Naga Chokkanathan

Yesterday I attended a cloud computing event run by Amazon Web Services (AWS in short) – It was an amazing session, much more than the typical sales blah-blah and gave a good insight in terms of what to expect when it comes to cloud computing and how AWS can help small to medium to large companies.

Amazon Web Services

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According to me, the most important learnings from this program were the following:

  • Moving your app to cloud is good, But moving the entire IT infrastructure to cloud (“On Demand Infrastructure”) is now possible and removes lot of load from your back and helps you focus on value-added things, instead of worrying about server / database performance and downtimes
  • Many companies have benefited from cloud infrastructure and the savings range between 20 to 50% in terms of infrastructure cost
  • This gives the power to newbies – All you need is a good idea and an unique solution based on that – there are many new and successful web 2.0 companies which wouldn’t have existed if cloud computing is not in place
  • Contrary to popular thinking, Cloud is not just about saving cost – it is reliable, secure and flexible in terms of how you want to use it

All the sessions in this program were good, especially the first (Keynote address by Dr. Werner Vogels) and the last (An amazing fast-track tutorial on how to go cloud with a simple app and improve from there, by Simone Brunozzi). Dr. Werner Vogels gave 10 principles that they considered when designing AWS solutions. They may be useful to us in any design process:

  • Principle #1 Design for Flexibility
  • Principle #2 Design for on-demand
  • Principle #3 Design for Automation
  • Principe #4 Decompose into the simplest form
  • Principle #5 Break Transparency
  • Principle #6 Design with Security in mind
  • Principle #7 Don’t do it alone
  • Principle #8 Continuously innovate
  • Principle #9 Focus on what doesn’t change
  • Principle #10 Let your customers benefit

For more details on these principles and other interesting sessions (For instance, do you know how and TataSky use Cloud Infrastructure?) refer to the notes below – as usual, this was typed during the session, so kindly ignore spelling / grammar errors 🙂


N. Chokkan …

27 10 2010




* Session 01: Welcome & Intro: Shane Owenby, MD, APAC, AWS

* Session 02: Dr. Werner Vogels, CTO, Amazon – Keynote: Successful Strategies in the Cloud

– Amazon’s three biz: Retail (Website), Seller Business (Use amazon technology for your own retail website, leveratge amazon’s fulfillment network), Amazin Web Services

– We observed when working with our clients in these businesses that most of the time they spend time in undifferentiated, non-value-adding work

– 70/30 Switch: 30% of time, energy and dollars on differentiated value creation, 70% on undifferentiated heavy lifting

– Infrastructure Web Services

– Billions of objects in Amazon S3 – Q12010: 140+Billion objects, peak requests at 150000+ per second

– Dev & Testing, Web site hosting, App Hosting, Media Distribution, Batch Data  Processing, Content Delivery, Backup, Software Distribution, Load Testing, Collaborations, Marketing Campgaigns, Disaster Recovery, HPC, Large Scale Analysis

– Top Myths of cloud computing: Cloud is Not Reliable, Cost is all that matters, Cloud is all or nothing,  The cloud locks you in, The cloud is not secure

– Few Customer case studies to break these myths: Nasdaq (Low capex), razorfish (Scalable), (Fast time to market), Lawson (Ultra-reliable), Netflix (Reliability), Facebook games such as Farm Ville, Pet Society, Happy Aquarium, Pet Party etc., (Highly Scalable, No Capital Investment, No Heavy Lifting Required), President of the US of A & Many other federal companies including NASA (Security)

– Few Indian clients of AWS:, Tata Sky, tubaah,, hungama, simplified, 8k Miles

– New sort of web app development – launch something quick and simple and let your users decide what else they need in this and build based on this

– Private Cloud? To understand look at the definition of Cloud Computing

Gartner 2008: Style of computing where massively scalable IT related capabilities are provided as a service across the internet to multiple external customers

    – On Demand
    – Pay as you go

By this definition, Private cloud is actually a false cloud – makes you buy more hardware instead of the other way – all the problems cloud solves are still existing

– Key benefits to running in the AWS Cloud

1. Lowers cost (Eliminates Capex, Reduces operational costs)
2. Increases Agility (Reduces time to market, removes constraints)
3. Removes the "Heavy Lifting" (Leverages Scalability, Reliability and Security)
4. Foundation for 21st Century Architecture

– Principles we used when designing AWS solution:

Principle #1 Design for Flexibility

    – Build Tools not fameworks
    – Choice of OS / Database / Technology / Mix & Match

