Alibaba Focuses on Cloud
Daniel Zhang, Alibaba Group’s chief executive, announced last week that the company will be restructuring its Tmall e-commerce business and upgrading its Alibaba Cloud business unit as the cloud becomes more important strategically. The restructure arrives after Alibaba’s record-breaking sales of $30.8 billion during Singles Day late last month and is the first restructure under Zhang since he was named the chairman-designate. Alibaba’s co-founder and executive chairman, Jack Ma, will be stepping down next September, handing control over to Zhang.
This move shows how Alibaba is putting increased emphasis on its cloud services business. Expertise from the company’s e-commerce business has helped the company branch out to provide cloud-based industry solutions based on artificial intelligence and machine learning. What can we expect in the future from Alibaba Cloud? We will be waiting to see what they have in store.
Diane Greene Leaves CEO Position at Google
Diane Greene, the CEO of Google declared she was stepping down from her position of three years in a blog post from the company. Thomas Kurian, the former Oracle executive, will be taking her place. Greene said in the post that she will remain CEO until January. She won’t be too far from Google, as she is staying in her position on the board of Alphabet.
Greene stated, “The Google Cloud team has accomplished amazing things over the last three years, and I’m proud to have been a part of this transformative work.” How this leadership shift will impact the company’s cloud business is still up in the air. Will it be the maneuver to help Google Cloud catch up with competition like Microsoft Azure and AWS? Only time will tell.
Microsoft’s Abundance of Outages
Just mere hours after Microsoft published its findings on a 14-hour outage that occurred November 19, the company’s services went down for a second time. On November 27, the Azure Active Directory Multifactor Authentications services went offline just before 5:00 UTC (coordinated universal time) and remained inoperative until just before 19:00 UTC. The servers affected initially were those servicing Europe and the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific regions; though, when Microsoft attempted to redirect some authentication attempts to US servers, they overloaded those servers as well.
The previous outage on November 19 was found to be caused by three individual bugs following a deployed code change. Reasons behind this latest outage are still being investigated. Do the outages point to a bigger issue for Microsoft? We will be waiting on Microsoft’s report to see what these outages mean for their service reliability.
Insights from AWS re:Invent
Last week AWS re:Invent conference was held in Las Vegas. Liftr Cloud Insight’s Principal analyst, Paul Teich, along with DoubleHorn’s Uttam Reddy, attended the event bringing back key insights. At the event, Amazon announced hundreds of new products, features, partnerships, and customers.
AWS demonstrated significant progress with its own custom chip development, announcing its own machine learning inference chip, Inferentia, which will be available beginning in 2019. The company also launched new instances based on the AWS-developed Graviton Arm-based processor. Graviton instances are being positioned as a low-cost alternative for some workloads. For more insight about CSPs like AWS designing their own datacenter chips, read Paul Teich’s Next Platform post “Designing Custom Chips In-House is the New Normal.”
Other interesting highlights include AWS’ launch of new services, Amazon Forecast and Amazon Personalize, that take advantage of the systems Amazon.com has put in place for its world-class supply chain and online shopping capabilities. Amazon Forecast is a time series forecasting service built on the same deep learning forecasting techniques used by Amazon.com. Amazon claims the Forecast service will provide up to 50% more accurate forecasts than competing products at a significantly lower cost.
Amazon Personalize provides real-time personalization as a service. This will help developers with little machine learning experience create their own personalization and recommendation capabilities. Amazon Personalize includes algorithms that are based on over twenty years of personalization experience and developed expertise used in running the Amazon.com retail business.
AWS’s CEO Andy Jassy and Amazon’s CTO Werner Vogels also took big digs at Oracle’s database licensing and cloud strategy during their keynote speeches at the event. Vogels went so far as to say his “best day at Amazon” was November 1st when AWS’s parent company Amazon turned off its Oracle data warehouse. We will keep an eye out for Oracle’s response to Amazon’s claims.
Before we go, remember CloudNativeCon will be taking place in Seattle, Washington next week from December 10-13. All the global public CSPs are now Platinum- or Gold-level members of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Paul Teich will be on-site in Seattle and will report on their participation in CNCF and look at how their participation is likely to impact enterprise multi-cloud strategies.
That’s a wrap on this week’s Cloud Look Ahead. Has your business made strides using cloud? We want to hear from you! Email us at email@example.com. See you next week!