In case you aren't suitably impressed by the scale of Amazon Web Services

In case you aren't suitably impressed by the scale of Amazon Web Services

Check out these facts (and the embedded video)

Although the video has been up for awhile, if you haven't had the chance to watch Amazon Web Service's VP & Distinguished Engineer, James Hamilton, spell out AWS facts at the re:Invent conference last November, do yourself a favor and pull up a chair. Fascinating stuff that gives you some insight into the rapidly evolving world of Cloud computing.

You can watch the video on YouTube here, but here are some facts to whet your appetite:

  • AWS has more than 1 million users
  • AWS Simple Storage Service (S3) usage is growing 132% year over year
  • AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is growing 99% year over year
  • Every day AWS adds as much new server capacity as Amazon used to support its $7 billion business back in 2004

Networking only represents 8% of monthly AWS operating costs, Hamilton says, but the "cost of networking is escalating relative to the cost of all the other equipment." That is very "anti-Moore," he says.

"At the same time, the ratio of networking to compute is going up," he says. "Partly driven by the fact there is more computer in a given server generationally because Moore is working there, partly because, as the cost of computing falls, the amount of advanced data analytics goes up, which is network intensive."

This pushed AWS to design its own switches, which taught the company a few things. "One, they are a lot cheaper, which isn't a surprise. We were paying $10s of millions on support contracts alone. But surprisingly, availability went up. Why? Because suppliers have to aggregate the needs of tons of customers. We don't end up using all the features, and neither do you."

AWS stripped the switch design to the element they needed, and ended up with "an easier problem to solve," which made the devices more reliable.

Although few companies have the resources of these Web-scale guys, this is the basic thinking driving interest in the whitebox/commercial off the shelf (COTS) movements.

Hamilton goes on to outline AWS' basic worldwide architecture:

  • There are 11 AWS regions, and each region has two or more Availability Zones (AZ)
  • Each AZ is a separate datacentre (and there are 28 AZs total)
  • The typical AWS datacentre is 25-30 megawatt, with 50,000-80,000 servers (diminishing returns with anything larger, he says)
  • Up to 102Tbps serve each data center
  • AZs are less than 2ms apart
  • Peak inter-AZ traffic 25 terabits per sec

While most AZs only have two AZs, the AWS US East region has five. And that region uses 82,000+ fiber strands to link the AZs, link the AZs to customers and the Internet.

Amazing stuff. And revisit that growth fact: Every day AWS adds as much new server capacity as Amazon used to support its $7 billion business back in 2004.

Follow Us

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags cloud computinginternetyoutubeAmazon Web Services



Join key decision-makers within Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) that have the power to affect real change and drive sustainable practices. SustainTech will bridge the gap between ambition and tangible action, promoting strategies that attendees can use in their day-to-day operations within their business.

EDGE 2023

EDGE is the leading technology conference for business leaders in Australia and New Zealand, built on the foundations of collaboration, education and advancement.


ARN has celebrated gender diversity and recognised female excellence across the Australian tech channel since first launching WIICTA in 2012, acknowledging the achievements of a talented group of female front runners who have become influential figures across the local industry.

ARN Innovation Awards 2023

Innovation Awards is the market-leading awards program for celebrating ecosystem innovation and excellence across the technology sector in Australia.

Show Comments