Corey Quinn
+ Your AuthorsArchive @QuinnyPig Chief Cloud Economist at the Duckbill Group. Father to @QuinnyPiglet & @theMunchQuinn. he/him Get my snarky take on AWS news: lastweekinaws.com/t/ Sep. 15, 2019 12 min read

For every retweet this gets, I will add an Uncomfortable @awscloud Truth to the thread.

"We've open sourced our documentation on GitHub" is an invitation for folks who can't code to do volunteer work for a trillion dollar company.

Despite all of the attention Serverless, AI/ML, etc. get on stage, the *majority* of AWS's income comes from EC2.

AWS leadership used to lie awake worried that other companies were making money somehow. Now they apply that to other service teams.

Nobody has figured out how to make money from AI/ML other than by selling you a pile of compute and storage for your AI/ML misadventures.

"We're willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time" has been interpreted by @awscloud Marketing as granting free license to mumble.

"AWS stole our open source project and turned it into a service!" is the rallying cry of people who suck at business models.

There's at least a 60% chance that I could start talking about a fictitious @awscloud MoonBase and I'd be suspected of breaking an NDA somewhere.

AWS Developer Advocates and AWS Developer Evangelists are two different teams, but nobody knows how. They're identical twins that get angry that nobody can tell them apart.

By far the most common feedback I get when speaking to AWS employee gatherings is "sorry, who are you again?"

I'll be giving a talk at re:Invent this year. @awscloud doesn't know it yet, but would *you* bet against me?

"Frugality" is about as endearing a quality for a ~trillion dollar company as you'd expect it to be.

How do they screw up their service names so badly? No idea, ask the AWS Systems Manager Marketing Manager.

The purest form of "static site" is the @awscloud status page.

Telling @awscloud customers to "screw off, we're not building it" was frowned upon. This sentiment thus evolved into "You can do it yourself in Lambda!"

Amazon's managed ElasticSearch offering is awful because it's ElasticSearch.

SimpleDB was never removed from the AWS console; it was never there in the first place. You can still use SimpleDB, but why would you when you can use Route 53 instead?

A major reason to go public cloud that @awscloud can't say outright is "you people freaking suck at running datacenters."

Everyone likes to make fun of outages in us-east-1 that break the internet, but Azure takes outages and everyone's websites all stay up. One wonders why.

If your DR plan assumes us-east-1 dies unrecoverably, what you're really planning for is 100 square miles of Northern Virginia no longer existing. Good luck with that ad farm in a nuclear wasteland, buddy!

Route 53 isn't really a database, but then again, neither is Redis.

Every time AWS announces a price cut, it's invariably to an aspect of a single service in a handful of regions. Data transfer still spendy.

Amazon has a lot of dogs in its office, and they're frugal. This led to disaster two years ago when the puppers were put in charge of re:Invent logistics.

I sell swag packs for $15. No shipping, no tax. I picked that model because it's the exact opposite of the complexity that is the AWS bill.  https://www.lastweekinaws.com/products/swag-pack/ 

S3 is neither a file nor a block storage service. This unlocks many benefits, most notably that you get to correct anyone who calls it a file or block storage service.

In their infinite wisdom, @awscloud called a new office building in Seattle "re:Invent" because they hate their own employees.

To set AWS development back by a full six months, give their leadership a puppy and tell them to name it.

Despite no fewer than 6 attempts to patch the Open S3 Bucket problem, it remains. You can't patch people--legally, anyway.

Nobody to speak of uses autoscaling groups, because their applications won't tolerate it. Thus Spot is also a non-starter.

"90-95% of our features come from customer requests." That's not bragging, that's disclaiming responsibility. Have you met some of their customers?!

If you run Datadog or SignalFX, it's possible to spend more than what you pay them in CloudWatch access charges.

If you pick any word from the English dictionary and put it after the word "Cloud," it's likelier than not that you'll raise at least a solid seed round.

You work for an AWS competitor.

Yes, even you, AWS employees. Look around at other service teams.

RDS is a huge win not because of anything intrinsic to what the platform actually is, but because we collectively suck at setting up and managing replication, backups, etc.

Aurora in turn fixes two problems with RDS: Better naming convention (a Disney princess this time) and fixing an understandable billing model with something nobody knows how to predict in advance.

MultiCloud is a good idea if you're tetched in the head; it treats cloud solely as "a place to run a bunch of VMs." If that's all you're doing, go you I guess. Bring money!

