A few weeks ago, you published a whitepaper, “The Total Cost of (Non) Ownership
of a NoSQL Database Cloud Service”. The paper compares the cost of running an “open source NoSQL database” in a datacenter/co-lo vs. running it on EC2 and EBS vs. using DynamoDB. No surprises here - the TCO of using DynamoDB was the lowest followed by running on AWS, while running it in a private data center was the most expensive. I’m going to leave aside the fact this is an apples-to-oranges comparison (you can’t run dynamo in your own data center, SSDs for dynamo while EBS for other software, etc). Instead, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you shouldn’t be making cloud = lower cost argument at at all.
The real benefit of moving application development to ‘the cloud’ comes from increased agility and flexibility. Need to get a new application up and running quickly? You can just boot up some machines. Think there is some value in your log files? Instantiate a couple of hundred bucks worth of EMR nodes and take a shot at analyzing them. Building on cloud-like infrastructure allows developers to iterate and experiment, without the headaches of things like long hardware procurement cycles. Pair that with great open source software or managed services and you have lowered the barrier for developers to create something that is potentially great. That is something you can’t put a price on.
I know you know this, but here is what I think you should be telling companies:
- The way traditional IT organizations operate causes friction
- Developers don’t like friction
- You need to empower your developers to build, iterate and experiment
- Moving to AWS helps you do that
- Along with instant compute resources, you have great open source software you can use
- Or, we build and manage our own software for you (DynamoDB, Elastic MapReduce, Simple Workflow service, etc)
- By not moving to the cloud you are slowing down your employees
- Embrace it or be left behind
(and btw, you may save a few bucks in the process)
You should be shouting this from the rooftops, rather than trying to make the age old argument of lower TCO. Will you piss off some CIOs or a few large enterprise software companies? Yes, maybe. But fuck it. You are Amazon. You defined e-commerce. And now you are defining what the cloud means to hundreds of thousands of software developers.
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