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  • Oracle Wants to Battle AWS on Price

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    The price of cloud services has dipped in recent years, thanks in large part to increased competition among the big providers. That competition might get even fiercer if Oracle has its way.

    Oracle CEO Larry Ellison announced this week that his company will begin competing with Amazon.com on price, according to Reuters. That’s a pretty bold proposition, as Amazon Web Services (AWS) has continually snipped prices over the past few years, but Oracle has precious little choice: sales of the company’s legacy database software licenses are down, as more businesses turn to the cloud to support backend infrastructure.

    AWS is widely viewed as the competitor to beat in the cloud-storage space, its services more widely used than similar offerings from Microsoft and Google. That hasn’t stopped other potential rivals, notably China’s Alibaba, from eying an increased market presence. If Oracle offers more commercial alternatives to AWS services, it could drive the price of cloud services—already dipping at a fairly rapid clip—even lower.

    For those who need cloud services, that’s a good thing; pennies spent on compute capacity can just as easily go to salary and other expenses. A more diverse marketplace for cloud computing and storage can also serve a greater variety of customers. But for the cloud providers themselves, this steady erosion in margins may eventually force a few of them—especially smaller competitors—out of the business entirely.

    The post Oracle Wants to Battle AWS on Price appeared first on Dice Insights.

  • AWS VIDEO: Application Portfolio Migration

    This is a very interesting video from Miha Kralj, Principal Consultant, AWS Professional Services that was presented at AWS re:Invent 2014, this past November.

    What is most interesting is Miha’s take on CMDB applications. Miha stated “CMDB’s lie, if you think you have anything good or meaningful information in your CMBD, good luck. We didn’t find anything of use and don’t trust anything that is in the CMBD. Agents are not really being taken care of in CMDB’s. Most enterprises already have a dynamic virtualized infrastructure, and CMDB’s are just too slow to catch up. CMDB’s are a snap shot in time, and that snap shot in time can’t be done once a week. Enterprises say “that snapshot is two weeks old”. Do you know how much I can spin up and spin down on Amazon in two weeks. That why CMDB’s won’t work to prepare for migrations.”

    We get the question from many analyst, systems integrators and customers as to why they need our tool instead of using their existing CMDB. Miha’s presentation gives a great explanation as to why tools like our CloudScape tool is very valuable during the discovery process and why using it ongoing is critical to ongoing cloud projects

    The post AWS VIDEO: Application Portfolio Migration appeared first on RISC Networks.

  • Amazon Web Services Continues Cloud Domination

    In the cloud computing space, there is Amazon Web Services and then everyone else. The tech giant has established itself as the preeminent vendor in this burgeoning industry, so much so that the company recently experienced a five-year high in terms of its infrastructure market share, according to a new Synergy Research Group report.

    The research firm said Amazon Web Services held 28 percent market share for the full year in 2014, followed by Microsoft at 10 percent. IBM was third with 7 percent of the industry, while Google accounted for 5 percent, Salesforce at 4 percent and Rackspace with 3 percent.

    What is most telling about the current state of the cloud-based infrastructure market is that Amazon Web Services and the next five vendors in the industry are roughly neck and neck in terms of share.

    Revenue is also trending upward
    The Synergy report noted cloud infrastructure service revenues, which include private clouds, hybrid models, Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service suites, totaled nearly $5 billion during the fourth quarter of 2014. Total earnings for the full year surpassed $16 billion, up almost 50 percent from 2013 levels.

    The analysis indicated AWS increased its revenue by 25 percent between the third and fourth quarters of 2014.

    John Dinsdale, chief analyst and research director at Synergy, explained the global cloud market is trending in a positive direction, thanks to existing adoption barriers or perceived challenges dissipating.

    "The momentum that has been built up at AWS and Microsoft is particularly impressive. They have an ever-broadening portfolio of services and they are also benefiting from a slowdown in the super-aggressive price competition that was a feature of the first half of 2014," Dinsdale added.

