Tech trends and business ideas

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Why wouldn't they bitch it?

For all those skeptics of Cloud computing economics, Nick Carr has a tell all with a NYT illustration. It’s a long post. I am pint sizing it here.

“The history of computing has been a history of falling prices (and consequently expanding uses). But the arrival of cloud computing - which transforms computer processing, data storage, and software applications into utilities served up by central plants - marks a fundamental change in the economics of computing…

In late 2007, the New York Times faced a challenge. It wanted to make available over the web its entire archive of articles, 11 million in all, dating back to 1851….That's not a particularly complicated computing chore, but it's a large computing chore, requiring a whole lot of computer processing time….Fortunately, a software programmer at the Times, Derek Gottfrid, had been playing around with Amazon Web Services for a number of months, and he realized that Amazon's new computing utility, Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), might offer a solution. Working alone, he uploaded the four terabytes of TIFF data into Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3) utility, and he hacked together some code for EC2 that would, as he later described in a blog post, "pull all the parts that make up an article out of S3, generate a PDF from them and store the PDF back in S3." He then rented 100 virtual computers through EC2 and ran the data through them. In less than 24 hours, he had his 11 million PDFs, all stored neatly in S3 and ready to be served up to visitors to
the Times site.

The total cost for the computing job? …Gottfrid told me that the entire EC2 bill came to $240. (That's 10 cents per computer-hour times 100 computers times 24 hours; there were no bandwidth charges since all the data transfers took place within Amazon's system - from S3 to EC2 and back.)”
Amazing economics. Now why wouldn’t they (high cost, license based, on-premise enterprise s/w makers) bitch it?

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