Tag Archives: money

Oracle’s release cadence opens door for Java support rivals

As it switches to a paid support model for Java, Oracle may leave a considerable amount of money on the table for competitors to swoop in and grab.

Although many customers will continue to choose to use the proprietary Oracle JDK, for which they will have to pay a subscription fee for Java support, many users are looking at alternatives, according to a recent survey of enterprise Java users.

The survey, commissioned by Azul Systems, indicates that 80% of Oracle JDK users are looking at other options, which include OpenJDK and OpenJDK-based offerings such as Azul OpenJDK, AdoptOpenJDK, and Amazon’s Corretto. Azul said its OpenJDK-based Java support offering costs less than Oracle support while remaining in compliance with Java SE standards.

Last year, Oracle shifted from providing free Java updates to requiring paid subscriptions if customers wanted to keep their Java SE 8 and Java SE 11 deployments secure and up to date. That shift leaves a total addressable market of $2.5 billion for Oracle and its competitors to provide Java support, according to the survey.

Citing the onset of its quiet period, Oracle declined comment.

JDK users seek Oracle alternatives

A 2018 survey commissioned by Oracle and security vendor Snyk showed that 70% of Java users said they used Oracle JDK, 21% used OpenJDK, 4% used Eclipse OpenJ9/IBM J9, 2% used Android SDK and 1% used Azul.

Jeffrey Hammond, vice president and principal analyst, ForresterJeffrey Hammond

The 2020 version of that same report showed that 36% of developers switched from Oracle JDK to an alternate OpenJDK distribution over the last year, such that 34% said they use currently use Oracle JDK, 24% said they use AdoptOpenJDK, 15% said they use an OpenJDK implementation from Oracle, 14% said they use OpenJDK implementations from “other” providers, 4% use Amazon Corretto and 4% use Azul.

The 2020 JVM report also indicated that 86% of enterprises are not currently paying for Java support and do not wish to, while only 9% said they are paying for support.

“Over time, I expect most developers will adopt OpenJDK and I’d expect that would gradually reduce the number of customers that feel compelled to buy licensed support,” said Jeffrey Hammond, an analyst at Forrester Research.

How big is the Java support opportunity?

Meanwhile, other observers agreed that Oracle is leaving money on the table but expressed skepticism about the $2.5 billion figure.

“I’m not sure I would bank on that huge number, as the premise behind it is based on the Java release cycle prior to and including Java 8,” said Brad Shimmin, an analyst at Omdia in Longmeadow, Mass.

From there on, Oracle moved to a six-month update cycle with the intent of helping customers move more in lockstep with Oracle in terms of upgrading Java. The motivation behind this, from Oracle’s perspective, is to enable them to dedicate more energy to the task of bringing Java forward rather than supporting legacy implementations.

Over time, I expect most developers will adopt OpenJDK and I’d expect that would gradually reduce the number of customers that feel compelled to buy licensed support.
Jeffrey HammondAnalyst, Forrester

“Obviously, not all companies can or wish to move at that pace, which brings OpenJDK support contracts into the picture,” Shimmin said. “Customers wishing to stay on aging versions, such as Java 8, can seek third-party support from vendors like Red Hat, IBM, Azul, Perforce and, of course, Oracle.”

The $2.5 billion figure is questionable because Java adoption was largely driven by a distaste for Microsoft and the promise of writing apps once and running them anyplace — all backed by a then very powerful Sun Microsystems, said Rob Enderle, founder of the Enderle Group in Bend, Ore. Oracle acquired Sun, and Java, in 2009 for $7.4 billion.

“The hate for Microsoft has largely evaporated, hardware diversity makes write once, run anyplace largely a fool’s game due to the massive difference in screen size and platform performance, and Azul is no Sun Microsystems,” Enderle said.

However, other observers said the large estimate for the Java support market is justified because Java remains viable and can even grow with the advent of cloud-native computing strategies such as containers and microservices.

