The overall Liftr Cloud Index for the week ending Friday 1/18/2019 was 102.0 (+0.7%), up slightly from the previous week. In the absence of major outages, CSPs are benefiting from the way services can be viewed as an always-on utility, providing reliable services for many types of applications. Alibaba Cloud (61.6, +1.1%) and Amazon AWS (106.2, +1.0%) were the biggest movers on the overall index. Positive social media comments and tweet volumes pushed cross-industry Sentiment higher (100.4, +4.8%); Sentiment was the only All CSP attribute with any significant change this week.
Alibaba Cloud’s Adaptability (32.8, +4.0%) and Presence (105.9, 2.4%) scores increased, helping drive a Sentiment boost (106.0, +2.1%). Google Cloud’s Adaptability score (46.5, +3.4%) also increased. Nonetheless, Adaptability scores for Alibaba Cloud and Google Cloud both remain far below AWS and Microsoft Azure.
AWS Sentiment (106.2, +8.2%) increased greatly. Microsoft Azure (99.5, +2.5%) Sentiment grew as well. See below for more detail.
News, Analysis, Commentary & Opinion
Alibaba Cloud provided more details about its cloud services expansion in Indonesia, announcing it had opened a second availability zone in Indonesia, the world’s 4th most populous country.
Alibaba Cloud added four (4) zones to its greater China region, including Shenzhen and Shanghai. This creates the largest number of worldwide zones for any CSP and what is possibly the largest number of zones for any CSP within a single geographic region. Alibaba had previously said it had 52 availability zones across 19 economic centers worldwide, including China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan Australia, Middle East, Europe, India and US.
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
AWS CEO Andy Jassy announced AWS Backup Services that will support backup across all AWS cloud services with the ability to centrally manage and automate the backup process as well as select recovery points. This high degree of automation for cloud data backups is significant for enterprise customers who value high availability for production data. The offer could help customers to migrate more enterprise workloads to the AWS cloud. Security and availability remain two of the greatest concerns of enterprise customers moving workloads to the cloud.
At the NRF19 conference, AWS outlined how it is applying AI analytics to its cloud services, and how the combination of AI and cloud services will transform retail for AWS Cloud customers. Clearly, AI is being added to many business analytics programs for more efficient processing and faster results. We expect that the degree to which CSPs leverage AI for business solutions will become a competitive differentiator for many enterprise cloud services.
Google Cloud revealed it is upgrading its Virginia data center, located near Washington DC, with solar power. The move underscores Google’s continued efforts to reduce electric bills associated with running its large cloud data centers worldwide. The Virginia data center supports the important US federal market. We see this as a tacit acknowledgement of the importance of the US federal market for future cloud services growth…as well as the need to reduce OpEx including utility costs for power and electricity.
Google Cloud announced support for its GO language last week, and the news continued to ripple through social media comments this week. The GO language was the fourth most popular programming language on GitHub in Q4 2018; Google support will make GO useful to large numbers of developers for both on-premises and off-premises computing resources.
Google Cloud and SAP showed their enterprise business solutions at the NRF19 conference this week. The companies are working together to support SAP’s enterprise business applications running on Google Cloud. The partnership’s business solutions were shown at both the Google Cloud and SAP booths. SAP is widely known as an enterprise business application provider. Google Cloud’s partnership with SAP shows that Google Cloud realizes it needs to improve customers’ perception of Google Cloud as an enterprise business provider.
Our analysis of Google Cloud’s Sentiment decrease (105.5, -0.8%) detected packet losses in its US Central region on Friday morning January 18, 2019, most of which was resolved within 30 minutes of Google acknowledging packet losses. We will watch for carryforward from this issue—or future issues—in Google Cloud’s index metrics.
