Tag Archives: Push

Remote work could cause mobile network problems in a pandemic

The move to make remote work the norm during the coronavirus pandemic could push mobile networks to the brink.

The pandemic has led to unprecedented changes, one of which has been the scale at which employees have been working from home. Mobile networks in the UK reported problems on March 17, although the carriers denied it was connected to the rise in home working.

Still, industry observers said the infrastructure that companies rely on to deliver work-at-home services such as video conferencing, virtual desktops or even phone calls could experience disruptions in the face of prolonged heavy usage.

Mark BowkerMark Bowker

“The spike in activity that has been initiated with work-from-home policies is going to test potential network choke points, bandwidth constraints and the ability of collaboration apps to scale to new levels,” said Mark Bowker, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. 

Issues already?

Forrester Research principal analyst Dan Bieler said he had already heard reports of certain elements of mobile networks being under strain, and, anecdotally, said he had been on calls in which the quality and connectivity was not what it had been.

Dan BielerDan Bieler

“That’s not entirely surprising,” he said, given the larger percentage of people now working from home.

Bieler noted that everyone who has the same mobile phone carrier within a certain area is sharing the wireless spectrum. The mobile network could be under particular stress, he said, in areas where people use their phones as hot spots to conduct business.

“If you’re in a rural context, you’re already on relatively shaky ground when it comes to cellular connectivity,” he said.

Bill Menezes, senior principal analyst at Gartner, said it was difficult to tell whether networks had been affected so far.

“[There’s been] a couple of reports of issues in some areas — dropped calls and whatnot — but that’s the kind of thing that could happen at any given time,” he said.

An extended peak

To some extent, Menezes said, networks are built to handle high traffic, but such events are brief. Weekends, for example, create a similar situation, with many streaming Netflix or playing video games.

Bill MenezesBill Menezes

“These [networks] are designed to handle theoretical peak usage, but not necessarily when the peak is shifting — it’s coming not only on the weekend, but Monday through Friday now,” he said. “It’s conceivable that you’d start seeing some bottlenecks in areas — especially on the cellular network — that weren’t designed for the constant high level of usage the way the wired broadband networks were.”

People with inefficient home internet connections, Menezes said, might start using their mobile phones as hotspots, furthering the strain on the network. If mobile traffic climbs above weekend levels, he said, there could be disruption.

It’s conceivable that you’d start seeing some bottlenecks in areas — especially on the cellular network — that weren’t designed for the constant high level of usage the way the wired broadband networks were.
Bill MenezesSenior principal analyst, Gartner

“If you look at events that have happened in the past — like the Boston Marathon bombing — even the first responders, who had network prioritization for making calls or doing data sessions, were having trouble getting through, simply because of the overwhelming volume of usage,” he said.

Dealing with heightened traffic

Should the use of mobile phone networks exceed what the available infrastructure can provide, experts said, there is not much carriers can do in terms of bolstering capacity.

“Ultimately, the network infrastructure we have right now is the network infrastructure we will have in four months, six months — however long this situation will last,” Bieler said.

Beyond how long a network improvement might take, carriers may be leery of spending billions of dollars at a time when the economy is uncertain, according to Bieler.

“Nobody knows how long this will last,” he said. While it is unlikely people will be working from home for years on end, Bieler said, carriers face a lack of certainty.

Menezes said they may instead look at other means of freeing up bandwidth.

“One of the things they can do — and they’ve done this in the past — is slow data speeds if the network gets too congested. Obviously, that’s not an optimal type of situation,” he said. “It could either be slowing down speeds for the heaviest users — folks who are home and are trying to use 100 gigabytes of data because they’re doing online gaming. They may be the types of people who are throttled first.”

Another approach, Menezes said, would be a general throttling. For example, limiting everyone to standard-definition video streaming as opposed to 4K.

Bieler said carriers in Italy and Spain have already announced some form of throttling.

Given the hammering the economy has taken, Bieler expects to see the continuance of work operations — ensuring companies keep cash flowing and get projects done on time — given precedence over personal entertainment.

