Don't let it get away!
Keep track of the stocks that matter to you.
Help yourself with the Fool's FREE and easy new watchlist service today.
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
-- From "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll
The confounding world of high technology is enough to drive a nervous man distracted, to paraphrase Moby-Dick. Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN ) thinks that the MapReduce technology that was invented at Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) is good enough to build a moneymaking service on. How come Google didn't think of that first?
MapReduce is a fancy way of dividing a very large computing task into smaller bites. Those chunks are then handed out to dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of servers that handle the actual number-crunching. Amazon notes that MapReduce is handy for "web indexing, data mining, log file analysis, machine learning, financial analysis, scientific simulation, and bioinformatics research," among other things.
The technology has been a vital part of Google's own Web-mapping efforts for years. Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) powers its own search engine with the open-source Hadoop application -- a straightforward third-party implementation of the MapReduce concept -- and Hadoop also runs Amazon's new service.
People have been running their own Hadoop operations on Amazon's Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2) for a while. The official MapReduce service simplifies the setup greatly and cuts the processing costs to just 15% of the fees to lease full EC2 instances for the same workload.
IBM's (NYSE: IBM ) Blue Cloud runs Hadoop, too. This technology is growing serious muscle, and seems very popular with developers. Google's AppEngine is nice, but doesn't offer anything like Hadoop -- whose architecture, as I recall, was originally derived from work done at Google.
It's a different story from Amazon's perspective, of course. The online retailer is rapidly becoming the go-to name in serious cloud computing, and this service is yet another bright feather in its cap.
Web services may not make Amazon much money today, but at this rate, I wouldn't be surprised to see Amazon eventually becoming a technology vendor first and a retailer second. Stranger and dumber things have happened.
More mimsy Foolishness: