Amazon diagnosis

Jeff Wheeler jsw at
Sun May 1 19:29:54 UTC 2011

On Sun, May 1, 2011 at 2:18 PM, Andrew Kirch <trelane at> wrote:
> Sure they can, but as a thought exercise fully 2n redundancy is
> difficult on a small scale for anything web facing.  I've seen a very
> simple implementation for a website requiring 5 9's that consumed over
> $50k in equipment, and this wasn't even geographically diverse.  I have

What it really boils down to is this: if application developers are
doing their jobs, a given service can be easy and inexpensive to
distribute to unrelated systems/networks without a huge infrastructure
expense.  If the developers are not, you end up spending a lot of
money on infrastructure to make up for code, databases, and APIs which
were not designed with this in mind.

These same developers who do not design and implement services with
diversity and redundancy in mind will fare little better with AWS than
any other platform.  Look at Reddit, for example.  This is an
application/service which is utterly trivial to implement in a cheap,
distributed manner, yet they have failed to do so for years, and
suffer repeated, long-duration outages as a result.  They probably buy
a lot more AWS services than would otherwise be needed, and truly have
a more complex infrastructure than such a simple service should.

IT managers would do well to understand that a few smart programmers,
who understand how all their tools (web servers, databases,
filesystems, load-balancers, etc.) actually work, can often do more to
keep infrastructure cost under control, and improve the reliability of
services, than any other investment in IT resources.

Jeff S Wheeler <jsw at>
Sr Network Operator  /  Innovative Network Concepts

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