request throughput increases. You no longer have to be concerned about obtaining software licenses, purchasing and maintain hardware, and managing capacity. You pay only for what you use.”

ProgrammableWeb approves:

“It’s very clear that database storage in the cloud is a service that will eventually be offered by most of the major API providers. In order to track this we’ve now added a Database line item to our API Scorecard.”

So does Alan the Folknologist:
“Amazon have put the final piece of their cloud based jigsaw into place if you recall my take on Amazon Web services in May I indicated that the missing element was a cloud based DB store.With todays announcement (via twitter) SimpleDb enables one to build a complete cloud based web application including the back-end store and query. The query language is domain/attribute based rather than relational, but we always expected that to be the case for scalability reasons. It is now just a matter of time before frameworks (and plugins for existing frameworks) appear to make building cloud based apps as simple as say RAILS apps. In fact I would expect a RAILS based plugin to be one of the first candidates for AWS extensions.”

Funnily enough this is *already* happening in the shape of the DeHorrible Rails proxy.

To be honest what most interests me may well be the fact that SimpleDB is implemented in Erlang, a programming language swiftly gaining in hotness because it is designed for use in concurrent architectures. Its no surprise that Amazon is one of the first major Web properties to implement Erlang. I have to say it makes me chuckle that executives at both IBM and SAP have been lately dismissive of Amazon’s innovation in the space when I talked to them. “Oh its just a MYSQL database on a server rack”… we’ll see.

In brand, and implementation details, Amazon is competition now for vendors and user IT departments alike. If you can’t provision a new server in under ten minutes then you’re a long way behind the competition. Developers want simplicity and ease of use- same as the rest of us. Amazon gives just that. Its not waiting around for permission from “enterprise” players. Neither are developers. So where is that IBM Cloud Computing API again?

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  1. James,
    I agree that IBM missed a big opportunity to purchase Amazon, although as I said I don’t think it would necessarily have been in Amazon’s best interests. To me biggest revelation from your recommendation was IBM’s declining “end-consumer” presence.

    I finally got around to reading this business week article on Google’s education effort, which is of course backed by IBM. I’m not sure if you saw it but it does mention Blue’s initiative.


    Of course even in this, IBM seems content to be (or be seen as) more of an enabler then an innovator.

    In the tech. industry, on a micro level the unspoken rule for employees is to never get marginalized, or supply commodity level expertise.

    I’m not sure that IBM’s management has understood this in a macro level, lured by the continued big spending of enterprise backoffices.

    It’s also been interesting for me to see the parallels which seem to be occurring;

    There’s Amazon which seems to be building a similar set of functions to Yahoo and Google. Then you have hadoop, backed by Yahoo and IBM which is becoming an opensource Mapreduce. And will this Google + IBM “Cloud Computing” alliance be similar to EC2 ?

    Don’t forget that RedHat’s throwing some weight behind Amazon too!

    There definitely seems to be a gathering storm, both from a “coopetition” front as well as my curiosity behind what these “common standards” will enable.

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