Mike Milinkovich, executive director, Eclipse FoundationMike Milinkovich

Java, Java EE and Jakarta EE remain dominant in deployed enterprise systems, and microservices in Java via Spring and MicroProfile represents a significant portion of cloud-based systems, said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation.

“So, yes, I believe that Azul’s estimates are plausible,” he said. “It will be interesting to see if any community-led solutions such as AdoptOpenJDK gain traction as a vendor-independent solution to Java’s long-term support challenges in the enterprise.”

The Snyk-sponsored 2020 JVM ecosystem report showed that 23% of enterprises surveyed said the switch to a six-month release cadence had an impact on their decision to pay for support. And for those willing to pay for support 55% said they would pay Oracle, 17% said Red Hat, 16% said IBM and 12% said Azul.

“Azul definitely has proven that there is a significant business opportunity in providing support for OpenJDK and older versions of Java,” said Cameron Purdy, CEO of stealth startup xqiz.it and former senior vice president of development at Oracle. “While Oracle will likely be able to vacuum up the largest enterprise deals, as part of their enterprise sales bundling model, the price of Oracle support and its general inapplicability to smaller businesses means that there is a vast, underserved market.”

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Microsoft replaces dozens of journalists with AI system

Microsoft is replacing dozens of contract journalists with AI systems, in a move to save money and streamline content curation, but which could also lead to more inappropriate or lackluster content appearing on Microsoft’s sites.

“By favoring machines over humans, Microsoft runs the risk that all kinds of things might go wrong,” said Dan Kennedy, associate professor of journalism at Northeastern University and author of the Media Nation blog.

AI in journalism

The tech giant currently employs full-time staff as well as contract news producers to help curate and edit homepage news on its Microsoft News platform and Microsoft Edge browser. Their duties, according to LinkedIn job descriptions, include cycling relevant news content, editing the content and pairing images with articles.

While Microsoft plans to keep its full-time staff for now, some 50 contract journalists will not have their contracts renewed at the end of the month, according to the Seattle Times.

Microsoft said in a May 29 statement it is not making the move to AI in journalism as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Like all companies, we evaluate our business on a regular basis,” Microsoft said. “This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time to time, re-deployment in others.”

By favoring machines over humans, Microsoft runs the risk that all kinds of things might go wrong.
Dan KennedyAssociate professor of journalism, Northeastern University

Using AI for content curation isn’t new. Many social media, video and news platforms have been using AI to recommend content or remove inappropriate content for years.

News organizations, including the Washington Post and the Associated Press, have used AI to produce content quickly and inexpensively. Largely, that content is simple, such as a roundup of the latest scores in sport games. Other news organizations, including the New York Times, use AI to augment staff efforts, such as automatically providing research or identifying headlines and key phrases.

Risky business

Even so, AI isn’t advanced enough yet to handle the duties of human employees at the same skill level, and Microsoft is making a risky move by replacing so many employees, analysts said.

“Certainly there is a risk of badly formatted and incorrect content being produced, but a larger concern may be dull content,” said Alan Pelz-Sharpe, founder of market advisory and research firm Deep Analysis.

AI in journalism
Types of marketing and news content AI can produce

Readers are discerning, but journalists know how to draw in readers to even the dullest of topics, he continued. However, “that’s not a strong point of AI,” he said.

“Indeed, even the best AI-driven content is fairly easy to identify and even for readers not conversant with the nuances, they will not engage to the same degree with AI-driven content.,” Pelz-Sharpe said.

Nonetheless, he pointed out, AI does work well for summarizing facts, for ”’reporting’ that is simply ‘reporting.'”

To Nick McQuire, senior vice president and head of AI and enterprise research at CCS Insight, Microsoft’s move comes as somewhat of a surprise, given that Microsoft’s emphasis on responsibility in AI.

