To kick off QCon, Werner Vogels gave a presentation of the building blocks that make up Amazon.
But first I want to mention that for the CTO of an American company, he spoke with a Dutch accent. I will investigate this later.
What he basically said was that Amazon provides two ways of integrating with their platform: Data Integration and Service Integration. The first means you can extract (and provide) data to the Amazon warehouse. The second means a couple of thousand (yes, that is 3 zeroes) web services exposed by either SOAP or REST.
The functionality or technology as he prefers to describe it which they provide basically consists of three aspects being: Storage, Compute and Queuing. That does not mean that there are not a whole lot of subcategories but they all boil down to these. So, there is a persistence framework, a business rule framework in the broadest sense, and a messaging or message queuing framework. Three might sound a bit low but as Van Halen (the rock band) wrote: if nothing is simple than nothing is learned.
Finally he led us through a historical journey of what he describes as 10 years of chaos followed by restructuring and re-architecting of Amazon.com. The message he wanted to get across is : scale later. This is what Donald Knuth summarized as : premature optimization is the root of all evil.
All in all, a nice way to kick off the day.
Addendum: I also took photos when I was in London, speakers and sights. I will distribute them across the appropriate sessions.