    Amazon in fierce battle with cloud vendors
    The competition between Amazon and the other major cloud vendors is great news for potential adopters. As these service providers battle for client dollars, customers can procure cloud suites at even more affordable rates.

    451 Research's Cloud Price Index declined more than 1.3 percent at the start of December 2014, due in large part to Google's 79 percent price cuts. Amazon Web Services reduced its bandwidth by up to 43 percent.

    Analysts at 451 suggested Google's pricing reductions were in direct correlation to the company's ambition to remain competitive with the cloud market's leading vendors, especially Amazon.

    Owen Rogers, senior analyst at 451 Research, said the attention given to Amazon and Google price cuts could lead some organizations to think they could "save a small fortune" with these services. The cost of applications was only 1.5 percent lower than two months prior.

    "However, extrapolate those price cuts over a year and we're looking at a 10 percent drop, certainly not to be sneezed at," Rogers indicated.

    IT vendors can capitalize on healthy competition
    Third-party service providers that help clients adopt and maintain IT suites should use the competition between Amazon, Google and Microsoft to their advantage. With prices coming down, firms may finally decide to implement cloud environments. Vendors that offer cloud readiness tools to customers will be able to identify any infrastructure issues beforehand, so companies can select the best model for their unique businesses.

    As cloud brands continue to try and one-up each other to attract clients, third-party service providers have to do the same to differentiate themselves from the competition. Vendors that can determine how networks and servers will perform in cloud environments prior to any official deployment can position customers on the right path from the start of the adoption process, not during or after cloud suites are already in place, establishing a true competitive advantage over other firms on the market.

    The post Amazon Web Services continue cloud domination appeared first on RISC Networks.

  • Cloud Pricing Taboos

    Cloud Computing looks to be making the transition from a development and test option to a primary considerations for many businesses, but many are finding the pricing models and options overwhelming and complicated to figure out.

    In the fall of 2014, 451 Research released a report at their Hosting & Cloud Transformation Summit that included information about the top cloud computing-related pain points, which pricing/budget/cost rated as the number two pain point on that list behind security.

    How does an organization determine the best cost for their environment, what should they buy, what cloud providers should they consider. Regardless of the fact that Google, AWS and Microsoft appear to be playing the pricing battle to try and win the title of lowest priced public cloud offering, cloud computing decisions are no longer based just on price. IT leaders are looking at a variety of criteria in their decision making process, and are looking for processes, tools and ideas to simplify this challenge for them.

    Tale of Two Approaches

    Our data shows that most organizations could be saving an average of 66% on their IaaS infrastructure by simply gathering performance data from their infrastructure and making decisions on application and workload usage vs. using an inventory approach (buying exactly what you have in the data center in the cloud). Then we have reserved capacity vs. on-demand capacity in AWS, which can cause some IT buyers a little anxiety.

    We recommend for anyone moving to AWS for the first time or for a new application to purchase On-Demand instances to see how your application runs in AWS, and then if you are happy with the results than you can consider buying reserved instances.

    Something to consider when buying reserved versus on-demand; you are committing to a 1 year or 3 year term when buying reserved instances, which can have a 30-50+% savings over on-demand pricing, but you are stuck with the hardware characteristics of that instance. What does this mean? When you buy reserved capacity you are buying specific technology that you will run your application for the next year or three years, with no upgrade options. In some cases, organizations have purchased reserved instances of a specific hardware type, and a month later AWS lowers the price on their newer hardware technology, but you are stuck at a higher price on older technology.

    If your use case is suitable for that option, and it is the right fit for your business, then go with that option. But if your application is of dynamic nature and you need better performance on newer hardware technology throughout the year or over the next three years, than on-demand pricing may make the most sense for your organization.

    Most of these issues are addressed specifically to AWS, but Microsoft has developed their model to align with AWS. Microsoft has pledged to stay comparable with AWS with respect to pricing. Do not assume that AWS or Microsoft are going to be the best option for price for your business, we see situations where AWS and Microsoft are not necessarily the best price for larger instances. In cloud we are not paying for what we use, we are paying for what we reserve, and in some cases we are paying too much.

     Network I/O and Percentage of Daily Cost

    We looked at 148 of our clients and looked at just network I/O, let’s talk about the percentage of daily cost. If you take network I/O and you are going to spend $10 a day on a cloud server, based on your network usage, what percentage of that cost is made up of network I/O?

    Our analysis showed that most organizations saw less than 25% of their cost of cloud was made up of network I/O. In some cases the network I/O of a particular server can make up 50-75% of the total daily cost of a server running in cloud. In 2% of the cases we evaluated, organizations had servers/workloads that network would make up greater than 75% of the total cost of running that server in the cloud.

    If you have large database servers with data replication and high network communication to those applications, the cost of running those applications in the cloud may be prohibitive. We believe that before you can truly determine if the cloud is the right place for your application, you should complete a thorough readiness assessment of each application and their dependent workloads. Know before you go!

    Keys to Success with Cloud Pricing

    How can you be prepared when moving to public infrastructure-as-a-Service, you need to make sure you do not overbuy from a capacity standpoint.

    1. General Usage information for CPU, Memory and Disk I/O – You need to have a clear picture of the workloads you plan to move to cloud, and this includes CPU, Memory, and Disk I/O to ensure you are not going to over pay capacity.
    2. Current network usage and impact on performance – Including network usage when planning cloud cost models is critical. In some cases, your servers network I/O may make up 75% of the total cost of moving to cloud. It would be great to know this in advance.
    3. Application dependency mapping – Prior to pricing out your cloud implementation, it is important to understand all of the associated dependent workloads that may have to be moved with your application. It is much easier to price an application stack than pricing individual workloads.

    The great thing about IT today is that organizations have plenty of choices of where and how to run their applications. The problem is that with a ton of choices, it also makes selecting the best option for your business.

    We recommend that prior to selecting a cloud provider, you should have a clear picture of your entire environment, including full application dependency visualization for each application and a full communication density map of all of your host and client connections. Don’t make the mistake that plenty of organizations have made before you, it could save you hundreds of thousands each year in unnecessary cloud cost.

    The post Chapter 4: Cloud Pricing Taboos appeared first on RISC Networks.

  • Tech Pros Getting on Cloud 9: Dice Report

    Cloud Skills Dice

    What’s consistently one of the fastest-growing skills for job postings on Dice, boasts above average salaries, and is changing the way companies—small and large—are thinking about data storage? It’s cloud, and the future for tech professionals with this experience is anything but gloomy.

    An analysis of searches by hiring managers in the Dice resume database highlighted the key skills companies are looking for from cloud professionals.

    Not surprisingly, Java is all too important to firms hiring cloud candidates. The programming language and platform is the foundation for so many technologies today that it remains one of the top skills on Dice year after year, and while other languages are gaining speed, Java is still king of the hill.

    Cloud-specific skills like SaaS, Virtualization, vCloud and Salesforce all rank on hiring managers’ wish lists for candidates. Salesforce hit 1,000 job postings in April this year and continues to grow in popularity, with job postings up 26 percent year over year on Dice.

    Open source technologies like LinuxPython and Hadoop create value to companies looking for cloud professionals. Tech professionals with Hadoop experience doubly benefit as other movements like Big Data continue.

    What’s the future of a technology without professionals to sell it? Companies are frequently looking for cloud professionals with sales experience who can drive the product forward and hit goals while doing it.

    And you can’t have a conversation about cloud without the mention of security. Companies are looking for security professionals who can communicate best practices to colleagues, define vulnerabilities and act quickly in the unfortunate event of a breach.

    One thing that hasn’t changed since we last reported on Cloud via Open Web, our Big Data sourcing tool, is that Amazon/AWS is still the preferred vendor, but unlike last year, there’s another kid on the block. VMware also popped up frequently in hiring managers’ searches, proving that as the cloud proliferates, so will companies looking to capitalize on and further enhance the technology.

