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Report: Amazon Cloud Backed By 450,000 Servers 45

1sockchuck writes "How many servers does it take to power Amazon's huge cloud computing operation? A researcher estimates that Amazon Web Services is using at least 454,400 servers in seven data center hubs around the globe. The analysis suggests up to 70 percent of those servers may be in Virginia."
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Report: Amazon Cloud Backed By 450,000 Servers

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  • They don't call it the Old Dominion for nothing

    • by cashman73 ( 855518 ) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @09:28AM (#39363033) Journal
      Except I suppose the citizens of Virginia aren't going to be too happy when the government realizes that Amazon has a "physical presence" in the state and decides to start charging them sales tax,. . . D'oh!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Too late. Starts next year, apparently. :(

  • by zill ( 1690130 ) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @09:20AM (#39362955)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I wonder when the world's number of servers will be equal to number of humans?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 15, 2012 @09:22AM (#39362979)

    So, first off, the guy who came up with this number made a ridiculous number of assumptions with no real evidence to back them up, so the number is completely meaningless. Also, from TFA:

    Liu then applied an assumption of 64 blade servers per rack – four 10U chassis, each holding eight blades – to arrive at the estimate.

    Now, I might have to go dig out my TI-82 to doublecheck, but I think I see a small flaw in this math.

    • When one person of one company figures out how much equipment another company has, why is that called "research"? It sounds like high school where you do "research" for your "paper".

    • Real men use an HP 42S.
  • by jtseng ( 4054 ) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @09:36AM (#39363117)

    What about their support infrastructure? I don't care about the physical locations, but I'm wondering about how many UPS banks do they have? How many primary power feeds do they have to each location? How long do the diesel generators last? Electrical transformers? As a customer, I'm not just concerned about scalability and capability - I want to make sure my presence is always available too!

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Having been to some of the largest data centers in Virginia, I can assure you that the UPS warehousing is quite vast as well - certainly not an afterthought like in many data centers.
    • Except a major advantage you are *supposed* to have in the cloud is geographical diversity. So if a major disaster strikes in one area and turns one massive data center into a smoking crater (worst case) or simply some boneheads deploy faulty code to all the cloud servers in one location (best case), then there are servers elsewhere that can take up the slack. If there is too much concentration of servers in one geographical location, and that location goes down, then effectively the cloud is down even th
      • You got it wrong: the best case is the smoking crater. Much easy to deal with than a flakey but still responsible service.

      • by ILongForDarkness ( 1134931 ) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:42PM (#39367069)

        Exactly. If 70% of the capacity is in Virginia can the other 30% keep everyone going? The other locations probably have a lot of load too because people tend to have instances in different zones to try to route traffic to nearby clusters for example. So lets say europe and asia each have the other 15% (I realize there is some other datacentres in the US so not exactly true but approximate). You have 2B+ people in asia all hitting that 15% of hardware already. Now you try to shovel off 35% of your network to their cluster ie greater than 2X more work and have all the extra latency issues to deal with (because presumably US instances were being used because they were closer to the users) ouch.

        That said though I guess we don't know how their usage looks. They might be double sized already and so it would only be 0.5*(15+35)%. I doubt they are keeping that much spare capacity around but who knows?

    • How long do the diesel generators last?

      As long as folks can supply it with fuel, right?!

      • But how much fuel do they have on hand? What if it snows so much that they can't get more diesel (OK, not likely in Virginia)?

  • by alen ( 225700 ) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @09:36AM (#39363121)

    i thought the cloud was this magical circle in a white paper where all the data just lives

    • by Bengie ( 1121981 )

      "where all the data just lives"

      If you delete data in the cloud, is it murder?
      I think this is an ethical question that Google/FB have answered. They never delete data. It is wrong!

    • Put some effort into it: I draw mine to actually look like a cloud...
  • I down-rated this in the firehose - it's all guesswork. I know "pull numbers out of your rectum and get page hits from slashdot, because slashdot is the new Mikey - they'll post anything!"
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Amazon cloud has ~17,000 CPU cores. Source:

    17,000 cores in half a million servers. Err. Error.

    • So Amazon built a 17,000 core supercomputer. That just means they were able to allocate 17,000 cores to a supercomputer project and run benchmarks on them. Presumably the vast majority of the fleet was still serving external customers. I'm fairly confident that Amazon is not running benchmarks on cores which are currently being used by customers.

    • by mayko ( 1630637 )
      Err... What? Is right.

      You're referencing one virtual machine they spun up to show off their new EC2 instance type, not the entire capacity of their data centers worldwide.
  • by twmcneil ( 942300 ) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @12:55PM (#39366171)
    I'll guess an even 1,000,000 servers give or take. I could be off but 450,000 is way low I think. But... my estimate has the same accuracy as TFA.
  • I wonder if the NSA is running things on it :-) Close enough.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.