Principle #2 Design for on-demand
Principle #3 Design for Automation

    – Drives Reliability, Security and Efficiency
    – Amazon EC2 – Elastic Compute Cloud

Principe #4 Decompose into the simplest form

    – Sample: One size fits all – ordering pipeline – Cart -> Order -> Process -> Store -> Archive
    – AWS Database & Storage Solutions: Amazon S3 (Key Value Pair), Amazon SimpleDB, Amazon EC2 + EBS (Hard disk on the sky), Amazon RDS (Native access to database engine, Easy Migration, Key features of RDBMS, Managed Experience)

Principle #5 Break Transparency

    – World-wide App Deployment: Performance, Security, Certification, Compliance, Cost Efficiency, Uniform Deployment, Availability

Principle #6 Design with Security in mind

    – Finegrained access control
    – Amazon Virtual Private Cloud

Principle #7 Don’t do it alone

    – Partners are very important: Cloud Foundary, Stax, Heroku etc.,
    – Oracle supported all their products to run in AWS Cloud
    – Indian partners: Wipro, 3i Infotech, Patni, More ..

Principle #8 Continuously innovate

    – In addition to technical innovation, Innovation on cloud pricing models: On-Demand instances, Reserved instances, Spot instances, Continuous price reductions
    – Economies of scale in utilization
    – Big Elephant: Server Utilization

Principle #9 Focus on what doesn’t change
    – What will not change in next 10 years? … Security, Reliability, Scalability, Cost etc.,? Focus all your energies on this

Principle #10 Let your customers benefit

Key in chosing a cloud

– Security
– Operational Performance
– Cost
– Options / Flexibility
– Speed of Innovation and Execution

Twitter: @werner

Session 03: Customer Presentation: – Charan Padmaraju, CTO, redbus

– 3 Business Veritcals

        Largest bust ticketing company in india
        Online, Offline, On phone, On Mobile
        Manages 10000+ Schedules in 15 states everyday
    – Bus Operator Software Services (BOSS)
        Market leader in SaaS solution to Bus Industry
        Now expanding to Argentina, Malaysia and Urugua
    – SeatSeller (GDS)
        Power bus ticketing on major OTAs
        30K+ Agents use GDS

Ranked #1 in India 25, Clocked a growth rate of 4823%

– Problems with traditional data centers

    – Physical limitationof existing server – Max RAM slots etc.,
    – Long procurement time – Replacement of RAM took more than a fortnight
    – New Product BOSS – Experimental product with minimal upfront investment, low maintenance and high scale potential

– Solutions Explored

    – Google App Engine (Migration of existing system was not possible)
    – AWS

    – Experiemented a small app with AWS and found that it was satisfactory, decided to go for it

– AWS Solution:

    – Varied instance types
    – Instant availability – Do it yourself
    – Low cost, low maintenance

– Experience with AWS

    – Have been using AWS for 1 year – Deployment of 50 servers on AWS APAC Center
    – 100% of our apps rendered out of AWS
    – Highlights: RDS very powerful, takes away lot of DBA efforts, Rapid implementation, Saved cost, Fixing production problems on the go
    – Lowlights: Lost instances; Can overcome by using EBS as opposed to instance store

– Key benefits being on AWS platform

    – Time to market, saved cost (40%), Rapid deployment, true staging replicas for fixing issues, Great latency benefits

– Future Plans

    – Automate the process of deployment to a server cluster
    – Use SQS for communication with external applications, SNS for sending alerts


Session 04: Customer Presentation: Tata Sky on Cloud – Rajiv Jain, VP – IT Strategy & Solutions, Tata Sky

– Overview

    – Leading DTH Service provider in India
    – Joint Venture between Star TV and Tata
    – Launched in August 2006
    – Revolutionizing TV Viewing
    – New age interactive services
    – 24 * 7 Customer service in 11 Languages (Some of them hosted on the cloud)

– Business Challenges (Issues faced with in house Data Center technology)

    – Huge Capital expenditure
    – Scalability issues
    – Technology Obsolescence / Commoditization
    – Optimizing IT cost – per $ revenue / per business transaction
    – Time to market

– Why AWS?

    – Leading Cloud Service Provider
    – Proven track record
    – Proactive Account Management
    – Focus on Customer Success
    – Roadmap and Vision

– What do we use in AWS?

