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Amazon News & Analysis

AWS Supports Hybrid Cloud with EC2 Container Service #reinvent

“Why do developers love containers?”

This is the question Werner Vogels, CTO and Vice President of Amazon.com, asked attendees of the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas just before announcing the preview availability of EC2 Container Services (ECS) – the new service for managing Docker containers that boosts AWS support for hybrid cloud.

After answering his question with a listing of benefits such as ease of development management, portability between environments, lower risk in deployments, smoother maintenance and management of application components, and the ability for it all to work together, Vogel went on to talk about the challenges of working with containers. 

“It’s really hard, I find,” he said. “Scheduling containers requires a lot of heavy lifting.” For example, he noted issues such as placement for higher availability, dividing resources per container, launching, rolling back, and handling custom management. 

With ECS, he said, customers can get all the benefits of containers without the overhead.

AWS Woos Enterprises with New Security Services #reinvent

Amazon is taking steps to ease enterprises’ biggest concerns around moving to its AWS platform. During a keynote at its AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas yesterday, the company announced three new security and compliance services developed specifically for enterprise customers.

Enterprises have been reluctant to move "the number of workloads they really wanted to move” to the cloud and AWS because of security and compliance issues, said Andy Jassy, senior vice president of Amazon Web Services. “What we see as the new normal now is that security and compliance are becoming reasons that customers are moving to the cloud.”

Sooner or Later We'll Learn How Smart Jeff Bezos Really Is

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Shareholders are getting increasingly impatient with Amazon and its casual attitude toward profits. The company just delivered a disappointing earnings report that surprised the Street -- even though Amazon warned in its last report that the third quarter would be grim.

The numbers, which we will get to in a moment, are almost beside the point. There are larger issues at stake as the shareholder disgruntlement against Amazon grows.

As its losses mount, will Amazon be forced to stop making myriad — and expensive — investments in other companies and technologies and settle down to business, namely its e-commerce empire?

Or will shareholders be proved wrong about their growing ire over Amazon's investment spree?

Or, to put it in its most stark terms: will Jeff Bezos' vision for the company, no matter how seemingly schizophrenic right now, be proved correct in the end?

Take a Seat Google, Amazon: Microsoft's Cloud Wins the Day

Though the new mobile-first, cloud-first Microsoft is more open and plays nice with everyone, it also wants to knock the socks, shirt and hat off of the competition. And, if CEO Satya Nadella is right, it has everything it needs to do so.

While mobile, as Microsoft now defines it, is “not about the device” whether it’s a sensor, small screen or large screen, but about “powering mobility with intelligence,” the productivity and collaboration tools are all Microsoft (Office 365 and Dynamics).

And when it comes to the cloud, Microsoft may have one few others can match. We’re not talking only about a super-charged, hyper-scale cloud in the heavens, but also about a new Azure-like appliance that Enterprises can deploy in their own data centers. It has been designed specifically to handle big data workloads (32 cores, 450 gigabytes of RAM and 6.5 terabytes of local solid-state drive storage). Officially named the Microsoft Cloud Platform System (CPS), powered by Dell it is, in essence, an “Azure consistent cloud in a box” with pre-integrated hardware from Dell and software from Microsoft.

B2B Suppliers are Losing Market Share to B2C Websites

B2B buyers in the United States are more active online than ever before. But few are successfully leveraging their suppliers’ websites to find the information and make the purchases they need.

Instead, they're turning to third-party e-commerce sites like Amazon, according to the 2014 Acquity Group State of B2B Procurement.

Rackspace CEO: We Screwed Up During Cloud Reboot

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Rackspace's CEO didn't mince words in an email to customers yesterday. He admitted the company made communication mistakes as it worked this week to patch a security vulnerability affecting certain versions of XenServer, a popular open-source hypervisor.

Taylor Rhodes, CEO and president of the San Antonio, Texas-based public and private cloud hosting provider, said the problem ultimately forced a reboot for about a quarter of Rackspace's 200,000 customers.

"In the course of it, we dropped a few balls," Rhodes said. "Some of our reboots, for example, took much longer than they should. And some of our notifications were not as clear as they should have been. We are making changes to address those mistakes. And we welcome your feedback on how we can better serve you." 

Oops! Is Rackspace Rethinking its 99.99% Uptime Boast?

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Eleven hours and counting. 

It's been a long haul of public-cloud downtime for David Björkevik and his team at Schemagi, a Linköping, Sweden-based company that makes schedules for nurses and other healthcare personnel using advanced optimization techniques.

Schemagi is one of the Rackspace public cloud customers experiencing downtime because of a maintenance reboot scheduled by the San Antonio, Texas-based managed hosting provider that offers public and private cloud hosting services.

