Tag Archives: amazon

  • Oracle Wants to Battle AWS on Price


    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.

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  • 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.

  • Google’s Latest Shot in the Online Storage Wars

    shutterstock_Natig Aghayev

    Google believes that no company can afford to destroy any of its data. And while the price of storage has crumbled in recent years, companies can still find it expensive to retain massive amounts of data over the long term, especially when you throw in the costs and infrastructure associated with analyzing it.

    In its bid to compete with Amazon, which offers archival storage in the cloud via its “Glacier” service, Google has introduced Cloud Storage Nearline, a long-term storage hub that (it claims) can surface large amounts of data relatively quickly. (“Nearline enables ~3 second response times for data retrieval and improves SLAs,” suggests Google’s blog posting on the matter.) Capacity pricing is pegged at 1 cent per GB at rest.

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    While those response times might not work for companies that need to retrieve a ton of data and quickly analyze it, Nearline could nonetheless assist those firms that need to store documents or relatively static items, and don’t necessarily want to do so via on-premises hardware.

    Iron Mountain, NetApp, and some other cloud-storage platforms will support Nearline. Given the long-running war over online storage, it’s almost certain that Google’s move will spark some sort of response from Amazon, Microsoft, and other big players in the space. That can only benefit those companies and developers for whom cheap long-term storage is important.

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    Image: Natig Aghayev/Shutterstock.com

    The post Google’s Latest Shot in the Online Storage Wars appeared first on Dice News.

  • Amazon’s Echo Enters Digital-Assistant Fight

    Amazon Echo

    Imagine a device in your home that passively listens to everything you say. In past decades, you might have called such a device a “bug,” and it was probably installed without your knowledge.

    But in the brave new world of 2014, this device is called Amazon Echo, and it’s apparently here to help.

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    Echo is a black cylinder that can go pretty much anywhere in a house or apartment, and responds to a variety of queries. You can ask it about the weather, or a trivia question, and receive a reply; you can tell it to add items to a shopping list, and it does so; you can order it to play music, which the built-in speaker will blast at appropriate volume. The device is plugged in; an accompanying app for smartphones will allow users to manage shopping lists, music, alarms, and more through a specialized dashboard.

    “Echo’s brain is in the cloud, running on Amazon Web Services so it continually learns and adds more functionality over time,” reads Amazon’s copy on the product. “The more you use Echo, the more it adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences.”

    The consumer-tech world has been down this road before, of course. Apple’s Siri digital assistant responds to vocal commands; Google Now will answer spoken queries. The companies building these cloud-based, voice-activated platforms claim the software becomes more sophisticated as users make more queries. But voice has yet to catch on as a default means of input. In late 2013, for example, one poll suggested that 85 percent of those who owned an iOS device had never used Siri.

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    For Amazon fans and customers, the appearance of Echo on the heels of the Fire Phone’s high-profile failure might lead to concerns that the company is spreading itself too thin. Amazon dominates the online-retail market, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) powers many a company’s cloud, but that’s evidently not enough for CEO Jeff Bezos: He seems to want to rule the device market, as well. But while Amazon’s Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets drew users, Amazon had to take a massive write-down on the Fire Phone.

    Echo isn’t a bet-the-company initiative, but if it fails to gain marketplace traction, it could increase the calls for Amazon to focus on what it does best.

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    Image: Amazon

    The post Amazon’s Echo Enters Digital-Assistant Fight appeared first on Dice News.

  • Greetings from AWSome Day by Amazon Web Services

    Just finished watching a day long series of presentations at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta Buckhead put forth by Amazon Web Services.  WOW!  Tale about a dizzying array of new product announcements…..too long to list here, but suffice it to say – it sure looks to me like Amazon AWS is and will be the 800 […]

  • 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 Hiring at Liquavista and Lab126

    Word on the street is that Amazon is hiring IT professionals, as it ramps up its Kindle research and development efforts. According to Good E-Reader , Amazon is working on a full color e-reader with a six-inch screen, similar to the resolution offered with its existing Kindles. Some of the positions Amazon is seeking to fill include process quality engineer , product test engineer , process development engineer , product development manager , and an Asia-based operations program manager . The new senior level positions will be at Amazon’s subsidiary Liquavista, with some of the jobs devoted to development and others related to production. The new product development manager is expected to work with Lab126, Amazon’s research and development arm. Amazon bought Liquavista from Samsung in May. Liquavista is known for its technology that allows e-readers to use a lower level of power than previous generations of e-readers. It also makes displays that are easier to view in all lighting conditions. The new Kindle could be available as early as this year. Lab126 is also hiring software engineers, program and product managers , and a hardware development engineer . Lab126 designs and engineers consumer electronic devices like the Kindle family of products. The post Amazon Hiring at Liquavista & Lab126 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 .