“One of their most important [principles around AI technology] is accountability, which means humans must have some oversight and accountability in the deployment of AI,” McQuire said.

“In this respect, I expect Microsoft to still have human oversight around the technology as per their standard governance procedures for AI operations,” he continued.

Microsoft’s AI governance policies are overseen by the vendor’s AI and Ethics in Engineering and Research committee, an advisory board that provides recommendations to senior leadership on responsible AI, including issues such as AI bias, regulations, safety and fairness, as well as human-AI collaboration.

Not a revolution yet

Still, Microsoft’s decision to end the employment of dozens of staff doesn’t mark a revolution for AI in journalism, said Pelz-Sharpe. Rather, it should be viewed as an incremental step.

Pointing out how other news organizations use AI, Pelz-Sharpe said that “enthusiasts like to say that AI will free reporters from drudge work so that they can report and write higher-value stories.’

But, he cautioned, “cost-cutting corporate chains are going to be tempted to use AI to replace reporters.”

And more use of AI won’t have an immediate impact on the journalism industry, but rather a cumulative one, Kennedy said.

“Lower paid entry-level jobs disappear and are automated, reducing the intake of new journalists and making the sector less attractive,” Kennedy said.  “Those jobs will likely never come back — the end result is fewer people in the industry.”

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For Sale – EVGA Geforce GTX 1070 FTW Gaming (special edition)

According to a good few reviews, the best GTX 1070 card money can buy It comes factory overclocked, with a hefty 8Gb of VRAM to handle any AAA game, runs super quiet and cool, and has the bonus of software controllable LEDs onboard which look great in the right case (see pics). Selling very reluctantly to finance an upgrade to a Ray Tracing card. In excellent condition, in original box with manual, cables, etc. £190 inc.

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HCI market grows as storage, servers shrink

Storage and server revenue keep declining sharply. Much of that money is going to public clouds but also to hyper-converged infrastructure systems that combine storage and servers.

Dell EMC, NetApp and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) all reported declines in storage revenue for their most recent quarters. IBM storage inched up 3% after quarters of decline. Pure Storage grew revenue 17% last quarter, but that’s a far cry from its growth in the 30% range as recently as mid-2018.

Naveen Chhabra, Forrester Research senior analyst for servers and operations, said the cloud and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) are taking a toll on traditional storage.

“The entire storage market is in trouble,” Chhabra said. “Every storage vendor has declining revenue. The only one that has shown growth is Pure. Storage investment is happening in the cloud, and the rest of storage is under tremendous pressure.”

Chhabra said he expects the HCI market will remain strong and continue to eat into storage and server sales. “There’s no stopping that,” he said. “Everything, including storage, eventually ends up deployed on the server.”

Dell and HPE sell servers and storage, and best show the trend from those technologies to hyper-converged.

The entire storage market is in trouble.
Naveen ChhabraSenior analyst, Forrester Research

HCI market remains extensive

Dell EMC’s storage revenue fell 3% to $4.5 billion last quarter, and servers and networking declined 19% to $4.3 billion. However, COO Jeff Clarke said hyper-converged revenue grew by more than 10%, mainly thanks to its VMware vSAN-powered VxRail product.

HPE storage declined 0.5% to $1.25 billion and compute fell 10% to $3 billion, but its SimpliVity HCI revenue ticked up by 6%.

At the same time, the leading HCI software vendors increased revenue.

Nutanix revenue grew 21% since last year to $347 million, and its billings increased 4% to $428 million. Dell-owned VMware’s vSAN bookings increased “in the mid-teens” according to the vendor. Both Nutanix and VMware claim they would have grown HCI revenue more, but they have switched to subscription licensing that decreases upfront revenue.

HPE actually picked up more HCI hardware customers through Nutanix, which now sells its software stack on HPE ProLiant servers as part of an OEM deal signed in 2019.

