Elon Musk cuts Twitter’s cloud infrastructure budget

Hello, and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! Today: What reports that Elon Musk wants to dramatically cut Twitter’s infrastructure spending could damage the company as much as anything else he has done, AWS CEO Adam Selipsky on hiring priorities and the Tao of computing.

Execution errors

Let’s get one thing out of the way up front: Twitter has always been one of the most obvious examples of one of the lesser-known aspects of the tech industry, that the hardware and software that powers some of​​​​ The world’s most important and influential online services are often held together by a series of daily miracles and sheer gambit. But the wrecking ball that Elon Musk sent through Twitter this week could easily upset this delicate balance and end the company faster than any advertiser boycott.

According to Reuters, Musk this week called on Twitter engineers to cut $1 billion of the company’s annual tech infrastructure budget by Monday, before laying off thousands of employees Friday. Given that Twitter reported $1.8 billion as its cost of generating revenue for its fiscal 2021 year – infrastructure costs are a hefty portion of the figure, but not the only contributor – if the number is accurate, we are talking about huge cuts.

We know a 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 around that time, Twitter was notoriously unreliable in those early days, routinely going down during sporting events and Apple keynotes and giving birth to the infamous “falling whale.”
  • However, Twitter engineers were able to come up with unique ways to solve the reliability problems, leading to the birth of now widely used concepts like the service mesh.
  • While the company still operates its own data centers, in 2018 it moved A large chunk of its data infrastructure to Google Cloud, and in 2020 it signed a multi-year deal with AWS to run real-time tweet timelines on the cloud leader’s servers.
Also Read :  Elon Musk has pulled more than 50 Tesla employees into Twitter

One cannot simply break a multi-year computing infrastructure contract with AWS, Especially over a weekend.

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

  • But as we learned from Mudge’s whistleblower report, Twitter’s infrastructure is already rickety and lacks some of the backup and recovery options that are considered table stakes for businesses operating Internet services of its type.
  • That means no disruption to the Rube Goldberg machine that Let the tweets flow Could simply make Twitter unusable for long periods.

If the report is accurate, slashing Twitter’s infrastructure costs almost in half overnight will have an immediate effect The stability and reliability of the service.

  • I mean, it’s not rocket science.

– Tom Krazit (Email | Twitter)

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Selipsky’s ‘very conservative’ AWS

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

“AWS has done a lot of hiring to drive innovation and work with customers in recent years,” Selipsky told Protocol in an interview on Friday. “We’ve grown significantly. We have, I think, a strong set of resources. We’re definitely going to slow our growth … in hiring.”

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The news follows 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 “an unusual macroeconomic environment,” but Continue to hire in “targeted places.”

Galetti said Amazon wants to balance its hiring and investments with its “thought” about the economy.

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

“On Amazon, we’re going to be very conservative just in the immediate future about the resources we bring on board,” Selipsky said. “AWS will also be very conservative about new resources we bring on board. We’re always concerned about the long-term health of the business. And if there’s something we need to do to serve customers or build an important capability, we Will take the long-term view.”

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

– Donna Goodison (Email | Twitter)

An invitation to think about planetary computing

What is the future of computing? How will tech stocks affect the geopolitical order in the coming years? Is the earth gradually developing its own intelligent awareness?

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

“The goal is really to shift a theoretical and practical, philosophical discourse around computation that will reorient computation to a more productive relationship to planetary futures,” said Benjamin Bratton, professor at the University of California, San Diego, and director of the program. Said. Me last month. “Computation is a necessary part of the equation,” he said.

Take climate change. Bratton said, “The idea of ​​climate change is itself a result of planetary-scale computation. Without the sensors and simulations and supercomputing models, the idea of ​​climate change, at least in its scientific granularity, 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 said that the percentage of cyberattacks By nation-state groups targeting critical infrastructure reached 40% during the 12 months ended in June 2022, doubling year-over-year, driven by Russia-linked attacks on Ukraine and espionage against the US and other Ukrainian allies.

Alibaba Cloud will use its internally developed ARM server chips to power 20% of its cases in 2025, the company said this week.

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Thanks for reading – see you Monday!



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