Microsoft Architect Heads to Amazon

December 13, 2008

My goodness. First, Microsoft reigns in its spending for data centers. Then Redfin dumps Microsoft maps for the speedier Google alternative. Now, according to Todd Bishop’s Microsoft Blog, James Hamilton, a key data center architect, will leave Microsoft and head to Amazon. You can read the full text of “Key Data Center Architect Leaves Microsoft, Headed for Amazon” here. My question is, “Will other wizards involved in Microsoft’s cloud push seek greener pastures?” If I were a betting goose, I would say, “Yep”. Here’s why?

First, building big data centers does not mean the data centers can deliver data quickly. In fact, big data centers based on technology with known bottlenecks won’t go fast because of bottlenecks. Google created MapReduce to minimize one type of bottleneck about eight years ago. Microsoft is playing catch up and the bottleneck with SQL Server is a real deal problem. Second, coordinating work within a data center or across data centers requires a different type of file system; specifically, a smart file system that minimizes message traffic. Microsoft does not have a smart file system, although I have heard the company is working on this problem. Finally, replacing purpose built equipment with commodity gizmos is a good idea. When the commodity gizmo requires one hot spare and one additional computer to handle overflow conditions, the good idea goes bad. Microsoft is working to resolve these types of problems now. I have heard that the Google uses brand name network devices when these devices make sense. Commodity for commodity’s sake may not be the correct approach.

What’s your take on Microsoft’s data centers? Mine is that Microsoft’s data centers are expensive and probably plagued with some bottlenecks just like old style data centers have been for decades.

Stephen Arnold, December 13, 2008


2 Responses to “Microsoft Architect Heads to Amazon”

  1. TJGodel on December 15th, 2008 7:43 pm

    My impression is that Microsoft is focused on it’s technology and not necessary the best technology for the job. How can it be other other way? What is Microsoft’s legacy? Look at Microsoft’s organization structure versus Google’s. It will take a massive change in Microsoft’s DNA for it to compete with Google. Microsoft’s Cloud Computing effort, Azul, is just plain marketing, nothing more.

  2. Weekend Wrap-up, search engine news of the week (Dec 14) | Wiadomo?ci seo on March 17th, 2010 5:54 am

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