Encouraging people to use networks at off-peak times, Menezes said, could be another way to reduce the strain.

“You see the same thing with utilities, setting up time-of-use pricing. During peak hours, it costs more to buy electricity than during the early morning or evening,” he said. “That’s not necessarily going to help people who have to work from 9 to 5, but the carriers could use those types of methods.”

The future

Bieler said it will be interesting to see how the move to mass remote work will change the way people work and communicate. If the networks can indeed support the additional traffic posed by working and learning from home, it may lead to a fundamental shift in the way things are done.

Enterprise Strategy Group’s Bowker said the situation might emphasize how functional technology has become at enabling mobility and flexibility.

“[This is] a time to recognize how valuable business collaboration tools are during times like this and how employees, students, front line workers [and so forth] are staying connected and productive,” he said.

Among the areas that might be rethought, Bieler said, could be international business travel.

“Is it necessary for someone to travel to New York for a two-hour meeting?” he said.

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IBM Cloud Paks open new business for channel partners

IBM said its latest push into the hybrid and multi-cloud market is setting the stage for new channel opportunities. 

The company this week revealed IBM Cloud Paks, a new set of IBM software offerings containerized on Red Hat OpenShift. According to IBM, Cloud Paks aim to help customers migrate, integrate and modernize applications in multiple-cloud environments.

Those environments include public clouds such as AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Alibaba and IBM Cloud, as well as private clouds. The Cloud Paks launch follows on the heels of IBM closing its $34 billion Red Hat acquisition in July and is part of a broader strategy to make its software portfolio cloud-native and OpenShift-enabled.

“The strategy has been to containerize the middleware on a common Kubernetes platform. That common Kubernetes platform is Red Hat OpenShift,” said Brian Fallon, director of worldwide digital and partner ecosystems, IBM Cloud and cognitive software.

For IBM business partners, Cloud Paks offer a modular approach to solving common problems faced by customers in their journeys to cloud, he said. The company released five Cloud Pak products, addressing data virtualization; application development; integration of applications, data, cloud services and APIs; process automation; and multi-cloud management.

IBM Cloud Paks can be mixed and matched to address different customer scenarios. For example, the Cloud Pak for Applications and Cloud Pak for Integration “together represent a great opportunity for partners to help their clients move and modernize workloads to a cloud environment,” Fallon said.

Dorothy Copeland, global vice president of programs and business development for the IBM partner ecosystem, said IBM’s push into hybrid and multi-cloud products is creating new opportunities for IBM and Red Hat partners, respectively.

“We are enabling the market to drive hybrid, multi-cloud solutions and, in that, enabling our business partners to be able to do that, as well. … There is a huge opportunity for partners, especially around areas where partners can add specific knowledge, services and management of the deployment,” she said.

Cloud Paks may also serve as an entry point for Red Hat partners to build IBM practices. Copeland noted that Red Hat partners have shown increasing interest in joining the IBM partner ecosystem since the acquisition was announced. IBM has stated it intends Red Hat to operate independently under its ownership.

Logically acquires New York-area IT services company

Christopher Claudio, CEO at LogicallyChristopher Claudio

Logically, a managed IT services provider based in Portland, Maine, has acquired Sullivan Data Management, a 10-employee outsourced IT services firm located north of New York City.

Launched earlier this year, Logically formed from the merger of Winxnet Inc., an IT consulting and outsourcing firm in Portland, and K&R Network Solutions, a San Diego-based managed service provider (MSP). 

Christopher Claudio, Logically’s CEO, said in an April 2019 interview that the company was looking for additional acquisitions. The Sullivan Data Management deal is the first of those transactions. Claudio said two or three acquisitions may follow by the end the year.

Sullivan Data Management fits Logically’s strategy of focusing on locations outside of top-tier metropolitan areas, where MSP competition is thickest. The company is based in Yorktown Heights in Westchester County, an hour’s drive from New York. Sullivan Data Management services customers in Westchester and neighboring counties.

