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 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.