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Aws News & Analysis

Outage Outrage As Microsoft's Azure Stumbles

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Microsoft is trying to recover from a widespread outage that affected its Azure cloud platform across multiple regions. The company acknowledged that 11-hour issue, which started last night, affected customers with virtual machines in all regions other than the new Australian data center.

The unanswered question now: What's the long-term impact of the outage, which knocked many third-party sites offline and created problems with Microsoft's Office 365 suite?

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.

Was Amazon Web Services the Winner in Xen Cloud Reboot?

information management, Was Amazon Web Services the Winner in Xen Cloud Reboot?

A cloud portfolio management provider has done some Monday-morning quarterbacking through cloud hosting customers affected by the recent Xen hypervisor problem and reboot for major cloud players. 

The winner?

If you go by Rightscale's numbers released today -- they surveyed about 449 customers of Amazon Web Services, Rackspace and SoftLayer -- Amazon seems to come out on top as the hosting companies worked to patch and reboot the potential issue announced Oct. 1.

Rightscale reported that of the 349 Amazon Web Services customers responding to Rightscale's Oct. 2-3 survey, 51 percent reported no application downtime as a result of the reboot, and another 21 percent reporting less than five minutes of downtime.

Of the 66 Rackspace Public Cloud users, 27 percent escaped with no downtime. Of the 42 SoftLayer Virtual Server respondents, 26 percent reported zero downtime. 

Meanwhile, 5 percent of AWS users reported more than one hour of downtime, while 13 percent for Rackspace and 17 percent for SoftLayer said the same.

(Rightscale also received 74 responses from organizations that used Xen in their internal data centers. Some respondents use multiple clouds, hence the total of more than 449).

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.

Big Data Bits: Big Data Smarts

Yesterday Salesforce completed its acquisition of RelateIQ, a startup that combines CRM and data science to get the right messages to the right person at the right time. The sales price was $392,133,512 -- not bad for a company that was founded three years ago.

While much was reported when the sale was first announced, little has been said as to what happens next, other than Salesforce gaining improved big data, data science and analytic capabilities.

Yesterday VentureBeat wrote, without identifying its source, that Salesforce would create an R&D division, Salesforce X, where RelateIQ’s data scientists would work.

Not a bad idea considering that RelateIQ’s Chief Technology officer, DJ Patil, was named one of the 7 most powerful data scientists in the world by Forbes magazine, and is credited (along with Jeff Hammerbacher) to have coined the term “data scientist”.

Patil’s team members aren’t slackers either. Rusian Belkin, Twitter’s former VP Engineering, Search and Content, leads Engineering at RealateIQ. And then there’s Daniel Francisco, Relate IQ’s Manager of Product, he was Chief of Staff and Product Manager at Linkedin.

Even if the Salesforce X rumor is wrong, it’s a good idea. So how about it, Mr. Benioff? You have one of the best data teams in the world working for you and chances are good that they’re more into doing interesting work than money. The latter of which they probably have plenty of because all of the successful startups they’ve worked at.

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.

Big Data Bits: Big Data Empowered

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The analysts say that big data is maturing, that we’re no longer in an investigative mode and that instead we’re getting busy. Big vendors are buying start-ups to extend capabilities to their customers, we’re starting to run Hadoop on the Cloud, we’re using new databases to power activities we wouldn’t have dreamed of in the past, and so on. Want to know more? Read on … 

AWS Message is Clear: Get Your Head Into Cloud for Agility

2014-16-July-Ostrich.jpgIt’s amazing that I still hear companies say cloud computing is not part of their strategy or they can't run the risk of storing secure data in the cloud. It's kind of like saying they still work by candlelight despite the invention of the light bulb. It’s time to come out of the dark ages!

The attendance at last week's AWS Summit 2014 held in New York City may be an indication that the tide is finally turning. The event drew a record attendance and claimed to have more than 10,000 registrations. The attendees clogged registration lines to the point where they actually ran out of badges. Thousands of others also watched the event remotely in real time. Maybe this is all a sign that people are finally getting their heads out of the sand and into the cloud!
 

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.

Brick-and-Mortar 'Cloud Store' isn't What it Seems #AmazonEvent

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It could be a coincidence, but then again, maybe not. Either way, it seems all but certain that Amazon will finally unveil its very own smartphone later today at a launch event in Seattle.

And that could have a great deal to do with the “day-long boot camps,” “classes” and tutorials that Amazon is conducting “free of charge” in its brick-and-mortar pop-up cloud store in San Francisco.

Reports indicate the new “device,” which was probably developed in Amazon’s Silicon Valley-based hardware Lab126, will be different than the iPhone and the Android devices we use today because it will have a 3-D, Google glass-type interface.

Chances are good that even the most experienced smart phone app developers might benefit from one-on-one tutorials (like you get at the Genius Bar at Apple) or need some related training to make the most of the new device’s capabilities.

After all, in order for a new smartphone to make a dent in today’s market, its apps and services have to be incredible. And it seems that at least some of those built for Amazon’s forthcoming device already may be.

Amazon Opens a Brick-and-Mortar Cloud Store

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Retailers along San Francisco's Market Street have struggled to make a buck over the past decade, in large part because of competition from online stores like Amazon.com. So it isn't without irony that Amazon Web Services opened a brick-and-mortar pop-up store in their midst.

At first, the 30-foot wide, three-story high storefront looks empty compared to the carefully decorated windows and sales banners in neighboring stores. Then you spot the burly bouncer guarding the door, suggesting that something private is going on behind the whited-out windows. Finally, you see the modest lettering for Amazon Web Services somewhat above eye level. And still, you wonder, what is this?

This is a month-long experiment for AWS that blends one part Apple Genius Bar, two parts hip startup and a smidge of trade show marketing to produce a coffee-scented, loft-like environment where Amazon's cloud clients can ask for some free advice, attend events, get some training or, perhaps, just wash down a handful of M&Ms with a complimentary cappuccino. Day-long boot camps, normally $600, are free, like everything else here.

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.

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