This is the type of acquisition we are looking for.
Christopher ClaudioCEO, Logically

“This is the type of acquisition we are looking for,” Claudio said.

He also pointed to an alignment between Logically’s vertical market focus and Sullivan Data Management’s local government customer base.

“We do a lot of work within the public sector,” Claudio said, noting the bulk of Sullivan Data Management’s clients are in the public safety and municipal management sectors.

Barracuda reports growth in email security market

Barracuda Networks said its email security business is booming, with a $200 million annual revenue run rate for fiscal year 2019, which ended Feb. 28.

For the first quarter of its fiscal year 2020, Barracuda said its email security product, Barracuda Sentinel, saw 440% year-over-year growth in sales booking. In the same time frame, its email security, backup and archiving package, Barracuda Essentials, saw 46% growth in sales bookings, the vendor said.

Meanwhile, Barracuda’s business unit dedicated to MSPs reported the annual recurring revenue for its email protection business increased 122% year over year for the first quarter of fiscal year 2020.

Ezra Hookano, vice president of channels at Barracuda, based in Campbell, Calif., cited conditions of the email security market as one driver behind the company’s growth. Phishing attacks have become more sophisticated in their social-engineering tactics. Email security threats are “very specific and targeted to you and your industry, and [no one is] immune — big or small,” he said.

Hookano also pointed to Barracuda’s free threat scan tool as an important business driver. He said many Barracuda resellers are using the threat scans to drive the sales process.

“We, to this point, have never run a threat scan that didn’t come back with at least some things that were wrong in the [email] network. … About 30% to 40% of the time, something is so bad that [customers] have to purchase immediately.”

Barracuda is looking to differentiate itself from its pure-play email security competitors by tapping into its portfolio, he noted. The company’s portfolio includes web filtering and firewall products, which feed threat data into Barracuda email security.

“If I’m a pure-play email security vendor now, I no longer have the ability to be as accurate as a portfolio company,” Hookano said.

Data from Barracuda’s remote monitoring and management product, Managed Workplace, which the vendor acquired from Avast earlier this year, also bolster email security capabilities.

“Our goal in the email market … is to use all of our other products and the footprint from our other products to make our email security signatures better and to continue to build on our lead there,” he said.

Equinix cites channel in Q2 bookings, customer wins

Equinix Inc., an interconnection and data center company based in Redwood City, Calif., cited channel sales as a key driver behind second-quarter bookings.

The company said channel partners contributed more than 25% of the bookings for the quarter ended June 30. And those bookings accounted for 60% of Equinix’s new customer wins during the quarter, according to the company. Equinix’s second-quarter revenue grew 10% year over year to $1.385 billion.

In a statement, Equinix said it has “deepened its engagement with high-priority partners to drive increased productivity and joint offer creation across its reseller and alliance partners.”

Those partners include Amazon, AT&T, Microsoft, Oracle, Orange, Telstra, Verizon and World Wide Technology, according to a company spokeswoman. New channel wins in the second quarter include a deal in which Equinix is partnering with Telstra to provide cloud connectivity at Genomics England.

Equinix has also partnered with Assured DP, a Rubrik-as-a-service provider, in a disaster recovery offering.

