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                          Posts with keyword: amazon


                          Platforms and Lock-in

                          At Gluecon on Wednesday, Mark Suster said that Force.com & AppExchange are mostly about lock-in. I think that's pretty much an exact quote. I tweeted it and expected to see someone react. No one did--at least on Twitter. But I did have a few people mention it to me with some questions about what Mark meant. The truth is, I don't know and I can't speak for Mark. Any platform provides some degree of lock-in. APIs lock a developer into a particular interaction mode. When I use Flickr's API, I make decisions that lock me into that platform. I
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                          Amazon Products in KRL: A New Distribution Model

                          The first Web service that Amazon put up, years ago, was the ECommerce API that allowed API access to Amazon's product information. That API has gone through several name changes and is now called the Product Advertising API. Thousands of people have used this API to add data about products--and the opportunity to buy them--to their Web sites. That's the problem, of course. You can use it on your Web site, but you can't conveniently use them in a browser extension to build client-side community apps because your Amazon developer keys would be exposed to the world. The most
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                          The Kynetx Move to CloudFront

                          Image by chascar via Flickr One of the components of Kynetx Network Service (KNS) is a 30K (compressed) static Javascript library. This is mostly a slightly modified jQuery along with some other components. We set the Expires header so that it is cached in the browser for 24 hours. Even still, it's a significant load on our network bandwidth and, consequently, our budget. When Amazon's CloudFront (CF) was announced, we realized that we could move these kinds of static files to CF as a way to reduce our bandwidth and maybe get a performance improvement. If you aren't familiar
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                          Pricing Bulk Cold Storage and Real Engineering

                          Image by penguincakes via Flickr James Hamilton has put together an analysis of the cost of bulk cold storage. That is, the cost of storing data, including the fully burdened cost of power in a data center, without the associated transport fees. The answer: $0.80/GB/year. Wow--that's cheap. And of course it's getting cheaper. When James did a similar analysis using numbers from two years ago, the cost was $2.50/GB/year. One thought I had as I looked at James' analysis is that we don't teach enough people to do these kinds of calculations. Not that there's anything particularly difficult about
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                          CloudFront Seems Like a No-Brainer

                          Doug Kaye, who actually wrote a book on hosting, has been beta testing Amazon's CloudFront service--a high performance front end for Amazon S3. Doug's favorably impressed. My calculations show that Kynetx would be able to put 80% of our bandwidth load on CloudFront (most static JS libraries) for $1.19 per day and if Doug's experience is typical get better performance to boot! Seems like a no-brainer to me given that we're paying several hundred dollars per month for a 750 Kbps circuit that I'd rather not upgrade for a while. Offloading 80% of that traffic would give us a
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                          EUCALYPTUS - Elastic Utility Computing Architecture for Linking Your Programs To Useful Systems

                          Rich Wolski from University of California, Santa Barbara is speaking about an open source implementation of cloud computing that has an interface compatible with Amazon's EC2 called Eucalyptus. Rich does research on grid computing. He's been looking for the "open source" cloud. He mentions Numbus (Univ. of Chicago) and Enomalism. But nothing came close to what they wanted: Linux image hosting ala Amazon. By choosing to make their interface compatible with EC2, they take advantage of all the client side tools that work with EC2 to manage machines in Eucalyptus. They want one-button install of their system on top
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                          Persistent Storage for Amazon EC2

                          With Amazon's Web services, you've been able to store stuff in S3 or SimpleDB. You've also been able to fire up as many machine instances as you liked with storage that went away when you shut the machine down. Anything you wanted saved better be in a database somewhere else, or you had to painstakingly copy it out to S3 yourself. Last night Amazon announced persistent storage on EC2. Now you can create disks in S3 and attach them to EC2 instances. You want a terabyte of storage for your machine, just create it in S3 and mount it.
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                          Amazon's SimpleDB

                          Jay Ridgeway from Nextumi(click to enlarge) This afternoon, I was torn between the session on botnets and one on Amazon's SimpleDB by Mike Culver and Jay Ridgeway. I chose the latter. The goal is a durable, flexible datastore at a cheap price: $0.14 per machine house, $0.10/Gb into the cloud and $0.18/Gb out. The API call list is short. Domains are used to partition data. You can think of them as tables, that helps. To add something to a domain you use this syntax: PUT (item, 123), (description, Sweater), (color, Red), (color, Blue) The first name-value tuple is the
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                          Amazon's SimpleDB

                          I just posted piece at Between the Lines on Amazon's latest announcement: SimpleDB, a database service in the cloud. I gave it the title "Economics that are impossible to stop" because that what I think Amazon's doing: changing the whole economic model of how people build large scale distributed applications.
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                          Using Amazon S3 with Google Earth

