Monday, September 08, 2014

Amazon Web Services is going towards complexity and user unhapiness

In a recent blog entry  I quoted David Pogue from New York Times  describing two types of tech users
When will we recognize the existence of the two different types of technical consumers—the Knows and the Know-Nots?
Over and over again, I run into products that have been tacitly designed for either group. The creators have a mental picture of a product's audience and the users' technical experience. You can tell from terminology, the amount of detail in the instructions, the number of steps required to accomplish anything.
Unfortunately, there is no one type of tech consumer. Someone winds up unhappy. If the design and interface are too technical, novices feel incompetent, shut out and stupid; if the experience is too simple, tech geeks feel insulted and talked down to.
Amazon Web Service lately talks only to Knows, completely forgetting the Knows-Nots
But even high level Knows, like Adrian Cockroft,  @adrianco -  one of  the "fathers" of Netflix streaming  using AWS  wrote in his AWS  spreadsheet analysis 
Data assembled and estimated by @adrianco who was getting confused by too many instance types - Updated April 2014 including prices 
There is great feat for AWS to manage to confuse one the best known evangelists of Amazon and a technical lead from their biggest customer. If Adrian is confused, as a former distinguished engineer in Sun, what the rest of us? You can read his blog here. It has to be updated again with the waves of instances AWS pours incessantly.

What AWS offers now

Once upon a time,  AWS had only one kind of an instance    I looked at  Amazon EC2 Instances and I see  T2, M3, S3, C3,  R3, GPU G2, Storage Optimized I2 and HS1



AWS offers now 23 different instances. Fixed Performance Instances or Burstable Performance Instances, to block level storage via Amazon EBS or instance store, you can also use Amazon S3 for durable storage. Choose between SSD and magnetic storage

For more money, you can have EBS optimized  between 500 and 2,000 Megabits per second. There are also three Reserved Instance types (Light, Medium and Heavy Utilization Reserved Instances)

Reserved Instances can be purchased directly from AWS for 1 or 3 year terms. Or purchasing Reserved Instances from AWS Reserved Instance Marketplace Seller

One can still purchase "previous generation instances", because of software optimized for those older instances. The documentation for stopping an old instance and restarting a new one is not for the faint of heart

On September 4, 2014, Amazon announces even more instances in their blog for the the AWS GovCloud (US). Five more plus 23, now we have 28 instances plus the previous generation instances.

The AWS blog


The AWS blog gets more an more unreadable for non developers.  Here is a sample:

Sample of AWS blog. This is not documentation. This is an intent to delight readers

What happens to Amazon traditional user experience?

They are #1 on Gartner Magic Quadrant for IaaS three years in a row (see Amazon Web Services: We hate you and We love you.  )

As Amazon e-commerce has one of the most intuitive and easy to use web site in the world, it is puzzling how AWS,  is drowning in oceans of complexity, They claim they have instances for computing, instances for storage, instances big, instances small, instance for US Government. And the reason they still offer legacy instances, is because what customers have already are not optimized for other instances than legacy.

Did they ever asked themselves whether what they do makes people happy?


"Your job is to make the user happy. The user doesn’t care about your features or how you make their problems disappear, they care about being happy." Tristan Kromer

There one way to stop this. Someone should step in AWS and ban new features, not tested on whether they are  making users happy. They must first decide which users they want: Knows or Knows-Nots. 

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