Showing posts with label #cloud. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #cloud. Show all posts

Monday, August 28, 2017

WD acquires Upthere app for consumer cloud storage

Western Digital has acquired Upthere, a start-up that offers an enhanced cloud storage experience for consumers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Upthere, which is based in Redwood City, California, offers an app that is "designed to be the single home for all of a user’s photos, videos, documents and music." The Upthere app is available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices, as well as macOS and Windows PCs.

WD said Upthere’s technology and team will augment itss Client Solutions business unit.

In addition, Western Digital announced that Barbara Nelson will lead its Cloud Services business. Ms. Nelson recently joined Western Digital from IronKey, a cloud security business where she was executive vice president and general manager.

http://www.investor.wdc.com

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Keeping an eye on Alibaba Cloud, Aliyun – Part 2

At its investor conference last week in Hangzhou, China, Alibaba's Aliyun cloud business unit disclosed plans to build out new data centres in lock step with the parent company's global e-commerce initiatives. The Asian economies are an area of focus. Another key principle in this overseas expansion is to form strategic partnerships, often the kind that the big U.S. public cloud players have been reluctant to pursue. By leveraging its core business-to-business ecommerce platform, Alibaba believes its cloud operations could attract many small to medium sized enterprises across Asia, particularly those seeking opportunities in China. Like with AWS, there is a focus on getting start-ups to move their operations into the cloud from the outset. For instance, Alibaba is looking to support Indonesia's 1,000 Start-ups Movement initiative, which was launched last year with the aim of nurturing 1,000 ventures by the year 2020.

Simon Hu, SVP of Alibaba Group and president of Alibaba Cloud, commented, "I believe Alibaba Cloud, as the only global cloud services provider originating from Asia, is uniquely positioned with cultural and contextual advantages to provide innovative data intelligence and computing capabilities to customers in this region. Establishing data centres in India and Indonesia will further strengthen our position in the region and across the globe".

Equinix accelerates connectivity into Aliyun

Earlier this month. Aliyun and Equinix, the global interconnection and data centre company, announced a collaboration to provide enterprises with direct, scalable access to Alibaba Cloud via the Equinix Cloud Exchange at its Hong Kong, Silicon Valley, Sydney and Washington DC International Business Exchange (IBX) data centres, with Frankfurt and London due to be added shortly. With the addition of direct access to Alibaba Cloud on Equinix Cloud Exchange in markets across Asia Pacific, EMEA and the Americas, Equinix can offer private access to Alibaba Cloud in five markets. Equinix noted that it previously offered access in its Singapore IBX. Alibaba Cloud is also a colocation customer in Dubai with Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (known as du). The deal could expand to other locations. Equinix operates 179 data centres in 44 markets worldwide.

India, Indonesia and Malaysia

Also this month, Aliyun announced plans to establish new data centres in Mumbai, India and Jakarta, Indonesia. Both facilities are expected to open during the current fiscal year, ending March 2018. Aliyun recently announced a data centre in Malaysia. The company said each of the new Asian data centres will offer a full suite of services, providing the flexibility for enterprises and organisations to build their entire IT infrastructure for business on Alibaba Cloud or run mission-critical and core applications on it. This brings the total number of Alibaba Cloud data centres to 17 worldwide, including mainland China, Australia, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S.

In India, Alibaba Cloud is working with Global Cloud Xchange (GCX), a subsidiary of Reliance Communications, to directly access Alibaba Cloud Express Connect via GCX's CLOUD X Fusion. In addition, Alibaba Cloud has established a global partnership with Tata Communications to provide direct access to Alibaba Cloud Express Connect via Tata Communications' IZO Private Connect service. In Malaysia, Alibaba signed an MoU with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Malaysia's digital economy development agency and the Hangzhou Municipal Government to connect the first e-hubs in the two countries under its Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP). The MoU seeks to build infrastructure for seamless cross-border e-commerce trade between Malaysia and China. In addition, Aliyun will take part in the Malaysia Multimedia Super Corridor initiatives, with a planned data centre in Malaysia later this year and certification program for local tech talents, to help local SMEs to succeed in the digital age through technology such as big data and Internet of Things (IoT). Aliyun has also been operating a data centre in Singapore since August 2015.

Big plans for Pakistan

In May, Alibaba signed a memorandum with the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan to support ecommerce development of SMEs and financial services. The goal here is for Alibaba and Ant Financial to foster growth of worldwide exports of products by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Pakistan through ecommerce. The project is supported at the highest levels of the Pakistan government, with Alibaba Group's executive chairman, Jack Ma and prime minister Nawaz Sharif witnessed the signing of the MoU. Aliyun has not built or even announced plans for a data centre in Pakistan, but this would be a logical next step. The nearest already announced Aliyun data centre would be in Mumbai, which is not a viable option for political reasons.