    Shravan Goli
    President, Dice

    Image: Dice

    The post Tech Pros Getting on Cloud 9: Dice Report appeared first on Dice News.

  • Amazon Offers Developers Better Cross-Platform Tools

    Amazon wants integration with its services to be easy for developers and consumers alike, so it’s enticing developers to create better cross-platform experiences by opening GameCircle, Whispersync, Analytics and in-app purchasing to new platforms. So now developers can take advantage of Amazon services on mobile ( Android , iOS ) and desktop apps ( Mac , Windows ). iOS is limited to GameCircle, Whispersync and Analytics. The hoped-for result: Developers have a stable back-end platform while Amazon consumers get a frictionless buying process. Extending Amazon’s application services beyond Android satisfies consumer desire to save game data across devices. Developers can utilize the GameCircle API on all device types. (iOS has offered game status and leader boards ( Game Center ) on its devices for ages. Google introduced a similar cloud-based service called Cloud Save last year.) Cross-Platform Gaming Amazon’s cross-platform gaming solution is accomplished with the Unity game engine and a set of plugins for connecting to the GameCircle and in-app payments API. Unity is an integrated game engine for creating feature-rich interactive content. It provides a toolset for creating interactive worlds with texture, lighting, special effects, physics and more. It offers out-of-the-box functionality for quick deployment. It also offers a marketplace of pre-fabricated game assets that can be customized. Game developers offering multiple game versions (e.g. Android, iOS and desktop) can connect them to a single leaderboard and save scores across devices with Whispersync. GameCircle can track scores and leaderboard activity across multiple versions across multiple platforms. GameCircle was designed as a complement to Apple Game Center rather than a replacement, and can seamlessly cross-post game play status to Game Center. Whispersync handles syncing, offline and simultaneous play. Unlike other back-end data management services for games, Whispersync is free. Both GameCircle and Whispersync are included in the Amazon SDK. Analytics Currently in beta, Amazon Analytics is available for desktop and mobile apps. Reporting includes information about users and devices beyond downloads and total revenue. Detailed reports show how long users are engaged with your app and how often it’s accessed. Purchase events are tracked to help you better understand in-app purchasing behavior and determine the best method for enticing users to buy. The Analytics service is being offered free. Amazon’s developer program appears to be a major revenue driver for Kindle. In terms of content — not hardware — the Kindle is known to be a major source of Amazon’s sales. Here again, the company has built out a full suite of free tools and back-end services to support applications across platforms. Like Google and Apple , Amazon offers a 70 percent revenue split per paid download. Advertising dollars and in-app purchases are paid out separately. Amazon’s developer program is free to join. Listing and selling apps is also free. Although GameCircle, Whispersync and Analytics are available for iOS apps, iTunes remains the exclusive distributor of iOS software. But with so many services offered free, it’s difficult to ignore the Amazon digital marketplace for mobile apps. The post Amazon Offers Developers Better Cross-Platform Tools appeared first on Dice News .

  • Traits Amazon Likes in Tech Hires

    IT job seekers complain of the hoops they have to jump through to work at Google or Microsoft . Amazon’s not much different, though it does have its own unique set of hoops. To be a manager at the online retail giant, a person must have a certain personality profile, or at least be willing to adapt, transform and become an Amazonian, says George Packer in the New Yorker . And, according to a former Amazon employee he quotes, prospective managers need to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator – hopefully ending up with a personality profile similar to that of founder Jeff Bezos. The key to understanding Amazon is the hiring process. You’re not hired to do a particular job – you’re hired to be an Amazonian. Lots of managers had to take the Myers-Briggs personality test. Eighty percent of them came in two or three similar categories, and Bezos is the same: introverted, detail-oriented, engineer-type personality. Not musicians, designers, salesmen. The vast majority fall within the same personality type – people who graduate at the top of their class at M.I.T. and have no idea what to say to a woman in a bar. Amazon executives hold disdain for publishers who select books based on instinct rather than analyzing customer data, Packer notes. Such metrics are applied to employees, as well. For example, the company writers who describe a product or conduct an interview aren’t judged by the quality of their copy, but by whether or not customers purchase the product before leaving the page. It stands to reason, then, that data scientists , business analysts and other show-me-the-metrics roles are held in high regard at the company. Amazon realized the value of customer data mining long before other companies got wise to its value. At an early publishing trade show… Bezos said that Amazon intended to sell books as a way of gathering data on affluent, educated shoppers. The books would be priced close to cost, in order to increase sales volume. After collecting data on millions of customers, Amazon could figure out how to sell everything else dirt cheap on the Internet. (Amazon says that its original business plan “contemplated only books.”) Amazon hasn’t lost its interest in deepening its use of data. The company has hundreds of job openings in the U.S., including data engineers , hardware developers and software developers , Susan Harker, Amazon’s vice president of global talent acquisition, told Dice News . “We hire a lot of machine learning scientists to work on challenging business problems,” she said. The post These Are the Traits Amazon Likes in Tech Hires appeared first on Dice News .

  • Amazon’s Closed Approach to Open Source Costs It Talent

    Amazon’s unwillingness to contribute to the open source projects it relies on is costing it potential talent as some tech professionals avoid the company, says the Register . Insiders describe Amazon as a “black hole” where improvements and fixes for open-source software are kept close to the vest, a policy that comes “right from the top.” Amazon contributes far less software code and research papers to open source projects than either Microsoft or Google, its main rivals. The secrecy goes so far as to prevent Amazon engineers from speaking – or even asking questions – at industry conferences. On top of that, people inside the company claim the approach is costing Amazon talent, both in terms of employees leaving for other opportunities and candidates losing interest. “In the Amazon case, there is a particular schizophrenia between retail and technology, and the retail culture dominates,” one source told the Register. “Retail frugality is all about secrecy because margins are so small so you can’t betray anything – secrecy is a dominant factor in the Amazon culture.” Amazon’s secrecy may make sense for some purposes, but it runs against the ethos of the open source community, where improvements are supposed to be freely shared. In fairness, the Register notes, Amazon isn’t obligated to share its enhancements if it’s not distributing the code or if the license doesn’t require it. How much of an impact this could have on Amazon’s future remains to be seen, but it’s more challenging to innovate when you can’t get the best talent. Amazon’s approach to open source may be smart in the short term, but could hurt down the road as the tech professionals it needs look elsewhere for jobs that will keep them immersed in the wider tech community. The post Amazon’s Closed Approach to Open Source Costs It Talent appeared first on Dice News .

  • Amazon Posted More Than 16,000 Jobs Last Year

    Amazon posted more ads for IT jobs — 16,146 in all — than anyone during 2013, according to CompTIA’s annual IT Industry Outlook report. The report’s based on numbers from Burning Glass Technologies in Boston, which analyzes online job postings from approximately 32,000 jobs sites. It eliminates duplicates, then runs analytics to mine the particular skills employers are seeking. Rounding out the top 10 were: Accenture , 14,240 job ads Deloitte , 13,077 Microsoft , 12,435 Best Buy, 10,725 IBM, 10,221 General Dynamics , 9,705 Science Applications International Corp., 7,146 Lockheed Martin , 6,995 HP , 6,923. Amazon, whose overall headcount reached nearly 110,000 in October, has been hiring hundreds of engineers in Herndon, Va., after winning a $600 million contract to build a secure, super-secret cloud platform for the Central Intelligence Agency. It’s also been building up a development hub in Vancouver, B.C . Susan Harker, Amazon vice president of global talent acquisition, recently spoke to Dice News about what the company looks for in IT candidates. Best Buy’s hiring represents the growing importance of “middle skill” IT jobs, meaning  those that don’t necessarily require a bachelor’s degree, according to Burning Glass, which saw about 200,000 of those types of positions in its analysis. Those are the kind of jobs you might find at support organizations like Geek Squad. Think help desk. The post Amazon Posted More Than 16,000 Jobs Last Year appeared first on Dice News .