Amazon’s Cloud and E-Commerce Businesses Could Both Benefit from New Moves to Harness Satellite Communications

Summary Bullets:

• Amazon plans to apply its cloud computing business model to the provision of satellite communications infrastructure, while separately unveiling plans for a new satellite broadband Internet offering.

• Potential hurdles to Amazon’s new satellite business include the need to secure regulatory approval and intensifying competition from rival ventures such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX initiative.

Having established itself as a global e-commerce and cloud computing giant, Amazon is now looking to extend its technological prowess into space. A couple of projects, one of which is already underway, will see Amazon harness the power of satellite communications to unlock new commercial opportunities. Continue reading “Amazon’s Cloud and E-Commerce Businesses Could Both Benefit from New Moves to Harness Satellite Communications”

Microsoft Adds New Solutions to its Hybrid Cloud Portfolio, as AWS and IBM Accelerate Their Hybrid Cloud Strategies

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

• Last week Microsoft announced two new additions to the Azure family of solutions with the goal of targeting an even broader set of customer workloads.

• Microsoft needs to continue innovating with Azure Stack to ensure it remains competitive vis-à-vis a growing number of alternative hybrid cloud solutions.

It’s been a little over a year since the first distributions of Microsoft’s Azure Stack became commercially available, offered by hardware partners that include Dell EMC, Cisco, HPE, Huawei, and Lenovo. Azure Stack is Microsoft’s hybrid cloud play, allowing the vendor to target enterprise customers that, for various reasons, need to keep certain workloads on-premises, while still taking advantage of cloud-based services and resources, including developer tools. According to Microsoft, Azure Stack is now available in 92 countries/regions worldwide and, although the number of Azure Stack customers has not been disclosed, notable customers include Airbus, Royal Dutch Shell, Heathrow Airport, and InterContenential Hotels.

Over the past year Microsoft has continued to add more Azure Cloud features to Azure Stack as part of its regular updates. These updates and additions contribute to a more consistent experience for Azure Stack customers across both their on-premises and public cloud environments, thereby enhancing the utility and overall effectiveness of the solution for a range of use cases. One important new Azure Stack feature, currently in preview, is support for Kubernetes. Users will be able to deploy Kubernetes clusters using the same resource manager templates as in the Azure cloud. This means that applications built using containers can be deployed both on-premises and in the Azure public cloud, while using the same code across each platform. In addition, developers will have access to Azure’s existing service fabric, simplifying migration to and from the public cloud. Continue reading “Microsoft Adds New Solutions to its Hybrid Cloud Portfolio, as AWS and IBM Accelerate Their Hybrid Cloud Strategies”

HyperFlex 4.0 Will Help Cisco Address Emerging Edge IT Demands, but Cisco Must Also Pay Heed to Adjacent Concerns

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • Cisco’s soon-to-be-launched HyperFlex 4.0 will come with simplified deployment options and an emphasis on enabling HCI in remote locations such as edge environments.
  • As part of its edge computing strategy, Cisco needs to be able to address adjacent customer concerns about security, architecture design, and workload placement.

On April 12, Cisco’s HyperFlex 4.0 will become commercially available, with the vendor planning to promote the latest version of its hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solution as part of its ‘Data Center Anywhere’ strategy. This strategy is based on the recognition that the increasingly distributed character of enterprise data and applications requires a new approach to delivering data center resources, one that brings infrastructure to wherever it is required (see Cisco Targets Emerging Edge IT Opportunities with HyperFlex 4.0,” March 27, 2019). Continue reading “HyperFlex 4.0 Will Help Cisco Address Emerging Edge IT Demands, but Cisco Must Also Pay Heed to Adjacent Concerns”

As VMware Expands Its Multi-Cloud Reach and Toolsets, It Will Benefit from Sharper Articulation of Its DevOps Support and Flexible Consumption Options

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • Additions to VMware’s multi-cloud portfolio reinforce the company’s ability to serve enterprises that require a mixture of cloud environments, including on-premises private clouds and two or more public clouds.
  • To succeed in an increasingly competitive market, VMware needs to continue innovating its developer and DevOps tool sets, as well as in relation to things such as price and flexibility.

VMware recently announced several enhancements to its multi-cloud solutions portfolio, which include the latest version of its hybrid cloud stack, VMware Cloud Foundation, and updates to multi-cloud management tools such as VMware vCloud Director and CloudHealth. The company also announced a growing number of go-to-market partners and the launch of the VMware Cloud in Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers in Canada, Paris, and Singapore, increasing the total number of AWS data centers where VMware Cloud solutions can be offered to 13 globally. Continue reading “As VMware Expands Its Multi-Cloud Reach and Toolsets, It Will Benefit from Sharper Articulation of Its DevOps Support and Flexible Consumption Options”

HPE and Continental Target Vehicle Data Sharing with New Blockchain Offering

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

• A new blockchain-based Data Monetization Platform from HPE and Continental promises to provide car manufacturers and drivers with a more secure and transparent way of sharing vehicle-generated data.

• Potential users should explore the operational, cost, and integration aspects of the new platform, while also investigating opportunities to productize the platform in ways that could benefit all platform participants.

