Timeline of Amazon Web Services

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This is a timeline of Amazon Web Services, which offers a suite of cloud computing services that make up an on-demand computing platform.

Big picture

Time period Key developments at Amazon Web Services
2003–2005 Amazon Web Services is in the planning and private beta phase. The blog is launched and EC2 is made available to select customers privately.
2006–2007 AWS releases its first product in the categories of storage (Amazon S3), compute (Amazon EC2), database (Amazon SimpleDB), and data flow (Amazon Simple Queue Service). The service remains in beta, in only one region, without the concept of availability zones.
2008–2010 AWS exits beta and offers a Service Level Agreement (SLA). It launches many new products to help with more logical and controlled infrastructure management as well as more redundancy and high availability. It introduces the concept of availability zones and elastic IPs, facilitating redundancy and availability, and launches new AWS regions. It also introduces core AWS features such as autoscaling, elastic load balancing, CloudWatch, CloudFront, Elastic Block Store, CloudFormation, Simple Notification Service, and Route 53. In this period, companies such as Reddit, Zynga, and Netflix announce the intent to migrate to AWS, and a new generation of companies built on AWS from day one, including Pinterest and Airbnb, gets started.
2011–2013 AWS continues expanding to more regions and adding to its product offerings in storage, compute, database, and other areas. Migration of existing companies to AWS and the building of new companies on AWS also continues. One emerging trend over this period is a growth of the AWS ecosystem, with tools like Netflix's Simian Army, and entire companies such as Cloudyn that help with understanding and navigating AWS. Competition from Microsoft and IBM also picks up, and Zynga announces its decision to move off AWS. High-profile AWS outages cause downtime for widely used websites that rely on AWS.
2014–2016 AWS continues to grow and add new services and regions. It expands its focus to new areas, such as machine learning tools, Internet of Things, and providing physical infrastructure (such as Snowball and Snowmobile) to facilitate large-scale data migration to the cloud. It launches AWS Lambda and the EC2 Container Service, exploiting and helping further the trends of serverless architecture and containerization respectively. The regional expansions are couched more in terms of helping customers in different parts of the world achieve low latency and meet data privacy requirements to facilitate adoption. AWS loses Dropbox but gains Salesforce.com and VMware as partners.

