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Amazon News & Analysis

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.

What 2 Companies Rate Best in Customer Service?

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Financial services company USSA and uber-retailer Amazon took the top spots in the customer service ratings released by The Temkin Group, a detailed survey that evaluated 233 companies.

Chick-fil-A, Publix, H-E-B, credit unions, Starbucks, Costco, QVC and Trader Joe’s were among the companies with the best customer satisfaction, the survey found.

These Cloud Computing Vendors are Edging Up on AWS

Sure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the golden child of cloud computing, but Microsoft Azure isn't too far behind. And according to Gartner’s recently released Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Iaas), it's starting to nip into AWS’s market.

Gartner contends AWS is beginning to face significant competition on two fronts:  Microsoft is competing in the traditional business market and Google is challenging it in the cloud native market.

IBM's Offers: Customizable Cloud Apps for Business

IBM has upped the stakes in the cloud space with its announcement of a new set of cloud packages that will put it ahead of more traditional cloud offerings from competitors like Amazon and Microsoft.

Under the umbrella title of IBM Global Business Services, IBM is offering organizations the possibility of mixing and matching a number of IBM technologies and services to meet the needs of the organization as they arise.

Google Ups Its Cloud Game With Stackdriver Buy

Google Cloud Platform May 8 2014.jpgIn the latest twist in the ongoing battle for dominance in the cloud space, Google just announced it has bought Stackdriver, a cloud app monitoring service.

According to a statement from Google, Stackdriver’s technology will be pushed onto the Google Cloud platform. It underlines the company's ambitions to develop as a real challenger to Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Google has provided little information about the deal, but has said it will start working on integrating Stackdriver’s functionality into the Google Cloud as quickly as possible.

Google, Amazon Cut Cloud Prices Again

The battle for cloud supremacy intensified again.  At its Cloud Platform Live event Tuesday, Google slashed the prices for its cloud services lower than Amazon and Microsoft. Amazon responded with similar cuts. No news from Microsoft yet, but one thing is clear.

The big winners are cloud users.

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