Other news

  • Microsoft partners could see a further boost in momentum for the company’s Teams calling and collaboration platform. Microsoft said it will retire Skype for Business Online on July 31, 2021, a move that should pave the way for Skype-to-Teams migrations. Microsoft officials speaking last month at the Inspire conference cited Teams as among the top channel opportunities for Microsoft’s 2020 fiscal year. Partners expect to find business in Teams training and governance. The Skype for Business Online retirement does not affect Skype Consumer services or Skype for Business Server, according to a Microsoft blog post.
  • Google said more than 90 partners have obtained Google Cloud Partner specializations in the first half of 2019. Partners can earn specializations in areas such as applications development, cloud migration, data analytics, education, work transformation, infrastructure, IoT, location-based services, machine learning, marketing analytics and security. Partners that acquired specializations during the first half of the year include Accenture, Agosto, Deloitte Consulting and Maven Wave Partners. The specialization announcement follows the launch of the Google Cloud Partner Advantage Program, which went live July 1.
  • Mimecast Ltd., an email and data security company based in Lexington, Mass., unveiled its Cyber Alliance Program, which aims to bring together security vendors into what it terms a “cyber-resilience ecosystem.” The program includes cybersecurity technology categories such as security information and event management; security orchestration, automation and response; firewall, threat intelligence and endpoint security. Mimecast said the program offers customers and partners purpose-built, ready-to-use integrations; out-of-the-box APIs; documented guides with sample code; and tutorials that explain how to use the integrations.
  • Two-thirds of channel companies said they have changed their customer experience tactics, with 10% reporting a move to an omnichannel approach for customer interaction in the past year. Those are among the results of a CompTIA survey of more than 400 channel companies. The survey cited customer recruitment and customer retention as areas where the most respondents reported deficiencies.
  • CompTIA also revealed this week that it will acquire Metacog, an assessment, certification and training software vendor based in Worcester, Mass. CompTIA said Metacog’s technology will be incorporated into the upcoming release of its online testing platform. Metacog’s technology uses AI, big data and IoT APIs.
  • Naveego unveiled Accelerator, a tool for partners to analyze data accuracy across a variety of sources. Accelerator “is a great starting point for our partners to get a feel for just how ready a customer’s data is to participate in [data-based projects]. In general, that makes the projects have a higher degree of success, as well as go much more smoothly,” said Derek Smith, CTO and co-founder of the company. Naveego works with about 10 partners, recently expanding its roster with Frontblade Systems, H2 Integrated Solutions, Mondelio and Narwal.
  • US Signal, a data center services provider based in Grand Rapids, Mich., said its DRaaS for VMware offering is generally available. The offering, based on VMware vCloud Availability, provides disaster recovery services for multi-tenant VMware clouds.
  • Synchronoss Technologies Inc., a cloud and IoT product provider based in Bridgewater, N.J., is working with distributor Arrow Electronics to develop and market an IoT smart building offering. The IoT offering is intended for telecom operators, service providers and system integrators.
  • Distributor Synnex Corp. inked a deal with Arista Networks to provide its data center and campus networking products.
  • Peerless Networks, a telecom services provider, named Ryan Patterson as vice president of channel sales. Patterson will oversee the recruitment of new master and direct agents for Peerless’ national channel program, the company said.
  • Nintex, a process management and workflow automation vendor, hired Michael Schultz as vice president of product, channel and field marketing, and Florian Haarhaus as vice president of sales for EMEA.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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Salesforce Interaction Studio unveiled at Connections 2018

Salesforce Interaction Studio appears to be the latest major launch in the vendor’s push to enable users to capture a more complete picture of their customers — where they choose to spend their time online, how they like vendors to market to them and which ways they prefer to communicate.

Salesforce has spent billions of dollars on acquisitions, integrations and marketing to achieve that goal. And while it’s not there yet — the targets tend to move in the rapidly changing technology landscape — Salesforce is hoping its latest integrations and new products help its customers find a more complete customer journey.

Toward that end of more smoothly guiding customers through the stages of interacting with an organization, Salesforce unveiled several new product integrations, partner integrations and new applications, including Salesforce Interaction Studio. The CRM giant made the product announcements on June 13 at its Connections 2018 conference in Chicago.

Ray Wang, a Salesforce watcher and principal analyst and founder of Constellation Research Inc., said Salesforce Interaction Studio is an effective response to the fast-increasing importance of customer experience in CRM.

“CRM is actually dead. It’s about how can you craft mass personalization at scale,” Wang said. “It’s about building that experience and journey, which has become a lot more important than CRM.”

CRM vendors such as Salesforce are moving beyond customer management and working toward improving the customer experience and journey — the process of customers interacting with a company. That progression is where Salesforce Interaction Studio comes into play.

