Tag: Cloud

Microsoft to build Azure UK data centre

Every silver has a cloudy liningSoftware giant Microsoft is building a new UK data centre for its Azure cloud – the announcement follows something similar from AWS.

Vole wants its cloud services based in the UK beginning in 2016 and AWS will have it ready by the by the end of 2016 (or early 2017).

Vole is behind AWS in cloud services but the distance between the pair is huge.

Setting up in the UK makes a lot of sense. London’s status as a financial hub makes it attractive market for cloud vendors, and having a local region (composed of multiple data centres) mimimises latency.

Microsoft is a US corporation there may be circumstances when the US government can demand access to data. This is less likely to be possible if the data is kept in a local data centre.

If the US does succeed in getting court orders for the data stored in Europe chances are the EU would ban American companies running data centres. This would be too much of a political hot potato for the US government which is currently attempting to re-negotiate its safe-harbour status in Europe having lost it due to its spying antics.

Microsoft has the Ministry of Defence signed up as its first customer, which is probably why it has to have the data kept within the UK.

The department will be migrating to a “private instance” of Office 365, hosted partly by HP and in part by the new UK Azure region.

Cloud channel will not have long to wait for US data pact

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudThose resellers who sell cloud services for US companies in the EU will be relieved to discover that the US is close to coming up with a new “Safe Harbour” deal.

Safe Harbour was a fast-track process that US companies could use to comply with European data protection law, which prevents EU citizens’ personal data being transferred to non-EU countries deemed to have insufficient privacy safeguards.

The EU Courts have struck down the current “Safe Harbour” laws because the US clearly was taking European data.

US. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said that the “Safe Harbour 2.0” agreement currently being negotiated would meet European concerns about the transfer of data to the United States.

“A solution is within hand. We had an agreement prior to the court case. I think with modest refinements that are being negotiated we could have an agreement shortly. The solution … is Safe Harbour 2.0, which is totally doable.”

EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova told a parliamentary committee this week that she hoped to have made progress on “intensive technical discussions” with her U.S. counterparts before a visit to Washington DC in mid-November.

Pritzker admitted that it was costing small and medium-sized US businesses that depend on Safe Harbour a lot of dosh. But that is the price you pay when your government believes that it can spy on whoever it likes.

HP gets off of its public cloud

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudThe maker of expensive printer ink, HP is calling it quits on its public cloud offering.

The Helion Public Cloud will be abandoned next year as the vendor is more interested in private cloud products and rather scared of its chums Microsoft and Amazon.

HP has been denying that it will close Helion for six months, but the signs were there. In April, HP executive Bill Hilf said that HP no longer saw public cloud as a priority and that it made “no sense” for HP to go head to head with the likes of Amazon, Google and Microsoft.

He backtracked on this statement and said that HP would continue running Helion which operates  one of the largest OpenStack-based public clouds. Writing in his bog, Hilf confirmed what he denied six months ago and that Helion Public Cloud is doomed.

Hilf said HP has made the decision to “double down on our private and managed cloud capabilities” and confirmed that HP will “sunset” Helion Public Cloud on 31 January 2016.

Public cloud remains relevant to HP as part of its hybrid cloud strategy, but the vendor will now work with multiple partners such as Amazon to satisfy its customers’ public cloud needs.

“In order to deliver on this demand with best-of-breed public cloud offerings, we will move to a strategic, multiple partner-based model for public cloud capabilities, as a component of how we deliver these hybrid cloud solutions to enterprise customers,” Hilf said.

“Therefore, we will sunset our HP Helion Public Cloud offering on 31 January 2016.”

HP has been getting closer to Amazon of late as part of its hybrid delivery with HP Helion Eucalyptus. It has also worked with Microsoft to support Office 365 and Azure, he added.

“We also support our PaaS customers wherever they want to run our Cloud Foundry platform – in their own private clouds, in our managed cloud, or in a large-scale public cloud such as AWS or Azure,” Hilf said.

HP invested more than $1bn in its cloud business over two years when it unveiled its Helion range of OpenStack-based cloud products and services last May so it looks half that money was lost.

Walmart takes on Amazon with open source cloud

ASDA1US retail giant Walmart is looking to an open source cloud to turn the tables on Amazon.

Walmart, which owns Asda, saw its shares fall 10 percent this week following news that the company will grow just three to four percent over the next three years, with profit dropping 12 percent in 2017.

