The 2006 Young Innovators

All Things Distributed

Every year the MIT Technology Review publishes a list of technologists and scientist under the age of 35 to honor their ground breaking inventions and research. In the past I have written a number of recommendations in support of these innovators and last year I was particularly happy to see George Candea recognized for his work on recovery oriented computing in general and for micro-reboots in particular

OOTO August 2006

All Things Distributed

I have been off the grid in the old world and will remain so until the end of the month. If you are waiting for responses to emails, postings, approvals or comments; have patience

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Out of the Office, Town and Country

All Things Distributed

Thank you for being loyal readers of this chaos, I hope you will all have great holidays, I know I certainly will. See you in the new year

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Stormy Weather

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Note to self: buy generator

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The King of Disk Drives

All Things Distributed

There will be lots of stories remembering Al Shugart as “Uncle Al”; these stories will be filled with love and fun, and lots of good laughter. They will portrait Al as a good natured loving mentor and an unconventional industry maverick, but there was so much more to this man

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Spring Systems Conferences

All Things Distributed

The programs for 2 conferences with mainly operating and distributed systems contributions are online now: 1st EuroSys Conference, April 18-21, 2006, Leuven, Belgium 3rd Symposium on Networked Systems Design & Implementation (NSDI’06), May 8-10, 2006, San Jose, CA With 58 papers between the two conferences the systems research field appears to be very healthy

Amazon in Scotland

All Things Distributed

I have been easing my way back into Amazon life by visiting the Amazon Development Center Scotland (ADCS), located in the outskirts of Edinburgh. Before joining Amazon I was always skeptical whether distributing development could actually work.

The Final

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Zidane is a brilliant player, so it is sad to see his international career end this way. It was a very bizarre moment in an otherwise rather open match. Italy ruled during the first half, but the French had control over the second half and the extra time.

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Sports Book

All Things Distributed

Whenever I end up in Vegas I am continuously amazed by the magnitude of the way things are implemented here and at the same time the superficiality of it all. Normally I take a stroll north or south of the strip to ground me and get back some sense of reality

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What Are The Odds

All Things Distributed

I am on the road this week (I am speaking at Oracle GMM, Garner Enterpise Architecture & Supernova). The first stop is in Las Vegas. This is on the sports board in Vegas: Personally I think the Argentinians look a lot more on fire than the Brasileiros. Of course I am not rooting for either team

Get Your Priorities Straight

All Things Distributed

it is good to now and then be reminded of what the real important things in live are. From the "gents"of a London pub

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Growing (up) is hard

All Things Distributed

Building systems that can guarantee performance and availability while scaling up to handle exponential growth in datasets and user requests is still very much a Dark Art. It is an art we master quite well by now at Amazon but it took a lot of growing pains to get to this level of sophistication

The Grocery

All Things Distributed

Another great new store launched today: Amazon.com Grocery An Amazon store filled non-perishable grocery items all eligible for Prime and Super Saver Shipping. An important new feature was launched alongside of it: Shopping Lists.

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Working Backwards

All Things Distributed

In the fine grained services approach that we use at Amazon, services do not only represent a software structure but also the organizational structure. The services have a strong ownership model, which combined with the small team size is intended to make it very easy to innovate. In some sense you can see these services as small startups within the walls of a bigger company

Amazon Gets IM

All Things Distributed

In order to get closer to their customers, humanize Amazon, increase sales, and stay modern, Amazon.com has decided to make all Instant Messenger (IM) handles of its employees public.

Generating SiteInfo with MT

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On the A9 Developer weblog there is an article today on he SiteInfo feature that was until now only available when you used the A9 Toolbar. They now have developed a Firefox extension that will give you the same functionality.

The Big Day

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GO HAWKS! Kim @ the Seahawks send-off party

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Sagan's Billions

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Today is the 10th anniversary of Carl Sagan’s death. There is a world-wide event going on today to remember this master of science. I like to believe every one has stories of how Sagan impacted their lives, at least those in my generation. I remember this guy fascinated me, because he spoke so passionately and caring and full of amazement about science, much more than any teacher I had ever had

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The odds of getting a PS3 or Wii for Chrismas

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As you have probably have heard by now Amazon is making Sony Playstation 3 (20 GB & 60 GB models) and Nintendo Wii available to existing Amazon customers who sign up via a special edition of the Amazon Customers Vote. A random draw will then decide who will get the change to buy these ridiculously scarce game machines

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October Stuff

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Zune. I finally got to play with a Zune media player. I am very impressed, I own all the generations of iPod, but this device is clearly a step up in terms of innovation. I can confirm that the enthusiasm in some of the earlier reports have good grounds. I have had many gadgets, but in the past two years except for the PSP nothing could really excite me, the Zune however is different at so many levels

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Carbonado

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As of today one of the technologies developed internally at Amazon is available on sourceforge as an open-source project. From the Carbonado docs: Carbonado is an extensible, high performance persistence abstraction layer for Java applications, providing a relational view to the underlying persistence technology. Persistence can be provided by a JDBC accessible SQL relational database, or it can be a BDB

Home to S3

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Jeremy Zawodny has some interesting calculations on the absolute cost advantage of using S3 for your home backup server. For me however the most compelling argument is later in his posting when he mentions the administrative cost of running a highly available home server. I recently lost 2 disks in my home raid setup rendering the 1 TB data store useless

Fulfilling

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Amazon continues on the path of opening up all of its services for customers and partners to use. One of the services customers repeatedly asked us for was to open up our fulfillment network for them to use. Currently there are over 1 million small and large active sellers on the Amazon platform and most need to do their own fulfillment and shipping