Under its One Belt, One Road initiative, the government of China is heavily involved in building critical infrastructure in Pakistan. For instance, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which was announced in 2015, includes the construction of a new deep-water international commercial port at Gwadar on the Arabian Sea in the Pakistan Province of Baluchistan. There are also upgrades to the electrical grid, highway system and airports. If Aliyun were to build a hyperscale cloud data centre in Pakistan, we would expect further upgrades to the telecom infrastructure, including perhaps large capacity terrestrial fibre cables serving the length of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The full-service cloud pitch

While Aliyun continues to add to its portfolio of cloud services, often at a cadence remarkably similar to AWS, the parent company sees a bigger picture. Aliyun's mission is to move from Infrastructure-as-a-Service to Application-enhanced Cloud as a Service as rapidly as possible. There are a lot of Alibaba services under this umbrella, including:


  • Retail Cloud – Alibaba's Taobao.com and TMall application; Aliyun customers will list their products here.
  • Digital Marketing Cloud - Alimama.com, the online marketing service powered by data from Alibaba's core operations, providing customers visibility amongst Alibaba's base of buyers.
  • Logistics Cloud - Cai Niao for moving products to customers across China.
  • Digital Media Cloud - YouKu, the so-called YouTube of China, a video sharing platform and CDN that would be of interest to Aliyun customers as well.
  • Financial Services Cloud - Ant Financial, formerly known as AliPay, services include online payment processing, credit reporting, private banking and wealth management.
  • Customer Service Cloud – TIMI.
  • CityBrain – the company's SmartCity initiative, which aims to leverage AI and cloud scale to municipal traffic management, online utility management and city hall services.
  • Tailored Industry Solutions - Aliyun is working on pre-packaged and customised services for manufacturers, financial companies and hospitals.
Aliyun’s global data centres are also expected to play a role in the delivery of products sold on the Alibaba marketplaces to consumers in local markets. For instance, Alibaba is launching an AliExpress service for cross-border, direct-to-consumer retail from select Chinese manufacturers. AliExpress initially is focusing on buyers in the U.S., Russia, Spain, France, Brazil and the UK. The company claims 60 million active buyers over the past year. A similar Lazada shopping service is launching in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. All this activity is to meet company goal of growing the gross merchandise volume (GMV) transacted across Alibaba from an estimated $ 547 billion in 2017 to $1 trillion in 2020.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Keeping an eye on Alibaba Cloud, Aliyun – Part 1

Alibaba's Jack Ma made headlines across the world last week by laying out a plan for rapid global expansion of China's e-commerce behemoth. In an Investor Conference held at the company's Xixi headquarters in Hangzhou, China, Ma made the bold claim that Alibaba could reach $1 trillion in gross merchandise value by 2021 by becoming the primary online store for 2 billion people, as well as by expanding into new areas, one of which is the international public cloud services business. While Alibaba's investor event was overshadowed somewhat by the news that Amazon will spend $13.7 billion in cash to acquire Whole Foods, the premium U.S. grocery store chain, Jack Ma unveiled a strategy with clear potential to disrupt the cloud market.

Meanwhile, business at Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA) is 'fantastic' and is only going to get better this year, according to the company CFO. For the most recent fiscal quarter ended March 31, 2017, the company reported revenue of RMB 38,579 million ($5,605 million), an increase of 60% year-over-year, including:

•   Revenue from core commerce of RMB31,570 million ($4,587 million), up 47% year-over-year.

•   Revenue from cloud computing of RMB 2,163 million ($314 million), up 103% year-over-year.

•   Revenue from digital media and entertainment of RMB 3,927 million ($571 million), up 234% year-over-year.

Growth at the parent company is primarily being driven by the steady increase in active buyers on its ecommerce platforms, both in numbers and in the value of goods and services being transacted. Annual active buyers reached 454 million, an increase of 31 million from the 12-month period ended on March 31, 2016. Mobile monthly active users (MAUs) on Alibaba Group’s China retail marketplaces reached 507 million in March, up 97 million over March 2016. Gross merchandise volume (GMV) transacted on Alibaba’s China retail marketplaces in fiscal year 2017 was RMB 3,767 billion ($547 billion), up 22% compared to RMB 3,092 billion in fiscal year 2016.

Alibaba Cloud, or Aliyun as it is known in Chinese, is firmly established as the leading infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud in mainland China and is moving rapidly to become a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) provider and a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) retailer. Some important Aliyun metrics emerged from the Investor presentation, including (with additional commentary):

·         Public cloud is growing: based on Gartner's figures from March 2017, Aliyun estimates the global public cloud market will amount to $245 billion in 2017, growing to $436 billion in 2021, a 15.9% CAGR.

·         China’s public cloud market is growing even faster, with Gartner figures showing China’s public cloud market, valued at $14 billion this year, growing to $25 billion in 2021, a 17.2% CAGR; by 2021, China’s share of the global public cloud market would still be under 6%, which seems odd given the country's share of global GDP is much higher and that ecommerce, social media and mobile technologies are booming in China - why so low versus the U.S. market?

·         Aliyun cited figures from IDC Tracker 2016 H1/H2 Global Cloud Market (IaaS), indicating it currently is the No.4 player in public cloud services worldwide, but with only a 3.2% share; No.1 was AWS, $8.4 billion, 46.1% share; No. 2 Microsoft, $1.4 billion, 7.6% share; No.3 IBM, $1.0 billion, 5.8% share; No.4 Alibaba, $0.57 billion, 3.2% share; No.5 Google, $0.519 billion, 2.9% share.

Clearly, AWS is dominating the public cloud market, especially in the U.S. The other U.S. public cloud players are investing aggressively to catch up and they too seem to have ambitions that reach to the sky. Alibaba's Jack Ma has previously been quoted in the press as saying that Alibaba would catch and surpass Amazon. When it comes to cloud services at least, this will be extremely difficult given its current 3.2% share versus AWS’ 46.1% share, and a capex budget that appears decisively smaller.

In its home market of China, Aliyun's IaaS revenue is equivalent to the next seven players combined. The numbers cited in IDC Tracker 2016 H1/H2 Global Cloud Market are as follows:

·         No.1 – Alibaba Group, $587 million, 40.7% market share

·         No.2 - China Telecom, $123 million, 8.5%

·         No.3 – Tencent, $106 million, 7.3%

·         No.4 – Kingsoft, $87 million, 6.0%

·         No.5 – Ucloud, $79 million, 5.5%

·         No.6 – Microsoft, $72 million, 5.0%

·         No.7 – China Unicom, $67 million, 4.6%

·         No.8 – AWS, $55 million, 3.8%

In addition, as of March 31, 2017 Aliyun had 874,000 paying customers, had 15 data centres worldwide and had 186 cloud service offers. It also claims a 96.7% retention rate amongst its top paying customers in Q1 2017 compared to a year earlier.

Over one-third of China’s Top 500 companies are on Alibaba Cloud, including China's Public Safety Bureau (PSB), CCTV, Sinopec, Sina Weibo, Xinhua News Agency,Toutiao, Geely, Mango TV, CEA, Quanmin Live, Panda TV and DJI, while two-thirds of Chinese Unicorn companies are on Alibaba Cloud. Global Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) now available on Aliyun include Accenture, SAP, Docker, here, SUSE, Haivision, Wowza, AppScale, AppEX, Hillstone, Checkpoint Software Technologies, Hitachi Data Systems and Red Hat.


Aliyun’s Computing Conference 2016 was attended by over 40,000 developers in person, with more than 7 million viewers online. At its investor conference, Aliyun also disclosed a number of major international brands that are now using its services, including Schneider Electric, Shisheido, Philips, Nestle and Vodafone, which is a good start. Nevertheless, attracting international companies will be harder, first, because Alibaba has only just recently begun building data centres outside of China, and two, they will be much less known and trusted than established brands such as IBM.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Google Cloud Platform launches No. Virginia region

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) activated its latest cloud region: Northern Virginia (us-east4). The region has three zones (data centers) and now supports GCP compute, Big Data, storage and networking cloud services.

With this addition, Google now has four regions serving the Americas market including Oregon, Iowa and South Carolina. Future regions are planned in São Paulo, Montreal and California.

https://cloudplatform.googleblog.com/2017/05/Google-Cloud-Platform-launches-Northern-Virginia-region.html


Thursday, May 4, 2017

AT&T to Move its Databases and App Workloads to the Oracle Cloud

AT&T will move thousands of its large scale internal databases to Oracle’s Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

Under the agreement, AT&T will migrate thousands of existing Oracle databases containing petabytes of data plus their associated applications workloads to Oracle Cloud. AT&T will have global access to Oracle’s cloud portfolio offerings both in the public cloud and on AT&T’s Integrated Cloud. This includes Oracle’s IaaS, PaaS, Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

“This is an historic agreement,” said Mark Hurd, CEO, Oracle. “The Oracle Cloud will enable AT&T to use Oracle technology more efficiently across every layer of the technology stack. This includes AT&T’s massive redeployment of Oracle Databases, which will be provisioned entirely from the Oracle Cloud Platform including our highly cost effective Exadata as a Service.”

The companies noted that AT&T has led the industry when it comes to virtualizing and software-controlling the wide area network. The company’s goal is to virtualize 75% of its core network functions by 2020, hitting 55% by the end of 2017.

“We believe that the future of the network is to be data-powered, to be software-centric, and to be fast and responsive,” said John Donovan, chief strategy officer and group president of AT&T Technology and Operations. “We call this three-pronged approach AT&T Network 3.0 Indigo, and it’s all about enabling a seamless and intuitive network experience for our customers. This collaboration with Oracle accelerates our network transformation and migration to the cloud to expand efficiency, performance, and reduce cost while improving overall customer service.”

https://www.oracle.com/corporate/pressrelease/oracle-and-att-050417.html

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Epsilon Expands its Cloud Link eXchange with Netrality

Epsilon, a privately-owned global communications service provider, is deploying its Cloud Link eXchange Platform (CloudLX) within Netrality Properties' 210 N Tucker meet me room (MMR) with direct connection to 900 Walnut’s MMR in St. Louis.

Customers of Netrality Properties will now be able to connect via a single physical connection to CloudLX and access leading cloud service providers and Internet exchanges, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.

“We are thrilled to expand our relationship with Epsilon, specifically in our St. Louis core interconnection locations. Epsilon’s CloudLX will create a unique value for our customers and provide a simple platform for connecting and growing their cloud-based services,” says Clarissa Joyce, Director of Business Development in St. Louis.  “We are offering customers new options for cloud enablement and providing a dynamic environment for leveraging the cloud in their operations.”

http://www.epsilontel.com/data-connectivity/cloud-access

Iliad's Online launches cloud service based on Cavium ThunderX

Web hosting provider Online, a wholly-owned subsidiary of French telecom company Iliad Group, announced the commercial deployment of server platforms based on Cavium's ThunderX workload-optimised processors as part of its Scaleway cloud service offering.

Online offers a range of services to Internet customers worldwide including domain names, web hosting, dedicated servers and hosting in its data centre, and with several hundred thousand servers deployed is one of the largest web hosting providers in Europe.

For the deployment, Online is using dual socket, 96 core ThunderX based platforms as part of the Scaleway IaaS cloud offering. The Scaleway cloud platform is supported by Ubuntu 16.04 OS, including LAMP stack, Docker, Puppet, Juju, Hadoop and MAAS, and also provides support for standard features of the Scaleway cloud including flexible IPs, native IPv6, Snapshots and images.

Cavium's ThunderX products offer a 64-bit ARMv8-A based server processor designed for data centre and cloud applications. The devices feature custom cores, single and dual socket configurations, and high memory bandwidth and memory capacity. The products also include hardware accelerators, integrated high bandwidth network and storage IO, virtualised core and IO functionality and a scalable high bandwidth, low latency Ethernet fabric.

ThunderX products are compliant with ARMv8-A architecture specifications, as well as with ARM's SBSA and SBBR standards, and supported by major OS, hypervisor and software tool and application vendors.

Earlier in the year, Cavium announced it was collaborating with Microsoft to evaluate and enable a range of cloud workloads running on its flagship ThunderX2 ARMv8-A data centre processor for the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.


As part of the partnership, the companies demonstrated web services on a version of Windows Server developed for Microsoft's internal use running cloud services workloads on ThunderX2. The server platform was based on Microsoft Project Olympus open source, hyper-scale cloud hardware design.

Friday, April 21, 2017

NTT Com extends Multi-Cloud Connect to Oracle Cloud

NTT Communications (NTT Com) announced the extension of the Multi-Cloud Connect solution to Oracle Cloud to help multinational customers leverage the performance and cost benefits offered by the cloud while leveraging its secure, high performance MPLS network.

Under the agreement, Multi-Cloud Connect will connect directly to Oracle Cloud's platform via Oracle Network Cloud Services – FastConnect, enabling private connectivity to its portfolio and features based on platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offerings. The agreement encompasses middleware such as Oracle Database Cloud Service and Java Cloud Service, as well as integration and business analytics features.

Additionally, NTT Com and Oracle will enable hybrid deployment of Oracle Cloud and Oracle software hosted on-premises or Oracle Cloud at Customer based on a single, global network.

Multi-Cloud Connect currently connects to Oracle Cloud and other third party cloud services including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Dynamics CRM Online, as well as NTT Com's private cloud service, via a security-enhanced, private Layer 3 connection, avoiding the public Internet.
Multi-Cloud Connect is designed to enable enterprises to support the demands of different applications by delivering a hybrid cloud environment incorporating a mix of public cloud and private cloud or on-premises, private cloud (enterprise cloud) and/or public cloud elements.

NTT Com's Multi-Cloud Connect is directly connected to public clouds hosted in key markets across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.

http://www.ntt.com/en/about-us/press-releases/news/article/2017/0418.html?_ga=1.166327358.1897876473.1492805105


  • Earlier this year, NTT announced that as part of a commitment to expand its position in the cloud it would explore how to leverage the potential of its cloud investments worldwide. Specifically, Dimension Data and NTT Com planned to explore how to deliver a unified cloud experience to clients through greater collaboration within NTT, initially via closer integration of the Dimension Data and NTT Com cloud IaaS platforms.
  • In addition, NTT Com recently announced the launch of software-defined (SD) services and a suite of technologies with managed services named SDx+M (Software Defined Everything and Management). The new solution is part of NTT Com's strategy of providing software programmable networking, cloud and infrastructure environments.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Huawei Eyes the Public Cloud

Huawei is launching a major push to build public cloud infrastructure. In a keynote address at the Huawei Global Analyst Summit (HAS) in Shenzhen, Eric Xu, Huawei's Rotating CEO, said the ambition is to drive digital transformation by focusing on ICT infrastructure and smart devices.

"Beginning in 2017, Huawei will focus on public cloud services. We will invest heavily in building an open and trusted public cloud platform, which will be the foundation of a Huawei Cloud Family. This family will include public clouds we develop together with operators, and public clouds that we operate on our own."

http://www.huawei.com/en/news/2017/4/Huawei-Global-Analyst-Summit

Saturday, April 8, 2017

NTT i3 teams with Dimension Data and Intel to deliver CloudWAN

NTT Innovation Institute (NTT i3), the Silicon Valley innovation centre for the NTT Group, and Internet Solutions (IS), a pan-African telecoms service provider to public and private sector organisations announced that they are collaborating with Intel for the delivery of CloudWAN.

CloudWAN is designed to enable the rapid responsiveness and efficiency required by enterprise customers as they expand operations worldwide, including their IT infrastructure. CloudWAN helps organisations to efficiently scale and evolve to address business changes across the technology stack, encompassing SD-WAN and NFV technology into a common environment designed to provide enhanced visibility and control across the entire network.

By combining NTT i3's CloudWAN SD-WAN controller and ecosystem with Intel's next-generation server chips on the new Purley platform, CloudWAN is intended to provide businesses with an efficient path to the flexible deployment and management of software at the edge of their network. With CloudWAN, Intel provides the silicon for the high performance boxes required for software defined networks.

CloudWAN's single console unifies the management of network infrastructure, function and applications, enabling IT departments to proactively plan for changing network requirements while also managing the existing infrastructure. In addition, enterprise cloud operators offering a range of enterprise applications from multiple vendors or cloud-native workloads are able to consolidate application silos into a common data infrastructure.

CloudWAN delivers capabilities including:

1. A unified virtual network for linking public and private clouds and bare metal infrastructure.

2. Management of infrastructure, network functions and applications from a single cloud-based console.

3. Extensible network functions enabled via software that interoperates with the core virtual network.

4. Integration of business applications and services from the cloud to the edge of the network.

5. A micro-service architecture for connected devices.

6.An ecosystem of network function providers that allow CloudWAN to be implemented in existing enterprise IT environments.

CloudWAN is also designed to enable cost-efficiency via reduced set-up and service costs and lower bandwidth expenses through the use of alternate transport networks, as well as simplified device management with network functions delivered as-a-service on a single appliance and simplified network monitoring, debugging and troubleshooting processes.


Friday, April 7, 2017

Italy-based Enter partners with Megaport

Enter, a provider of network and cloud services based in Italy, announced a partnership with Megaport (USA), a subsidiary of Australia-based Megaport. a provider of software defined networking (SDN), to enable near-instant access to its Enter Cloud Suite (ECS) and services ecosystem via Megaport's global interconnection network.

Through the agreement, enterprise and carrier customers connected to the Megaport network in Amsterdam and other Megaport-enabled locations worldwide can directly connect to Enter's cloud platform.

Enter Cloud Suite is claimed to be the first European OpenStack-based cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution. ECS enables orchestration of servers, storage, networks, DNS and CDN via a graphical interface or API. The scalable solution can be delivered autonomously or as a fully managed, turnkey solution featuring design, set-up, migration and ongoing maintenance and support. Enter Cloud Suite serves as the cloud platform of 52 European institutions, including the European Parliament and Court of Justice.

The OpenStack-based Enter Cloud Suite was launched in 2012 and is available in Milan, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. Enter delivers connectivity, data centre and Internet solutions in Europe, the U.S. and Asia Pacific leveraging its IP backbone that spans key PoPs across Europe, as well as New York and Hong Kong.

Commenting on the agreement, Belle Lajoie, EVP, Asia Pacific at Megaport, said, "Enter customers can consume elastic bandwidth for connectivity across the globe, enabling the customer to adjust the bandwidth consumption as their business requirements change… Megaport's software defined network also enables direct, instant and scalable access to its global ecosystem of service providers (and) connectivity to Internet exchange services throughout Europe".

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

AWS Launches Contact Center Service

Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) introduced Amazon Connect, a self-service, cloud-based contact center service with no up-front costs, long-term commitment or infrastructure.

The service is based on the same contact center technology used by Amazon customer service associates, who are handling millions of customer conversations.  Customers pay by the minute for Amazon Connect usage plus any associated telephony services.



AWS said its service makes it possible to design contact flows that adapt based on information from AWS services (e.g. Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Redshift, or Amazon Aurora) or third-party systems (e.g. CRM or analytics solutions). For example, an airline could design an Amazon Connect contact flow to recognize a caller’s phone number, look up their travel schedule in a booking database, and present options like “rebook,” or “cancel” if the caller just missed a flight. And, customers can build natural language contact flows using Amazon Lex, an AI service that has the same automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology and natural language understanding (NLU) that powers Amazon Alexa, so callers can simply say what they want instead of having to listen to long lists of menu options and guess which one is most closely related to what they want to do.

“Ten years ago, we made the decision to build our own customer contact center technology from scratch because legacy solutions did not provide the scale, cost structure, and features we needed to deliver excellent customer service for our customers around the world,” said Tom Weiland, Vice President of Worldwide Customer Service, Amazon. “This choice has been a differentiator for us, as it is used today by our agents around the world in the millions of interactions they have with our customers. We’re excited to offer this technology to customers as an AWS service – with all of the simplicity, flexibility, reliability, and cost-effectiveness of the cloud.”

https://aws.amazon.com/connect/

Friday, March 24, 2017

Metaswitch Offers White Label Cloud Contact Center Solution

Metaswitch announced several enhancements to its Cloud Contact Center (powered by Telax) offering, including white label capabilities that enable service providers to construct custom, trusted brand experiences for their customers.

Metaswitch Cloud Contact Center enables providers to offer the highest voice quality and reliability to its business customers’ help desk, customer service, sales and billing departments. Advanced capabilities include intelligent skill-based routing, multi-channel support and workforce management.

New features include:
  • White-label branding capabilities -- Metaswitch’s provider-focused solution enables service provider branding right out-of-the-box, with no additional fees or special training required.
  • Real-time Business Intelligence – Provides interactive and intuitive visualization of real-time data.
  • Multi-Location Agent – Compiles call statistics on a queue-by-queue basis and across multiple locations. Perfect for the demanding needs of verticals such as retail, healthcare and banking, it also enables central administration of location-specific scheduling, routing, and dashboards.
  • Enhanced UI - User interface enhancements provides clearer visibility into user activity and resource utilization.
“Metaswitch understands the value of the brands that our service provider customers have worked so hard to build, said Chris Carabello, senior director of product marketing for Metaswitch. By providing them with a solution custom-built for service providers with comprehensive brand insertion capabilities, and best-in-class business intelligence, they have greater opportunity to differentiate themselves in the multi-billion dollar cloud contact center market.”

http://www.metaswitch.com

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

OVH Enters US Cloud Computing Market.

OVH Group, the largest European hosting provider, has formed a U.S. subsidiary and announced plans to enter the U.S. cloud computing market.

OVH is known for its vertical integration of data center infrastructure.  It owns its data centers and uses proprietary water-cooling technology that more efficiently cools servers and optimizes energy usage while simultaneously increasing performance.

