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Company profile

Amazon.com Inc (AMZN) is a pioneer and leading global Internet Company Iounder by JeII
Bezos and it was one oI the most traIIicked Internet retail destinations worldwide. Amazon is a
Fortune 500 E-commerce Company headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Through year-end
2006, Amazon had approximately 64 million active customers worldwide. In 2006, 55 oI
Amazon`s revenue was generated in North America and its International segment generated 45.
Within North America, Media was 61 oI total sales, Electronics & General Merchandise (EGM)
was 34 oI the total, and other revenue was 4. Within its International segment, Media was 72
oI sales and EGM was 28 oI sales. Amazon has direct operations in the United States, Canada,
France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom (CrunchBase, 2010). Today, Amazon
Marketplace's main rival is eBay's HalI.com service.

1.1'ision

Amazon`s vision is to be earth's most customer centric company; to build a place where people
can come to Iind and discover anything they might want to buy online.
'Relentlessly Iocus on customer experience by oIIering our customers low prices, convenience,
and a wide selection oI merchandise.
1.2!roduct/ Services
Amazon is a pioneer online shopping website with one oI the largest product supplies online.
Amazon product lines include books, music CDs, videotapes and DVDs, soItware, consumer
electronics, kitchen items, tools, lawn and garden items, toys & games, baby products, apparel,
sporting goods, gourmet Iood, jewelry, watches, health and personal-care items, beauty products,
musical instruments, clothing, industrial & scientiIic supplies, and groceries. Shoppers can
download e-books, games, MP3s, and Iilms to their computers or handheld devices, including
Amazon's own portable reader, the Kindle. Amazon also oIIers products and services, such as
selI-publishing, online advertising, e-commerce platIorm, and a co-branded credit card (Yahoo!
Finance, 2010).


1.3Competitive Advantage

Amazon developed a value chain oI itselI to internal it can operationally best add value and
maintain a competitive advantage. They Iocus on selection, price, and convenience. It also oIIers
programs that enable seller customers to sell their products on its Websites and their own
branded Websites. In addition, the company serves developer customers through Amazon Web
Services, which provides access to technology inIrastructure that developers can use to enable
virtually any type oI business. Further, it manuIactures and sells the kindle e-reader. Additionally,
the company oIIers co-branded credit card programs, IulIillment, and other marketing and
promotional services, such as online advertising (Yahoo! Finance, 2010).
1.4Amazon.com Technology
Amazon runs a worldwide e-commerce platIorm that serves tens oI millions customers at peak
times using tens oI thousands oI servers located in many data centers around the world. There are
strict operational requirements on Amazon`s platIorm in terms oI perIormance, reliability and
eIIiciency, and to support continuous growth the platIorm needs to be highly scalable (Werner et
al, 2007). Amazon used it primarily own proprietary technologies, as well as technology licensed
Irom third parties, they have implemented numerous Ieatures and Iunctionality that simpliIy and
improve the customer shopping experience, enable third parties to sell on our platIorm, and
Iacilitate our IulIillment and customer service operations (Dave, 2008).
They continually invest in several areas oI technology, including their seller platIorm; A9.com,
wholly-owned subsidiary Iocused on search technology on www.A9.com and other Amazon
sites; web services; and digital initiatives.` (Dave, 2008).
The technology approach as distributed development and deployment`. Pages such as the home
page have a number oI content pods` or slots`, which call web services Ior Ieatures. This makes
it relatively easy to change the content in these pods and even change the location oI the pods on-
screen. Amazon uses a Ilowable or Iluid page design unlike many sites that enables it to make
the most oI real estate on-screen (Dave, 2008).

Technology also supports more standard e-retail Iacilities. SEC (2005) states: Amazon use a set
oI applications Ior accepting and validating customer orders, placing and tracking orders with
suppliers, managing and assigning inventory to customer orders, and ensuring proper shipment
oI products to customers. Their transaction-processing systems handle millions oI items, a
number oI diIIerent status inquiries, multiple shipping addresses, giIt-wrapping requests, and
multiple shipment methods. These systems allow the customer to choose whether to receive
single or several shipments based on availability and to track the progress oI each order. These
applications also manage the process oI accepting, authorizing, and charging customer credit
cards.` (Dave, 2008).

There are many services on Amazon`s platIorm that only need primary-key access to a data store.
For many services, such as those that provide best seller lists, shopping carts, customer
preIerences, session management, sales rank, and product catalog, the common pattern oI using a
relational database would lead to ineIIiciencies and limit scale and availability. Dynamo provides
a simple primary-key only interIace to meet the requirements oI these applications (Vogels et al,
2007).

Figure 1 shows an abstract view oI the architecture oI Amazon`s platIorm, where dynamic web
content is generated by page rendering components, which in turn query many other services
(Vogels et al, 2007).


igure 1: Service-oriented architecture of Amazon`s platform. (Source:
http://s3.amazonaws.com/AllThingsDistributed/sosp/amazon-dynamo-sosp2007.pdf)

Figure 2 show the leveraged the Amazon Web Services Stack, web developers, this allowed
Amazon to Iocus on the core business logic oI their apps and services, hide the enormous
complexity oI building a scalable web business behind a simple API.

