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In the 15 years since its launch, Amazon Web Services transformed how companies do business

Posted on October 24, 2022 by

Categories: AWS


Chirag Shah, a professor at the University of Washington Information School, called cloud computing services “gateways.” Without them, running a business would be extremely difficult.

History of AWS

As AWS has expanded, it has created its own symbols and origin myths, many of which are deeply ingrained in Seattle’s culture.

On the back of a napkin, while sipping a Hammerhead Ale, AWS senior technologist Allan Vermeulen drew the original design ideas for an essential cloud computing service — the provision of limitless, pay-as-you-go data storage — in the year 2005 at the McMenamins Six Arms on Capitol Hill. (This month, Vermeulen left the firm.)

However, the roots for what would become AWS had already been set years earlier when Amazon realized that one of its strengths was scaling up processing capacity and providing internet-based services to software developers.

Early in the new millennium, Amazon software developers bemoaned the time spent building and maintaining digital infrastructure.

We’re spending two to three months only on the storage solution, the database solution, or the compute solution, even though you folks think these projects should take two to three months overall. Engineers said to Jassy, according to an interview he gave with New York Magazine in 2018. They felt like they were creating something from scratch with each endeavor.

Amazon streamlined the process of constructing dependable, affordable data centers and providing services like database maintenance to allow its teams to concentrate on creating items to entice more customers to, partly to solve its increasing difficulties.

At the same time, Amazon started to promote digital infrastructure as a service. In 2001, the business started working on web design with retail partners like Target. Eventually, it provided large retailers the resources to create their own e-commerce websites on Amazon’s platform.

Amazon introduced a feature in March 2002 aimed at affiliate marketers, who receive small commissions when visitors buy products from through links on their websites. This feature allowed affiliate marketers to receive comprehensive product data that they could incorporate into the code of their own websites.

According to Colin Bryar, the former manager of Amazon’s affiliate marketing program, software developers quickly devised creative methods to showcase the expanding Amazon inventory on their websites. Players had to identify the author, film, or musician in one game based on the cover art flashed on the screen. Customers may build virtual bookcases of their preferred Amazon goods on another website.

Writing “Working Backwards” alongside another former Amazonian, Bill Carr, Bryar remarked, “Literally hours after launching this feature, I realised that we were onto something significant and that our experiment would far exceed our expectations.”

Later that year, Amazon organized a conference that attracted significant consumers of the product data to the business’s headquarters, which were then located in the former Pacific Medical Center on Beacon Hill. There were eight there. One would join Amazon that year and go on to represent AWS to hordes of software developers all across the world in a cherubic manner.

The current explainer-in-chief for AWS is Jeff Barr, who began his computer career as a teenager working as a janitor at the Retail Computer Store in Greenlake. Barr, well-known for having purple hair from 2017 to 2019 and a profound love of Legos, has written hundreds of blog entries advocating new AWS capabilities, at least one of which included Lego dioramas as illustrations.

When we offered [affiliate marketers] access to online services, they were able to create their own really creative graphic representations of the inventory, according to Barr. “They sent us traffic, and we gave them cash. It established a positive feedback loop in the online services industry for the first time.

In 2003, Amazon started assembling the components of what would become AWS.