Snap, the company that makes the popular app Snapchat, just hired away Jerry Hunter from Amazon Web Services, Snap has confirmed to Business Insider.
At Amazon he was responsible for Amazon’s data centres globally. At Snap he will be the VP of engineering, reporting to Snap engineering chief Tim Sehn, reports The Information’s Tom Dotan, who first reported the news.
Before Amazon, Hunter was running global data centres for another huge tech company. He was the VP of IT for Sun Microsystems which, before it got bought by Oracle, was also a pioneer in cloud computing (although the world didn’t call it that back in the day).
The interesting thing about hiring a data center expert is that Snap doesn’t run it’s own data centres. It is, instead, a marque customer for Google’s cloud, its App Engine service.
Controlling its destiny
Google’s head of cloud, Diane Greene, talks about Snap a lot, as an example of how much better Google’s cloud is than its competitors because App Engine automates everything. “They went from 0 to 100 million users without even formally hiring an ops team. Tim Sehn, their VP of engineering was like, ‘Yeah, it was just me and one other guy and it just worked. We scaled up,” she often says of Snap’s operations.
Snap is not at all likely to up and ditch Google, even if it’s working on building its own infrastructure. But the move hints that Snap wants to control more of its own destiny, perhaps even adding Amazon Web Services to its cloud mix at some point. Now that Snap allows people to save their photos and videos, its storage needs are growing, and its operations are growing more expensive. Having dueling cloud vendors is a sure-fire tactic to keep vendors costs low.
And as Snap branches out into new businesses and new lines of revenue in preparation for its IPO, the company could also be thinking of new ways to build out its own technology.
No doubt, Google is watching the situation closely.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.