The overall Liftr Cloud Index for the week ending Friday 1/11/2018 is 101.3 (-0.4%), down marginally from the previous week. Sentiment (95.8, -2.8%) was the only factor affecting the overall index.
Alibaba Cloud (60.9, +0.2%) was stable overall based on minor gains to its Adaptability, Presence and Sentiment scores. Alibaba Cloud slightly expanded its marketplace, added a second availability zone in Indonesia and open-sourced a parallel machine learning framework. Alibaba Cloud’s overall index score is the lowest of the tracked CSPs, but these are all positive moves for them.
AWS (105.1, -1.0%) dipped but still leads the tracked CSPs overall. AWS Sentiment (91.3, -7.5%) dropped below all other tracked CSPs. AWS’s purchase of CloudEndure and developer support for Fargate were positive, however AWS’s controversial move to displace open source MongoDB with its proprietary DocumentDB database pulled Sentiment down. In the cross-industry Sentiment metric, AWS’s Sentiment drop tempered Google Cloud’s Sentiment bounce.
Google Cloud (80.7, +0.8%) was slightly up overall. Google Cloud Sentiment (106.4, +6.8%) bounced above all other tracked CSPs, mostly due to developer-focused machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) announcements. In the cross-industry Sentiment metric, Google Cloud’s Sentiment bounce mitigated AWS’s Sentiment drop. Google Cloud’s Adaptability score (44.9, -0.2%) decreased negligibly.
Microsoft Azure (103.7, 0.0%) remains a close second to AWS overall. Microsoft Azure Sentiment (97.1, +0.4%) inched higher while all its other attribute scores were flat. Microsoft’s CES announcement of a partnership with Kroger (below) was a major factor in generating positive Sentiment.
News, Analysis, Commentary & Opinion
CES Gets Cloudy
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty held on-stage interviews with Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines; Charles Redfield, executive vice president of Food for Walmart; and Vijay Swarup, vice president of R&D for ExxonMobil. These big-name companies gave a vote of confidence for migrating enterprise workloads to IBM Cloud to support large-scale businesses.
Alibaba Cloud announced a partnership with Intel to create 3D-based athlete tracking technology–just in time for use at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Built to run on the Alibaba Cloud, the technology will use AI to provide “complex real-time biomechanical data” to track athletes’ performance, leading to improved training techniques for athletes. In 2018, Alibaba Cloud partnered with FIFA to stream live video game coverage. Last February, Google Cloud teamed with the NCAA to try to predict March Madness outcomes using machine learning, while Major League Baseball (MLB) and the US National Football League (NFL) worked with AWS on a similar projects.
Alibaba Cloud also announced it will partner with Deloitte Consulting for its China Gateway Program to provide more reliable connections “in terms of IT infrastructure, compliance and business solutions”.
LG announced it is teaming up with Microsoft Azure for self-driving car software. The South Korean consumer goods company is turning to the cloud to speed up training for its autonomous system for car navigation.
Microsoft Azure demonstrated a new Digital Twins service at CES that they say will simplify planning for new Internet of Things (IoT) solutions by “providing a comprehensive digital model”. The service is designed to help planners figure out how to connect devices in the physical world.
New Cloud Features Meet the Market
Alibaba Cloud announced it is opening a second availability zone in Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world. Turning on a second zone inside a geographic region provides improved availability for cloud services and should attract more enterprise business. Alibaba Cloud is not sitting still.
Surprisingly, AWS’ new, lower pricing for Fargate prompted a cluster of social media complaints. Although pricing was reduced by 20% to 50%, concern centered around how the pricing change might benefit larger companies–which have more subscriptions–rather than smaller companies with fewer subscriptions.
Microsoft Azure’s new Office 365 cloud-based subscription previewed this week. Negative social media comments surfaced concerns about possible interference for some customers with long-established Office 365 deployments. The solution appears to be creating Office 365 ProPlus end-user accounts in Microsoft’s Active Directory identity management service.
Acquisitions Do Not Take a Vacation
AWS acquired CloudEndure, a Dell Technologies backed Israeli cloud data migration and disaster recovery company. AWS outbid Google Cloud for the acquisition. Google Cloud purchased another Israeli cloud migration startup, Velostrata, back in May 2018. We’ll be watching Google’s messaging to see if it can attract enterprise IT developers in addition to its base of cloud native developers.
Alibaba Group Holding said it had acquired German data analysis firm Data Artisans, based in Berlin, for more than US$100 million. This acquisition underscores the important role analytics plays in hybrid clouds: linking enterprise data centers to CSP cloud services.
In Other News…
Microsoft Azure received social media support for its experimental retail-store service, which is being tested with retail partner Kroger in two Ohio grocery stores. The Microsoft-Kroger partnership, like IBM’s relationship with Walmart, is aimed at competing with AWS and its parent Amazon, which acquired Whole Foods last year. We expect to see more partnerships between CSPs and consumer retail brick-and-mortar point of sale business in 2019.
Late last week, Alibaba Cloud open-sourced Mars, a Tensor-based framework for matrix based, large-scale data computation. Mars is being positioned as complementary to NumPy, a favorite environment for Python developers that has long been leveraged by scientists and engineers for high-performance computing (HPC) research. But Mars is a highly parallelized, distributed environment that allows computational matrices to grow rapidly over scalable cloud resources. Mars’ sudden appearance on the GitHub open-source repository shows that Alibaba Cloud recognizes the importance of ensuring user familiarity for any new set of cloud services optimized for computation.
And in the personal side of the news, Jeff Bezos and his wife, Mackenzie, announced that their 25-year marriage is coming to an end. Without a pre-nuptial agreement, the vast wealth accumulated by the couple, via money, equities and real estate (estimated at around $137 billion) will likely be divided evenly in the community-holdings state of Washington. The impact on Amazon and AWS, if any, is unclear at this early stage of their divorce. We believe this high-profile divorce might lead to additional philanthropic ventures co-funded by the couple or to more venture capital for new startups.
Next week CSPs will start releasing previous quarter earnings.
Liftr Cloud Insights will cover the important cloud-related aspects of each earnings release.
Oracle Cloud Day, New York City, January 15, 2019
KeyBanc Emerging Technology Summit, San Francisco, February 26-27, 2019
IBM Think, San Francisco, February 12-15, 2019
Have a great week!
Paul R. Teich, Principal Analyst,
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