HPE and German automotive manufacturing firm, Continental AG, recently announced a new Data Monetization Platform (DMP), which is based on blockchain technology, and which is designed to help car manufacturers and other partners share and trade data with one other. Data sharing and trading will be used to improve digital services for customers, or to monetize vehicle data (e.g., by helping manufacturers develop and differentiate their brands). By leveraging blockchain, the new DMP aims to address concerns about data sovereignty, security, and transparency, which currently act as barriers to data sharing among competitive automotive manufacturers. The new platform, which is expected to be available later in 2019, was jointly designed by HPE Pointnext and Continental’s Interior division. Continue reading “HPE and Continental Target Vehicle Data Sharing with New Blockchain Offering”

Network Operators Experiment with Edge Computing – Seen as Essential to 5G’s Success

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • Initiatives by mobile network operators illustrate the importance attributed to edge computing as an essential component for unlocking the benefits of 5G mobile networks.
  • However, plenty of challenges lie ahead for 5G and edge computing, including security concerns and the need to develop viable business models and use cases based on the new technologies.

Immersive virtual reality (VR), self-driving cars, and remote-controlled robots are just some of the things telecommunications service providers expect future 5G mobile networks to make possible. However, most large service providers are in agreement that higher-bandwidth 5G networks will, by themselves, be insufficient to support these emerging applications. Recent initiatives by large service providers, including Verizon, AT&T, and Deutsche Telekom, illustrate the importance being attributed to edge computing as an essential component for unlocking the benefits of 5G. Continue reading “Network Operators Experiment with Edge Computing – Seen as Essential to 5G’s Success”

GlobalData’s Top Predictions for Data Center Technologies in 2019

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • Data center portfolios will become more distributed and decentralized in 2019, thanks to the growing use of hybrid and multi-cloud environments and edge computing deployments.
  • 2019 will see an emphasis on enhancing the performance, security, and scalability of compute, storage, and networking resources in order to support new workloads, including AI.

GlobalData’s top predictions for data center technologies in 2019 include the expectation of increased competition in the provision of hybrid cloud, multi-cloud, and Kubernetes solutions; this will be partly driven by a growing interest in on-premises workloads from leading public cloud providers. We also anticipate increased innovation around edge computing, as well as the evolution and enhancement of data center platforms and architectures with technologies that improve their ability to support AI and other advanced workloads: Continue reading “GlobalData’s Top Predictions for Data Center Technologies in 2019”

Hyperscale Cloud Firms Will Fiercely Target On-Premises Workloads in 2019

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

• In 2019, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, and other leading cloud providers will accelerate their efforts to target emerging hybrid cloud opportunities among enterprise customers.

• AWS, Microsoft, and the other hyperscale clouds will face growing competition from China’s Alibaba, which in August announced the availability of its Aspara Stack on-premises offering outside China.

Hybrid cloud environments have rapidly evolved to support a range of IT and application requirements, and in 2019 a growing number of organizations will make use of them. Hybrid clouds combine dedicated private cloud infrastructure (often maintained on-premises within an organization’s own data center) with public cloud services provided by companies like AWS, Microsoft, and Google. Recognizing this, AWS, Microsoft, and other leading cloud providers will accelerate their efforts in 2019 to target emerging hybrid cloud opportunities among enterprise customers.

Although AWS is the largest provider of public cloud services globally, this does not guarantee its success in the hybrid cloud space. AWS already has several options for organizations that require a hybrid cloud solution and, in 2019 it plans to launch a new managed on-premises version of its cloud platform called AWS Outposts. Once available, Outposts will allow customers to deploy configurable compute and storage racks based on AWS hardware and software in their own data centers, and integrate their on-premises AWS environment with the AWS public cloud. However, information on features, services, pricing, and availability has yet to be provided. Continue reading “Hyperscale Cloud Firms Will Fiercely Target On-Premises Workloads in 2019”

Your Food Chain on Blockchain: The Coming Shakeup

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • Blockchain digital ledger technology can make complex food supply chains more transparent, while delivering a range of benefits for food producers, distributors, retailers, and consumers.
  • However, these are early days for blockchain as a supply chain management technology, with limitations including the challenge of verifying the authenticity of data supplied to the platform.

Several innovative applications of blockchain, the distributed digital ledger technology, illustrate the technology’s potential use beyond its cryptocurrency origins. One promising application of blockchain is as platform for improving the efficiency and transparency of global food supply chains. Here, we are already seeing numerous applications of blockchain which promise to bring benefits to producers, retailers, and consumers. However, these are still early days for blockchain as a supply chain management tool and it is important to be mindful, not only of the technology’s potential as well as early successful applications within food supply chains, but also of its risks and limitations. Among them is the challenge of how to verify the authenticity of the data supplied to the blockchain. Continue reading “Your Food Chain on Blockchain: The Coming Shakeup”

Google Gives More Power to AI Within Its Data Centers, but the Biggest Opportunities Lie Ahead

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • A newly autonomous AI algorithm operating Google’s data center cooling systems will be scrutinized to learn how AI can be applied to other areas of data center operations.
  • There are opportunities for Google to leverage its growing expertise in applying AI to internal operations by expanding the range of AI solutions it offers enterprise customers.

Google recently announced plans to give operational control over the cooling systems in its data centers to an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm. Using this algorithm, Google has already achieved a considerable reduction in the energy consumed by its 15 globally distributed data centers, with both cost and environmental implications. However, this latest move is significant because it represents a major first application of AI to data center operational control systems on a large scale. The initiative also provides another example of how AI can be deployed in data centers in ways that improve their operational efficiency, including their consumption of energy resources. Initiatives like this are becoming more common and are often included under the ‘AIOps’ (artificial intelligence for IT operations) banner, a term that refers to the use of big data analytics, machine learning (ML), and other AI technologies to automate the management of IT systems and processes. Continue reading “Google Gives More Power to AI Within Its Data Centers, but the Biggest Opportunities Lie Ahead”