Chief Financial Officer Charles Holley blamed rising wages, and the increased cost of training staff. It’s not until 2019 that revenue will grow again.

Walmart is still bigger than Amazon in terms of revenue, but after 18 years, Amazon.com’s market value stands at $254.8 billion. Walmart this week managed to wipe more than $21 billion off its value, down to $213.9 billion.

This is where the cloud comes in. Walmart is creating WalmartOne, which runs on the open source OneOps cloud computing code.

OneOps is Walmart’s own cloud platform, with the company claiming it changed the way its engineers developed and helped shaped how Walmart launched new products to customers.

This week WalmartLabs said OneOps will be released to the world as open source, with the source code being uploaded to code repository GitHub by Christmas.

This means that Walmart is taking the fight to Amazon Web Services by giving developers a chance to avoid vendor lock-in, a situation in which companies are stuck to contracts and technologies supplied by one cloud provider.

King added that by making the platform open source, OneOps will drive competitors to “compete based on price, customer service and innovation.

Google and Amazon will win cloud wars

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudBeancounters from Forrester believe that the future of cloud computing belongs to Amazon and Google.

Analyst John Rymer says “public cloud services,” which is where the future lies and even Dell’s EMC purchase can’t change that.

Amazon and Google now offer their own infrastructure to the rest of the world as cloud computing services. This will be bad news for Microsoft which is bigger than Google at the moment.

Forrester’s report, which draws on interviews with vendors and customers across the market, looks exclusively at “public cloud services” rather than private clouds.

Rymer and Forrester now call the public cloud a “hyper-growth” market. Its new report predicts that this market will grow to $191 billion by 2020. That’s 20 percent more than they predicted in their previous report, back in 2011.

“The adoption among cloud among enterprises, which is really where the money is, has really picked up steam. It’s a big shift. The cloud has arrived. It’s inevitable.”

The report encompasses a wide range of services, like Amazon’s EC2, which serves up virtual machines where you can run practically any software you want and Microsoft Office 365, a suite of pre-built and configured software applications you can tap into via the ‘net.

It said that companies like Amazon and Microsoft and Google continue to expand across all these areas. Amazon just introduced a sweeping array of new services last week.

According to the report, “cloud platform services” like Amazon EC2, where you can build and run your own software, will be a $44 billion market by 2020. Meanwhile, back-end business services will reach $14 billion, and cloud software applications will hit $131 billion.

“A lot of businesses are now saying: ‘I want to move my operational application, back office applications, into public clouds. That’s a big deal. In the past, so many people said: ‘I’m never going there.’ Now they’re actually working at it.”

The public cloud won’t take over the whole IT market, Rymer says, but this is where the big growth lies. According to Rhymer, software-as-a-service offerings such as Office 365 are growing the quickest at the moment.

The biggest winner here will likely be Amazon because it has a massive customer base and they’re been at it longer.

Amazon has revealed that its cloud operation is now a $4.6 billion business, and the company expects it to grow to $6.23 billion by the end of the year. The next-biggest player is Microsoft. In April, Redmond said it’s on track to reach $6.3 billion in revenue this year, including sales of its Office 365 and its Dynamics customer relationship management service. Google, in many respects, has a technical lead on Amazon and Microsoft, but it was slower to market. IBM, with its acquisition of a company called SoftLayer is also a presence.

Services from Google and IBM may not grow as quickly as Amazon’s. But they will grow. It’s where the world is moving, the report said.

Google partners have another Cloud product

LOD_Cloud_Diagram_as_of_September_2011Google is adding another product in its range of big data services on the Google Cloud Platform today.

Dubbed the Cloud Dataproc service, the product is in beta, but Google Beta products normally stay that way for years.

The service sits between managing the Spark data processing engine or Hadoop framework directly on virtual machines and a fully managed service like Cloud Dataflow.

This allows the partner to orchestrate data pipelines on Google’s platform.

Dataproc users can create a Hadoop cluster in under 90 seconds and Google will only charge 1 cent per virtual CPU/hour in the cluster. It is top of the usual cost of running virtual machines and data storage, but you can add Google’s cheaper preemptible instances to your cluster to save a bit on compute costs. Billing is per-minute, with a 10-minute minimum.

Users can set up ad-hoc clusters when needed and because it is managed, Google will handle the administration for them.

It is compatible with all existing Hadoop-based products, and it should be a doddle to port existing workloads over to Google’s new service.

Some punters want total control over their data pipeline and processing architecture and are more likely to want to run and manage their own virtual machines. Dataproc users won’t have to make any real tradeoffs when compared to setting up their own infrastructure.

Cloud no panacea as Citrix tries to sell itself

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudIt would appear that tacking “cloud” onto your product list is not proving to be a panacea for IT company woes.

Citrix, a US cloud computing company, is making a final attempt to sell itself as a whole before it embarks on asset sales, according to people familiar with the matter.

Citrix, which had attracted the interest of private equity investors before it agreed in July to give a man called Elliott a seat on its board of directors, is having new conversations with buyout firms.

Apparently the outfit is looking to hardware makers like Dell who might want to create a product and cloud package.

Citrix announced in July it would explore strategic alternatives for its GoTo family of products, including videoconferencing and desktop sharing service GoToMeeting. However, a sale process for these assets has not started yet because Citrix wants to see if it can still sell itself at a satisfactory valuation, according to the sources.

If Citrix does not sell itself it will sell or spin off its GoTo products, and other methods to asset strip itself.

Citrix provides communications software and networking solutions for businesses. It reported net income of $251.7 million in 2014, down from $339.5 million in 2013.

Earlier this year, Elliott called on Citrix to sell some units, cut costs and buy back shares to make up for six years of underperformance. In addition to the GoTo business, Elliott has called for Citrix to explore the sale of NetScaler, which helps speed up Web-based applications.

Elliott clinched a deal with Citrix in July that gave Jesse Cohn, one of its senior partners, a seat on the company’s board. Citrix also said it would start a search for an independent board member, mutually agreeable to Citrix and Elliott.

It also said at the time that Chief Executive Mark Templeton was retiring and that it would search for a new CEO.

Earlier this month, Citrix said it would repurchase up to an additional $500 million of its common stock.

 

 

 

Ubuntu is the cloud king

cloud 2Ubuntu is more than twice as popular on the Amazon cloud as all other operating systems combined, according to a new analysis.

According to the Cloud Market which looked at operating systems on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Ubuntu has approximately 135,000 instances. In second place is Amazon’s own Amazon Linux Amazon Machine Image (AMI), with 54,000. Windows is third with 17,600 instances.

By dominating AWS, Ubuntu is the most popular cloud Linux.

Ubuntu has been available on HP Cloud, and Microsoft Azure since 2013. It’s also now available on Google Cloud Platform, Fujitsu, and Joyent.

Canonical, Ubuntu’s parent company, is also putting considerable efforts behind OpenStack for the private and hybrid cloud. Indeed, Canonical has also worked with Microsoft to bring Windows Server to OpenStack and with Oracle to bring Oracle Linux to the Ubuntu take on OpenStack.

Apparently, 53 percent of all production OpenStack clouds are running Ubuntu. CentOS is far in the back with 29 percent.

Autodesk slumps thanks to cloudy subscription model

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudThe software subscription model is taking a beating after the maker of computer-aided design (CAD) software, Autodesk cut its full-year profit and revenue forecast for the second time this year, sending its shares down seven percent.

Autodesk also reported lower than expected quarterly revenue as its licensing revenue declined because of the company’s shift to a cloud based subscription model.

The company said it expects revenue of $2.47 billion-$2.50 billion for the year. In May, the company forecast 2016 revenue growth of two to four percent, compared with fiscal 2015, implying revenue of $2.56 billion to $2.61 billion.

Analysts on average were expecting revenue of $2.59 billion.

Chief Executive Carl Bass said during a conference call said that the company had updated its revenue outlook based on a greater than expected portion of its sales shifting from perpetual licences to new subscription types.

Subscriptions bring in less money upfront as payment is spread over the entire period of use unlike traditional packaged software, but typically ensure more predictable recurring revenue.

However, the company maintained its full-year forecast for billing growth and net subscription additions.

The company’s licensing and subscription revenue, which accounts for nearly half of its total revenue, fell 17 percent in the second quarter ending July 31, from a year earlier.

The company reported a net loss of $235.5 million, or $1.04 per share, for the second quarter, compared with a profit of $31.3 million, or 13 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenues fell 4.3 percent to $609.5 million, missing the average analyst estimate of $612.4 million.