Full timeline

Year Month and date (if available) Event type Details
2000 Prelude Amazon.com, the parent company of the as yet nonexistent AWS, begins work on merchant.com, an e-commerce platform intended for use by other large retailers such as Target Corporation. In the process, Amazon's team realizes that they need to decouple their code better, with cleaner interfaces and access APIs. Around the same time, the company also realizes the need to build infrastructure-as-a-service internally, to improve the speed of development and not have it bottlenecked by infrastructure availability. All these changes help pave the way for AWS.[1][2]
2003 Prelude Benjamin Black and Chris Pinkham write a short paper describing a vision for Amazon infrastructure that, in Black's words, "was completely standardized, completely automated, and relied extensively on web services for things like storage."[3][4][5][6][7]
2004 Prelude Jeff Bezos approves the idea of experimenting with Amazon infrastructure. Pinkham leaves for South Africa to set up a satellite development office. While there, he works on a pilot along with help from Chris Brown and Wiljem Van Biljo. Although the team works from South Africa, the servers are hosted in the United States.[5][6][8]
2004 November 9 Customer outreach The Amazon Web Services blog is launched, with a first blog post by Jeff Barr.[9][10] At the time, the name Amazon Web Services refers to a collection of APIs and tools to access the Amazon.com catalog, rather than the Infrastructure as a Service solution it would eventually become.[10][11][12][13]
2005 Prelude A private precursor to AWS launches, with a small number of customers.[6] At the same time, Amazon begins planning for a public launch of AWS. Based on internal discussions, they decide to launch storage, compute, and database offerings so that developers can use all of them together.[2]
2006 March 19 Product (storage) Amazon Web Services launches by releasing the Simple Storage Service (S3).[14][15]
2006 July 13 Product (data flow) Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS) is released in production.[16] SQS had been around (but not available in production) since 2004.[10]
2006 August 25 Product (compute) Amazon launches Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), which forms a central part of Amazon.com's cloud-computing platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS), by allowing users to rent virtual computers on which to run their own computer applications. The service initially includes machines (instances) available for 10 cents an hour, and is available only to existing AWS customers rather than the general public. The EC2 region is us-east-1, also known as compute-1, and is located in North Virginia.[17][18]
2007 June 1 Partnerships Dropbox is founded.[19] Dropbox, a storage and backup solution aimed at ordinary consumers and businesses, would grow into one of the biggest users of Amazon S3.
2007 August 22 Product (compute) Amazon EC2 is now available in unlimited public beta, so that anybody can sign up and start using it. It also launches new instance types.[20]
2007 November 6 Regional diversification Amazon launches S3 in Europe, reducing latency and bandwidth for European users and helping them comply with privacy requirements.[21]
2007 December 13 Product (database) Amazon launches Amazon SimpleDB, which allows businesses, researchers, data analysts, and developers to easily and cheaply process vast amounts of data. It uses a hosted Hadoop framework running on the web-scale infrastructure of EC2 and Amazon S3.[22][23]
2008 March 26 Product, regional diversification Amazon announces Elastic IPs, IP addresses that can be decoupled from physical EC2 machines, as well as availability zones, clusters of one or more data centers in a region such that different availability zones are isolated from each other in terms of power and water sources.[24]
2008 April 7 Competition Google launches Google App Engine, a platform as a service (PaaS) cloud computing platform for developing and hosting web applications in Google-managed data centers.[25] This is part of the Google Cloud.
2008 August Partnerships Netflix announces it will start moving all its data to the Amazon Web Services cloud. It finally shifts all its data to the cloud by January 2016.[26]
2008 August 20 Product (storage) Amazon announces the launch of Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS), which provides raw block-level storage that can be attached to Amazon EC2 instances.[27]
2008 October 23 Product (service) Amazon EC2 exits beta and begins offering a service level agreement.[28]
2008 November 18 Product (Internet delivery) AWS launches Amazon CloudFront, a content delivery network (CDN).[29]
2008 December 10 Regional diversification Amazon launches EC2 in Europe (specifically, the region eu-west-1 in Ireland), making it easier for European customers to run their instances locally and benefit from higher bandwidth and lower latency. This comes a year after the setting up of S3 in Europe.[30][31]
2009 April Product (compute) Amazon launches Amazon Elastic MapReduce, which allows businesses, researchers, data analysts, and developers to easily and cheaply process vast amounts of data. It uses a hosted Hadoop framework running on the web-scale infrastructure of EC2 and Amazon S3.
2009 May 18 Product (compute) Amazon introduces Elastic Load Balancing (which makes it easy for users to distribute web traffic across Amazon EC2 instances), Auto Scaling (which allows users to scale policies driven by metrics collected by Amazon CloudWatch), and Amazon CloudWatch (for tracking per-instance performance metrics including CPU load).[32]
2009 May 21 Product (data migration) AWS announces an Import/Export service, whereby people can send their storage device to AWS and AWS will upload the data to S3. This is a predecessor of the Snowball service that they would launch in October 2015.[33]
2009 June 15 Partnerships Zynga announces that it will move its data to AWS.[34]
2009 October 22 Product (database) Amazon launches Amazon Relational Database Service, a web service running "in the cloud" designed to simplify the setup, operation, and scaling of a relational database for use in applications. It starts out by supporting MySQL databases.[35][36]
2009 November Partnerships reddit announces that it has finished decommissioning its physical servers and moves its data to AWS.[37]
2009 December 3 Regional diversification AWS launches in a second region in the United States called us-west-1, located in Northern California.[38]
2009 December 13 Product (compute) AWS announces EC2 Spot Instances, allowing users to bid for one or more EC2 instances at the price they are willing to pay.[39]
2010 February Competition Microsoft launches Microsoft Azure, its foray into cloud computing.[40]
2010 March Partnerships Pinterest launches the first prototype of its product.[41] Pinterest would grow into one of AWS's most famous customers and a case study in how a startup can grow extremely quickly by relying on the cloud.[42]
2010 April 7 Product (Internet delivery) AWS launches Simple Notification Service, a tool to allow developers to push messages generated from an application to other systems and people (by methods such as email or webhooks).[43]
2010 April 29 Regional diversification AWS launches a region, called ap-southeast-1, in Singapore. This is its first region in the Asia-Pacific, and is intended to meet the demand for lower latency and better bandwidth for the growing customer base in the Asia-Pacific region.[44]