Built out of an OEM partnership with software company Thunderhead, Salesforce Interaction Studio enables companies to analyze and manage consumer experiences. Additionally, it can recommend the next-best action for customers, depending on how they interact with that brand.

“It allows you to look at cross-channel consumer insight and see next-best action and optimize customer journey,” Wang said.

Marketing Cloud and Google Analytics 360

Salesforce Interaction Studio was just one of the products unveiled at Connections, a conference focusing on marketing, commerce and service.

Building off a partnership announced at Dreamforce last year, Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Google Analytics 360 are generally available for integration for Marketing Cloud customers. According to Wang, the alliance is a blow to one of Salesforce’s chief competitors, Adobe.

“The battle of analytics has been Adobe Omniture versus Google Analytics,” Wang said. “As Microsoft and Adobe have come close together, it’s natural for Salesforce and Google to become allies.”

The partnership will enable customers to merge insight from Marketing Cloud and Google Analytics 360 into a single dashboard within Marketing Cloud, while campaign data will be available within Google Analytics 360 to provide tailored web content.

Another feature, which won’t be available in beta until July, will allow users to create an audience in Google Analytics 360, activate it outside the Google platform and allow users to continue building that audience within Marketing Cloud.

While nothing prevented Marketing Cloud customers from using Google Analytics 360 to track web analytics, the lack of a deep integration with Marketing Cloud made it difficult for users of both to tie that information back to campaigns. By combining Google Analytics 360 with Salesforce’s inward-facing Einstein Analytics, a company can see a more holistic view of a customer’s data.

It’s not personalization — we haven’t gotten to that point yet. But it allows you to think about the type of journeys you’re creating for customers.
Ray Wangprincipal analyst and founder, Constellation Research

“Einstein takes the data inside the Salesforce platform and helps users find insights, while Google Analytics 360 component is based on web analytics,” Bobby Jania, vice president of product marketing for Marketing Cloud, said in a release. “It looks at how consumers are behaving, pages they visit [and] how long they are on there for.”

Combining those analytics insights to the insights from Salesforce Interaction Studio can go a long way in helping customers track consumers’ campaigns, according to Wang.

“It’s a huge void in Marketing Cloud and most other clouds,” Wang said. “It’s about crafting the right experience and understanding where a customer is — it takes context into account.”

While personalization is the ultimate goal for Salesforce and similar companies focused on customer journeys, that pie-in-the-sky objective is still off on the horizon.

“It’s not personalization — we haven’t gotten to that point yet,” Wang said. “But it allows you to think about the type of journeys you’re creating for customers.”

B2B Commerce Cloud

Beyond Marketing Cloud and Salesforce Interaction Studio, Salesforce officially released its B2B Commerce Cloud product, formerly known as CloudCraze. Salesforce acquired the B2B e-commerce product earlier this year, having been originally built on top of Salesforce software using Force.com.

“It will make it easier to see what a user is doing on a commerce site and connect it to Marketing Cloud,” Jania said. “B2B commerce for Salesforce will make that complex order have the same UI as B2C commerce.”

The Salesforce Interaction Studio release continues Salesforce’s long-term campaign to unify sales and marketing departments within organizations.

“You have a stack at Salesforce where marketing and commerce are a lot tighter than they were before,” Wang said.

Salesforce also unveiled Integrations between Commerce Cloud and Service Cloud, allowing service reps to see customers’ buying histories during service calls, opening up the opportunities to up-sell or cross-sell other products.

Pricing information for Salesforce Interaction Studio, B2B Commerce Cloud and the Marketing Cloud-Google Analytics 360 integration wasn’t immediately available.

Developers set to build AI for Accessibility apps

Software developers have responded favorably to Microsoft’s push for responsible computing and the ethical use of artificial intelligence technology.

The AI for Accessibility program is a $25 million, five-year effort to promote the development of AI applications for more than one billion people with disabilities worldwide. It consists of grants and investments for developers who create innovative AI apps for the disabled to run on the Microsoft Azure cloud.