If you go all in on any provider, I care not which one, there's an entire ecosystem of folks with absolutely nothing left to sell you.

"All the cool kids are doing it" drives *everything* in high school. When you grow up and enter the workforce, this doesn't change, we just call it the "Gartner Magic Quadrant."

The correct DR planning response to "what if AWS just goes away entirely" is "anyone with half a clue will be making a mint consulting for other companies, so good luck you folks!"

I'm not saying that AWS sales folks are incentivized by service, but a sudden breathless "USE AURORA AND GET THERE WITH DMS!" from someone who until that moment had been decidedly non-technical is... suspicious.

I'm not saying that only AWS has good ideas, but when a company who's very clearly on the decline throws mud at the successful company, consider the source.

Companies who are about to be put out of business pay AWS hundreds of thousands of dollars to sponsor re:Invent. This isn't "a protection racket," it's "The AWS Partner Network."

"No sensible person would migrate from Oracle to an Amazon database." --@FakeOracleLarry

I can't top that joke.

If you're naming a conference after an email subject line, I guess re:Invent beats fwd:Check This Shit Out, but not by much.

Someday AWS will have enough services with non-English words in them that the right architecture will summon a demon and bring about the End of Days.

...and that demon will be named Kubernetes, but EKS ain't it, chief.

I'm not a huge fan of AWS never turning services off. Some, like the current incarnation of Cognito, deserve to die.

QuickSight will find product/market fit just as soon as it comes up with a better marketing story than "Like Tableau, But Shitty."

Listening to customers is super important, I agree--but would it kill you to ask leading questions first?

AZ naming isn't consistent between accounts, because "us-east-1c is the shitty one" was at one point very true.

But there's still a shitty one. Consider fixing it please.

I wanted to play a game at re:Invent: "put a bunch of random AWS services on a board connected with random lines and see how long it takes to get called out."

Three years, three employees, and a media platform later, I'm still waiting. Send help.

What the hell can you build with Kubernetes?

Easy. Your own resume.

I built  http://lastweekinaws.com  to scratch my own itch. Making fun of AWS in the process was to keep my own interest going.

I'm still waiting on a Cease & Desist, because Amazon Legal is still waiting on a CloudFront distribution update.

I maintain that every time AWS builds something world-spanning in scope that can process 3 Libraries of Congress per second, it's because they had to in order to keep the billing system afloat.

Reserved Instances are the best way to take the on-demand promise of the cloud, and eviscerate it completely by forcing customers to think of it like it's an ancient datacenter. "Enjoy your three year planning cycles, schmucks!"

EC2 instance families are inscrutable because of several AWS VPs playing a game of battleship. Will one of you just please win already?

"We're sorry to hear you think Reserved Instance purchasing sucks. We've attempted to fix this by adding several new variables, because Fuck You."

Everything in AWS is super straightforward after you've smacked into each sharp edge the first time. This build character, calluses, and a growing resentment for the cloud.

AWS purportedly puts design documents forward in the form of six-pagers. They start meetings with a 20 minute silent reading session. It's like the book club from hell.

By all accounts AWS leadership is spectacular at finding the one thing you didn't prepare well enough for, and then questioning you hard about it.

This pattern is not recommended for a happy marriage.

They once built AWS Horse, decided at the last minute not to launch it, and then we got AWS Glue instead.

The AWS Console is clearly built by multiple teams, some of which very obviously despise people.

"As we announced in the AWS forums" is akin to "as I tweeted on these stone tablets..." Baby seals get more hits than the forums do.

I don't know which is sadder--that teams put roadmaps on GitHub (a competitor's property), or that they have to because there's no equivalent on their own platform that'd support it.

It's a near certainty by this point in the thread that multiple PR folks / VPs at AWS have had their pagers go off, see "Corey's Tweeting" and think "Oh fuck, what now."

"Over 2200 feature and service enhancements over the last year" may sound intimidating, but an awful lot of it is "old service comes to new region," "we turned on encryption for a service," and "CloudFormation Team Was Captured and Forced to Do Their Jobs."

The fact that CloudFormation can't say "we're better than Terraform because we support new services more quickly" is a problem with no resolution in sight.

If you've got an old account charging you 22¢ a month, don't get mad. Start a snarky Twitter account and make sure you cost them orders of magnitude more than that in doing damage control each month instead.

