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August 06, 2004

Announcing an Exciting Career Change

It is my distinct pleasure to announce that I have accepted a position as Director of Systems Research at starting in September 2004.

After 10 exciting years at Cornell I have decided that it is finally time to 'eat my own dog food'; I will now be able to bring my ideas about building scalable and robust systems into practice in one of the most challenging environments in the industry. At the same time I will be able to work at Amazon on building strong research relations with academia and other research labs.

The challenges that Amazon faces in the distributed and operating systems field can simply not be satisfied through commercially available software. The scalability and robustness challenges are of such a scope that not even academic research has started to address them, yet they are already reality for Amazon. I am excited to play an important role in how the Amazon Platform will evolve to overcome these challenges and achieve unparalleled scalability and robustness.

An important factor in the success of this venture will be collaborations with academia and other labs, and interesting opportunities for research collaborations with Amazon are to appear in the future. Attracting top researchers to work at or collaborate with Amazon will have a high priority. The most exciting part of this is that it is of course not only research, but at the same time very advanced development with a single operational target in mind. If you are an architect or a seasoned developer who wants work on very advanced, complex systems, this is the moment to start considering

Expect that many of the results of this work will be publicized in the usual academic and professional venues. We will proactively seek to share knowledge and achievements with the community at large.

It is not just the work that I am exciting about, moving my family to Seattle will give them access to big city life in a relatively friendly environment. And of course being able to go skiing without first shuffling 6 feet of snow from your driveway is attractive too.

I have been very fortunate in the past years to have been able to work with great colleagues such as Robbert van Renesse, Ken Birman and Johannes Gehrke, and to have encountered wise mentors such as Fred Schneider and Jim Gray. I am very much in debt to them, and my success at will be largely theirs.

In reponse to a lot of questions I am compiling a Moving to Amazon - Frequently Asked Questions list, that will have most of the answers over time.

Posted by Werner Vogels at August 6, 2004 08:09 AM

The More It Scales... The More It Needs To
Excerpt: Even with all the help Moore's Law provides, it seems there's a never-ending need for more web scalability, which probably reflects that companies no longer want to just through more hardware at a problem and instead try to get better...
Weblog: Olivier Travers
Tracked: August 6, 2004 10:56 AM
There is a lot to expect from Amazon, I guess
Weblog: Christian Weyer: Smells like service spirit
Tracked: August 6, 2004 04:05 PM
There is a lot to expect from Amazon, I guess
Weblog: Christian Weyer: Smells like service spirit
Tracked: August 6, 2004 04:05 PM

Best of luck! Say hi to Brian Marsh if you run across him :). And Udi, if the tie between A9 and Amazon means you'll be interacting.

Will you still be as active in conferences and such?

Posted by: Fred Douglis on August 6, 2004 09:36 AM

Congratulations! I'm sure that the post at Amazon will provide ideas for countless research topics, thesis and conference papers. I know my advisor's work at AskJeeves has kept in constant publication over the last couple of years. While other professors scrap for grant money, working to develop software that gets directly placed in the AskJeeves clusters allow us to keep everyone steadily employed too.

Posted by: Bill Strathearn on August 6, 2004 11:28 AM

Wow! Congrats Werner!

Please don't stop blogging... :-)

Posted by: John Bristowe on August 6, 2004 12:53 PM

There is something about Ithaca that you would surely miss. (I left Ithaca 2 months ago). We curse the weather when we are in there but I think we get used to the unpredictability, and then surprises are fun. And then weather like the Bay Area (California) weather is so predictable and boring.

I hope you have fun in Seattle.

Congratulations. Wish you all the success there.

Posted by: Aseem Bajaj on August 7, 2004 03:49 AM

Werner = You know I think this is totally terrific. I was so busy being quiet about it ... I didn't even realize you made it public. This is so great! Big congratulations!


Posted by: Halley Suitt on August 7, 2004 10:28 AM

Big news! Congrats, Werner!

Posted by: Mark Baker on August 7, 2004 10:57 PM

Congratulations! I hope you will be able to keep on blogging.

Posted by: Bernard Kroes on August 8, 2004 04:37 AM

Have a good time at Amazon Werner - are you going to be working in that spiffy building on top of the hill? Are we still gonna see you at the occasional Rotor conference?

Posted by: Jason Whittington on August 11, 2004 10:37 AM