More Nuance From Moz CTO on AWS, Private Cloud Decision

1/31/14Follow @bromano

Moz’s chief technology officer says the Seattle marketing technology company is still using Amazon Web Services (AWS), and other public cloud computing services, for some specific tasks.

The comments from CTO Anthony Skinner add nuance to Thursday’s post from CEO Sarah Bird, in which she described Moz’ decision to move off of AWS in a bid to reduce expenses. Amazon has not commented on the matter.

In comments on the Hacker News thread for Xconomy’s original story, Skinner said that Moz had been using AWS for 95 percent of its services before the switch, and continues to use AWS and other cloud services including Rackspace and Nimbix for some tasks, such as “short running stateless processing.”

(In another Hacker News comment, Moz co-founder Rand Fishkin said Moz never used AWS to crawl the Web, “mostly because it was expensive to do so.” Some sites block Web crawlers—automated systems that index the Web—that originate from AWS.)

Public clouds “are a great service for the right types of processing, and applications,” Skinner wrote on Hacker News Thursday night, comments which he confirmed to Xconomy today.

“At our current size our AWS bill will not be [$]7 million but closer to [$]500k-1 million a year,” Skinner wrote. “Not exactly pocket change. Some of the cost savings we are realizing is due to working with AWS as well on best practices.”

He also praised AWS for working with Moz as it moved apps off of its cloud. Skinner added that staffing costs did not affect this decision.

“We must have staff to manage 1000s of servers at AWS or at our own data centers,” Skinner wrote. “The biggest factor was paying for compute on boxes that crashed and yielded nothing we could use to move our business forward. Well, I take that back, we got really good at check points and rollbacks. Other than that, not much.”

Benjamin Romano is editor of Xconomy Seattle. Email him at bromano [at] xconomy.com. Follow @bromano

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