My takeaway from Keynote Speech by Dr. Werner, CTO, Amazon at the Cloud Conclave 2011

Dr. Werner Vogels CTO Amazon Keynote Cloud ConclaveEntrepreneurs and Cloud enthusiasts at Cloud Conclave 2011 had every reason to be at Cloud Nine. The Lord of all things distributed had arrived to address them.  Dr.Werner Vogels, CTO of, began his key note address amidst an excited audience who gave him a welcome worthy of a rockstar. “We are still trying to behave like a startup”, Dr. Werner quipped, as he reflected on the iconic journey of Amazon Web Services ever since he joined in 2005.  

He narrated Animoto’s Cloud journey, the super-awesome video production website which makes creating and editing videos a breeze and shared insights from its stupendous success. He vividly recollected its peak EC2 instance usage after the Facebook App was launched, letting the customers post their videos in their profiles. In no time, the website began serving 50,000 customers in an hour, with the help of 5000 servers. This wouldn’t have been possible without the Cloud. He also attributed Zynga’s success story to the incredible infrastructure provided by the Cloud.

He illustrated the principles of a lean startup, drawing from the eponymous work by Eric Ries, which embodies its principles from Japanese lean manufacturing. With the Cloud removing the undifferentiated heavy lifting of infrastructure, thus eliminating the waste that doesn’t lead to direct value for customer, it is possible for startups to have relentless customer focus and stay nimble to lead where the customer wants to take it forward. “The lone guy sitting in his dorm room in IIT Bombay, working towards creating the next Google/Amazon wouldn’t have to worry anymore about infrastructure”, he struck an intimate chord with the enchanted audience as he underlined the egalitarian nature of Cloud.
“Scalability isn’t always about growing, but also about releasing space”, he pointed out the oft-neglected perspective on scalability. Seamlessly shifting his purview from the technical trenches of the Cloud to a holistic picture of the disruptive changes happening at the enterprise, he threw spotlight on the factors causing the end of business as usual.

With increasing certainty, marked by abundance of applications and availability of resources on demand, the App-empowered customer, takes in only what he wants. He averred that the true power of Agility lies in its ability to bring the cost of mistake to zero. With the Cloud enabling the switching of software from one platform to the other a child’s play, it minimizes the cost of mistakes and also obviates concerns around optimization, having built efficiency into its architecture.

“Each day AWS adds the equivalent server capacity to power Amazon when it was a global $2.76 Billion Enterprise circa 2000”, he gave a glimpse of the humongous volume of server capacity that manages peak requests of 370,000+ per second. He also gave a sneak peek into the complexity of the system with a new piece of software being deployed every 11 seconds.

He corroborated the growing importance of Analytics with every possible data being informationalized and stored in the Cloud. With social streams mining out wealth of information about the customers, Analytics helps in deriving secondary revenue streams from Big Data. He shared live-case examples on how Sound Cloud, which enables musicians to share their sounds, collects rigorous data about its customer preferences to discover new trends in music genres. He also plugged Amazon’s Elastic Map Reduce which helps in removing the muck from big data processing.

“Amazon Cloud is important than Web services”, he shared his philosophy of Cloud in which any form of content would be delivered through a platform. With the growing focus around Mobility of services, he listed the sine-qua-non for Mobility. Rich Media Experience, Location Context Aware, Real-time presence driven, Social Graph based, User generated Content are among the few absolute requirements entailing the cost of doing business in mobile development.

He concluded his address inviting the students/entrepreneurs to take part in the Annual AWS-Start- Up Challenge and grab prizes worth $100,000.

PS: Wrote this post for on the occasion of  Cloud Conclave 2011