Guardian Activate Redux: Werner Vogels (Amazon)

I liveblogged the Guardian Activate Conference in July.  Now that the videos of the speeches are online, it’s a good time to revisit some of my favourite things from the day… I’ll post up one video every few days or so…

Werner Vogels, Amazon – “Your worst nightmare on the web… you throw a party, and a MILLION people come… how do you cope with that?”

The area of cloud computing is increasingly fascinating… people are creating things around computers that they may need a phenomenal amount of storage space and processing power… but only for a brief period of time.

For instance, the Google Monopoly game which launched over the last week needed a lot more server power than they expected it to… and as such crashed on and off for about a week.  They’ve just had to restart the whole thing all over again today…


I found Werner’s talk huge interesting, because of the comparison he draws between computing nowadays, and electricity in days of yore.

Companies in those days needed electricity to do whatever it is that they made money from.

Werner’s example is a brewer in Belgium, but we have our very own relic of this age in the Gym breakout area in our building…


(It’s a particularly rare example controlled by table football…)

Think how mad it would be nowadays to run your own generator for a resource that comes out the wall, on tap, whenever you want it.

That’s essentially the proposition for ‘cloud computing’… computing that becomes a resource to be scaled when needed, and switched off when it’s not.

It touches on a previous post about working spaces I wrote a while ago… when computing becomes as free and easy as electricity to access, it’ll be interesting to see how we all work together.