I first got into AWS at PlayStation, when I moved our online game servers to AWS starting in ‘08. I replaced thousands of servers in physical datacenters with an on-demand cloud infrastructure leveraging EC2, S3, RDS, EBS, SQS, and CloudFront. I was on the Amazon AWS Advisory Board for several years, back when EC2 was still in Beta. Yep, I’m a cloud hipster — I saved millions while scaling horizontally before it was cool.
At PlayStation I was head of Online Game Technology, meaning I aided in the erosion of our GDP by making video games for a living, stuff like LittleBigPlanet Karting, ModNation Racers, and MLB: The Show. In geek terms, my team coded online game services and community websites in a mix of Ruby, Rails, Sinatra, Redis, MySQL, and other goodies. Gaming was (and is) moving too fast to wait 3 weeks for a new dev server, so
ec2-run-instances; git push; cap deploy became our workflow.
Back in the last millenium, I started as a UNIX sysadmin, briefly at UCSD and then on to Sun Microsystems (RIP), at a little known San Diego R&D site. We were just down the street from MP3.com version 1.0, and were responsible for spitting out the giant E10k server. It was the dotcom days (the first ones) and life was good. The E10k was perfect for running large-scale DB’s, which places like eBay all of a sudden needed lots of. Sun was planning on selling a few dozen, but instead we sold thousands, at a pricetag of $Millions a piece. They would back up the dumptrucks of cash while we drank from kegs of microbrews between the buildings on campus. I’m not kidding. Ask anyone who was there.
The name “Nateware” was coined by my boss at the time. I was doing Solaris and Cisco sysadmin stuff, writing homegrown apps in Perl and then
forcing helping people to use them. My favorite was the
statustool.pl Perl CGI script I wrote in a day because I was sick of wasting time emailing status reports. Others starting using it, and it caught on like crystal meth, so upper management decided to rewrite it in Java ™. 12 months and $300k later, they scrapped the rewrite and just kept using the Perl one.
Since then I’ve unleashed a bunch of Nateware upon the unsuspecting internet. Evil Plan Step 1: Complete.
Anyways, like all good things, the dotcom days came to an end once people realized they actually didn’t want to buy pet goldfish online (For the dotcom history buffs, the pets.com sock puppet was the #1 selling item they offered.) Napster and MP3.com went belly-up, Sun’s stock price went from $120 to $4, and the resale market for E10k’s emerged — on eBay, ironically enough. The hangover was rough, a lot of people got laid off, and when the guy sitting next to me got the axe I decided it was time to go. I had bought a house and developed a healthy microbrew habit, and beer doesn’t buy itself.
Which worked out awesome, since now I get to fly around and meet with cutting-edge developers, helping them launch and scale out on AWS. Follow me on Twitter and send me a message if you’d like to chat AWS.