The Siren Song of AWS

I have a deep respect for Amazon as a company. They have been consistently kicking ass for over a decade. They had a long-term vision and stuck to it while everyone else was out chasing the next buzzwordy fad. It worked. Moreover, they are not a one-trick-pony like Google so far (to be fair, the No Evil company's pony is more like a galloping flame-breathing dinosaur but still).

Amazon's second trick is of course AWS. The brilliance of AWS is not in that they figured out how to productize and make money with their existing private cloud infrastructure. Sure, they were the first serious player in the IaaS business but Google could have blown them out of the water had they chosen to. The genius move is this:

– Google App Engine forces you to do everything their way from day one. AWS lures you in with metal (servers, disk) and slowly creeps in on you with their multiple value-added services.

So it goes like this: let's check out AWS. Create an account, set up a Linux box, run your stack. You're the boss, you could switch anytime. So far so good. Say one day you want to use a key-value store and SimpleDB is there. It's simple, oh wait, it isn't. There are many subtleties that you discover as you scale. Next thing you know, your software is tightly coupled with SimpleDB. Migrating to, say, Rackspace becomes a serious project. Not only that, but SimpleDB is not cheap. Your bill starts going up, and so goes Amazon's stock.

TL;DR: AWS is doing an awesome job at luring you in and making you stay like a seductive siren. Use AWS as long as it works for you, but be ready to escape before you follow the fate of the unsuspecting sailors!

And now some music.