 

SAP does well in the cheap cloud market

cloudbustThe maker of expensive, esoteric business software, which no-one is really sure what it does, is making a lot of dosh flogging cheap cloud products.

SAP reported mixed quarterly results as revenues topped expectations due to a surge in newer, lower-margin cloud software.

This should have been good but it stuffed up company margins pushing down profit to the very low end of forecasts.

SAP said second-quarter operating profit, excluding special items,rose 13 percent to $1.50 billion, which was the low end of what the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street expected.

Europe’s largest software maker reported total revenue of $5.38 billion, up 20 percent.

Operating margin dropped to 28 percent from 29.8 percent a year ago. The decline reflected increased investments in SAP’s newer cloud-based software services, where revenues from new sales come later in the form of subscription payments.

SAP is taking on Oracle, IBM and Microsoft to boost Internet-based software sales and fend off pure cloud-based rivals Salesforce.com, Workday and, less directly, industry pacesetter Amazon.com’s web unit.

Salesforce.com in May raised its revenue forecast for the full year, after the cloud software company reported a profit for the first time in seven quarters.

SAP’s cloud subscription and support revenue from continuing operations jumped 129 percent. On the same basis, revenues from its mainstay software license business rose 13 percent. Without currency effects, software licenses grew 3 percent.

 

Oracle’s cloud deals questioned

Pic Mike MageeOracle appears to be forcing corporate clients to buy its cloud products using a complex orchestrated legal maneuver in the dark.

Business Insider claims that Oracle is pressuring some of its customers to add cloud to their contracts that they neither want nor plan to use by using a tactic insiders call “the nuclear option”.

After stuffing up its revenue and profits in the quarter that is traditionally its strongest, Oracle is under pressure. However Oracle’s CEO, Safra Catz, said  analysts blew past its own internal expectations for cloud computing sales. Cloud accounted for about $2.3 billion out of $38.2 billion in revenue.

Chairman Larry Ellison said that was great because every $1 million of cloud contract is worth $10 million over the life of the deal, compared to being worth $3 million for a typical software contract.

But Business Insider claims that Oracle is using its software licences to force customers into these lucrative contracts.

Oracle licenses its software under complex legal conditions. Users have to pay for Oracle software using a variety of metrics such as how many are using the software and which features of the software are being used.

Oracle makes it extremely easy for admins to turn on new features or add more users, and then pay for that increased usage later. That system involves an “audit.”

Much of the time, an audit is used as a sales tactic. Instead of simply paying a big bill, the customer agrees to buy more over the long haul.

If Oracle thinks the customer is really abusing the terms, it whips out the “breach notice,” which warns a customer that they are in violation and must stop using all Oracle software in 30 days.

That’s risky, because it allows the customer to walk away from its Oracle contracts.

They can’t really do that because it can take years to change a database and Oracle is giving them a month or forces them to negotiate.

When they do Oracle says they will have to pay an outrageously high out-of-compliance fine or add cloud “credits” to the contract.

Until this year, Oracle didn’t lightly use the “nuclear option” breach notice but now it is using it even more.

Oracle had an especially good quarter selling cloud in the EU were it was used six times so far in 2015. Business Insider said that it is being used more and more and Oracle is becoming more aggressive

Cisco buys OpenDNS

Merge-AheadUS spies’ favourite  target Cisco wants to buy the cloud security company OpenDNS for $635 million.

Cisco was one of the outfit’s investors in a $35 million round in May, 2014.

The $635 million will be paid in cash and assumed equity awards, plus retention based incentives for OpenDNS, according to information supplied by Cisco.

OpenDNS gives Cisco, a network vendor that offers more traditional network edge protection.

The purchase builds on Cisco’s strategy to add a cloud security layer, according to a blog post by Hilton Romanski, who leads business development at Cisco.

Romanski wrote in in his bog: “The acquisition will extend our ability to provide customers enhanced visibility and threat protection for unmonitored and potentially unsecure entry points into the network, and to quickly and efficiently deploy and integrate these capabilities as part of their defense architecture.”

The OpenDNS team will join the Cisco Security Business Group. The deal is expected to be finalized during the first quarter of fiscal 2016.

OpenDNS has over 10,000 paying customers, over 50 million users (through its free service). It runs 24 data centers, and claims more than 2 percent of the world’s DNS traffic with an astonishing 100 percent uptime, according to information supplied by the company last year.
Cisco has indicated it will continue to offer the free version of OpenDNS.

