Oracle Cloud layoffs, Microsoft Azure Stack HCI debuts, IBM Watson helps Bausch+ Lomb see better workflow and AWS sets intro for its Inferentia cloud AI chip
This Week’s Top Cloud News Headlines
Oracle Cloud: Oracle Cloud appears to be shedding redundant cloud talent but its new Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) build-out should not be substantively affected.
For in-depth analysis see below
Recent Posts & Quotes
The Next Platform: IBM Project Debater Speaks to the Future of AI
By Paul Teich: The conversational AI created by IBM called Project Debater is designed to have a formal debate with a person. While Project Debater did lose its final debate to a person, who was a champion debater, it had its bright spots and solidly entered the “uncanny valley” for natural language processing (NLP) systems – close enough to human that its mistakes were cringe-worthy.
Channel Partners Online: CaaB Takes Its White-Label Cloud Global
“Paul Teich, principal analyst with Liftr Cloud Insights, told Channel Partners that offering MSPs and other partners white-label cloud services is a ‘time-honored tradition,’ even for larger vendors…”
Also… Watch the Liftr Cloud Look Ahead, a weekly video series that presents recent cloud news with an eye toward the future. Check out this week’s video to stay current and prepare for what’s next in the cloud industry.
Liftr Cloud Index
The daily Liftr Cloud Index compares the competitive state of cloud service provider (CSP) infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) products.
The overall Liftr Cloud Index for the week ending Friday 3/29/2019 is 102.8 (+0.3%), flat from the previous week. Alibaba Cloud’s overall index score increased (65, +2.7%) but still remains last among the tracked CSPs. Meanwhile AWS (106.6, -0.1%) and Microsoft Azure (105.4., 0.9%) continue to vie for the #1 spot, and Google Cloud (81.1, +0.1%) remains solidly in the middle.
We periodically scan each of the CSPs for new geographic expansion. Last week we recorded:
- Alibaba Cloud added one zone to its ap-northeast-1 region
- AWS added one zone to its us-west-2 region added 1 zone
- Google Cloud added its Europe-west-6 region
- Microsoft Azure added South-Africa-north and South-Africa-west regions, and it added two zones to its east_us region
These geographic additions raised CSP Presence scores across the Liftr Cloud Index.
Alibaba Cloud’s overall Liftr Cloud Index score (65.0, +2.7%) was strengthened by a large gain in Sentiment (107.2, +17.3%). However, this gain is mostly due to its low volume of English language social media had virtually no negative content, which is unusual for any CSP. Last week, we recorded that Alibaba Cloud added SEC Rule-17a compliance, which boosted its Security score (51.8, +1.8%). Alibaba Cloud’s Presence score (113.6, +1.1%) also increased as it added one zone to its ap-northeast-1 region.
Alibaba Cloud’s MaxCompute engine and many other internal services are now powered by Apache Calcite, a dynamic data management framework for creating and managing database applications. Alibaba’s MaxCompute big data computing and storage platform uses Calcite for cost-based query optimization.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) saw no discernable movement in its overall index score (106.6, -0.1%) despite a negative hit to Sentiment (98.5, -0.9%). Apart from Sentiment, AWS had a quiet week on the Liftr Cloud Index and remains slightly ahead of Microsoft Azure.
AWS hosted its Santa Clara summit last week where it announced general availability for Inferentia by the end of 2019. The machine learning chip follows behind Google’s TensorFlow Processing Unit for both training and inference apps. In addition, AWS opened a new Edge infrastructure location in Colombia, boosting its presence in South America. The new infrastructure becomes the sixth Edge location in Latin America and plans to deliver data, videos, and applications at faster speeds to end-users.
Google Cloud’s overall index score (81.1, +0.1%) was unchanged as changes in underlying attributes canceled each other out. Google Cloud added its Europe-west-6 region which helped increase is Presence score (117.1, +1.5%). However, this gain was offset by lower Sentiment (103.7, -1.7%). Also this week, Googlel Cloud published a Future of Cloud Computing report, which explores how future enterprise organizational structure and how cloud computing might change the way people work.
Microsoft Azure experienced a slight increase to its overall index score (105.4, +0.9%). Sentiment (100.6, 3.5%) rose healthily, and its Presence score (85.7, 3.0%) increased after it added south-Africa-north and south-Africa-west regions and added two zones to its east_us region.
