Tag: Cloud

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.

Cloudy outlook in store for resellers

forecastMore vendors are working out ways to get their resellers at the heart of cloud based operations.

Now unified communications specialist Swyx Solutions has announced a new version of its cloud solution SwyxWare Compact for Datacentre for the channel.
The product has been designed for reseller partners, and makes it possible to take into account the individual requests of customers.

Using SwyxWare Compact, resellers and MSPs can offer cloud-based unified communications services to their customers without a huge fee.

Based on a VMware platform, the Compact version has been adapted to the needs of the channel and is aimed at partners with existing VMware knowledge.

Swyx CEO Ralf Ebbinghaus said that the SwyxWare Datacenter Edition that has been primarily offered by carriers and service providers with their own data centre.

“With the Compact version we now cover the needs of the entire channel, so any reseller can give the customer a choice for SwyxWare – on-premise or out of the cloud,” he said.

“In the last year we have given our resellers the ability, through our partner Deutsche Telekom, to offer customers a UC solution via the public cloud, and now with SwyxWare Compact we have created a further business model for our partners.”

 

Microsoft wants $20 billion from cloud

clouds3Software giant Microsoft has said that it aims to make more than $20 billion in annual revenue from its cloud computing businesses by the end of fiscal 2018.

Chief Executive Satya Nadella said this would mean tripling its cloud based revenue in three years.

Microsoft is one of the leaders in the cloud, and been making a killing providing computing power and storage to customers through its network of data centres.

Microsoft said  that its total commercial cloud revenue, which includes online versions of its Office and Dynamics applications, is running at $6.3 billion per year.

Its closest rival in the cloud, Amazon.com said its competing Amazon Web Services operation took in $1.57 billion in revenue in the quarter, which would also equal an annual rate of $6.3 billion.

Big Blue suits fight over redundancy

Backstreet_Boys_-_Black_&_Blue_album_coverSuits in Biggish Blue’s Systems Middleware division are fighting over the right to flee the company and collect a nice redundancy.

Some 110 people want to be paid to leave the company which is way more than the ten per cent of the division’s 736-strong workforce that IBM wanted.

IBM has said that if too many people applied for redundancy then it would choose from the list of volunteers.

The voluntary redundancy process is “coming to an end” and some will be offered redundancy. But the sheer size of the numbers of people who want out will be bad for IBM. It shows staff no longer have much confidence in the company and would rather take the money and run.

IBM has also bought in spending and travel restrictions to manage costs and it is investigating property portfolio projects which are aimed at reducing overall occupancy costs across IBM UK.
IBM staffers asking for redundancy will leave on 5 April, and compulsory lay-offs are not expected – at least, by employees.

Big Blue has restructured internal divisions, placed a big bet on cloud systems. It is also cutting costs by reducing its worldwide headcount. This follows eleven straight quarters of revenue decline.
IBM said it would take a $600m restructuring charge to expunge several thousand people this year, although the number of leavers depends on their seniority and pay scale.

 

Google’s Nearline could melt Glacier

bear_glacerGoogle is offering a new kind of data storage service which should go a long way to melting Amazon’s Glacier.

Nearline is for non-essential data, similar to Glacier, but it is offering it a cent a month per gigabyte. This is more than half the cheapest in the market place, which is Microsoft’s 2.4 cents a gigabyte.

Glacier storage has a retrieval time of several hours, and Nearline data will be available in about three seconds.

While three seconds is years for something like serving a web page, it is ideal for data analysis as well as long-term storage.

This could be Google’s cunning plan – positioning itself as the cloud computing company for all kinds of data analysis.

Tom Kershaw, director of product management for the Google Cloud Platform said that it is not about storage stupid. Its about what you do with analytics. Set ups like Nearline will mean you never have to delete anything and you can always use data.

Google announced plans with several storage providers, including Veritas/Symantec and NetApp, to encrypt and transport data from their systems onto Nearline.

On the consumer front, Dropbox charges about $10 a month to store a terabyte of data, which is the same price as Nearline and Glacier. However those businesses count on most of their customers storing well below their limit.

Either way it is looking like things are hotting up on the cloud with costs being driven down. Scattered showers much be expected.

 

 

HP creates cloud server line

Every silver has a cloudy liningThe maker of expensive printer ink, HP said that it is creating a server family for cloud providers.

The project is being done as a joint venture with Foxconn, a partnership announced last year to create cloud-optimised servers. HP has been building servers from Foxconn for a year, but is now giving a name to its server line: Cloudline.

According to HP, its systems are based on standards-based principles and use rack scale computing.

With rack scale systems, functions that were previous located in the server, such as cooling and power, may be part of the rack. The systems will likely be deployed in multi-vendor environments, although users want uniformity in controls.

HP will use the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI), an open management platform, and other systems that help provide a uniform way of managing hardware.

The hyperscale x86 server market has been growing fast, and this has led to increasing numbers of original design manufacturers (ODM), such as Taiwan’s Quanta entering the game.

HP is announcing these OpenStack systems at the Open Compute Summit and will begin taking orders on some of the systems at the end of this month. The systems use Intel Xeon E5 v3 processors and come in five configurations, including a two-socket (2P) server sled configuration and 1U configurations. No word on pricing yet.