Amazon: Our cloud powered Obama's campaign

Amazon says more than 200 apps, including the primary voter registry file for Obama's re-election campaign, were powered by its cloud

Amazon says its market-leading cloud platform housed more than 200 custom-built applications for President Obama's re-election campaign, resulting in a temporary IT deployment that rivals the scope and complexity of IT services at the largest enterprises.

And then, after the campaign, it was basically all taken down. Hence, the power of the cloud. "The words 'mission critical' definitely apply here," wrote AWS blogger Jeff Barr in a recap of the Obama campaign's use of the AWS cloud. "With the opportunity to lead the United States as the prize, the stakes were high."

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AWS says the Obama campaign used almost every service available in its cloud, with an intense scale-up of services in the days leading up to the election.

A database on Amazon's Relational Database Service (RDS) served as the primary registry for voter file information, for example. An analytics tool running on AWS's Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) service provided dynamic, real-time information on voter targets, segmenting of perspective voters and recommendations on shifting marketing dollars based on real-time feedback.

A campaign call tool supported 7,000 concurrent users that placed 2 million calls on the last four days of the campaign, AWS reported. "The campaign used AWS to avoid an IT investment that would have run into the tens of millions of dollars," Barr writes.

Then, after the election, the campaign backed all of the information up to AWS's Simple Storage Service (S3) and "scaled way, way down."

Obama campaign officials will be sharing more of their story at AWS's first-ever user event at the end of the month in Las Vegas where Obama campaign CTO Harper Reed will be speaking on a panel discussion titled "Big Data and the US Presidential Campaign."

The news is in stark contrast to recent reports about the failure of Republic challenger Mitt Romney's analytics platform dubbed "Orca" which reportedly suffered widespread problems on Election Day.

Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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