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Founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994 and launched in 1995, Amazon is the largest online retailer in America.

System Specifications

  • Bandwidth (Why Medium?): Amazon receives a large amount of traffic at any given time from around the world. It also sends good amount of information back to the visitors. A moderate amount of bandwidth is required to facilitate this traffic plus provide a secure connection for transactions.
  • CPU (Why Medium?): Amazon uses an intermediate amount of computing processing power for its expansive catalogue and powering the indexes to search its inventory.
  • Disk (Why High?): The massive selection across a wide gambit of goods needs a large amount of disk space to store it all. Plus, Amazon is continually gathering new shoppers who create accounts. The disk space is also used to store the personal information for these accounts.
  • RAM (Why High?): In order to search seamlessly throughout the Amazon Marketplace, a large amount of RAM is used to quickly sort through and pick out the best related products for the visitor.
  • Scalability (Why Medium?): Because Amazon is such a huge system, to make quick, on the spot adjustments is almost impossible. Although it is good at adjusting, it is not highly scalable.

Amazon.com, Inc. is a multinational ecommerce company based in the United States. Founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994 and launched in 1995, it is the largest online retailer in America, making nearly triple the revenue of competitor Staples, Inc. as of January 2010.

Although Amazon started out as an online bookstore, the retailer quickly expanded its product base by adding DVDs, CDs, software, video games, electronics, MP3s, and eventually clothing, furniture, toys, and even food items. A 2009 survey reported that Amazon was the UK’s go-to place for music and videos.

More recently, Amazon has branched out into the hosting arena and now has at least 60,000 customers across its various Amazon Web Services.

Amazon’s move into hosting has been a game changer for other companies as well as for its own. After more than a decade of establishing a solid reputation as the most popular ecommerce site on the web, its shift into the technical world of web services has further labeled Amazon as a bold innovator. Amazon was one of the first big name companies to introduce the masses to cloud computing with its S3 storage service, EC2 compute cloud, and SimpleDB online database.

Operating Systems
Amazon Web Services are outfitted with an expanding list of operating systems. Amazon collaborates with its partners to provide its customers with the option to choose their own operating system to go with their Amazon EC2 instance, which include:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux
  • OpenSolaris
  • Fedora
  • Windows Server 2003/2008
  • Amazon Linux AMI
  • Gentoo Linux
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise
  • Oracle Enterprise Oracle
  • Ubuntu Linux
  • Debian

Amazon supplies its EC2 users with connections to such databases as IBM DB2, IBM Informix Dynamic Server, Microsoft SQL Server Standard 2005/2008, MySQL Enterprise, Oracle Database 11g, as well as batch processing by Hadoop, Condor, and Open MPI. Available development environments include IBM sMash, JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, and Ruby on Rails.

Although Amazon is pretty quiet about its data center operations, it is known that in 2008, it bought $86 million worth of servers from Rackable and stores 40 billion objects in its S3 storage service. 2009 estimates by Randy Bias surmised that at least 40,000 servers are dedicated to running the EC2 cloud service. In the past it has used hosting by Rackspace and, more recently, Scalable Plone.


“Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2).”Amazon Web Services. http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/ (accessed October 9, 2010).

Aune, Nate. “Scalable Plone Hosting with Amazon EC2 for Rice University’s Rhaptos Open Learning Platform.” Jazkarta. http://www.jazkarta.com/news/scalable-plone-hosting-with-amazon-ec2-for-rice-universitys-rhaptos-open-learning-platform (accessed October 10, 2010).

Bias, Randy. “Amazon’s EC2 Generating 220M+ Annually.” Cloudscaling. http://cloudscaling.com/blog/cloud-computing/amazons-ec2-generating-220m-annually (accessed October 10, 2010).

Miller, Rich. “Amazon: $86 Million in Servers in 2008.” Data Center Knowledge. http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2009/03/20/amazon-86-million-in-servers-in-2008/ (accessed October 10, 2010).

Schonfeld, Erick. “Who Are The Biggest Users of Amazon Web Services? It’s Not Startups.” TechCrunch. http://techcrunch.com/2008/04/21/who-are-the-biggest-users-of-amazon-web-services-its-not-startups/ (accessed October 10, 2010).

“The History of Amazon.” WebHostingReport.com. http://www.webhostingreport.com/learn/amazon.html (accessed October 9, 2010).