At the NRF19 conference in New York, Microsoft Azure and Kroger grocery showed a demo of their partnership to provide Retail as a Service (RaaS). The offering will combine cloud services with brick-and-mortar stores for grocery pickup. Microsoft Azure’s booth hosted a Kroger demo “store” complete with shelves and groceries. The Microsoft / Kroger partnership is squarely aimed at competing with the combined Amazon / Whole Foods offering. A real-world trial offering will begin soon (exact date was not given) at two Ohio Kroger grocery stores.
On the other side of the world, the Microsoft Ignite Tour of regional conferences took place in Singapore. Next stops: Johannesburg on January 28-29; Washington, DC, February 4-https://www.microsoft.com/en-sg/ignite-the-tour/singaporehttps://www.microsoft.com/en-sg/ignite-the-tour/singapore5, and Sydney, Australia, February 13-14. All are key markets for Microsoft Azure revenue growth in 2019. The tour aims to familiarize customers—and potential customers—about Microsoft products and Azure services, showcasing a mix of Microsoft products and cloud services.
VMware announced support for Microsoft Azure via its VMware PKS 1.3 release. Co-developed by VMware and Pivotal, PKS delivers Kubernetes-based container services for multi-cloud enterprises and CSPs. This VMware PKS update is aimed at enterprise customers who are using Microsoft Azure cloud services. Specifically, VMware PKS support brings support for VMware vSphere, deeper integration of Kubernetes, improved container security, and support for the PKS 1.3 release. VMware executives said the Microsoft Azure support is in response to VMware customer requests. We think the move reflects the widespread use of Kubernetes orchestration software for open-source computing on the cloud, as well as VMware’s increased support for multiple cloud services, including AWS and IBM Cloud.
Meanwhile, the Microsoft / Siemens partnership on Mindshare, announced earlier this month, is proving popular as social media buzz continues. Mindshare is Siemens’ “cloud-based, open IoT operating system” that allows customers to link many devices across their organization, gathering up data for advanced analytics. Collecting data for deep analytics is a driver for businesses in highly competitive markets, such as manufacturing, retail and health care.
On Tuesday’s Oracle Cloud Day in New York, top Oracle Corp. executives, including CEO Mark Hurd, presented the company’s Oracle Cloud plans to a group of top New York customers, as part of a worldwide Oracle Cloud Tour and marketing strategy. Oracle Cloud also announced it is opening a new data center in Toronto, Canada, bringing the number of its cloud data centers to more than 20 worldwide.
IBM and Vodafone Business announced on Thursday that IBM will manage the Vodafone Cloud in Europe. The partnership aims to support global enterprises that have multi-cloud infrastructure supporting business applications in EMEA.
The week’s Liftr Cloud Index showed stability in the worldwide cloud services marketplace. Customers expect enterprise functionality for availability, reliability and security. When they don’t have it, they complain about it on social media, and CSP Sentiment scores suffer on the Liftr Cloud Index.
This week CSPs will start releasing previous quarter earnings, starting with IBM on Tuesday January 22, 2019 and Intel on Thursday January 24, 2019. We do not expect many announcements from IBM this close to its flagship Think event. However, we do expect Intel to finally announce a new CEO to replace Brian Krzanich, who resigned last June. We also expect Intel to be more aggressive in the cloud in 2019 as its CSP customers start to deploy servers using competitor AMD’s EPYC server processors.
Liftr Cloud Insights will cover the important cloud-related aspects of each earnings release.
IBM Think: San Francisco February 12-15, 2019
Liftr Cloud Insights Principal Analyst Paul Teich will be available for meetings at IBM Think. We’ll provide more insight into IBM Think closer to the event.
KeyBanc Emerging Technology Summit: San Francisco, February 26-27, 2019
Liftr Cloud Insights Principal Analyst Paul Teich will participate in emerging technology discussions at KeyBanc Capital Market’s 14th Annual ETS. Please contact KeyBanc for more details.
Have a great week!
Paul R. Teich, Principal Analyst, and your Liftr Cloud Insights team
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