Unbox Remote Control

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One of the coolest features in Unbox, Amazon’s Video Download Service, is the remote delivery. A video you have bought will show up in Your Media Library and from there you can control which PC the movie should be downloaded to. I just bought a Margaret Cho show while at work and asked it to be downloaded to a laptop at home

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OpenSearch.org

All Things Distributed

Congrats to DeWitt for launching the OpenSearch.org community website

Life is not a State-Machine

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Last week I gave a keynote at the ACM Principles of Distributed Computing Conference (PODC) on the topic of technology transfer. My choice of topic was triggered by recent presentations by a number of other research luminaries, who had remarked that the distributed computing research community had failed to make its mark; lots of good ideas, little impact

Amazon 2 Second Life

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I promised at Supernova I would give an update on the integration of Amazon.com (through Amazon.com E-Commerce Web Services) into Second Life: Jeff Barr has the scoop and demonstrates it on the Amazon Web Services Weblog. As expected it was a complete grassroots effort with no official Amazon involvement. Go visit the life2life store now (yes that is second life url, you need the program installed to use this as a locator

Facts & Sources

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I really enjoy spending time at comics.com and gocomics.com. On comics.com there is a category list of all comics and editorial cartoons available on their site. On gocomics there is a separate list for comics and editorial cartoons. Both sites offer interesting subscription models. Candorville by Darrin Bell on 7/15/2006

Can you carry this for me?

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inch screen & 20.8 pounds; Introducing the Dell XPS M2010. I have been looking for a new laptop but for some reason I don’t see myself walking around with this one. It will be an interesting challenge to open it up in your economy airplane seat. Base price $3800

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Your Queues are Ready

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Yesterday the Amazon Simple Queue Service moved from beta to production. SQS provides persistent messaging with the scalability and reliability of Amazon’s infrastructure. As a developer you can create an unlimited number of Queues and store unlimited messages in a Queue. As usual we manage your data in highly reliable fashion, capable of surviving complete data center failures

Divine Feeds

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The Atom and RSS Gods complained about my feeds. I made some offerings to the sacred Validator and I now no longer have to fear their wrath. I aplogize to those readers who had to suffer through a series of confusing feed updates and I welcome those who can now suddenly actually consume the feeds

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A New Family Member

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Today was a good news day: Geoff Arnold has decided to join the Amazon engineering family. As Geoff mentions in the announcement on his weblog Amazon is all about scale. In recent presentations I have been demonstrating how Amazon Engineers are scalability experts who can take any concept idea and turn it into a service that can serve hundreds of customers and then grow it seamlessly to support hundreds of millions of customers

Gnomedex Topic â?? Net Neutrality

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The phone and cable companies will fundamentally alter the Internet in America unless Congress acts to stop them. They have the market power, and regulatory permission to restrict American consumers’ access to broadband Internet content, including music and movies, and have announced their plans to do so. There is a lot of freedom at Gnomedex for the discussion leaders to address the topics that are on their minds

Some Observations on Conferences

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The coffee breaks are the best parts of the conference I stole this remark from Harrison Owen. His observation was that the traditional way people come together to discuss issues was not very effective, but that they all thought the coffee breaks were the place where all the action happened

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You Guard it with Your Life

All Things Distributed

The important part about the laptop with 243,000 customer records including credit cards stolen is not the theft itself. It is what the heck these credit card numbers were doing on the laptop in the first place. They should never, ever have been there. There is no reason they should have left the ultra secure location they were kept in

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Industrial & Scientific

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All you Make junkies, go visit Amazon Industrial & Scientifc (beta

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The Amazon Technology Platform

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Earlier this year my good friend and mentor Jim Gray dropped by at Amazon to interview me for ACM Queue magazine. I had real fun with Jim’s questions and I like to believe that the resulting interview is interesting. It appeared in this month’s edition and runs about 8 pages in the print edition

May Countdown

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One more day: Pearl Jam – Pearl Jam(5/2) One more week: Neil Young – Living with War (Free Streaming of the Full Album) (5/8) One more week: Red Hot Chili Peppers – Stadium Arcadium (DVD Edition) (5/9) Two more weeks: Hoobastank – Every Man For Himself (5/16) Two more weeks: John Entwistle – Bass Guitar Master Class (5/16) Three weeks: Ridley Scott – Kingdom of Heaven - Directors Cut (5/23) One more month: Soccer World Cup (5/9 - 6/9

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A Word on Scalability

All Things Distributed

Scalability is frequently used as a magic incantation to indicate that something is badly designed or broken. Often you hear in a discussion “but that doesn’t scale” as the magical word to end an argument. This is often an indication that developers are running into situations where the architecture of their system limits their ability to grow their service

Performance and Scalability

All Things Distributed

In the A Word On Scalability posting I tried to write down a more precise definition of scalability than is commeonly used. There were good comments about the definition at the posting as well as in a discussion at The ServerSide. To recap in a less precise manner I stated that

On the Wire

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I don't want to turn this into a corporate announcement weblog, but I believe some of my new readers may be interested in this. Go check out Amazon Wire, a podcast about books, music, movies and those who create them

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Amazon Gets IM - Part II

All Things Distributed

It is nice that people thought yesterday’s posting was funny. There is however a very serious aspect to it. From the reactions I understand that people think that posting IM handles is too far-out to even consider seriously, which made it a good April’s Fools joke. For me, I do not believe it is ridiculous for a company to engage in real-time interaction

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Reactive Innovation?

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Dennis Howlett reminds me that the last paragraph of my Naked Answers post suggests that I think the only way innovation happens is in reaction to customer demand. Customer feedback is an important ingredient, but not of course not the only component. Henri Fords famous quote “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said, "Faster horses