'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
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!
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.
Google falling behind?
All of this has to be highly exasperating for Google fans and shareholders. At least Microsoft's
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:
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Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Google, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. Anders wants a Beowulf cluster of MapReduce clouds, and he gyres in frabjous joy over National Poetry Month. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.