Amazon Web Services reached via a browser; merchants who want to sell more can use its
patented one-click purchasing system, Ior instance, or tap quickly into sales data Ior particular
products. Linux operating system on the map; makes it easy to list products Ior sale on Amazon.
Amazon lets merchants instantly check prices at Amazon via a wireless Web device when they're
looking at stock to buy (Robert, 2003)


igure 2: Amazon Web Services Stack (Source: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/amazon_dynamo.php)
1.4.1 Dynamo - A Distributed Storage System

In technical terms, Dynamo is called an eventually consistent storage system. It is a distributed
storage system, it stored inIormation to be retrieved, but it does not break the data into tables.
Instead all objects are stored and looked up via a key. A simple way to think about such a system
is in terms oI URLs. When you navigate to the page on Amazon Ior the last Harry Potter book,
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0545010225 you see a page that includes a description oI
the book, customer reviews, related books, and so on. To create this page, Amazon's
inIrastructure has to perIorm many database lookups, the most basic oI which is to grab
inIormation about the book Irom its URL (or, more likely, Irom its ASIN - a unique code Ior
each Amazon product, 0545010225 in this case) (Alex, 2007).

Dynamo is internal technology developed at Amazon to address the need Ior an incrementally
scalable, highly available key-value storage system. The technology is designed to give its users
the ability to trade-oII cost, consistency, durability and perIormance, while maintaining high-
availability (Werner, 2007).

Figure 3 below show a concept schematic Ior how a distributed storage system works.
InIormation is distributed around a ring oI computers each computer is identical. To ensure Iault
tolerance, in case a particular node breaks down, the data is made redundant, so each object is
stored in the system multiple times (Alex, 2007).


igure 3: Dynamo - A Distributed Storage System (Source:
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/amazon_dynamo.php)

Amazon S3, Dynamo oIIers a simple put and get interIace. Each put requires the key, context and
the obfect. The context is based on the object and is used by Dynamo Ior validating updates
(Alex, 2007). Here is the high level description oI Dynamo and a put request:
Physical nodes are thought oI as identical and organized into a ring.
Virtual nodes are created by the system and mapped onto physical nodes, so that
hardware can be swapped Ior maintenance and Iailure.
The partitioning algorithm is one oI the most complicated pieces oI the system; it
speciIies which nodes will store a given object.
The partitioning mechanism automatically scales as nodes enter and leave the system.
Every object is asynchronously replicated to N nodes.
The updates to the system occur asynchronously and may result in multiple copies oI the
object in the system with slightly diIIerent states.
The discrepancies in the system are reconciled aIter a period oI time, ensuring eventual
consistency.
Any node in the system can be issued a put or get request Ior any key.

Dynamo is quite complex, but is also conceptually simple. Each node is identical to other nodes,
the nodes can come in and out oI existence, and the data is automatically balanced around the
ring - all oI this makes Dynamo similar to an ant colony or beehive (Alex, 2007).

Finally, Dynamo's internals are implemented in Java; Java is an elegant programming language,
which allows the appropriate level oI object-oriented modeling (Alex, 2007).

1.4.2 Amazon Elastic Cloud (EC2)
'Cloud computing is a term used to describe massively scalable, hosted computing that is made
available to all consumers (individuals, small-business, enterprises). The computing resources
exist as part oI a network oI computers that are typically owned and operated by a third-party
through consolidated data centers. Consumers oI the cloud are primarily concerned with the
computing services it can deliver and are mostly indiIIerent to underlying technology and
implementation; they can expect to save on equipment and energy costs while beneIiting Irom
increased eIIiciency, productivity, and reliability (Micab, Fred, 2008).

Several Iactors, including the decline in data transport costs, hardware virtualization, and
multicore CPUs, and the proliIeration oI MIDs (mobile internet devices) have contributed to the
growth oI cloud computing. Further, the popularization and proliIeration oI web based email,
calendars, and collaborative oIIice productivity applications has Iostered a new market Ior cloud
computing (Micab, Fred, 2008).


igure 4: Cloud Computing
(Source: http://www.stanIord.edu/class/ee204/Publications/Amazon-EE353-2008-1.pdI)

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) had pioneered the Iield oI 'inIrastructure-as-a-service
(IaaS) by presenting a virtual computing environment allowing customers to use web interIaces
to requisition machines. Common operations included installing an application environment,
managing network access permissions, and running programs. EC2 was designed to make web-
scale computing more convenient and inexpensive Ior developers and allow easy access to
Amazon's proven computing inIrastructure (Micab, Fred, 2008).

Three key Ieatures oI the EC2 service are real-time scaling capacity, Amazon's large computing
inIrastructure, and Ilexibility to allow customers to easily match Iluctuating resource
requirements (Micab, Fred, 2008).

With the elastic IP Address Ieature oI EC2, Amazon also made a step into the web hosting
market. This Ieature allowed Amazon Web Services users to set up static IP addresses, making it
easy to host websites, web services, and other online applications (Micab, Fred, 2008).

Amazon's EC2 service was primarily targeted towards companies without the time or resources
to build their own dedicated computing inIrastructure such as early-stage startups, as well as
research organizations who needed inIrequent but heavy computing resources (Micab, Fred,
2008).


1.4.3 Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3)

Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3) provides a simple web service interIace Ior storing and
retrieving any amount oI data Irom anywhere on the web. It gives developers access to the same
highly scalable, reliable, Iast, and inexpensive data storage inIrastructure that Amazon uses to
run its own global network oI websites (Micab, Fred, 2008).