                          One of my Masters students, Sam Curren, posted a great explanation of how he's using Amazon's S3 service with Google maps to make network links just as fast as the layers inside Google Earth. He's the creator of ActiveTrails.com, a site that let's you upload GPS data of your hikes to create trail maps on Google Earth, so he's got some practical experience in this area.
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                          AWS and Your Data Center: ETech 2007

                          Werner Vogels, Amazon's CTO, is talking about their Web services--specifically the outsourced data center products (S3, EC2, and SQS) that I've written about before and that were the subject of an IT Conversations interview I did with Doug Kaye and Jeff Barr. Werner begins by making a case that (a) scaling is critical to Web businesses and (b) scaling, economically, is really hard. I was just twittering with Phil Burns last night about servers. He just took delivery of four for TagJungle. He's got a lot of work ahead of him setting them up. When TagJungle grows again, Phil
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                          Controlling Amazon's EC2 with Capistrano and Rake

                          Steve Spigarelli sent me a link to this description of how to control EC2 from rake, the Ruby build manager. The implementation uses Capistrano, a Ruby utility for executing multiple commands on remote server in parallel. This is very timely since I just posted the Technometria podcast with Doug Kaye and Jeff Barr on using Amazon's Web services (AWS) for large, sophisticated applications. This has been on my mind of late and its nice to see some specifics about doing it. The Niblets post gives some great detail on how to manage the instances. I just relistened to the
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                          Using Amazon Web Services

                          I just posted a piece at Between the Lines about our latest Technometria podcast with Jeff Barr and Doug Kaye. We discussed using Amazon Web Services to build sophisticated Web applications. Lots of good things in the podcast about business models, asynchronous programming, and so on. This was a fun podcast to do. Not only was the content exciting, but it was also a bit of a challenge from the recording angle as well. Jeff was in my office with me and Doug, Scott, and Matt were on the phone. I recorded the whole conversation using AudioDesk and a
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                          Finding Jim Gray at Sea

                          It's Amazon week at Technometria! If you've followed the story of Jim Gray being lost at sea, you know that one of Computer Science's preeminent figures is in grave danger and possibly dead. I heard Jim Gray speak a few years ago at the University of Utah's Organick lecture. The reason for the Amazon reference above is the part that Amazon's Mechanical Turk (MT) is playing the search for Gray. If you're not familiar with Mechanical Turk, it's a system for employing human intelligence to do small tasks for which humans are uniquely qualified. In this case, it's recognizing
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                          Using Amazon's Web Services for Sophisticated Applications

                          I just put a post up at Between the Lines about Doug Kaye's use of Amazon's Web services for hosting sophisticated applications. One look at the block diagram on Doug's site will convince you that this is substantially more than a trivial use of AWS.
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                          Using Amazon's EC2

                          Jon Udell has a screencast of an application he wrote running on Amazon's just announced EC2 metered compute platform. According to Amazon, each instance "predictably provides the equivalent of a system with a 1.7Ghz Xeon CPU, 1.75GB of RAM, 160GB of local disk, and 250Mb/s of network bandwidth." Need more capacity? Add it right now. I think many large IT shops will be doing similar things soon with virtualization. Rather than buying servers from Dell or someone on demand, they'll order a bunch of servers up front, have an outsourced services provide install them, and then just create virtual
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                          What I Expect from Online Retailers

                          Last week, I wrote about the joys of being on the bleeding edge with the new MacBook Pro. The disk issue is giving me fits. The problem is that in anticipation of putting a 160Mb disk in the machine (before I realized that fast 160Gb SATA drives are impossible to find), the machine was ordered with a 100Gb drive in the interest of being economical. I can't work in 100Gb--at least I'd rather not. My laptop is my only machine and I want everything on it. So, at the moment, that requires a 120Gb drive at the minimum. No
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                          Mashups, Web Data, and APIs

                          Frank Mantek, Jeff Barr, Dan Theurer, and Kevin Lawver(click to enlarge) I decided to take in Rohit Khare's panel on Next Wave (Business) this morning. This was part of the developer track that has normally been Rohit was kind enough to invite me to the panel dinner last night. It was fun and I Dan Theurer from Yahoo! was first up and used the theme "What Powers Web 2.0 Mashups?" Dan introduced the Yahoo! Developer Network. The first APIs that Yahoo! launched were the search APIs a little over a year ago. He showed a long list of APIs that
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                          Ron Kohavi on Data Mining and eCommerce

                          Today's colloquium was Ron Kohavi from Microsoft research. His talk was titled: Focus the Mining Beacon: Lessons and Challenges from the World of E-Commerce (PPT). Ron was at Blue Martini Software where he was responsible for data mining. They developed an end-to-end eCommerce platform with integrated business intelligence from collections, ETL, data warehousing, reporting, mining, and visualization. Later Ron was at Amazon doing the same thing. Again, simple things work (people who bought X bought Y). Human insight is the key--most good features come from human ideas, not extensive analysis. Amazon measures everything. Any change was introduced with a
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