2010 May 15 Product (management) Amazon launches AWS CloudFormation, its tool to help customers define collections of AWS resources (called stacks) with AWS taking care of using the definitions to provision and configure the required resources. CloudFormation is an early example of a declarative Infrastructure as Code tool.[45]
2010 November Product Amazon announces that Amazon.com has migrated its retail web services to AWS.[46]
2010 December 5 Product (Internet delivery) AWS launches Amazon Route 53, a scalable and highly available Domain Name System that can be accessed via programmatic APIs.[47][48]
2011 January 19 Product (management) AWS launches AWS Elastic Beanstalk, an orchestration service for deploying infrastructure which orchestrates AWS services including EC2, S3, SNS, CloudWatch, autoscaling, and Elastic Load Balancers.[49][50]
2011 January 25 Product (Internet delivery) AWS announces the launch of Amazon Simple Email Service (SES), a service for large-scale email deivery.[51][52] A week later, MailChimp announces its own Simple Transaction Service (STS) for bulk email sounding using SES.[53]
2011 March 2 Regional diversification AWS launches a new region, named ap-northeast-1 in Tokyo, Japan, its second in the Asia-Pacific region. The region is launched to meet the needs of AWS' current and potential Japanese customer base for low latency and better bandwidth.[54]
2011 June Partnerships Zynga CEO Allan Leinwand announces that Zynga will shift its data from AWS to its own zCloud. It moves from 20% to 80% of its data being stored on the zCloud from the beginning to the end of 2011.[55]
2011 June 21 Competition DigitalOcean launches.[56] By November 2015, it becomes the second largest hosting company in the world in terms of web-facing computers.[57][58]
2011 July 19 Ecosystem Netflix announces its suite of tools ("Simian Army") including Chaos Monkey, that randomly terminates EC2 instances within an autoscaling group during working hours so that the company is forced to design its systems with fault tolerance and rapid recovery.[59]
2011 August 16 Partnerships AWS launches AWS GovCloud, a US region designed to meet the regulatory requirements of the United States government, and intended for use by United States government agencies.[60][61]
2011 November 9 Geographical diversification AWS launches a new region called us-west-2 and located in Oregon, its third region in the United States for general public use.[62][63]
2011 September 1 Ecosystem Cloudyn, which provides cloud monitoring and cost optimization for cloud infrastructure (like that of Amazon AWS), launches.[64]
2011 December 14 Regional diversification AWS launches a new region, called sa-east-1, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This is its first region in South America.[65]
2012 January 18 Product (database) Amazon launches Amazon DynamoDB, a fully managed proprietary NoSQL database service that is offered by Amazon.com as part of the Amazon Web Services portfolio.[66]
2012 July 30 Ecosystem Netflix open sources Chaos Monkey, its tool for simulating outages by randomy terminating EC2 instances, to help other companies build fault tolerant systems in the AWS cloud.[67][68][69]
2012 August 21 Product (storage) Amazon launches Amazon Glacier, an online file storage web service that provides storage for data archiving and backup.[70]
2012 October 22 Outage A major outage occurs (due to latent memory leak bug in an operational data collection agent), affecting many sites such as Reddit, Foursquare, Pinterest, and others.[71]
2012 November Product (storage) AWS announces Amazon Redshift, a cloud-based data warehouse service.[72]
2012 November 12 Regional diversification AWS launches a region, ap-southeast-2, in Sydney, Australia. This is its third region in the Asia-Pacific and its eight public region (excluding AWS GovCloud).[73]
2012 December 24 Outage AWS suffers an outage, causing websites such as Netflix instant video to be unavailable for customers in the Northeastern United States.[74]
2013 May 13 Recognition AWS is awarded an Agency Authority to Operate (ATO) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP).[75]
2013 June 4 Competition IBM acquires SoftLayer, which marks IBM's entry into cloud computing.[76]
2013 October 10 Customer outreach AWS announces AWS Activate, a global program for startups. Participating startups receive promotional credits that can be spent within AWS, as well as training, support, and access to a forum.[77]
2013 November 4 Product (compute) Amazon announces G2 instances, a new Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instance type designed for applications that require 3D graphics capabilities.[78]
2013 December 17 Product (data flow) Amazon releases Amazon Kinesis, a service for real-time processing of streaming data.[79][80]
2013 December 18 Regional diversification AWS launches in China, with a limited preview of its Beijing region.[81][82] However, due to Internet censorship in China, its China data center is not part of the global AWS network. Rather, it is a standalone region with the same APIs and services as available in other AWS regions, but a user must create a separate AWS account for AWS China and cannot use the AWS Global account. The service operator is Beijing Sinnet Technology Co.[83]
2014 January Partnerships Moz announces its decision to move off AWS, citing expenses.[84]
2014 August 25 Partnerships Amazon.com acquires Twitch Interactive for US$970 million.[85][86] The ability to store Twitch data on AWS is specifically cited as one of the major reasons why Twitch decided to go under Amazon.
2014 October 23 Regional diversification AWS launches its second region in Europe, specifically, eu-central-1 in Frankfurt, Germany.[87]
2014 November 12 Product (database) AWS announces Amazon Aurora, a MySQL-compatible database offering enhanced high availability and performance.[88][89] The feature becomes available to all AWS customers on July 27, 2015.[90][91]
2014 November 13 Product (compute) AWS launches EC2 Container Service, facilitating the use of container infrastructure on AWS. Third-party integration such as those with Docker are available at the time of release.[92][93][94][95]
2014 November 13 Product (compute) AWS launches AWS Lambda, its Functions as a Service (FaaS) tool. With Lambda, AWS customers can define and upload functions with specific triggers and execution code. AWS takes care of executing the function on the trigger occurring, and the AWS customer does not have to provision or manage the compute resources.[96][97] Lambda is an early harbinger of the concept of "serverless architecture", referring to the idea of providing services without having dedicated servers to provide those services.[98][99][100]
2015 April 9 Product AWS announces a new machine learning platform at the AWS Summit in San Francisco, specifically suited to machine learning without requiring specific expertise.[101]
2015 April 28 Acquisitions AWS acquires ClusterK, a startup that allows users to run apps on Amazon’s cloud for 1/10th of the regular price.[102]
2015 May 8 Partnerships Zynga announces that it will move all its data back to AWS, after diversifying away from AWS in 2011.[103]
2015 May 19 Evaluation Gartner releases an updated version of its Magic Quadrant, evaluating Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solutions. Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure are the only two services in the top right quadrant ("Leaders") with AWS higher up. A number of services are in the bottom right and bottom left quadrants.[104][105][106]
