The serverless Internet company

I’m sure this isn’t the only one, after all, SmugMug‘s CEO told me that they had moved pretty much everything over to Amazon’s S3 a while back.

But I always assumed that companies would have at least one server keeping things up, just in case Amazon went down. Or just because.

I was wrong.

Last night Mogulus’s CEO, Max Haot, was here at my house to film something fun for my show. Mogulus is the company that, yesterday, provided the live video for Om Malik’s NewTeeVee conference. It was so good I stayed home and watched almost the whole day on the NewTeeVee channel. But more on that when we get the video up.

At one point Max seemed like he was joking around with me when he told me “we don’t own a single server.”

I asked him FOUR more times to make sure I heard him right. I even got incredulous with him at one point saying something like “what the f*** do you mean you don’t own a server?” and “you mean not a single bit of your Web site comes from servers that aren’t owned by Amazon?”

He nicely and calmly explained that, yes, every server the company owns is actually running on Amazon’s S3 and EC2 services.

The world has changed. Now ANYONE can build an Internet company and get it up to scale. No more spending nights inside data centers trying to keep servers running.

Let’s go over to Mike Arrington’s CrunchBase and do some research. They pulled in $1.2 million in funding. Yet they don’t own a SINGLE server!

They have about 15,000 people already creating live video channels. They have one of the most innovative Web sites I’ve ever seen.

But they don’t own a server.

How else has the world changed? Where the hell is Microsoft in this whole business? How did Microsoft screw this up so badly? Let’s get this straight. Amazon used to be a book store. Now they are hosting virualized servers for Internet companies. So much for having billions of dollars in the bank like Microsoft does, some of the smartest people in the world working in your research arms and having “monopoly” market share in operating systems.

Heheh, maybe now Amazon can use some of the new money that they’ll be earning from these startups to buy some decent PR. According to Read/Write Web Amazon needs the help in that department.

Oh, back to Max. One tip he gave us is that when using Amazon’s services you have to design your systems with the assumption that they will never be up and running. What he means by that is services are “volatile” and can go up and down without notice. So, he’s designed his systems to survive that. He told me that it meant his engineering teams had to be quite disciplined in designing their architecture.

How many other Internet companies are out there that are “serverless?”

107 thoughts on “The serverless Internet company

  1. No servers is rather impressive. I’ve been using Amazon’s ec2 for some experimenting myself, and I’ve gotta say it’s rather decent. I’m just curious about what the monthly bill to Amazon is for them if they don’t bother to check if the meter is running, lol.

  2. No servers is rather impressive. I’ve been using Amazon’s ec2 for some experimenting myself, and I’ve gotta say it’s rather decent. I’m just curious about what the monthly bill to Amazon is for them if they don’t bother to check if the meter is running, lol.

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