Hamilton Leaves Microsoft, Joins Amazon

James Hamilton, whose research on the use of data center containers has been adopted in Microsoft’s design of its cloud computing data centers, is leaving Microsoft. TechHermit reports that Hamilton is said to be taking a position at Amazon (AMZN).

UPDATE: Amazon has now confirmed that Hamilton will be joining Amazon Web Services as Vice President and Distinguished Engineer. “James has a distinguished career designing and deploying systems that are secure and that scale reliably and cost-effectively,” said Andrew Herdener, senior public relations manager for Amazon. “James will start putting his expertise to work for Amazon Web Services customers in January.”

“I’ve had a super interesting 12 years at Microsoft and it’s tough to leave,” Hamilton said in an email. “But I also remember feeling the same way when I left IBM after 10 years to join Microsoft. Change is good; change challenges; change forces humility; change teaches. I’m looking forward to it even though all new jobs are hard.”

In early 2007 Hamilton made several presentations advocating unmanned container-based commodity data centers as the future of data center infrastructure. In April Microsoft announced that it will fill one floor of its new Chicago data center with shipping containers packed with servers. The company has deepened its commitment to containers in its newly announced Generation 4 Modular Data Center design, which houses containerized servers and electrical equipment in a roofless structure.

Hamilton’s blog, Perspectives, has featured his analysis and notes on key concepts in data center operations, including database scalability, the merits of blade servers, and trends in power costs.

Hamilton’s move to Amazon brings his “outside the box” thinking to the data center infrastructure for the company’s fast-growing utility computing platform. Is Amazon interested in Hamilton’s expertise in containers? Answers to come.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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  1. Christian Belady

    In my 1.5 years at Microsoft, James has been a great friend, collaborator and mentor. I will certainly miss our fun brainstorms and discussions but at the same time I am extremely excited for him as he makes his transition. As he states, change is good. Many of my new ideas and perspectives here at Microsoft where spawned by changing companies so I completely understand his decision. Stilll I will miss him sorely. Good Luck to my good friend James!