Cloud Providers

Microsoft Azure, the world's biggest cloud? Someone's fudging

Grazed from InfoWorld. Author: Matt Asay.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) may be the cloud leader, but Microsoft Azure is gaining fast and should surpass AWS revenues by the end of 2014 -- at least, according to Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund. Still, as well as Microsoft may be doing, Sherlund's $5.7 billion revenue target for Azure doesn't stand up to serious scrutiny.

Azure on fire

Let's be clear: Microsoft Azure is doing well -- really, really well. Though neither Microsoft nor Amazon break out their cloud services revenues, Microsoft noted in its last earnings call that cloud revenue grew 147 percent year-over-year. This led Nomura analyst Sherlund to predict Microsoft will hold the crown as top cloud by revenue by the end of 2014...

Cloud Computing: Microsoft announces Azure availability through Open Licensing

Grazed from Microsoft.  Author: PR Announcement.

Starting from today customers are able to buy Microsoft Azure usage credits through Open Licensing programs.
Open License is Microsoft’s volume licensing option intended for corporate, academic, charitable, or government organizations that wants to pay as you go.  The Open License agreement requires a minimum initial purchase of five software licenses, but then you can acquire additional licensed products through Open License in any quantity at any time during the two-year agreement term.

Azure credits could be bought in blocks of $100 and the total amount purchased is summed in a single OSA key and last for 12 months.  This new purchasing option fits between the large Enterprise Agreements and the nearly-unmanageable (at least for a mid-size company) credit card payment method, it allows to create a budget and consequentely buy upfront as needed.

Amazon Web Services Won't Dominate Cloud Computing

Grazed from OutOfTheBox.  Author: Eapen Chacko.

Back in 2013, when the the hype about cloud computing and big data was gathering steam, we wrote,  "Unfortunately, none of this really makes it any clearer who is going to carry the day as far as supporting the migration of mega-cap, public multinational corporations to a public cloud computing infrastructure. Will one or more of these companies really want their entire IT infrastructure to reside with a bookseller and operator of global merchandise bazaars?"

Last week, the theory that Amazon Web Services would be the growth and earnings engine for the company was called into question. Data security, risk management, documentation and mitigation of breaches will weigh more heavily on CIOs, particularly in health care and financial services, than saving a few nominal bucks by outsourcing data storage and applications...

How Hackers Hid a Money-Mining Botnet in Amazon's Cloud

Grazed from Wired. Author: Andy Greenberg.

Hackers have long used malware to enslave armies of unwitting PCs, but security researchers Rob Ragan and Oscar Salazar had a different thought: Why steal computing power from innocent victims when there’s so much free processing power out there for the taking? At the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas next month Ragan and Salazar plan to reveal how they built a botnet using only free trials and freemium accounts on online application-hosting services—the kind coders use for development and testing to avoid having to buy their own servers and storage.

The hacker duo used an automated process to generate unique email addresses and sign up for those free accounts en masse, assembling a cloud-based botnet of around a thousand computers. That online zombie horde was capable of launching coordinated cyberattacks, cracking passwords, or mining hundreds of dollars a day worth of cryptocurrency...

Cloud Computing: How A Regular Employee Helped Put Amazon On The Path To Billions Of Dollars

Grazed from BusinessInsider. Author: Richard Feloni.

Last year Amazon's cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services (AWS), brought the company $3.8 billion in revenue. As LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman, along with entrepreneurs Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh, illustrate in their new book "The Alliance," this multibillion-dollar business wasn't the brainchild of CEO Jeff Bezos or even an executive.

It came from Benjamin Black, an employee who had been with the company a little over a year. It was 2003, and Black was recently promoted to website engineering manager. As Black explains in a blog post, he wrote a short paper that outlined a way to restructure Amazon's infrastructure, and at the end "mentioned the possibility of selling virtual servers as a service."...

Cloud Computing: BT’s secure link to Microsoft Azure goes live in Europe

Grazed from ComputerWeekly.  Author: Archana Venkatraman.

BT’s new, secure, high-performance connectivity to Azure public cloud has gone live in Europe three months after the UK telecoms giant teamed up with Microsoft to provide ExpressRoute connection to its Azure service, bypassing the public internet. 

The service now connects to Microsoft Azure’s Dublin and Amsterdam datacentres. BT will later follow this up with connections to locations in Asia, the US and further round the world.  BT says the issues of security and reliability are still holding many CIOs back from fully embracing the trend. It collaborated with Microsoft so that its enterprise customers can treat the cloud as a seamless, flexible extension to their existing corporate network and datacentres, without any degradation of performance or security...

Rackspace Adds Managed Cloud Server Hosting Plans

Grazed from TheVaryGuy. Author: Christopher Tozzi.

Rackspace (RAX) has a new strategy for keeping competitive in the cloud hosting market, and it's all about offering cloud management expertise and support alongside hosting infrastructure. Starting this week, Rackspace will be offering two new managed cloud service plans. The base package, called Managed Infrastructure, provides guidance in cloud architecture, security, development and deployment, in addition to general support and around-the-clock access to Rackspace engineering staff.

The upper-level service plan, Managed Operations, is even more interesting by providing direct management of cloud servers either by Rackspace staff or automated software, at the customer's choosing. That plan, which also includes everything that is a part of the base package described above, allows customers to build and manage clouds with virtually no investment in in-house cloud expertise...

Cloud Computing: Amazon Launches Its Most Affordable EC2 Instances Yet, But There's A Caveat

Grazed from TechCrunch. Author: Frederic Lardinois.

Amazon today launched its most affordable instances for its EC2 cloud computing service yet. Starting at just $0.013 per hour ($9.50 per month) for on-demand access (reserved instances are even cheaper), these new so-called T2 instances come with a caveat, however.

By default, they can only handle a relatively modest amount of computation. Indeed, the small t2.micro instance only runs at about 10 percent of it maximum power. Amazon, however, gives you a set number of credits per day that you can use to get full bursts of CPU power for a limited time...

Copyright Liabilities Loom for Cloud Providers in Wake of Aereo Judgement

Grazed from Author: Dr. Monica Horten.

A judgement handed down in the US Supreme Court recently has underpinned the claim of a group of broadcast companies that royalties were due from a cloud-based service relaying copyrighted content. The ruling also raises a looming threat of new liabilities for the nascent cloud computing industry.

The case of ABC Inc et al vs Aereo Inc, concerned whether or not a cloud service transmitting broadcast television to computer users over the Internet infringes copyright law. In brief, the Supreme Court ruling means that it does, but it is in the detail of the ruling that the cloud liability is implied...

Cloud Computing: Microsoft Evolves Azure and Office 365 for New Age of Security Threats

Grazed from RCPMag. Author: Jeffrey Schwartz.

Security is still the biggest showstopper when it comes to cloud computing and, given the events of the past year -- from the Edward Snowden revelations to a number of high-profile breaches -- many customers expect cloud providers and their partners to double down. The counter-argument is despite the proliferation of data theft, cloud providers are better positioned to safeguard data than customers running datacenters on-premises.

The truth is, whether customers store their data on-premises or use a cloud services provider, information is as secure as the safeguards put in place. Snowden never could've leaked the troves of classified data if the National Security Agency (NSA) hadn't given him unfettered access. Even worse, the NSA didn't appear to have the proper auditing controls to discover what he had done, even after the fact...