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How Amazon Keeps Cutting AWS Prices: Cheapskate Culture 146

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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  • Cheapskate? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @10:21AM (#46756305) Journal
    Doesn't 'cheapskate' have a somewhat perjorative connotation, either edging into 'stingy' (if talking about spending on socially normative things) or 'penny wise, pound foolish' (if talking about good sense in short and long term cost/benefit thinking)?

    From what the article decribes, Amazon isn't so much 'cheapskate' as operating perfectly sensibly given their scale, cutting unnecessary (but usually bundled) components, and not giving in to poorly justified; but commonly assumed, habits like sending Important Employees to fly business class.

    I can understand why they would be scaring their competitors pretty seriously; but I'm not sure that I see the 'cheapskate' bit.
  • Re:AWS is NOT cheap (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @10:31AM (#46756397)

    Agreed, AWS is defintely not cheap by cloud standards. I recently did some cloud price comparisons and Amazon had, by far, the most expensive offerings. In some cases, where relatively small workloads were involved, services like Azure were half the price of AWS.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @11:04AM (#46756703)

    I fly those planes regularly to get between Intel sites. The experience is infinitely better than commercial flights.
    1) You go via smaller airports, or a separate terminal. No bilking for parking, stupid busses etc.
    2) Walk in, wave your badge, get on plane. 5 minutes.
    3) It's economy sizes seats, but they have a power socket.
    4) Yes you do sit next to the execs.
    5) You drop your bag on the trolley going out. It's on a trolly on the tarmac when you get out the other end
    6) No one is going to steal expensive things from your bags.
    7) No assigned seating. Get on, find a seat, sit down.
    8) It costs Intel a lot less to fill its own plane than to pay commercial rates.

    The downside is they are popular and so it's hard to get seats at short notice.

  • could be blueray (Score:4, Interesting)

    by schlachter ( 862210 ) on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @11:20AM (#46756937)

    It could also be blueray disk based. Not as likely as tape based, but could be cheaper/faster at scale.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @01:18PM (#46758587)

    I got a couple of recruiting calls from Amazon AWS in northern virginia last year. Wasn't really on the market and I don't believe I applied to them. They probably got my resume off a job site. I generally don't take interviews without talking money first (Im in the top of the market, so why waste my time if you can't pay?). Typically if they can't afford me, it ends there. They refused to talk numbers. I also got back a bizarre statement of 'there is more to working at amazon, then money'. This typically means 'we don't pay well, but we act cool so we get people to work alot of hours for less'. I have found that places that have statements like that require you to live there and don't pay well. So they want the type of person who will just stay put, accept less money and more hours than you can get down the street.

    I passed on the interview. The impression I got was that it was a really long interview process and I didn't want to be bothered.

    Anyone know about this? The position was in Herndon, VA.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court