Amazon is indeed an extreme retailer, and retailers want their inventories to move. Amazon Web Services is just this concept applied to one of their ‘Inventory’ viz., their Infrastructure! Well, for some, this is bit over the head to appreciate. So I throw in some metaphors at these innocent folks and further complicate it for them. One such metaphor popped up in an Interview with Charu Bahri while she was working on an ITmag article. Surprise Surprise! It got published as box item.
Balaji Sowmyanarayanan, a social entrepreuner in the area of combining handicraft with technology(ICT) for sustainable development, puts forward an interesting analogy – he likens Amazon EC2 to an open restaurant, welcoming you to its kitchen to cook your own meal! He describes what you will find within: “The ‘restaurant’ would provide you a well appointed regular-size ‘kitchen table’, and charge you by the hour – one virtual Linux box at ten cents an hour. Supplies used would be charged by consumption – storage(S3), orchestration(SQS) and bandwidth charges as per usage. You would be free to use one table for an hour to make a few cheese sandwiches. Or you could choose to simultaneously use many tables for many hours, to cook a gourmet spread to feed a sit-down dinner party.
“Why would you opt to visit a restaurant and cook your won meal, if not to avoid tipping or intimidating waitresses! Choosing the right data centre outsourcing contract and negotiating service levels are daunting tasks. They are typically prepaid and expensive. In contrast, EC2 is hardware as a service, based on no minimum, no maximum, post-paid billing.
“However, you need to beware that the small tip you save are not eroded by the charges of hiring expert master chefs.
EC2 is raw, ( and sometimes intimidating) offering. Handling it often needs extra engineering skills that not everyone possesses. A cook-at-our-kitchen restaurant is only an interesting and useful concept for gourmet experimentalists and recipe inventors, who desire to focus on recipe rather than assembling a kitchen. Likewise, EC2 attracts innovators and start-up entrepreneurs who need to focus on their idea instead of worrying about servers or scaling up, or IT managers of one-off short-term scientific or academic projects with heavy computing requirements.
“The fact is that regular hosting strategies are more attractive for regular situations. EC2 is only attractive in special circumstances, where hardware needs to be scaled to cope with spikes in demand.”
Hat tip to Charu for the edits. Interestingly Indus Khaithan who gave an interesting EC2 talk at BCB4 is featured in the article. I came to know him and point him to Charu coz of his talk. So blogs and unconference talks work!
Just like a voodo doll, an Avatar’s activity/interaction in SL can trigger a Mturk HIT, which in-turn can effect activities in the real world. Avodoo can blur the boundary between the virtual SecondLife and the real life. Geography is indeed History once again with Avoodo – Make it Real.
Avoodo is indeed illustrated with Treepu an use case that magically teleports virtual tree saplings from SecondLife to real life. It is a mashup of SecondLife, Amazon Mturk and Project Green Hands.
Hat tip to Jeff Barr seeding the voodo metaphor!