Keynote: Internet-Scale Service Infrastructure Efficiency

James Hamilton
Vice President and Distinguished Engineer
Amazon Web Services

High-scale cloud services provide economies of scale of five to ten over small-scale deployments, and are becoming a large part of both enterprise information processing and consumer services. Even very large enterprise IT deployments have quite different cost drivers and optimizations points from internet-scale services. The former are people-dominated from a cost perspective whereas internet-scale service costs are driven by server hardware and infrastructure with people costs fading into the noise at less than 10%.

In this talk we inventory where the infrastructure costs are in internet-scale services. We track power distribution from 115KV at the property line through all conversions into the data center tracking the losses to final delivery at semiconductor voltage levels. We track cooling and all the energy conversions from power dissipation through release to the environment outside of the building. Understanding where the costs and inefficiencies lie, we ll look more closely at cooling and overall mechanical system design, server hardware design, and software techniques including graceful degradation mode, power yield management, and resource consumption shaping.

James is VP and Distinguished Engineer at Amazon Web Services where he focuses on infrastructure efficiency, reliability, and scaling. Prior to AWS, James was architect on the Microsoft Data Center Futures team and, over the years, has held leadership roles on several high-scale services and products, including Exchange Hosted Services, Microsoft SQL Server, and IBM DB2. James loves all things server related and is interested in optimizing all components from data center power and cooling infrastructure, through server design, and to the distributed software systems they host. He maintains a blog at