Nutanix said its DX Series consisting of Nutanix software on HPE servers accounted for 117 new customers in its first full quarter of the partnership. Nutanix CEO Dheeraj Pandey said those deals included a $4 million subscription deal with a financial services company, and $1 million deal with another financial services firm.

“HPE is becoming a pretty substantial portion” of Nutanix business, Pandey said. “It’s looking like a win-win for both sides.”

HPE is also offering Nutanix software-as-a-service through its GreenLake program, but it has not disclosed any numbers of those deals.

Pandey said while Nutanix sells HPE servers with its software, many deals come through recommendations from HPE. The Nutanix software stack includes something HPE’s SimpliVity HCI software lacks: a built-in hypervisor. Nutanix’s AHV hypervisor gives customers an alternative to VMware virtualization.

“We have big customers out there who like HPE, and they’d like to consume Nutanix software on HPE servers,” Pandey said. “We’re one of the few companies that deliver the full stack, including HCI, databases, end-user computing and automation. Our largest customers are AHV customers; they’re full-stack customers on Nutanix. We can run on top of Dell servers, HPE servers, our own white box servers, and we can take our software to the public cloud.”

Dell, VMware HCI market leaders

According to the most recent IDC hyper-converged market tracker for the third quarter of 2019, Dell led in systems revenue with a 35.1% share, followed by Nutanix at 13%, Cisco with 5.4%, HPE at 4.6% and Lenovo at 4.5%. IDC recognizes HCI software separately, with VMware at No. 1 with 38% share followed by Nutanix at 27.2%.

Dell still sells Nutanix software on PowerEdge servers as part of a deal that predates Dell’s acquisition of EMC (which included VMware) but focuses more on pushing VxRail systems with vSAN.

Chhabra said Dell recognized the HCI trend well before HPE and rode that to the HCI market lead. He said he sees Nutanix and HPE growing closer to help battle the Dell-VMware HCI combination.

“How does HPE compete with Dell plus VMware?” he said. “Here comes a strong partner in Nutanix, which can give HPE a like-to-like competitor to Dell. Do you have a hypervisor, do you have infrastructure, do you have storage? That’s what the Dell-VMware combination is, and now HPE has that.”

Dell CFO Thomas Sweet said he expects HCI to continue as Dell EMC’s fastest growing storage segment through this year.

“We’ve had great success with our VxRail product,” Sweet said on Dell’s earnings call last week. “We’ve seen softness in the core [storage] array business. That infrastructure space has been soft.”

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Differentiation key for BI startups when attracting investors

BI startups, like all companies when they’re getting started, need money to get off the ground.

BI startups need to show that they have a good idea, and are not simply repackaging analytics software platforms already on the market. They need to show that they can build a strong product, and that their founders have the expertise to build and sustain something commercially viable.

And with that, they need to attract investors to fund the company in the years it takes between the time an idea forms and a company becomes financially solvent.

Vanessa Larco is a partner at New Enterprise Associates, a venture capital firm with over $20 billion assets under management. NEA was an early investor in companies such as Tableau and Salesforce when they were tech startups, and, among many other types of companies, continues to invest in BI startups. Recently, NEA was part of an investment round in Sisu, a startup BI vendor founded in 2018 and based in San Francisco.

Vanessa LarcoVanessa Larco

Larco, meanwhile, has an extensive background in computer science, and before joining NEA was director of product management at Box. Prior to that, she worked in the gaming industry, leading the speech recognition experience team at Xbox Kinnect v1. She leads deals investing in tech companies, including BI startups, and participates in others led by colleagues.

Larco recently took time to answer questions about investing in BI startups.

In Part I of a two-part Q&A, she discusses what she looks for in a BI startup and what she loved about Sisu. In Part II, Larco talks about the process of investing in BI startups, including the warning signs that arise that may keep her from investing.

When you’re considering investing in BI startups, what are some of the characteristics you want to see in a vendor that tell you it might make a good investment?

