Amazon.com Runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Reading about real-world uses (and users) of Amazon Web Services (AWS) can help you understand what kinds of interesting and innovative things can be done with AWS. And it should come as no surprise to you that Amazon is a proud user of Amazon Web Services.

You might say, “Well, of course Amazon is going to eat its own dog food” (or, as Amazon more appetizingly puts it “drink our own champagne.”). That’s not the case, however.

Amazon.com didn’t immediately leap into the use of AWS when it first entered the market. Though both businesses are part of the same company, each has its own goals and measurements, and Amazon.com (the e-commerce division) wasn’t going to jeopardize its business just to make AWS feel good.

Just as any customer would, Amazon.com carefully evaluated AWS, thoroughly tested it, and then reached a decision to migrate to it, with enough supporting evidence to justify its decision.

As of October 2010, Amazon.com hosts all its web servers in AWS; about a year later, the international divisions of Amazon made the same transition.

If you think about it, this task is truly impressive. All traffic at Amazon.com, including its international counterparts, flows across AWS. Amazon.com is by far the largest e-commerce company, with over $60 billion of revenue in 2012.

Enormous amounts of web traffic flow through Amazon.com every day — hundreds of millions, if not billions, of page views per day. AWS supports all of it — and Amazon.com is only one of its customers!

This achievement is all the more impressive in the context of Amazon.com’s sales profile: Its yearly traffic is highly skewed toward the Christmas season, and AWS has to have sufficient capacity on hand to handle all that traffic — and all the traffic of its other customers, many of whom are also e-commerce companies that have seasonal sales profiles similar to those of Amazon.com.

The next time you hear someone dismiss AWS as a concept cooked up by a mere bookseller or as suitable only for small- and medium-size businesses, keep in mind that just one of AWS’s customers is the largest e-commerce company in the world.

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