The Serverless Startup
This week’s NewTeeVee conference was the coming-out party for Mogulus, a new online video provider that launched its service with a live video feed of the event. Today Robert Scoble highlights the unusual aspect of Mogulus’ operation: it has no servers of its own and runs its entire infrastructure on Amazon’s utility computing services, S3 and EC2.
“The world has changed,” Scoble writes. “Now ANYONE can build an Internet company and get it up to scale. No more spending nights inside data centers trying to keep servers running.” He also notes that Mogulus got $1.2 million in funding. Mogulus CEO Max Haot told Scoble that the environment is “volatile” and can go up and down without notice, and that it has designed its systems accordingly. Amazon (AMZN) recently introduced a service level agreement for S3 that includes uptime guarantees.
Nick Carr, who has been writing about the rise of utility computing, says this is yet another sign of the maturation of cloud-based services.
What’s particularly noteworthy about Mogulus is that it shows how layers of utility computing services can be built atop a single shared infrastructure. Mogulus runs its business by drawing on computing and storage services provided by Amazon Web Services, allowing it to avoid any capital investment in computing gear. And then Mogulus offers a set of sophisticated computing services to its own customers, including video editing, storage, and transmission, that until recently would have themselves required big investments in expensive software and hardware.
There are a growing number of examples of startups using Amazon’s utility computing platform to launch these kind of instantly scalable services. But we still don’t know much about whether S3 and EC2 are profitable. The only metrics provided by Amazon – that S3 stores 10 billion objects and the services are used by 290,000 developers – don’t speak to the revenue issues. When pressed by analysts, CEO Jeff Bezos has said only that there is “strong demand” for S3 and EC2 services.