Vanessa Larco: I think every partner has their own journey when trying to figure out where to invest. For me, I draw a lot on my experience having been a product manager. When I think about what the challenges were that I had or that my team had in building, launching, supporting, maintaining products and then when you see a solution — whether it’s in data or any other vertical — that makes sense and you can say, ‘Wow, if this had existed when I was doing things it would have made my life easier, my team’s life easier,’ it’s something that resonates right off the bat.

I think every partner has their own journey when trying to figure out where to invest. For me, I draw a lot on my experience having been a product manager.
Vanessa LarcoPartner, NEA

You then validate it against actual teams that are still building things and ask them if this would be helpful, and that validates the real need for it.

In the case of Sisu, what stood out about them and led NEA to decide it was a company worth betting on?

Larco: Every process, as much as we like it to be standardized, turns out to be its own unique snowflake, and in the case of Sisu, Pete Sonsini led the deal team and I joined the deal team, meaning I helped him evaluate the opportunity and spent time with the team. I am super excited about Sisu. I ran it by some of my portfolio companies, particularly the ones who [complain that] board meetings take forever because they show a bunch of data and people ask, ‘Well why did this happen, why did that happen?’ And to get those answers it takes at least week. So when I saw the Sisu value proposition I wondered if this will solve that problem.

Even back when I led a product team in the past and we would present to CEOs, we’d show numbers going up and down and they’d ask, ‘Well, why did that happen?’ We’d have to get back to them. It’s just super painful when you know they’re going to ask you why, and that is what takes forever. Sometimes you spend all that time trying to figure out why, and then nothing comes of it, so when I saw the Sisu value proposition I thought that if this actually works it could be game changing.

What happened after you saw Sisu’s value proposition?

Larco: I took it to a good friend at a portfolio company to kick the tires, and they were like, ‘Yes. Yes, this awesome. Thank you so much.’ They said their data person would be so happy they wouldn’t be bogged down answering some very simple questions and doing the manual work to answer why, so from that perspective it was super exciting.

Once NEA invests in BI startups, how much influence does it want going forward — does it seek a spot on the board of directors, leave the company alone or something in between?

Larco: Each case in venture is different. It’s not a high-volume type of industry — we’re not doing hundreds of deals a year — so each deal is very unique and each financing round is unique. But in general, the earlier in the company’s lifecycle you invest in, the founders want you on their board because they want the attention and support, the advice, the feedback, the connection. VCs, in most cases, have been on many boards and seen a lot of stories play out, and you have a lot of connections to potential customers, and so to be able to understand what a company’s needs are as they change is really valuable. Most of the time, both parties want a seat on the board.

But if it’s super, super early and someone else leads the financing round and you’re just participating, someone else takes the board seat. Or if it’s the late stages then the board is already pretty filled out and it has less unknowns than in the early formation years, in those cases you may not take a seat on the board. If an investor is acquiring a significant amount of equity and you’re between 15 and 30 percent, they will typically take a board seat. Anything less than that, it may not make a ton of sense to take a board seat — there’s a limit to how many board seats we can take.

Besides Sisu, who are some startups in the BI/analytics space NEA has recently invested in?

Larco: My colleague Julia Schottenstein led the investment in Metabase, which is in the data space in the open-source project world. I was on the deal team and attended the board meetings for a company called OmniSci. The real value proposition there is they do some really cool geospatial [analysis], and it’s lightning fast. If you need data and need to visualize it across any type of map, I haven’t seen anything like it. From my gaming and advertising days that would have been a massive help. It’s a category that historically if you were investors in Tableau and other data companies that have done really well — it’s a category NEA has performed really well in in the past. It’s a massive category for IT spends, so it’s an area we actively invest in year over year.

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Wanted – cheap laptop

Hi guys…..

