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How Amazon Keeps Cutting AWS Prices: Cheapskate Culture 146

Posted by timothy
from the mining-the-couch-for-change dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Amazon Web Services has cut its prices on 40-plus consecutive occasions, at times leading the charge, at other times countering similar moves by Microsoft and Google. This article at CRN includes some interesting behind-the-scenes trivia about how Amazon keeps costs down, including some interesting speculation — for example, that perhaps the reason Amazon's Glacier storage is so cheap is that maybe it might be based at least partly on tape, not disk (Amazon would not comment). The article also explains that the company will only pay for its employees to fly Economy, and that includes its senior executives. If they feel the need to upgrade to Business or First Class, they must do so from their own pocket. And instead of buying hardware from an OEM vendor, AWS sources its own components – everything from processors to disk drives to memory and network cards — and uses contract manufacturing to put together its machines."
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How Amazon Keeps Cutting AWS Prices: Cheapskate Culture

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  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @10:20AM (#46756287) Journal

    We're supposed to be surprised that everyone is supposed to fly coach?

    And, if you're custom rolling your backend at the scale of AWS, I wouldn't expect anything *but* sourcing yourself. Outsourcing is for organizations that don't have the expertise in house and want a finger to point if things go wrong. Vertical integration is more cost efficient if you have the scale to make it work.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @10:25AM (#46756345) Journal

    Amazon, in its majestic equality, requires both code monkeys and senior executives to pay for their own upgrades.

    It beats the alternative of providing the upgrades for free to the people who can most easily afford them, in the service of maintaining a good, solid, hierarchy.

  • by cryptizard (2629853) on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @10:37AM (#46756453) Homepage

    perhaps the reason Amazon's Glacier storage is so cheap is that maybe it might be based at least partly on tape, not disk

    That is one of the stupidest things I have ever read. Of course it is using tape, why else would it take up to 24 hours to get your data when you request it? Everyone knows that is the whole point of Glacier, and the reason they can offer it so cheap. Nobody wants to deal with the hassle of having their own offsite tape library, so Amazon will do it for you with a convenience user interface. That is literally exactly what all of AWS is based on, doing something cheaper for you because they have the expertise and the facilities at scale.

  • by wienerschnizzel (1409447) on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @10:39AM (#46756469)

    You're stil going to get to the same place at the same time as the other passengers.

    Not in the same shape though.

    It might not impact you much if you are going to one conference, but if you fly to multiple destinations within a week, it will build up. Your back/joint pain, stress level, lack of sleep will show. It might mean that you will save 5k on the boarding passes of your exec but then pay millions for the bad decision she makes.

  • by BonThomme (239873) on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @10:47AM (#46756533) Homepage

    And I'm sure if you ever actually flew with one our your senior execs, you'd be mystified why you can't find them in the coach section...

  • by Pembers (250842) on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @12:45PM (#46758069) Homepage

    You're stil going to get to the same place at the same time as the other passengers.

    True, but you have a nicer seat with more room, and everything before and after the flight runs faster and smoother. You have your own check-in desk and security line, so you can arrive at the airport an hour later than the economy-class passengers. You have a bigger baggage allowance, so you might not have to put anything in the hold - and if you do, it'll probably come off the plane first. All that can make the difference between a day trip and an overnight stay, or turn a trip of n days into n-1 days.

  • by DuckDodgers (541817) <keeper_of_the_wolf AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @12:52PM (#46758165)
    Or lose her because she quits to work for a company that has less travel.

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