“Just like with good user experience and UI, we need good AI,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in his keynote speech at the recent Microsoft Build conference. “We need to make this a first-class engineering discipline where the choices that we make can be good choices for our future.”

AI apps to improve lives

Microsoft hopes the AI for Accessibility program will generate applications that use AI to help blind, deaf or autistic people better communicate. At Build, Microsoft demonstrated how a deaf employee could better participate in meetings with the real-time transcription capabilities enabled by the company’s AI services. Other Microsoft technologies that could help developers build accessibility apps include the Microsoft Bot Framework, Microsoft Conversational AI tools, cognitive services in Azure Search and prebuilt models for speech, text and computer vision.

Rocky Lhotka, MagenicRocky Lhotka

Magenic, a software development shop in St. Louis Park, Minn., wants to build apps with AI to improve the lives of users, and includes those with disabilities, said Rockford “Rocky” Lhotka, Magenic’s CTO.

“Sometimes [our] software is fairly run-of-the-mill business software. Sometimes it is part of a solution that has direct impact on making people’s lives better in big or small ways,” he said. “When you get to work on a project that makes people’s lives better, that’s amazingly rewarding.”

Lhotka has a personal interest in this initiative. Two years ago he underwent a surgical procedure with what doctors told him was a 15% chance he’d be partially paralyzed. Fortunately, that did not happen, but it got him to think about how technology and software can be an equalizer in life.

“Something like partial paralysis often ends people’s lives as they know them,” he said. “With technology, though, there’s the very real possibility of people with severe medical conditions living life at a level they never could without those technologies.”

I want InterKnowlogy to stop building software for the company that is killing the world with cheeseburgers and start building more software that helps humanity … but I have to keep the lights on with ‘normal’ work.
Tim Huckabyfounder and chairman, InterKnowlogy

By providing seed grants to many people, the Microsoft program creates opportunities for new projects, devices and services that might not have otherwise been created.

“These technologies can be transformed to help solve general accessibility, transportation, communication problems and more,” said Kathleen Walch, an analyst at Cognilytica in Ellicott City, Md. She cited the impact of smart assistants to help those with hearing impairments communicate, and self-driving cars that one day will help transport the visually impaired.

New tools, support and therapies, such as a virtual assistant nurse, will help people with mental health conditions, and help doctors better diagnose and treat those patients.

InterKnowlogy, a software company in Carlsbad, Calif., also plans to develop AI apps for accessibility. In fact, AI for Accessibility just ought to be a $250 million program, said Tim Huckaby, founder and chairman of the company.

“I’d be willing to pivot the InterKnowlogy business to this if I could keep the lights on doing it,” Huckaby said. “I want InterKnowlogy to stop building software for the company that is killing the world with cheeseburgers and start building more software that helps humanity. We have done ‘projects of ethics’ for years. But, I have to keep the lights on with ‘normal’ work.”

Is AI ready for accessibility?

However, observers question whether the technology is mature enough to affect real change or whether it can only offer incremental help.

“So much of the AI-driven technology that Satya highlighted is going to radically transform the lives of so many people,” said Theresa Lanowitz, an analyst at Voke in Minden, Nev. “However, it will take a decade or more to create the technology, prove it beyond demos, and vet and test it across multiple regulatory agencies.”

When we see critical mass of use and the price drops, it will be earth-shattering, she said. “Until then, we just have to wait.”

280mm radiators

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they are going in a new corsair carbide 400c case
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Location: wakefield west yorks

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280mm radiators

Microsoft apps to be embedded into edtech powerhouse PowerSchool’s ‘Unified Classroom’

(Image: Microsoft)

Microsoft is making yet another push into the classroom. But this time, it’s using the buddy system, today announcing a high-profile partnership with education technology standard-bearer PowerSchool.

PowerSchool has a prominent, cloud-based K-12 student information system for school districts that handles administration of data from student attendance to grades. More recently, PowerSchool has added its Unified Classroom product to the mix, which layers on classroom management plus learning and assessment tools behind a dashboard for teachers, students and parents.

