Elon Musk cuts Twitter’s cloud infrastructure budget

Hello and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! Today: why reports that Elon Musk wants to dramatically cut Twitter’s infrastructure spending could hurt the company as much as anything he’s done AWS CEO Adam Selipsky on hiring priorities and the Tao of Computing.

Implementation errors

Let’s get one thing straight first: Twitter has always been one of the most obvious examples of one of the lesser-known aspects of the tech industry, that the hardware and software that power some of the web’s most important and influential services are often held together by a series of everyday miracles and sheer common sense. But the wrecking ball sent by Elon Musk via Twitter this week could easily upset that delicate balance and destroy the company faster than a boycott of any advertiser.

Musk ordered Twitter engineers to cut $1 billion this week, according to Reuters from the technology infrastructure company’s annual budget until Monday before thousands of employees are laid off on Friday. Given that Twitter reported $1.8 billion in costs to generate revenue for its 2021 fiscal year — infrastructure costs are a hefty chunk of that number, but not the only contributor — if that number is accurate, we’re talking about huge cuts.

We know a bit about Twitter’s current infrastructure strategy.

  • Like many companies born in the mid-2000s, before cloud computing really matured, Twitter initially operated in self-managed data centers.
  • Unlike many companies born around that time, Twitter was notoriously unreliable in those early days, regularly crashing during sporting events and Apple’s keynotes, giving birth to the infamous “fail whale.”
  • However, Twitter engineers were able to find unique ways to solve these reliability problems, which led to the birth of now widely used concepts such as the service mesh.
  • Although the company still operates its own data centers, it relocated in 2018 a large chunk of its data infrastructure in Google Cloud, and in 2020 signed a multi-year agreement with AWS to run real-time real-time tweet timelines on the leading company’s cloud servers.
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One does not terminate a multi-year computing infrastructure contract with AWS, especially over the weekend.

Musk’s operational challenges are clear: He needs to cut costs to service the $1 billion in annual debt he saddled the company with when he took it over.

  • But as we learned from Mudge’s whistleblower report, Twitter’s infrastructure was already creaky and lacked some of the backup and recovery options that are considered table stakes for companies that operate Internet services of this type.
  • This means any disturbances in the Rube Goldberg machine which let the tweets flow it can simply render Twitter unusable for long periods of time.

If the report is accurate, cutting Twitter’s infrastructure costs by nearly half overnight will have an immediate impact stability and reliability of the service.

  • I mean, it’s not rocket science.

— Tom Krazit (Email address | twitter)

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Selipsky’s ‘very conservative’ AWS

According to CEO Adam Selipsky, AWS is accelerating the hiring of new jobs at the cloud computing provider.

“AWS has done a lot of hiring over the last few years to drive innovation and work with customers,” Selipsky told Protocol in an interview on Friday. “We have grown a lot. I think we have a strong set of resources. We’re definitely going to slow down our growth … in hiring.”

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The news follows news announced this week by Beth Galetti, senior vice president of people experience and technology at parent company Amazon, that the retail and tech giant will temporarily halt new incremental hires to its corporate workforce due to the “unusual macroeconomic environment.” but will continue to recruit in “targeted positions”.

Galetti said Amazon wants to balance hiring and investment with “prudence” about the economy.

“Since the economy is in a precarious position and considering how many people we have employed in the last few years, [Amazon CEO Andy Jassy] and S-team have decided this week to temporarily halt the hiring of new employees at our company,” Galetti said in a message sent to employees on Wednesday and published on Thursday. “In recent weeks, we have already done this in a few of our companies and added our other companies to this approach.”

“Across Amazon, we’re going to be very conservative about the resources we’re bringing in for the foreseeable future,” Selipsky said. “AWS will also be very conservative about the new resources we bring on board. We are always concerned about the long-term health of the company. And if we need to do something to serve customers or build an important capability, we’ll take a long-term view.”

In the coming weeks, we’ll learn more from Protokol’s in-depth interview with Selipski. Stay connected.

— Donna Goodison (Email address | twitter)

We invite you to think about planetary computing

What is the future of computing? How will technology funds affect the geopolitical order in the coming years? Is the earth gradually developing its own intelligent consciousness?

If these are the kinds of questions that excite and inspire you, the Computational Philosophy Project launched by the Berggruen Institute — which will pay to convene philosophers, designers, technologists and other tech thinkers in Los Angeles, Mexico City and Seoul to consider them — looking for program participants.

“The goal is really to shift the theoretical and practical, philosophical discourse around computing that will shift computing to a more productive relationship to the planetary future,” said Benjamin Bratton, a professor at the University of California, San Diego and director of the program. me last month. “Calculation is a necessary part of that equation,” he said.

Take climate change. Bratton said: “The very idea of ​​climate change is itself the result of a calculus at the planetary level. Without sensors, simulations and supercomputer models, the very idea of ​​climate change, at least in its scientific accuracy, cannot exist.”

The Antikythera Program, named after the Antikythera Mechanism – the world’s first known computer – is accepting applications until November 11.

—Kate Kaye (Email address | twitter)

Around the company

Microsoft said the percentage of cyber attacks of nation-state groups targeting critical infrastructure reached 40% in the 12 months ending June 2022, doubling from a year earlier, due to Russia-linked attacks on Ukraine and espionage against the US and other Ukrainian allies.

Alibaba Cloud will use its in-house developed Arm server chips to power 20% of its cases by 2025, the company announced this week.

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Thanks for reading – see you on Monday!


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