I have no doubt in my mind that it is
I came from the FBI to AWS because I was a potential customer. Back when AWS was one region, five services, the security that AWS had day one was the log-in password and user ID from the bookstore — from Amazon’s website. We had a business need at the FBI that we were supporting, and it was a counterterrorism effort, and we had essentially what they call big data today — mining that big data, basically looking for the needle in the needle stack in order to keep bad things from happening to good people. We had a lot of vendors that were out there that wanted to support and did support us. The “gotcha” was that no matter how much of the same stuff we bought, we never were able to make that scale function or that step function [for] Friday at 4:30, [when] the digital truck would back up with more data. And you want the definition of “keeping yourself up at night”? That’s the job, because you know that if you don’t find that needle that bad things are going [to] happen to good people, and it’s going to be your fault.
.. the idea of saying, “OK, I can use 1,000 computers for an hour rather than having one computer for 1,000 hours” — the time to value is huge. .. and said, “Hey, this is the mission we have, you guys have this,” and they were like, “We want to be able to do that, but we’re not in a position today. We don’t have the infrastructure, the security, the background, all of the features that you’re going to need to do that kind of business on top of us.” The discussion went on for six or eight months and subsequently [former AWS CEO] Andy Jassy, a visionary that he is, said, “Hey, there’s only one way we’re ever going to get to that business, and it’s having people like you join us, bring us into the enterprise out of just individual developers and startups, build those capabilities and take us forward.”
So we [at the FBI] had some meetings with [AWS chief evangelist] Jeff Barr
The security story was very weak [on] day one. A handful of us — (former AWS CISO) Steve Schmidt, myself, Andrew Doane and Eric Brandwine — joined in late 2007, and our job was the dedicated utility computing team — the DUC team, also known as the feds [because] you had a bunch of us coming from the FBI. We weren’t given a distinctive thing we had to do other than move us towards the enterprise. We thought about the mission that we had previously and how we could build from scratch the environment that we needed to have in order to be able to do the highly secure work that we were doing. We were paranoid, but we were paranoid for good reason because we did know, in our previous lives, that they were out to get us. So we came into AWS with that mentality and built from scratch day one that foundation. There was no other cloud provider that’s ever had that kind of capability built from day one by the paranoid group that we have, with the expertise, that have been chasing hackers around the world. Built it from bare bones.
When EC2 was launched by AWS [in 2006]
Talk about shifting left. We shifted left 15 years. Started with EC2, rewrote basically EC2. The virtual private cloud that’s spoken of today, we created VPC, and it was our first product. We went from being dedicated utility computing to virtual private cloud. We wrote the underpinnings — the virtual network overlay protocol — so we run our own protocol on the network in order to be able to maintain isolation between all of our customers. We started with that and then grew, work, scale, created.