New Amazon Builders’ Library: This Is ‘Not Taught At School’

‘I hope that this…helps you build distributed systems at the same scale and the same reliability as Amazon and AWS,’ Amazon chief technology officer Werner Vogels says.


A new Amazon Builders’ Library will give developers an inside look at Amazon’s development culture and how its architects build and operate distributed systems.

The library provides free access to a collection of articles written by the company’s senior technical leaders on how they design, build, run and scale the hardware and software systems underlying, Amazon Web Services and Amazon’s other businesses.

“Building distributed systems is hard,” said Amazon chief technology officer Werner Vogels, who announced the new service today during his keynote address at AWS re:Invent 2019 in Las Vegas. “Many of you developers ask us, ‘How do you guys do it? After 25 years, you must have a lot of experience in building these kind of systems. How does Amazon engineer at scale?’ I hope that this…helps you build distributed systems at the same scale and the same reliability as Amazon and AWS.”

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The library is launching with 13 articles, with more content in the pipeline, according to AWS “chief evangelist” Jeff Barr.

“This library is designed to give you direct access to the theory and the practices that underlie our work,” Barr wrote in a blog post today. “Students, developers, dev managers, architects and CTOs (chief technology officers) will all find this content to be helpful. This is the content that is ‘not sold in stores’ and not taught in school.”

The library is organized under two categories and three learning levels -- high level, intermediate and “deep dive.”

The architecture section features articles about decisions that Amazon makes when designing a cloud service that help it optimize for security, durability, high availability and performance. The software delivery and operations section has articles about Amazon’s process of releasing new software to the cloud and maintaining health and high availability.

Current articles in the collection range from “Avoiding Insurmountable Queue Backlogs” by David Yanacek, a principal engineer working on AWS Lambda Amazon software developer since 2006; to “Workload Isolation Using Shuffle-Sharding” by AWS senior principal engineer Colm MacCárthaigh; to “Ensuring Rollback Safety During Deployments” by AWS principal engineer Sandeep Pokkunuri.