Elon Musk cuts Twitter’s cloud infrastructure budget

Hello, and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! Today: A report on why Elon Musk wants to dramatically cut Twitter’s infrastructure spending could damage the company as much as anything else he’s done, prioritizing work for AWS CEO Adam Selipsky, and the Tao of Computing.

Implementation errors

Let’s get one thing straight: Twitter has always been one of the clearest examples of one of the lesser-known aspects of the tech industry, the hardware and software that power the world’s most important and influential online. Services are often held together through a series of daily miracles and sheer gumption. But the wrecking ball sent by Elon Musk via Twitter this week could easily upset that delicate balance and end the company faster than any advertiser boycott.

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

We know little about Twitter’s current infrastructure strategy.

  • Like many companies born in the mid-2000s before cloud computing really matured, Twitter initially ran on self-managed data centers.
  • Unlike many companies born at the time, Twitter was notoriously unreliable in those early days, regularly going down at sporting events and Apple keynotes and spawning the infamous “fail whale”.
  • However, Twitter engineers were able to come up with unique ways to solve those reliability problems, leading to the birth of now widely used concepts like service mesh.
  • While the company still operates its own data centers, in 2018 it moved A large part of its data infrastructure in the Google Cloud, and in 2020 it signed a multiyear deal with AWS to run real-time tweet timelines on the cloud leader’s servers.
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doesn’t break a multi-year computing infrastructure contract with AWS, Especially on weekends.

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

  • But as we learned from Moose’s whistleblower report, Twitter’s infrastructure was already cracked and lacked some of the backup and recovery options that are considered table stakes for businesses operating these types of Internet services.
  • That means any disruption to the Rube Goldberg machine Let the tweets flow Twitter can make you unusable for a long time.

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

  • I mean, it’s not rocket science.

— Tom Craigitt (Email | twitter)

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Selipsky’s ‘very conservative’ AWS

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

“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’ve grown significantly. We have, I think, a strong set of resources. We’ll certainly slow 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 tech giant will temporarily halt new incremental hires for its corporate workforce due to the “unusual macroeconomic environment.” Continue to rent at “targeted locations”.

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

“In light of the uncertain place the economy is in and how many people we’ve hired over the past few years, [Amazon CEO Andy Jassy] And the S-Team decided this week to pause new incremental hires in our corporate workforce,” Galetti said in a message shared with employees Wednesday and made public Thursday. “We’ve done that in some of our businesses in recent weeks and added to our other businesses in this approach.”

“Across Amazon, we will be very conservative in the foreseeable future about the resources we bring on board,” Selipsky said. “AWS will also be very conservative about the new resources we bring on board. We’re always concerned with the long-term health of the business. And if there’s a need for us to serve customers or build significant capacity, we’ll take a long-term view.”

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

– Donna Goodison (Email | twitter)

An invitation to planet reckoning

What is the future of computing? How will tech stacks affect the geopolitical order in the coming years? Is Earth slowly developing its own intelligent consciousness?

If these kinds of questions excite and inspire you, a computing philosophy project—launched by the Berggruen Institute—will pay to convene philosophers, designers, technologists, and other techno-thinkers in Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Seoul. They are looking for program participants.

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

Take climate change. Bratton said, “The idea of ​​climate change itself is the result of planetary-scale calculations. Without sensors and simulations and super-computing models, much of the idea of ​​climate change, at least in its scientific guise, could not exist.

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

– Kate Kay (Email | twitter)

around the enterprise

Microsoft says the percentage of cyber attacks Targeting of critical infrastructure by nation-state groups reached 40% in the 12 months ending June 2022, doubling year-over-year in Russia-related attacks in Ukraine and espionage-driven attacks against the US and other Ukrainian allies.

Alibaba Cloud will use internally developed Arm server chips at 20% power instances of it by 2025, the company said this week.

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Thanks for reading – see you on Monday!


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