    – EC2 (Elastic Cloud Computing)
    – EBS (Eleastic Block Storage)
    – S3 (Simple Storage Solutions)
    – Cloud Watch

– Business Benefits

    – Quantifiable metrics: Cost savings, Man hours saved, Reduced time to market, # of instances running

– Lessons learnt:

    Being first is great, but challenging

– Future Roadmap

    – AWS Elastic Load Balancer
    – Simple Notification Service
    – Virtual Private Cloud
    – DR / BCV


Session 05: AWS – SAP Strategic Partnership – Nararyan Sundareswaran – Head of Diz Development for outsourcing and On Demand, SAP AG

– Differentiation between Dedicated Outsourcing and Cloud Models

– Harnessing the cloud, for the benefit of our customers

– Why Cloud Computng?

    – Reduce costs
    – Improve Agility
    – Delivery Globally

– Cloud computing strategy @ SAP

– Amazon web services & SAP

– Value Added Service Models

    – Business Strategy
    – App Selection & Implementation Strategy
    – Application Implementation
    – Application Management
    – Infrastructure Management
    – Application / Middleware as a service

– SAP Experience with Cloud

    SAP Business Objects – On Premise Vs Cloud

        – 24 to 46% savings in year one over On-Premise solutions. Cost drop 36 to 52% in year 2 based on typical scenario

    – uses SAP Business Objects on AWS

– New SAP Program for Cloud Services: SAP-Certified for Cloud Services


Session 06 – Cloud Computing Practice: Your Transformation Partner: Akhilesh Laddha – Solution Architect, Wipro

– Company Overview

    – Dedicated practice for Cloud enablement
– Services from Wipro

    – Cloud Advisor and Assessment Services
    – Cloud Implementation and Migration Services
    – Cloud Management Services

– Implementation Process

    – Assessment – Application Enablement – Infra Enablement – Robust Service Delivery – Managed Service

– Case Studies

Session 07 – A Practical Approach To Cloud Computing – Simone Brunozzi, Technology Evangelist, APAC, Amazon Web Services

Case Study:

    – … Build a simple website to host pictures of Sachin Tendulkar
    – And then, add more features

Step 1: Launch a website

    – Sign In
    – Amazon EC2 Console
    – Launch Instance
        – Choose OS
        – Setup preferences (Example: Region)
        – Launch
    – Check status
    – Connect
    – Install services (Example: HTTP Service)
    – Go to the directory
    – Upload content of the website
    – Add "Elastic IP" (Public IP you can use to map your site URL)
    – Test

Sachin wins "Cricketer of the year" award


Everybody comes to your website looking for pictures

Users are coming from many countries

How can we provide content to them worldwide?

CDN: Content Delivery Network

    – Cache or Copy your content to multiple locations worldwide
    – AWS takes care of serving it from the closest location

Amazon Cloud Front

Step 2: Configuring CDN

    – Upload your content to Amazon S3
    – Enable CloudFront
    – Create Distribution (Under "CloudFront Distributions")
    – Change CloudFront URL in your HTML Code

This website is not "Just a hobby" anymore – How to make it more robust? – Version 2.0

Our IT Architecture needs an upgrade

Old way: Add Servers
New way: Elastic Load Balancer … Auto-Scaling Servers

Step 3: Scaling

    – If the network load is too much, AWS can automatically decide to create a new machine (based on the parameters we choose)
    – Go to "Load Balancer" page and activate "Elastic Load Balancer"

Automation – APIs for every AWS Service
    – Automate as much as you can

We want to improve this architecture by:

    – Moving Databases backend
    – Take care of Failover, Automatic Backups etc.,

Amazon RDS: Relational Database Services

Step 4: Architectural Improvements

    – Move to RDS area
    – Use "DB Security Groups"
    – Launch DB Instance
        – Chose DB, Size, User particulars etc.,
        – Connect similar to on-premise database
        – You are in full control of your database on the web console
    – Change Connection string in your code to use this database


Step 1 – 2000 Visitors per month – $15 for server $3 for bandwidth

Step 2 – 4000 visitors per month – $15 + $5 + CloudFront $50

Step 3 – 100000 visitors per month – $180 + $65 + $350 + $15 S3 Storage + $21 Elastic Load Balancer

Step 4 – 1.5 Million Visitors per month – $300 + $125 + $1600 + $67 + $45 + $160 (RDS)

Twitter Handle: @simon


3 Responses to "Amazon Cloud"

I’d like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this post. You’ve enlightening for me. I have forwarded this to one of my friends.

[…] Amazon Cloud October 2010 1 comment 4 […]

Amazing job Naga. Much appreciated. Your post is doing the rounds in our company

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