Google Steps Up and Steps Back from DOD Contracts
Google divided opinions this week as it announced internally that it would not be renewing its contract with the Department of Defense, nicknamed Project Maven. The project, officially called Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team, has been hotly contested by both Google employees and outside detractors alike. It is designed to allow artificial intelligence to analyze images very quickly to identify buildings, people, and other objects for drone strikes. The announcement comes after a series of resignations at Google and a petition signed by over 4000 Google employees asking the company not to continue this use of technology.
Google initially announced the withdrawal in an email to employees, explaining that continuing the contract would be against the core values of the company, and that it would not be pursuing any “similar” contracts in the future. Many believe this means that Google will be dropping out of the running for the JEDI contract up for the Pentagon, another highly contentious defense department contract that will be awarded soon. Sentiment over the decision is split, reflected in a downward trend in the Sentiment metric over the early part of the week. Other factors, including Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub, also contributed to the trend. Google’s Sentiment score is back on the rise as of Thursday morning.
Microsoft Sinks Sustainable Ocean Datacenter Prototype
Microsoft made a splash by sinking the second phase of an ocean floor datacenter project off the coast of Scotland. The project, named Project Natick, is in its second phase, the first having been dropped off the coast of California in 2015. The previous capsule remained underwater for three months before it was retrieved and studied. This time around, the pressurized unit is supposed to stay under for much longer, up to 5 years of human-free maintenance.
The datacenter is nearly completely self contained, with only a power input coming in from Oakney Island, supplied by a wind farm on the surface. Microsoft has plans to utilize experimental ocean turbine technology with the unit, which would make it the first entirely self sufficient datacenter designed. The unit is large, around 12 meters long and 3 meters wide, and can hold 27.6 petabytes of data- that’s enough for 5 million full length movies.
The computer giant doesn’t just plan to utilize the new, portable datacenter technology at the bottom of the sea either. The concept is to design something that can handle any condition, so that the datacenter could be dropped virtually anywhere and provide compute and storage on-demand, for things like events, natural disasters, and emergency situations.
GitHub Microsoft Acquisition Causes Uproar
In other Microsoft news, the trend toward open-sourced support continues as they announced plans to acquire GitHub. GitHub is a website with support and community around the Git system- a version control framework that allows developers to create and distribute software updates quickly and efficiently to those who need it. Some avid users of the platform are concerned that Microsoft could compromise the unbiased nature of the free, user-driven platform.
There had been speculation that this could be an important development for Microsoft Azure going into the future. Ideas include faster Azure deployment from GitHub, cheaper deployment solutions, and a more integrated way to use GitHub for the cloud space.
Qumulo Receives 93M Funding for Hybrid Storage Development
Data storage company Qumulo received 93M in Series D funding, mostly in support of it’s Qumulo File Fabric technology. The new innovation is designed to allow companies to scale billions of files much more cheaply than the equivalent data storage devices would cost. Scalability is a common and costly issue, and there are plenty of investors eager to see if Qumulo might be the solution to those issues.
The company also offers a version of Qumulo native to AWS, as cloud customers have been a large focus for Qumulo over the course of the last year. The File Fabric technology makes it easy for companies to format cloud and hybrid infrastructure models, allowing users to segment workloads across on-premises and cloud systems. Versions compatible with Azure and Google Cloud are likely in the works, though CEO Bill Richter did not confirm a timeline for those releases.
With customers like DreamWorks Studios, Johns Hopkins UNiversity, and Sinclair Oil, the company is off to a great start. With the Series D investment, the company’s total investment input is around 230 million. That enough that they now get to choose if they ever raise money again- or if they decided to go in a more independent direction. Regardless of what they choose, Qumulo’s File Fabric could be a huge step for Hybrid and Multi-Cloud strategies going into the future.