“The OpenDNS free DNS services will not be affected. Cisco is committed to OpenDNS’ consumer and enterprise DNS services. The OpenDNS products will transition into Cisco upon close of the acquisition.”

 

Box opens a deal with Big Blue

blue boxBox seems to be signing deals like crazy – first with Redmond and now with Big Blue.

The pair have a cunning plan to cross IBM content management, Watson analytics and IBM Verse and Connections social collaboration tools. Box has a deal with Microsoft over Office 365 for the desktop, Office on iOS and Outlook.

The UK government recently approved the use of Box across Whitehall for all non-sensitive information marked as “official”.

What this means is that Box can cut costs which is important as SaaS players are losing cash.

It is also a sign that IBM is getting more proactive in the deal making arena to enhance its cloud capabilities.

In a statement, IBM senior vice president Bob Picciano said that the integration of IBM and Box technologies, combined with IBM’d global cloud capabilities and the “ability to enrich content with analytics, will help unlock actionable insights for use across the enterprise. So if you want your actionable insights unlocked a Blue Box might be the way forward.

The companies plan to integrate their existing products and services and develop new,” products targeted across industries and professions ranging from medical teams working on complex cases to individuals negotiating consumer loans by mobile phone to engineers and researchers identifying patterns in patents, reports and academic journals.”

We hope that they will work on shortening their sentences in press releases because this one was longer that something issued by Judge Jefferies.

 

Oracle expands cloud offerings

Tcloudhe troubled Oracle outfit has just told its channel partners that it is extending its cloud offerings in a bid to improve its bottom line and see off competition from Amazon.

Executive Chairman Larry Ellison said in a webcast that he wanted to compete with Amazon.com on price.

This was after announcing that Oracle would offer online storage and capability for customers to run their applications entirely in Oracle’s cloud.

This is all pretty new for Oracle, which is shifting its traditional database and customer relationship management businesses to the cloud.

The only problem is that Amazon Web Services is the market leader, followed by Microsoft’s Azure service and Biggish Blue. Oracle is very late to the party which has gone on without it and reached the stage where people are either too drunk to speak or have coupled off.

Oracle has imaginatively dubbed its cloud platform Oracle Cloud Platform, will provide a cost-effective alternative to Amazon, said Ellison.

“Our new archive storage service goes head-to-head with Amazon Glacier and it’s one-tenth their price,” said Ellison.

Oracle’s cloud business is growing quickly, running at a rate of about $2.3 billion a year in revenue, based on last quarter’s figures. However the rest of the company is not doing so well and reported a surprise fall in profits.

Cloud channel support is slack

Every silver has a cloudy liningThe Cloud Industry Forum has warned cloud customers are not getting the levels of support they need from channel partners when it comes to help migrating to the cloud.

In a report the Forum said that part of the problem is that there are some inexperienced channel players who are yet to really grow into being cloud providers and customers needed to make more careful assessments of potential partners.

Customers were having to deal with the result of poor integration with existing legacy systems and a failure by the partners to thoroughly assess the ability of the user’s network to deliver a stable product.

Overall the CIF findings were positive with 90 percent of customers expressing a positive satisfaction rating and 70 percent of IT buyers expecting to increase their use of cloud in the year ahead.

But since cloud migration is a key part of the whole business it does seem to be that more work needs to be done.

The CIF findings also come on top of a recent report from LogicNow that seems to suggest there is a worrying disconnect between service providers and customers.

The gap between customer expectations and partner service plans is a wide one, according to the LogicNow ‘Global IT Service Providers Harmony Report’.

The research suggested that most IT buyers started out a discussion with a service provider with the intention of getting help with a specific, business critical need. But the research found that the channel saw the chance to push wider services and tended to follow their own agenda.

Speaking last month, on the launch of the report Dr Alistair Forbes, general manager at LogNow, said that service providers needed to be patient about rushing into talk to a customer about a range of investment options, rather than dealing with the specific concern brought to their attention.

“Pushing strategic consultancy too early in the relationship gives an impression of under-valuing the immediate concern weighing heaviest on the customer’s mind. IT departments engage with Service Providers because they have a particular problem that needs solving. This must be addressed first to earn the opportunity of a strategic engagement later on,” he said.