Google Atmosphere

Google Atmosphere Event

I attended this great event at which Nicholas Carr, Werner Vogels and Geoffrey Moore presented.

My notes on the meeting were (and these are not verbatim – mistakes may have been made).


Nicholas Carr:

Drawing on his book ( he argued that the Mainframe was “impersonal computer utility” and that “the power works [that is the belts and pullys of steam power] in the 1900 factories is the ERP/Oracle/SAP solutions of today”

Christensen’s innovators dilemma is introduced to argue that Cloud is a distruptive technology which will punch through our exiting models of IT trajectory.

The rest of the talk was very much aligned with the book – though no less useful because of this. I will not summarise this here though.

Werner Vogels: CTO/VP of Amazon argued that their involvement is not to sell unused server capacity (as often suspected of a company which has massive demand at certain peek periods). Rather it is because Cloud capitalises on their focus on providing scaled reliability at low cost/high volume. This is the essence of all Amazon business he argues.

As such he states that the 2008 Gartner definition misses the point – Cloud is about “on demand services” and “pay as you go”.

Amazon provides an enterprise platform (which Marks and Spencer and Mothercare are using) for eCommerce. It is not new to enterprise applications. By doing this these companies can scale up their sales operations during the key periods.

Amazon also announced its provision of Virtual Private Clouds (subnets of a companies data-centre hosted by a cloud provider and accessed by VPN).

Another interesting example of the use of AWS was the Guardian newspapers review of MP expenses. Their competitor (the daily telegraph) had had lots of time to do detailed analysis. In contrast the Guardian hosted it on the cloud then invited individuals (the wisdom of the crowd) to look at their individual MPs expenses. This led to very quick response and analysis.

Finally Indiana Speedway provides a multimedia streaming of its races using AWS when the race is running – other times it remains dormant.

Other companies using AWS: EPSN, Playfish, Autodesk, Pfizer (using VPC) NetFlix and LiveStream. Finally Intuit (a tax services which scales on April Tax day).

In response to questions of security the answer is “how secure is the corporate data centre” – use of cloud to respond to a Denial of Service Attack better than corporates. Security innovation is moving ahead in the cloud – e.g. Subnet Direction.

Amazon is providing tools to users to allow them to know the location of their data. And they have provided seperated datacentres to store EU data not outside.


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