2015 September 20 Outage The Amazon DynamoDB service experiences an outage in an availability zone in the us-east-1 (North Virginia) region, due to a power outage and inadequate failover procedures. The outage, which occurs on a Sunday morning, lasts for about three hours (with some residual impact till Monday) and affects a number of related Amazon services include Simple Queue Service, EC2 autoscaling, Amazon CloudWatch, and the online AWS console.[107] A number of customers are negatively affected, including Netflix, but Netflix is able to recover quickly because of its strong disaster recovery procedures.[108]
2015 October 7 Product (data migration) AWS launches Snowball, a physical appliance with 50 TB of storage and a Kindle on the side. Customers can get a Snowball for 10 days for $200, during which they can fill it with data and then ship it back to Amazon. The Snowball costs $15 for every additional day kept.[109][110] This is the second generation of their data import/export hardware after a previous release in 2009.[110]
2015 October 8 Product (Internet of Things) AWS announces its managed cloud platform for the Internet of Things.[111][112] The platform becomes generally available on December 18, 2015.[113]
2016 January 6 Regional diversification AWS launches a new region, called ap-northeast-2, in Seoul, the capital city of South Korea. The region is the fourth in the Asia-Pacific.[114]
2016 February Partnerships, Competition Spotify announces it will move its data from Amazon AWS to Google Cloud.[115]
2016 March Partnerships, Competition Dropbox announces that it now stores over 90% of its user data on its own infrastructure stack as it continues to transition from Amazon S3.[116][117][118]
2016 May 25 Partnerships Salesforce.com, a cloud computing company that makes money primarily through its customer relationship management product suite, selects Amazon Web Services as its preferred public cloud infrastructure provider. However, Salesforce.com does not plan to move entirely to Amazon, but rather use Amazon only to meet infrastructure expansion needs in new geographical areas and for specific use cases.[119][120][121] On December 2, 2016, the partnership is extended and it is announced that Salesforce will use AWS infrastructure in Canada.[122][123]
2016 June 5 Outage AWS Sydney experiences an outage for several hours as a result of severe thunderstorms in the region causing a power outage to the data centers.[124][125]
2016 June 27 Regional diversification AWS launches its first region in India, located in Mumbai, and called ap-south-1.[126][127][128][129]
2016 June 28 Product (storage) AWS launches Elastic File System (EFS) in production in three AWS regions (us-east-1, us-west-2, and eu-west-1). EFS allows customers to create POSIX-compliant file systems that can be attached to multiple EC2 instances. The file system grows and shrinks as needed and performance scales with storage size.[130][131][132] The service was originally announced on April 9, 2015.[133][134]
2016 July 14 Acquisitions AWS acquires Cloud9, a San Francisco-based startup that has built an integrated development environment (IDE) for web and mobile developers to collaborate together.
2016 August 4 Evaluation Gartner publishes an update to its Magic Quadrant for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings. The top right quadrant (for leaders) has only two players: Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, with AWS significantly higher. The only other player on the right half is Google Cloud Platform (a change from last year, when there were many others in the right half as well), and all other players are in the bottom left.[135][136]
2016 October 13 Partnerships VMWare, a company that provides cloud and virtualization services, announces a partnership with AWS, under which all of VMware's infrastructure will soon be available on AWS.[137][138][139]
2016 October 17 Regional diversification AWS launches its fourth public region in the United States, called us-east-2, in Ohio, with three availability zones. AWS also announces that it will treat this region and the North Virginia region as one region when considering transfer pricing (for instance, EC2 to EC2 transfer will be charged at the inter-availablity zone price, and S3 to EC2 transfer will be free), allowing its customers to have more regional redundancy and to migrate data off of the North Virginia data center.[140][141][142]
2016 November 30 Product (data migration) AWS announces the AWS Snowmobile, a secure data truck that can store up to 100 PB of data and supports data transfer at a rate of 1 Tb/second across multiple 40 Gb/second connections (so the truck can be filled in 10 days).[143][144][145][146]
2016 November 30 Product (Internet of Things, data migration) AWS announces Snowball Edge, an augmentation of its previous device Snowball. Snowball Edge is a piece of hardware with 100 TB of storage and an attached Kindle, as well as the capability to run AWS Lambda functions with the compute capability of the m4.4xlarge EC2 instance. Customers can request a Snowball Edge at $300 for ten days with an additional charge of $30 per day; after shipping it back the data can be uploaded to S3 as with the original Snowball.[147][148][146]
2016 November 30 Product (integrated solution) AWS announces Amazon Lightsail, intended to compete against existing virtual private server offerings such as those by Linode and DigitalOcean. Lightsail packages together a compute server, storage, and transfer into fixed-price plans, like VPS providers do.[149][150][151] Lightsail is a little more expensive than but otherwise comparable to similarly priced plans offered at the time by Linode and DigitalOcean. Linode is cheaper in terms of RAM and both Linode and DigitalOcean are cheaper in terms of network overage costs, but Lightsail costs less if the server is being spun up for only a few hours.[152]
2016 December 8 Regional diversification AWS launches its first region in Canada, called ca-central-1 for Canada (Central).[153][154]
2016 December 13 Regional diversification AWS launches its London region (eu-west-2). This is its third region in Europe and first in the United Kingdom, the other two regions being in Frankfurt (Germany) and Ireland.[155][156][157] Plans for the region had been announced in November 2015.[158]
2017 February 23 Product (compute) AWS launches i3 instances, a new generation of instances with large SSDs intended to be used for high-throughput datastores. The instances are more than 50% cheaper than the corresponding previous generation i2 instances, and have larger memory, putting Amazon ahead of Google and Microsoft Azure in this space.[159][160][161]
2017 February 28 Outage Amazon experiences an outage of S3 in us-east-1. There are also related outages for other services in us-east-1 including CloudFormation, autoscaling, Elastic MapReduce, Simple Email Service, and Service Workflow Service. A number of websites and services using S3, such as Medium, Slack, Imgur and Trello, are affected. AWS's own status dashboard initially fails to reflect the change properly due to a dependency on S3.[162][163][164] On March 2, AWS reveals that the outage was caused by an incorrect parameter passed in by an authorized employee while running an established playbook, that ended up deleting more instances than the employee intended.[165]
2017 March 28 Product (customer service) AWS launches Amazon Connect, a solution to help AWS users manage a customer contact center. The product is aimed at business teams including those who have little prior experience with customer service centers or IT management.[166][167][168]