As part of the new partnership, Microsoft says its Office 365 products will be embedded into Unified Classroom, including OneDrive, OneNote, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote Class Notebook. At the same time, PowerSchool will emphasize its use of Microsoft’s Azure cloud infrastructure to deliver its products to schools and districts.

(Image: Microsoft)

This isn’t the first time the two companies have worked together, but it’s been at a less-formal level for light integration of PowerSchool’s products with Microsoft’s OneNote and School Data Sync. A Microsoft spokesperson tells GeekWire that some of PowerSchool’s products, notably those PowerSchool picked up through acquisition, already use Azure. But the new, official partnership appears to deepen the relationship across more products and services.

For its part, PowerSchool is no startup. It marked 20 years in business last August, and was once owned by Apple and later by education publishing’s Pearson. In 2015 it was acquired by Vista Equity Partners, has made several acquisitions of its own since, and now claims its products reach 30 million students in North America.

Microsoft’s new partnership with PowerSchool could conceivably give both a stronger competitive position against Google, which is wildly popular in schools with its free G Suite for Education productivity and communications products and Google Classroom management tool.

AWS updates covered the IT gamut in 2017

AWS continued its methodical push this year to gobble up more of the IT landscape, with a mix of forward-looking tools and upgrades to link and expand its existing portfolio of services.

Microsoft and Google did their part to catch up with AWS in 2017, but both cloud providers worked against a moving target. AWS updates pushed into new IT segments as the cloud provider took steps to fill gaps in its strategy around hybrid cloud, customers operating at a global scale, machine learning and containers.

It was another year of gradual improvements rather than the massive advances that embodied the earlier years of AWS, but there was still plenty for enterprise users to digest.

Among the most popular advancements in 2017 was the decision to finally cede to the popularity of Kubernetes with Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes.

Logicworks, an AWS managed services provider in New York, built its own tooling to support Kubernetes for its clients, and is more than happy to relinquish those duties to AWS going forward.

“Kubernetes was not easy to do on AWS,” said Jason McKay, CTO and senior vice president at Logicworks. “A lot of the open source tooling was not built to that network topology, and that was a real challenge.”

AWS updates reach into serverless, databases

Beyond its nod to containers, Amazon put even more attention on serverless frameworks such as Lambda and the growing list of services with which it interacts. It remains to be seen if either model will eventually dominate the cloud landscape and supplant VMs, but many observers expect companies will choose the serverless path to optimize their workloads after initial lift-and-shift migrations.

In fact, serverless frameworks have improved so much that providers such as Logicworks make it their default option internally and are seeing more traction with their customers. With AWS Step Functions and other upgrades, these services fit together better to provide true elasticity while they keep the focus strictly on the apps, McKay said.

AWS is no longer an infrastructure-as-a-service cloud. It’s a platform in which you develop your application and with serverless you [insert code and don’t] manage the infrastructure.
Jason McKayCTO and senior vice president, Logicworks

“It’s really a continuation of what’s been happening. AWS is no longer an infrastructure-as-a-service cloud,” he said. “It’s a platform in which you develop your application and with serverless you’re inserting code into the platform without having to manage the infrastructure.”

Databases got plenty of attention this year as AWS executives continue to beckon corporations away from legacy systems, and skewer Oracle, too. Aurora and DynamoDB added capabilities to improve speed, consistency and uptime on a global scale. Multi-Master, an AWS feature currently in preview for both services, generated lots of interest because it can create multiple read/write masters in different availability zones.

New instance types addressed a range of uses, including compute-optimized machines for high-performance computing and storage-intensive VMs for big data applications. AWS continued to expand its data center footprint with several new regions, including one in France, second locales in China and GovCloud, and plans to expand to the Middle East in 2018.

Outages and exposed data are 2017 lowlights

Of course, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for AWS this past year. The major Simple Storage Service (S3) outage caused by human error took down scores of workloads in the U.S. East-1 region in February. The downtime cost businesses an estimated $150 million and hit particularly hard for companies that relied heavily on that region and didn’t have appropriate failover options in place.

