Elon Musk cuts Twitter’s cloud infrastructure budget

Hello, and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! Today: why reports that Elon Musk wants to significantly reduce the use of Twitter’s infrastructure could hurt the company like anything else he has done, AWS CEO Adam Selipsky for hiring priorities, and the tao of computing.

Errors of practice

Let’s get one thing out of the way: Twitter has always been one of the most obvious examples of a little-known aspect of the tech industry, that the hardware and software that powers some of the most important and influential things in the world. services are often held together with a series of daily miracles and great vicissitudes. But the wrecking ball sent by Elon Musk via Twitter this week could easily upset that delicate balance and destroy the company faster than any advertiser boycott.

According to Reuters, this week Musk ordered Twitter engineers to cut $1 billion from the company’s annual technology infrastructure budget on Monday, before laying off thousands of workers on Friday. Given that Twitter reported $1.8 billion as its revenue generation costs for its 2021 year — infrastructure costs are a big part of that number, but it’s not the only contributor — if that number is accurate, we’re talking about a big cut.

We know very little about Twitter’s current infrastructure strategy.

  • Like many companies that were born in the mid-2000s before cloud computing really took off, Twitter first operated in data centers that it managed.
  • Unlike many companies born at the time, Twitter was notoriously unreliable in those early days, often going down during sporting events and Apple keynotes and giving birth to the infamous “whale”.
  • However, Twitter engineers were able to come up with unique ways to solve those reliability problems, which led to the birth of widely used concepts such as the service mesh.
  • While the company still operates its own data centers, in 2018 it moved a large part of its data infrastructure on Google Cloud, and in 2020 signed a multi-year agreement with AWS to run real-time tweet timelines on the cloud leader’s servers.
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One does not simply break a multi-year computing infrastructure agreement with AWS, especially on the weekend.

Musk’s operational challenges are clear: He needs to cut costs to service the $1 billion in annual debt payments he has tied the company to by taking it private.

  • But as we learned in Mudge’s report, Twitter’s infrastructure was already rigid and lacked some of the support and recovery options that are considered table stakes for businesses using online services of its kind.
  • That means any disruption to the Rube Goldberg machine that is allows tweets to flow it can make Twitter unusable for a long time.

If the report is accurate, the cost reduction of Twitter’s infrastructure almost overnight will have an immediate impact stability and reliability of service.

  • I mean, it’s not rocket science.

– Tom Krazit (email | twitter)

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Selipsky’s AWS is ‘very conservative’

AWS is reducing its hiring for new positions at the cloud computing provider, according to CEO Adam Selipsky.

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

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The news follows word this week from Beth Galetti, senior vice president of people experience and technology at parent company Amazon, that the retail and technology giant will temporarily halt additional new hires for its workforce due to the “unusual macroeconomic environment,” but continue hiring in “targeted areas.” “

Galetti said Amazon wants to balance its hiring and investment and “think” about the economy.

“With the economy in an uncertain place and looking at how many people we have hired in the last few years, [Amazon CEO Andy Jassy] and the S-team has decided this week to temporarily suspend new hires in our companies,” said Galetti in a message shared with employees on Wednesday and made public on Thursday. “We have already done that in a few of our businesses in the past weeks and we have added some of our businesses to this approach.”

“Beyond Amazon, we’re going to be very careful in the near future about the resources we bring in,” Selipsky said. “AWS will also be very careful with the new services we bring. We are always concerned about the long-term health of the business. And if there’s something we need to do to serve customers or build an important capability, we’ll take a long-term view.”

We’ll have much more from Protocol’s in-depth interview with Selipsky in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

— Donna Goodison (email | twitter)

An invitation to reflect on the planetary calculations

What is the future of computing? How will technology stacks affect the geopolitical system in the coming years? Is the world slowly developing its intelligent understanding?

If these are the kinds of questions that excite and inspire you, the computer philosophy project launched by the Berggruen Institute – will pay to bring together philosophers, designers, technologists, and other technologists in Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Seoul to ponder. them — looking for program participants.

“The goal is actually to change the theoretical and practical, philosophical discourse about computing that will restore computing to a more productive relationship with the future of the planet,” said Benjamin Bratton, professor at the University of California, San Diego, and program director, he said. me last month. “The math is a necessary part of that equation,” he said.

Take climate change. Bratton said, “The very concept of climate change itself is a consequence of planetary scale calculations. Without sensors and simulations and computer models, the very concept of climate change, at least in its scientific granularity, cannot exist.”

The Antikythera program, named after the Antikythera machine – the world’s first known computer – is accepting applications until Nov. 11.

— Kate Kaye (email | twitter)

Inside the business

Microsoft said the percentage of cyber attacks with national groups targeting critical infrastructure up 40% during the 12 months ending June 2022, doubling year-over-year, driven by Russia-linked attacks in Ukraine and espionage against the US and other Ukrainian allies.

Alibaba Cloud will use internally developed Arm server chips to power 20% In its circumstances in 2025, the company said this week.

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Thanks for reading — see you on Monday!



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