Meta information on the timeline

How the timeline was built

  • The first iteration of the timeline was built by Alex K. Chen with payment from Vipul Naik, who provided a little bit of guidance. The version as of the end of this iteration is here.
  • The second iteration was worked on by Vipul Naik, using the following methods:
    • Extensive reading of the AWS blog and its archives, to get a sense of the types of product and service update announcements. Also, eyeballing through the posts in the TechCrunch tag on Amazon Web Services.
    • Completion of systematic coverage for all things in particular categories, such as: new region launches (just loaded up the list of regions and made sure a row is devoted to each), outages (scoured the Internet for list of major AWS outages and added them in), important products (relied on personal experience and hearsay on heaviest used AWS products).
    • Coverage of third-party reviews of AWS, such as the Gartner report.
    • More systematic coverage of major AWS users, their migration to and from AWS, or their start on AWS.

What the timeline is still missing

  • Release information on products and services that the people who've edited the timeline so far didn't consider important.
  • More insight into how competitor product release or advances in their cost structure, regional diversity or other aspects of their service have affected AWS.

Timeline update strategy

  • Look for new items covered on the AWS blog and the TechCrunch AWS tag when doing a single-sitting mass update of the timeline since the last update.
  • Add new region launches or other major product updates or outages, ideally as they happen.

See also

References

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