Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A Conversation with Werner Vogels

A Conversation with Werner Vogels: "Many think of Amazon as 'that hugely successful online bookstore.' You would expect Amazon CTO Werner Vogels to embrace this distinction, but in fact it causes him some concern. 'I think it's important to realize that first and foremost Amazon is a technology company,' says Vogels. And he's right. Over the past years, Vogels has helped Amazon grow from an online retailer (albeit one of the largest, with more than 55 million active customer accounts) into a platform on which more than 1 million active retail partners worldwide do business. Behind Amazon's successful evolution from retailer to technology platform is its SOA (service-oriented architecture), which broke new technological ground and proved that SOAs can deliver on their promises.
Vogels came to Amazon from Cornell University, where he was working on high-availability systems and the management of scalable enterprise systems. He maintains that research spirit at Amazon, which regularly must solve problems never before encountered. 'Maybe other companies call it research. We just call it development,' he points out.
Interviewing Vogels is ACM Turing Award winner and Microsoft Technical Fellow Jim Gray."

Must-read interview.

Sign up for the free dead-tree version of ACM Queue while you're there; for some mysterious reason, the publishers still delay web posting (for days to weeks) after print publishing.

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