How Amazon Customized Their Cloud
Long before Amazon became a cloud computing expert, it was one of the quickest growing online retailers that purchased it servers from outside sources such as, Rackable system and Hewlett-Packard. However, only 5 years ago Amazon started doing what all of its hyper scaler peers were doing, and that is design their own custom servers and switches. A big part of what pushed Amazon to this point, is the massive flooding in Thailand where the majority of the manufacturing components were destroyed.
Therefore, Amazon had no choice but to take over the responsibility for their own supply chain of components for all of the elements that make up the gear in its data centers. The amount of gear that Amazon was buying back then wasn’t really all that much, however, now it is, and shortages of the gear would cause momentous problems for Amazon, which is doubling their capacity every year for several of its services.
The righteous cycle for Amazon is that it provides capability on demand for over a million customers, who all have different needs that frequently change by the second, and although it is lot easier to do volume planning for group than for an individual. By creating simple machinery, which only has the software functions and hardware features that the Amazon cloud needs, accompanied by erudite redundancy assembled into the network of the machines in its data centers, regions, and availability zones provides Amazon with valuable leverage that is not available to the majority of other large companies.
Amazon had all the say in designing and selecting everything from the tiniest components in the networking gear, the servers, and all of its 200,000 square foot data center. The ability for them to do the customizing allowed them to remove a lot of unnecessary features that were taking up valuable space and they were able to keep the design simple from both the operational prescriptive and the reliability perspective.
This allowed the work with the OEMs and its components constructers to make certain the capacity is always there, the hard disk, networking gear, DIMMs, servers, racks, and even the transformers are estimated and stocked and always ready for on demand. Chances are the rest of us will never know exactly how Amazon and companies just like them did all of this until several years from now.