How the switch from Sun to Linux started AWS
Cloud 2021-01-25 11:20:11
Former Amazon executive tells how switching from Sun / Solaris to HP / Linux saved the company and led to the creation of AWS.
Dan Rose explains on a Twitter thread how a migration to Linux led to the creation of "Amazon Web Services. (Credit DR) Dan Rose, now president of the Coatue Ventures investment fund
, posted in early January a thread on Twitter,
in which he explains how the infrastructure AWS
has been cbuilt on Linux. Mr. Rose worked at Amazon from 1999 to 2006, where he managed the retail pision and helped incubate the kindle reader before moving to facebook. he was therefore amazon in 2000 when the internet bubble burst, that one high-flying dot-com after another was shriveling up died, not without having charred credit lines in luxury offices while often having nothing to show product terms . At the same time, Dan Rose recalls that Amazon "s biggest investment had been made to create a data center equipped with expensive Sun servers. Amazon"s motto was "get big quickly " back then, and site stability was essential. Every second of downtime means lost sales, and Sun was the gold standard in Internet servers back then. At that time they had an important Sun to startr Sun"s proprietary stack (Solaris and Sparc) was "expensive and sticky " as Dan Rose explains, and it was designed that way . Back in the day, the Unix marketplace was shared between Sun (Solaris), HP (Ux), IBM (Aix), and SGI (Irix), and all featured variants of Unix operating systems designed to be less than laptops. But it"s safe to say that the first major Internet sites were built on Sun with Solaris and SunOS. The Santa Clara vendor had this second operating system based on BSD 4.2, which did not have a graphical interface. (In the pre-DNS era when I was in college I cut my teeth on SunOS 3.x and had to learn the Unix command line
My first ISP out of college dropped you into a SunOS shell, and if you did not know what to do inlooking at the parade percentages you were lost). As start-ups died in 2000 and liquidated their data center equipment, little-used Sun servers began to appear on eBay at an unusually low price (10% of the original price). As a result, Sun"s sales took a big hit, which marked the beginning of the end for the iconic supplier of Santa Clara, eventually acquired by Oracle. Full switch to Linux Amazon could have used this predicament to negotiate a better deal with Sun, Dan Rose sa id, but Jeff Bezos chose an approach more radical. Amazon CTO Rick Dalzell has pivoted the entire engineering organization to replace Sun with an HP / Linux duo. Today no one flinches at uno such decision, but in 2000 it was relatively bold. After all, Linux 1.0.0, the first production-ready version, wasn"t released until 1994. "Six years later, we have capitalized on this solution for society, which at the time was a new and risky approach, "sa id Mr. Rose. Product development stopped during the transition. The company froze all new features for over a year, so they faced a huge delay, but nothing new could be delivered until the full switch to Linux was complete. During this period, revenues slowed. The dot-com bubble continued, the economy slipped into recession in 2001, and then September 11 arrived. Amazon is on the verge of bankruptcy, Ms. Rose sa id. 80% cost reduction "But once the transition to Linux begins, it doesn there was no turning back. Everyone was on the bridge to reshape our code base, replace the servers, prepare for the transition. If this worked, infrastructure costs would drop by over 80%. If that failed, the website would collapse and the business would die, "he wrote. After the transition was completed, the site continued to operate uninterrupted. " Capital expenditure were massively reduced overnight. And suddenly we had an infinitely scalable infrastructure, "says Rose. " Then something even more interesting happened. As a distributor, we"ve always been faced with huge seasonality, with traffic and revenue increasing every November and December. Jeff started to think, we have all this excess server capacity for 46 weeks / year, why not lease it to other companies? " At the same time,Jeff Bezos was interested in decoupling internal dependencies so that teams can grow without being blocked by others. The architectural changes needed to enable this decoupled model became the primitive APIs of a grid-like system. In 1900, a company had to build its own electric generator in order to open a store. In 2000, why should a company build its own data center? "Writes Mr. Rose. He admitted that the infrastructure in the cloud would have ended by appearing even without AWS, but how soon after and at what cost? With the availability of AWS infrastructure as a service, the cost of deploying a start-up has been reduced dramatically, innovation exploded and the modern venture capital ecosystem was born, he points out