So i went and spent loads of money on a nice slim hp laptop, me and the missus were going to get one each but her one worked fine, she dont like change so i took full pleasure in getting myself something nicer than 2 machines that weren’t as pretty

Long story short, my 1 year old has just learned to walk, and poured a glass of juice over her laptop. Were not gonna claim it on house insurance to avoid premiums, but i spend all the money a few months back on a nice new one. Not looking to spend a fortune. Just need something to get her buy, possible with good battery life

Anyone looking to sell

ps her old one was a hp pavilion with a passive cooled Pentium, 4gb ram, 256gb ssd, but the battery was a monster at 7-10 hours. She mainly uses it for uni work, so some light word processing , power point, internet , some spotify and the occasional sims 4 round up

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Wanted – cheap laptop

Hi guys…..

So i went and spent loads of money on a nice slim hp laptop, me and the missus were going to get one each but her one worked fine, she dont like change so i took full pleasure in getting myself something nicer than 2 machines that weren’t as pretty

Long story short, my 1 year old has just learned to walk, and poured a glass of juice over her laptop. Were not gonna claim it on house insurance to avoid premiums, but i spend all the money a few months back on a nice new one. Not looking to spend a fortune. Just need something to get her buy, possible with good battery life

Anyone looking to sell

ps her old one was a hp pavilion with a passive cooled Pentium, 4gb ram, 256gb ssd, but the battery was a monster at 7-10 hours. She mainly uses it for uni work, so some light word processing , power point, internet , some spotify and the occasional sims 4 round up

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FBI says $26B lost to business email compromise over last 3 years

Business email compromise has cost a staggering amount of money for enterprises, according to the FBI.

The bureau posted a public service announcement Tuesday that showed business email compromise (BEC) attacks have cost organizations worldwide more than $26 billion between June 2016 and July of this year. The three-year total is based on actual victim complaints reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Earlier this year, the IC3’s 2018 Internet Crime Report highlighted business email compromise as an evolving threat that accounted for a growing number of cybercrime-related losses for enterprises.

“The scam is frequently carried out when a subject compromises legitimate business or personal email accounts through social engineering or computer intrusion to conduct unauthorized transfers of funds,” the FBI wrote in its alert.

The FBI also said it tracked a 100% increase in global losses from business email compromise attacks between May 2018 and July of this year. The bureau said the increase was partially due to a greater awareness of the threat, which the FBI said “encourages reporting to the IC3 and international and financial partners.”

Losses from business email compromise attacks have alarmed some in the cyber insurance market. Jeffrey Smith, managing partner at Cyber Risk Underwriters, said during a Black Hat 2019 session that two most common cyber insurance claims his company saw were for ransomware and wire transfer fraud related to email attacks.

“Ransomware isn’t too surprising, but the wire transfer fraud claims we’re seeing are trending in a bad direction,” Smith said. “If you’re sending a wire [transfer], just pick up the phone and call the person who’s getting it.”

In July, insurance giant American International Group (AIG) Inc. reported that business email compromise attacks had become the leading cause of cyber insurance claims, surpassing ransomware. According to AIG’s report, business email compromise accounted for nearly a quarter of all reported cyber incidents in 2018 for the EMEA region.

The FBI alert recommended that employees enable two-factor authentication to protect against threat actors looking to assume control of email accounts. The alert also recommended employees “ensure the URL in emails is associated with the business it claims to be from,” though this step wouldn’t necessarily prevent business email compromise attacks where attackers have gained control of legitimate email accounts within an organization.

Law enforcement takedowns

Shortly after the FBI alert was issued, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that 281 individuals had been arrested in “Operation reWired,” a global law enforcement effort to take down business email compromise campaigns.

Operation reWired was conducted over a fourth-month period and resulted in seizures of nearly $3.7 million in assets. Arrests were made in the U.S., Nigeria, France, Italy, Japan, Turkey, the U.K. and other countries, with 74 arrests made in the U.S. and 167 arrests in Nigeria; the Justice Department said foreign individuals who conduct business email compromise scams “are often members of transnational criminal organizations, which originated in Nigeria but have spread throughout the world.”

