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Amazon EC2 zap smash: everyone's cool with it

In hindsight, the lightning-strikes-Amazon-data center story is a tidy little example of a nu-media bubble. Someone should make a graph of the coverage indexed by hysteria, outrage, maniacal prophesy and supposition and tweet it or something.

Having now had a nice talk with real live Amazon people, it seems they are treating it mostly as a public relations problem, and the real issue is transparency.

You see, for Amazon watchers, the Holy Grail is to find out exactly what and where Amazon’s servers are. But Amazon isn’t keen on handing out details, likely because the reality is messy and because they might be making it up as they go along. Those Amazon watchers might want to relax. Sure, Amazon is a going concern, but it doesn’t have the kind of scratch or incentive to re-invent the wheel server like Google or Microsoft do.

Further hurting Amazon’s cause is that most hosting companies are more than happy to tell you what they run. Verizon, for instance, recently boasted about its new “CaaS” hardware. Pricing also starts at $250/month, and that’s before you fire up a single server.

Amazon is trying to run away from that game and focuses on delivery. But after a certain point, people do really care about the nuts and bolts, since unlike semi-durable consumer goods, an EC2 instance is an ongoing concern, and users want to understand how their application is staying up (I know — so last century, right?).

I did have a chance to ask about Amazon’s hush-hush data center facilities. I didn’t get much more than a general admission that “Availability Zones” are usually located in different data centers, and that there are four in the US as of June 9. Amazon was also apparently startled to discover that one facility had electrical exposure to the Great Outdoors. That’s still progress. Hopefully, there’ll be more. I’m waiting, and I know lots of others are as well.

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