"You should deploy everything to be HA across multiple regions" is the rallying cry of armchair architects who don't pay their own AWS bills by a long shot.

"All AWS teams must communicate with one another solely via API." If you married a coworker this extends to your personal relationship.

If you are sufficiently vague when answering questions about your hosting provider, your auditors will attempt to tour us-east-1. Let them, and make sure you observe from a safe distance.

JSON, XML, and YAML are all needed at various points within AWS's ecosystem, because nobody ever said that Customer Obsession meant they wanted us to be *happy*...

If you're a GM of a service at @awscloud, and you price it at a simple fixed fee of only $X per month, you can expect to be walked out that day.

AWS has spent several billions of dollars on real estate in Seattle, and several dozens of dollars on graphic design.

"Here's the @awscloud console; never use it! The proper way to manage what you've built with code is to throw it all away and start over again, idiot."

AWS Device Farm is full of thousands of iOS and Android devices for software testing.

The part they don't tell you is that they were all confiscated from employees who didn't realize what "NDA" meant.

It took a long time for AWS to learn how to negotiate with enterprise customers, because Amazon's typical "kill your pets" vendor negotiation style doesn't work when you need their business.

Amazon Chime is their Slack "competitor." I use it for meetings with AWS employees. They all start the same way: "Sorry I'm late, Chime was causing issues again."

After re:Invent, you won't be able to distinguish actual releases from  https://totes-not-amazon.com 

Fact: Nobody at AWS has ever heard of Urban Dictionary. Please don't correct this; I want to see how they top "Snowball Edge" for a product name this year.

"How do we get some of the most highly respected folks in the industry to market for us?"
"Pay them extortionately?"
"We're very frugal."
"Call them 'AWS Community Heroes?'"
"GENIUS!"

"We only call it 'the re:Invent Keynote' to Amazon's faces; on the expo floor we call it what it is: AWS re:Dwedding."

"We're out of service ideas, what do we do?"
"Make something up and ship it."
"Won't people see through it?"
"AWS Managed Blockchain suggests otherwise."

"What does AWS have that GCP doesn't?"
"A meaningful customer base?"

"Why would you use AWS instead of Oracle?"
"Because I know that your threat to kill my dog is a bluff."

"Why would I use AWS instead of Azure?"
"Windows Licensing comes to Cloud."

"Why use AWS instead of Alibaba?"
"我不会说英语."

"Why use AWS instead of IBM Cloud?"
"IBM has a cloud?!"
"I'm as puzzled as you, I'm just reading off the notecard here."

There's only one place to see every resource in your AWS organization, in every region: the AWS bill.

The AWS status page is noisy garbage.  https://stop.lying.cloud  doesn't fix all of it, but it's a start.

SAM launched hastily after @goserverless started showing traction demonstrates that the answer to "what's worse than competing with an open source project" is "failing at it."

API Gateway is a networking Swiss Army knife. Capable, does many things but not all at once, instructions written entirely in Swiss-German.

It's called "CDK" because "CloudFormation But Worse" didn't do so well in focus groups.

Similarly, "A Deeplens That Follows You Into the Bathroom" was rebadged as "DeepRacer." #LearnAndBeCurious

Some services start with "Amazon," others with "AWS." This started off as an internal shibboleth, but now nobody can remember them all by a landslide.

Security has gotten so complicated that the only tenant of the Shared Responsibility Model that you can rely upon is "when you inevitably screw it up, remember that it's entirely your own fault."

DocumentDB isn't a perfect MongoDB clone yet, and can't be until it's just as good at trashing your production data.

"It's always Day One" is Amazon's rallying cry, particularly when you attempt to bill them on NET30.

Netflix has assembled many of the most brilliant engineers on the planet so they can... use @awscloud to stream movies.

Draw your own conclusions.

Ever lock a bunch of college kids in a room and pay them $5 a gigabyte to classify your data for you?

Of course not, they'd call the police unless you called it "Amazon Macie."

AWS doesn't have a public partnership with Disney, but they release enough Goofy Bullshit that you know it's there.

And I admit defeat due to the dark powers of the Terrible Orange Website. I don't have another 400 of these in me tonight.

For more of my snark see  https://lastweekinaws.com  (newsletter), @awsmorningbrief (podcast), and  http://screaminginthecloud.com  (interview show).

Thanks, folks.


You can follow @QuinnyPig.



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