However, the S3 outage wasn’t as detrimental as some broader outages that were more common in the past. It’s telling that 10 months later the incident barely registered with those interviewed for this article.

“People were upset, but I never heard one case where someone was like, ‘I’m out,'” said Adam Book, principal cloud engineer at Relus Technologies, an AWS consulting partner in Peachtree Corners, Ga. “Some wanted some redundancy and even some enterprises talked about redundant cloud solutions, but they all hit their SLA.”

Security was also a persistent problem — not so much for AWS itself, but for the steady stream of customers who left data publicly exposed. AWS has historically been hands-off with its customers, but it’s clear that the din of embarrassing incidents got the company’s attention. AWS reminded customers to secure their buckets and put default encryption policies in place, as well as alerts to notify users when their data is publicly exposed.

Other AWS security updates included more tools to help users secure their applications on top of its infrastructure. Among them were Amazon Macie, which brings machine learning to recognize personally identifiable information and alerting users about abnormal behavior involving that data, and GuardDuty, a fully managed service for threat detection.

“Amazon decided in 2017 it needed to own the governance process for their platform,” said Erik Peterson, a longtime AWS user and co-founder and CEO of CloudZero, a Boston startup that specializes in cloud security and DevOps.

Features extend beyond AWS cloud

AWS continued to focus on enterprise demands, particularly around hybrid cloud. The much ballyhooed VMware on AWS service became generally available in August, for corporations to move a full VMware stack onto AWS infrastructure. It’s unclear how seamlessly those VMware workloads will link to AWS tools as the offering matures, but in its early days the vast majority of the application has centered on disaster recovery.

Other initiatives pushed AWS farther afield from its own data centers. A partnership with Red Hat brings management of cloud resources in-house via OpenShift, while other efforts seek to put Lambda on edge devices and use Application Load Balancer to route traffic to private data centers.

Machine learning received plenty of focus too, particularly since it’s an area where AWS has lagged. SageMaker was the most intriguing of those initiatives, as the service aims to make machine learning approachable to more types of developers.

Some AWS updates connected services across regions as well, a shift for a company that has historically tried to wall regions off from each other for security and uptime purposes. New capabilities in AWS CloudFormation and CloudWatch make it easier to manage changes across regions and accounts, more End Points were added to Amazon Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) and AWS Direct Connect can now link VPCs across regions.

Many of these AWS updates won’t generate a lot of headlines or get top billing at a conference keynote, but they’re plumbing upgrades that make it easier to work with the platform for day to day operations, Book said.

Not one to rest on its laurels, AWS also continued to add features that push the cloud platform further into ever-expanding subsets of enterprise IT. Alexa for Business incorporates the voice assistant into corporate workspaces. Amazon Connect is a contact center service for customer support centers. AWS Single Sign-On puts Amazon at the center of management of accounts on AWS and third-party applications. And Amazon Chime adds unified communications service to the AWS umbrella.

But with the steady stream of AWS updates and new services, it’s also getting harder to navigate which services to use, especially for new customers.

“[AWS needs] to really take a step back and ask themselves: Are they presenting all their services in the best way possible?” Peterson said. “I talk to people who just started on Amazon a bunch and they’re completely overwhelmed.”

Trevor Jones is a senior news writer with SearchCloudComputing and SearchAWS. Contact him at [email protected].

Wanted – Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (or good 1)

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Wanted – Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (or good 1)

Hi Guys, I’m after a Surface Pro 2 (or 1 at a push). It must been in good order, minimum i5 processor and have the backlit keyboard attachment.

Money is waiting if you can help me out.



Location: Teesside

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Wanted – Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (or good 1)

Hi Guys, I’m after a Surface Pro 2 (or 1 at a push). It must been in good order, minimum i5 processor and have the backlit keyboard attachment.

Money is waiting if you can help me out.



Location: Teesside

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Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

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