Amazon’s Development Center in Dresden: Predicted Growth and Impact

Amazon’s Development Center in Dresden: Predicted Growth and Impact

View of Amazon’s development center in Dresden. Photo: Amazon

Hypervisors and migration helpers: development team could increase to over 400 by 2030

Dresden, September 14, 2023. The Amazon development center in Dresden will grow significantly in the next few years. This is what Chrisschläger, the head of the “Amazon Development Center Germany” (ADCG), predicted today on the tenth anniversary of its founding. The software research center on Großenhainer Strasse could possibly grow from currently around 100 employees to around 430 employees by the end of the decade – if it reaches the old pre-Corona growth rates of 30 percent again and expands another floor.

Chrisschläger heads the “Amazon Development Center Germany” in Dresden: Linux expert Chrisschläger. Photo: Heiko Weckbrodt

Partly responsible for the strong growth of Amazon’s cloud division

With its research into better operating systems for computer clouds (“clouds”), the ADCG has contributed to the strong growth of the “Amazon Web Services” (AWS) division within the digital group Amazon over the past ten years, saysschläger. “Without technologies like the ‘Live Migration Technology’ that we developed here in Dresden, Amazon Web Services would hardly have been able to develop so dynamically.”

Energy and environmental balance are becoming more of a focus

In the future, the center will continue to devote itself to important future questions: how, for example, clouds can be made to consume less energy, how more computing power can be squeezed out of computers at lower costs and how the ecological balance of digital services can be improved. Therefore, further growth is inevitable in Dresden.

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This is also part of working at the Amazon development center in Dresden: a playroom to relax. Photo: Heiko Weckbrodt

Created ten years ago from the remains of an AMD development center in Dresden

Today’s ADCG emerged from AMD’s OSRC operating system development center in Saxony. When the US processor manufacturer withdrew from Dresden, Chrisschläger moved to Amazon with a core team in 2013: The former internet bookseller had long since grown into an online giant that also wanted to make better use of its own computer capacity by renting it out to customers. The AWS division, which was still young at the time, was looking for operating system experts for these cloud services and found them in the Dresden team in Dresden. schläger and his colleagues initially resided in the Waldschlösschen area and in 2021 moved to a renovated former typewriter factory behind Neustadt train station. In order to attract new talent, the team cooperates with the TU Dresden and the Manos-Gymnasium, among others. The center has also recently become a member of the “Silicon Saxony” network.

The “Amazon Web Services” development center in Dresden is located on Großenhainer Straße. Photo: Heiko Weckbrodt

Migration technology from Dresden makes quick and unnoticed relocations possible

The Dresden collective specializes primarily in “Hypervisoren“, which set up virtual computers on physical computers. Based on this, the programmers then developed “Live Migration Technology”. This allows Amazon’s AWS division to move its customers’ data quickly and smoothly, for example from older to newer computers or to low-consumption systems when the computing load is low. And that in turn saves energy and costs – and ultimately also relieves the burden on the environment, emphasizesschläger.

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Further locations opened in Berlin, Aachen and Tübingen

Since its beginnings ten years ago, Amazon has of course entrusted the Germans with more and more development tasks. Therefore, the ADCG now has other locations in addition to Dresden: Berlin takes care of machine learning (ML), Aachen takes care of language processing software and Tübingen, the youngest German location, deals with robotics and also ML.

Rejoicing in the Amazon development center in Dresden (from left to right): Dresden Mayor Dirk Hilbert, center manager Chrisschläger, Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer and US Embassy Councilor Stephen Anderson. Photo: Heiko Weckbrodt

Prime Minister: We need purchased technology like from TSMC – but also our own developments like from Amazon Dresden

Given this growth, US Embassy Counselor Stephen Anderson called the ADCG a success story of economic cooperation between Germany and the US. The Saxon Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) sees it similarly: While settlements like that of TSMC are more of a “bought” technology transfer to Saxony, the Amazon team in Dresden has created its own technologies that are genuinely located here, he said with a view to the Debates about billion-dollar settlement subsidies for the Taiwanese chip manufacturer TSMC. In-house technologies are a particularly important success factor for a location that not only scores with chips and cars, but also with groundbreaking software development. In general, the software sector in particular has made a significant contribution to the increase in employment in the state capital in recent years, added Dresden Mayor Dirk Hilbert (FDP) from a local perspective.

There is still a lot of potential for the interface between the operating system and the processor

And Schlager is also convinced that there is still a lot of potential at the interface between hardware and software where the Dresden Amazon team operates. It is not without reason that Amazon – actually more of an electronic trading and software company – has also developed into a chip manufacturer and has developed a specialized cloud processor called “Graviton”, argues the ADCG boss. “In the beginning everything went well with standard technology,” saysschläger. “Now most of the computers in our data centers are custom-designed, so they have special hardware.” This shows how much the operating system, processor and other software and hardware have to be thought of together.

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Strong operating system community has grown in Dresden

It is all the more pleasing that a strong community of operating system experts has grown together with the chip industry in Dresden. “I am also confident that this area will continue to grow,” saysschläger. And this in turn could possibly pay off for future settlements – just think of the recent projects with RISC-V processor architectures in the city.

Author: Heiko Weckbrodt

Sources: AWS/ADCG, on-site visit, assessmentsschläger, Kretschmer, Hilbert and Anderson, Oiger archive, Redhat

2023-09-14 12:29:02
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