Rackspace posted an "urgent notice" early Saturday morning ET on its website notifying customers of cloud server reboots in light of a potential problem with its public cloud environment.

The news comes around the same time the company 99.99 percent OpenStack API uptime guarantee for its new release of its private cloud software on its cloud computing open source OpenStack creation. 

Amazon Widens Its Moat

2014-02-September-Forbidden-City.jpgLast Christmas Eve, Amazon received an early gift in the shape of a patent for "anticipatory package shipping." The patent describes a method for shipping a package of one or more items to an end destination’s geographical area without specifying the delivery address at time of shipment -- the final destination is defined en route. While last Christmas may have been good to Amazon on several fronts, this patent and some other actions it's pursuing indicate how determined Amazon is to expand the already sizable moat between it and other retailers.

Zocalo + Amazon Web Services Could Be Game Changer

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Things are already pretty messy in the productivity space between Microsoft and Google. But it could get a whole lot messier.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)  just announced that its document storage, sharing and collaboration application for the enterprises is now on general release.

Amazon Zocalo has been in limited preview since July, but is now available to all AWS customers with bargain basement prices, and could be a game changer in the document collaboration and sharing and sync space.

Move Over, Google AdWords?

Amazon may be trying to step on Google's online advertising toes.

The online web shopping giant is producing software for placing ads online much like its long-time cyber nemesis does so well with Google Adwords, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

What will they do? Replace ads on its own pages that Google owns with its own.

Whose Idea Was This? Amazon's Investment in Acquia

Amazon threw a big chunk of change at Acquia yesterday. Perhaps it wants to stake its claim in the startup that provides commercial services around the open-source Drupal content management system before it goes public, which could happen as soon as later this year or in 2015.

Though neither company is disclosing the size of the investment, it certainly makes their relationship more symbiotic than it already was. Consider that Acquia runs on more than 8,000 AWS instances and serves more than 27 billion hits a month (333 TB of bandwidth a month).

The Enterprise of the Future: Not as Cloudy as You Think?

The enterprise is “all in” on the (public) cloud, right? That’s certainly what all the hype leads us to believe.

After all, hardly a week goes by without Amazon, Google or Microsoft dropping their prices as they race to the bottom in the cloud wars. Not only that but there are also a host of celebrity-like CEO’s such as Salesforce’s Marc Benioff, Amazon’s Werner Vogels and Box’s Aaron Levie. They’re constantly in front of crowds preaching cloud-only gospels.

And there are the more recently converted to consider as well, such as IBM’s Ginni Rometty, who bought Cloudant, Silverpop and SoftLayer over the past 18 months and launched the IBM’s cloud Marketplace in April. Never mind SAP’s Bill McDermott, who started to refer the company he now single-handedly reins as “the cloud company”.

But all of that being said, there’s a newer trend in the enterprise now taking hold that indicates that the future may actually be hybrid. It seems that some managers don’t want or can’t have their data floating around “in the heavens” for reasons of security and compliance reasons, despite the cost savings.

Amazon Wants In on the Enterprise Sync and Share Action Too

Just yesterday we wrote that the file storage, synching and sharing market may be as big as one trillion dollars. When Amazon found out about it, they went and built their own EFSS offering.

OK, maybe it wasn’t our article that inspired AWS, but they did introduce an Enterprise Storage and Sharing service today. Its name? Zocalo.

Available in limited preview starting now, its primary functions seem to be primitive versions of what the Leaders and Challengers in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for EFSS have to offer.

Microsoft, Google Yield to Pressure to Improve Phone Security

Microsoft and Google will incorporate a kill switch into the next version of Windows-based and Android smartphones. The feature, which is already featured on Apple's iPhone 5, allows users to remotely wipe all data and information on the device in the event of theft.

At a press conference yesterday, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón announced they had reached agreements with both companies to include the feature in the next iteration of their respective operating systems.

Amazon's New Fire Phone Targets Apple

Thumbnail image for 2014-18-June-Amazon-Boxes.jpgAmazon, the company that wants to sell you everything, today introduced a phone that should make that much easier.

The Fire phone is the first smartphone from the Seattle-based retailer. But before you say ho-hum, it's not just the latest sparkly gadget. It's a clear signal that Amazon now has locked onto Apple with its infrared sensors.

Importantly, the phone connects with other Amazon services directly, meaning you'll be able to do quick price checks on 70 million products, choose from 35 million songs, tune in 160 live TV channels or watch 245,000 movies. Bandwidth sold separately, but the first year of Amazon Prime, the company's entertainment service, is included.

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