Russell P. Reeder, veteran chief executive in the cloud services and hosting industry, has been appointed president and CEO of the new organization, which will be based in Reston, Virginia..

In late 2016, KKR and TowerBrook invested $250 million to support OVH's global expansion, including the US market. To date, OVH owns 26 data centers across four continents, thousands of miles of dark fiber, which deliver a capacity of 10+ Tbps, and 32 points of presence worldwide.

"Today, companies see no borders and must deliver great performance globally," said Russell Reeder, president and CEO of OVH US. "The US cloud market is ripe for disruption -- companies deserve better service at an affordable price. We will bring the same innovation to the US market that led OVH to its position as one of the top five hosting companies in the world, while also delivering best-in-class services and support for small, medium, and large enterprises. With our experienced and respected executive team, which helped to grow many cloud and technology companies to record revenues, including Media Temple and GoDaddy, I have no doubt we will duplicate our past success and exceed customer and shareholder expectations while disrupting the cloud hosting market."

"When I started OVH 18 years ago, my focus was to create a way for customers to take advantage of then-nascent cloud computing technology," said Octave Klaba, CEO and Chairman of the Board of OVH Group. "Today, customers face a different challenge -- buying cloud services from any one of a number of identical companies. OVH US will challenge what businesses believe to be the industry norm for cloud services, and exceed their expectations for value. Russell and the OVH US team have the industry pedigree and market expertise to start a ripple that becomes a tsunami as we take the US IaaS market by storm and set a new industry standard."

https://www.ovh.com/us/

  • In February, OVH announced the acquisition of its second US data center, located in Hillsboro, Ore. A facility in Vint Hill, Va., is currently under construction. Initial offers for businesses interested in expanding to the US data centers are targeted to be available in summer from the Vint Hill location.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Google Builds out its Cloud Portfolio

Google rolled out significant enhancements to its cloud platform. Here are some highlights:

  • Google has invested an estimated  $26 billion over the past 3 years in its infrastructure, including data centers and networks
  • Google has built a custom security chip codenamed Titan that operates at the BIOS level. Intel is also introducing new security tools to keep customer data secure. 
  • Three new Google Cloud Platform Regions are coming online -- The Netherlands, Montreal (Canada), and California, in addition to other data center construction underway in Northern Virginia, São Paulo, London, Finland, Frankfurt, Mumbai, Singapore, and Sydney.
  • Google is already deploying Intel's latest Skylake processors in its servers
  • New developer tools and data analytic services that will help enterprises build apps in the cloud and find new value from their data. 
  • Google Cloud Platform now offers an expanded environment for Google App Engine and welcomes all developers to use the public beta of Cloud Functions, including its new integration with Firebase. 
  • BigQuery, Google’s data warehouse, now features new pipelines that make it easy for customers to analyze their data from Google Adwords, DoubleClick Campaign Manager, DoubleClick for Publishers, and YouTube Analytics. This enables marketers and advertisers to gain a single view of their customer experience. 
  • Google Cloud launched a new Commercial Dataset program that enables users to access licensed datasets within BigQuery. This will offer the opportunity for businesses to access more data and find more robust insights and more easily build machine learning models.
  • Cloud Dataprep is a new data preparation tool that is capable of automatically detecting types of data, enabling data analysts and scientists to find insights at a faster rate.



Video: Google Cloud Next - Day 1



Here is the archived livestream of Day 1 of the Google Cloud Next event in San Francisco, March 8, 2017.

The 3 hour 25 minute video includes the presentations by Diane Greene, SVP of Google Cloud; Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google; Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Alphabet and Fei-Fei Li, Chief Scientist for Google Cloud Machine Learning and AI and Professor of Computer Science at Stanford.

See video: https://youtu.be/j_K1YoMHpbk


Alibaba Looks to Intel FPGAs for Cloud Acceleration Service

Alibaba Cloud (Aliyun), is kicking off a pilot program with Intel for a cloud-based FPGA (field programmable gate array) acceleration service.

Specifically, Aliyun will use Intel Arria 10 FPGAs, Intel Xeon processor-based servers and software development tools for application acceleration as a ready-to-go preconfigured infrastructure.  The Aliyun service offers systems designers cloud-based workload acceleration as an alternative to investing in on-premises FPGA infrastructure.

“At Alibaba Cloud, we offer customers access to a number of services in the cloud, and adding an FPGA-based acceleration offering means they can access that powerful computing without the cost or requirement of building out their own infrastructure,” said Jin Li, senior director, Alibaba Cloud. “This service greatly adds to our value as a leading provider of highly scalable cloud computing and data management services that provide businesses with flexible, reliable connectivity.”

“Intel FPGAs are enabling exciting new business models such as Alibaba’s approach of using FPGAs to accelerate diverse workloads via cloud services,” said Dan McNamara, corporate vice president and general manager, Intel Programmable Solutions Group. “In addition, Intel offers customers scalable solutions for accelerated computing with its data center leadership in Intel Xeon processors, FPGAs, optimized tools and software, and a global partner ecosystem across the spectrum of deployment models.”

http://www.intel.com

Monday, March 6, 2017

Salesforce Signs Onto IBM Watson

IBM and Salesforce announced a global strategic partnership for leveraging artificial intelligence in business decisions.

Under the deal, IBM Watson, the leading AI platform for business, and Salesforce Ein
stein, AI that powers the world’s #1 CRM, will seamlessly connect to enable an entirely new level of intelligent customer engagement across sales, service, marketing, commerce and more.

IBM is also strategically investing in its Global Business Services capabilities for Salesforce with a new practice to help clients rapidly deploy the combined IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein capabilities.

“Within a few years, every major decision—personal or business—will be made with the help of AI and cognitive technologies,” said Ginni Rometty, chairman, president and chief executive officer, IBM. “This year we expect Watson will touch one billion people—through everything from oncology and retail to tax preparation and cars. Now, with today's announcement, the power of Watson will serve the millions of Salesforce and Einstein customers and developers to provide an unprecedented understanding of customers."

"The combination of Einstein and Watson will make businesses smarter and our customers more successful," said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, Salesforce. “I'm thrilled to form an alliance with IBM—no company’s core values are as close to Salesforce’s as IBM’s. It’s the best of both worlds.”

https://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/51707.wss

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Three UK to deploy Cloud Native Core with Nokia

Three UK, part of CK Hutchison, is working with Nokia to deploy a fully integrated cloud native core network.

Nokia said the deployment will use its cloud software design to leverage the full benefit of the cloud architecture, including massive scalability and better reliability. Nokia will begin deployment of Three UK's new core network in multiple data center locations in the course of 2017. The flexible and scalable cloud platform employed will allow Three to increase efficiencies, while also benefitting from the breadth of Nokia's technology and services capabilities, including the expertise offered by the Global Cloud Design Center opened in the UK in September 2016.

Graham Baxter, Chief Operating Officer of Three UK, said: "Three carries 35% of mobile data traffic in the UK today.  The  cloud core network will enable us to scale even further and continue to offer great value and service innovation to our customers.  The agreement with Nokia will help us to continue delivering the UK's most reliable network."

Cormac Whelan, head of Nokia UK & Ireland, said. "This project highlights the breadth of Nokia's capabilities in technology and services, as well as our extensive ecosystem of cloud technology partners. I'm particularly proud of the role our new Global Cloud Design Center has played in first demonstrating the potential of an integrated cloud native core to Three, prior to working with the customer to tailor the design and delivery of a solution to meet its needs."

http://www.nokia.com


Monday, February 6, 2017

ZeroStack Unveils 3-part Strategy for Self-Driving Clouds

ZeroStack, a start-up based in Mountain View, California focused on self-driving private clouds, unveiled its roadmap and first suite of artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities derived from machine learning.

ZeroStack’s intelligent cloud platform collects operational data and leverages machine learning to help customers make decisions about capacity planning, troubleshooting and optimized placement of applications.

ZeroStack said its vision is to extend existing functionality in three phases:

  • First, a suite of capabilities that deliver the self-driving capability in three levels of ‘cognitive’ capacity planning, a state machine to perform ‘hands-free’ upgrades, and ‘intelligent’ optimization, to manage virtual machine (VM) sizing. These capabilities guide the user to optimized use of infrastructure.
  • Next, ZeroStack will release a cloud optimization suite, including a broker that will assist with workload placement for best cost / performance outcomes.
  • The third component is automated performance troubleshooting. The capability will assist in identifying the root cause of application performance issues, such as correlating application performance with CPU, memory and IO metrics and identifying anomalies that may have caused poor performance. These capabilities can also be used to detect potential security issues.

“ZeroStack has continually worked to reduce IT’s I&O burden for enterprise customers, and our AI software strategy points the way to the future of IT operations,” said Kamesh Pemmaraju, vice president of product management at ZeroStack. “As placement and management of customer workloads increase datacenter complexity, AI will be a key requirement for cost-effective management, and we are at the forefront of using this technology.”

http://www.zerostack.com

See also