Microsoft was active in promoting new Azure products and features last week. Azure announced its new Azure Stack HCI solutions release which is now a way to deploy cloud instances locally and then migrate them to Azure of Azure Stack. With this announcement, Microsoft intends to compete better with other cloud service providers’ private cloud offerings. In addition, Azure announced three more offerings: Anomaly Detector, Azure Data Box and Azure Search. Azure’s Anomaly Detector is an AI service that uses time-series data to automatically discover anomalies in your apps. The Azure Data Box will allow customers to move stored or in-flight data to Azure quickly and cost-effectively. Finally, Azure Search will be a new storage optimized service tier with built-in artificial intelligence capabilities to easily identify and explore content.
IBM Cloud’s Watson IoT services allowed Bausch + Lomb, a Canadian eye health products company, to develop a new solution leveraging cloud technology called eyeTELLIGENCE applications. The new solution will be available on its Stellaris Elite vision enhancement system, which is the company’s next-generation surgical platform for cataract and retina surgery. EyeTELLIGENCE allows doctors to gather information about the system and make service requests or report technical issues that are then sent via IBM Cloud to the appropriate team at Bausch + Lomb. This new technology reinvents the way operating rooms function by eliminating the need for a sales rep or tech support professional to have to visit the doctor’s office in person to address any issues.
Oracle Cloud plans to lay off 332 employees after an internal email announcement of organization restructuring to better fit with its future business goals. “Today’s changes within OCI will better align with Larry’s [Elison] vision of the business,” wrote Oracle Executive Vice President Don Johnson in an email to employees on the day of the layoff. Oracle’s layoff did not involve its Oracle Cloud Infrastructure operation where the company plans to invest its business in going forward. AWS seem eager to hire the talent Oracle plans to lay off. Adrian Cockcroft, a VP of Cloud Architecture Strategy at AWS, wrote in a tweet, “We hired some good people when Oracle laid of the Sun teams in 2017. I’m always happy to help…AWS is growing and hiring a lot of people this year.”
Liftr Cloud Insights is not a financial analyst firm. We provide strategic analysis of company earnings reports and the associated end of quarter statements.
Huawei published its 2018 Annual Report last week, growing its overall revenue 19.5% to approximately $107 billion for the year. Huawei does not break out its Huawei Cloud business unit revenue separately from its Carrier, Enterprise or Consumer businesses. However, its Enterprise IT business is vertical industry focused, while its Carrier business focuses on telecommunications.
Given that Huawei Cloud white-labels its services to many telcos worldwide, its revenue is most likely included in the Carrier business, which was slightly down (-1.3%) for the year at roughly $43.8 billion. However, Huawei Cloud launched many new data centers in 2018, building to a total of 23 regions with 43 availability zones. For comparison, AWS has 20 regions with 61 zones, Alibaba Cloud has 19 regions with 56 zones, Google Cloud has 19 regions with 58 zones, and Microsoft Azure has 54 regions with a few additional zones. Huawei Cloud also claims more than 2,800 applications in its marketplace, putting it ahead of Alibaba Cloud and Google Cloud but behind Azure and AWS. Huawei cloud is most likely one of the six or seven largest public clouds, but because of white-labeling is the largest public cloud that no one ranks as a large public cloud.
Open Infrastructure Summit (formerly OpenStack Summit): Denver, CO April 29 – May 1, 2019
Liftr Cloud Insights Principal Analyst Paul Teich will be at OpenStack’s Open Infrastructure Summit in Denver, Colorado. The event is targeted at builders and operators of open infrastructure, with over 300 sessions and workshops on Container Infrastructure, CI/CD, Telecom + NFV, Public Cloud, Private & Hybrid Cloud, Security and members of open source communities. Contact email@example.com to schedule a meeting with Paul during the event. The Next AI Platform: San Jose, CA May 9, 2019
Liftr Cloud Insights Principal Analyst Paul Teich will be one of the hosts at The Next AI Platform and will conduct live onstage interviews with leaders in cloud infrastructure and cloud AI technology development. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a meeting with Paul before or after the event.
Have a great week!
– Paul R. Teich, Principal Analyst, and your Liftr Cloud Insights team
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Liftr Cloud Look Ahead is a weekly video series that presents recent cloud news with an eye toward the future. Check out this week’s video to stay current and prepare for what’s next in the cloud industry.
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