The DOJ didn’t say what the total losses were for the business email compromise scams disrupted by Operation reWired, but it did note that suspects were involved in a range of attacks, including “lottery scams” — where threat actors convince victims to pay phony fees or taxes in order to receive lottery payouts — and “romance scams” — where fake online personas trick victims into making fraudulent transfers or transactions.

“Through Operation reWired, we’re sending a clear message to the criminals who orchestrate these BEC schemes: We’ll keep coming after you, no matter where you are,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray in a statement. “And to the public, we’ll keep doing whatever we can to protect you. Reporting incidents of BEC and other internet-enabled crimes to the IC3 brings us one step closer to the perpetrators.”

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AWS expands its cloud cost optimization portfolio

AWS’ latest tool aims to help customers save money and optimize their workloads on the cloud platform, and also expand AWS’ cost management capabilities to a broader base.

As an opt-in feature, Amazon EC2 now scans customer usage over the previous two weeks and creates “resource optimization recommendations” for actions to address idle and underutilized instances. AWS defines idle instances as ones with less than 1% of their maximum CPU utilization active, and underutilized instances as CPU activity between 1% and 40% of capacity, according to a blog post.

The system recommends customers shut off idle instances entirely. For underutilized ones, AWS simulates that same level of usage applied to a smaller instance in the same service tier, and shows customers cost savings to bundle multiple instances into one. Customers get a summary of potential resource optimizations, which includes estimates of monthly savings, and can also download lists of recommendations.

At present, the recommendations cover major EC2 instance families but not GPU-based ones, according to the blog.

AWS advances cloud cost optimization question

The new feature bears similarity at a glance to the likes of AWS Cost Explorer and AWS Trusted Advisor, but there are differences, and it should be welcomed by customers, analysts said.

Deepak Mohan, analyst at IDCDeepak Mohan

“This aligns with one of the top pain points customers highlight as they start scaling up their cloud usage, which is that optimal service selection and configuration are not easy, and suboptimal configuration results in high costs as usage increases,” said Deepak Mohan, an analyst with IDC.

This aligns with one of [cloud customers’] top pain points … optimal service selection and configuration are not easy, and suboptimal configuration results in high costs as usage increases.
Deepak MohanAnalyst, IDC

With resource optimization recommendations, AWS also presents cost management features to a broader set of customers, Mohan said.

Cost Explorer gives customers report-generation tools to examine their usage over time. It also includes forecasting capabilities, but Cost Explorer is more a means to examine the past.

Trusted Advisor has a broader remit, as it looks at not just cost issues but also security and governance, fault tolerance and performance improvements. The full feature set of Trusted Advisor is only available to customers with business and enterprise-level support plans, while the new capabilities are available to all customers at no charge, Mohan noted.

Moreover, Trusted Advisor alerts admins that an instance has a poor level of utilization, which might prompt them to investigate which instance might be better, said Owen Rogers, vice president of cloud transformation and digital economics at 451 Research. By comparison, these resource optimization recommendations tell admins which instance would be a better fit to keep the application performing well but also at a lower price point.

Owen Rogers, 451 ResearchOwen Rogers

“This is a nice free feature that I think many customers will take advantage of,” he said. “After all, if you can save money without impacting deliverables, why wouldn’t you?”

AWS has not achieved anything revolutionary here. Microsoft and Google have similar tools for cloud cost management, as well as third-party options from the likes of ParkMyCloud, VMWare CloudHealth and OpsRamp, Rogers added.

But AWS’ complexity with regard to prices and SKUs has long been a sore spot for customers. Its latest move ties generally into remarks Amazon CTO Werner Vogels made in a recent interview with TechTarget.

“I think there’s a big role for automation,” Vogels said. “I think helping customers make better choices there through automation and tools is definitely a path we are looking for.”

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