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» VIEW ALL POSTS Oct 14 2009   7:53PM GMT

Amazon would like to remind you where the hype started



Posted by: CarlBrooks
Tags:
amazon
aws
hype
outages
reports ofmydeathhavebeengreatlyexaggerated
SideKick

Amazon would like to remind you to thank them for the heightened expectations.

So a Web app running on a telecom service goes belly up and cloud is moribund yet again. That seems to be the latest version of the slightly overheated cloud marketing machine this week.

It may be that the end user cannot tell Amazon Web Services apart from Gmail, which isn’t his job, really, or that the Sidekick/Danger/Microsoft data loss may be one of the most spectacular IT bungles ever made, but this is certainly not going to register in the real cloud computing markets.

No-one stores their email contacts on AWS. Salesforce.com isn’t ever going to let this happen (call me if they do, just sayin’) and Azure, well, isn’t exactly a thing yet, and had zero contact with the destroyed data. I would venture that not a single consumer of any of these services even blinked when they heard about the Sidekick apocalypse.

Seriously, who unplugs a light fixture, let alone a SAN running a live database, in a data center without checking that they made a backup? And when did rolling live backups go out of style in the enterprise world? Hell, I’ve put in rolling live backups for companies with 15 employees.

Anyway, Peter DeSantis, VP of EC2 talked to me at length about last week’s cloud-killer du jour DDOS on bitbucket.org. Here’s a few of his other thoughts on the DDOS, the hype and the possibly incontrovertible fact that without Amazon to raise the bar, we wouldn’t be talking about it at all.

For instance, DeSantis said it would be trivial to wash out standard DDOS attacks by using clustered server instances in different availability zones.

“One of the best defenses against any sort of unanticipated spike is simply having available bandwidth. We have a tremendous amount on inbound transit to each of our regions. We have multiple regions which are geographically distributed and connected to the internet in different ways. As a result of that it doesn’t really take too many instances (in terms of hits) to have a tremendous amount of availability – 2,3,4 instances can really start getting you up to where you can handle 2,3,4,5 Gigabytes per second. Twenty instances is a phenomenal amount of bandwidth transit for a customer.” he said.

The largest DDOS attacks now exceed 40Gbps. DeSantis wouldn’t say what AWS’s bandwidth ceiling was but indicated that a shrewd guesser could look at current bandwidth and hosting costs and what AWS made available, and make a good guess.

“ I don’t want to challenge anyone out there, but we are very, very large environment and I think there’s a lot of data out there that will help you make that case.” he said.

DeSantis said that the reason that stories like the DDOS on Bitbucket.org (and the non-cloud Sidekick story) is because people have come to expect always-on, easily consumable services.

“People’s expectations have been raised in terms of what they can do with something like EC2. I think people rightfully look at the potential of an environment like this and see the tools, the multi- availability zone, the large inbound transit, the ability to scale out and up and fundamentally assume things should be better. “ he said.

In the meantime, DeSantis urges the skeptical to look at the big picture. Things have changed so fast, he said, that people have lost sight of what it used to take to get what Amazon offers:

“A customer can come into EC2 today and if they have a Web site that’s designed in a way that’s horizontally scalable, they can run that thing on a single instance; they can use [CloudWatch] to monitor the various resource constraints and the performance of their site overall; they can use that data with our autoscaling service to automatically scale the number of hosts up or down based on demand so they don’t have to run those things 24/7; they can use our Elastic Load Balancer service to scale the traffic coming into their service and only deliver valid requests.”

“All of which can be done self-service, without talking to anybody, without provisioning large amounts of capacity, without committing to large bandwidth contracts, without reserving large amounts of space in a co-lo facility and to me, that’s a tremendously compelling story over what could be done a couple years ago.”

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