Cisco Announces ACI Extensions
Cisco Live! Barcelona was held this past weekend from January 28-February 1. At the conference, the company highlighted multi-cloud connectivity for enterprise customers. As demonstrated on Cisco Live’s main stage, Cisco has extended its ACI data-center SDN, software-defined networking, platform to connect with AWS and Microsoft Azure.
The extension brings automation to Cisco customers who are using multi-cloud capabilities for their global cloud services strategy. Cisco’s technology, called the ACI Multi-Site Orchestrator, allows data centers to tap both AWS and Azure cloud services for corporate enterprise applications and business solutions.
In an interview, Roland Acra, senior Vice President and general manager of Cisco’s Data Center Business group, said, “We wanted to have customers not have to learn multiple environments. The key thing we focused on is to serve more than one cloud; customers want to avoid the vendor lock-in of any one cloud.” What began as an on-premises SDN that worked only with select Cisco Nexus hardware has gradually transformed into Cisco offering a variety of hardware and open source technology support.
Alibaba’s Second Data Center in Japan
Alibaba Cloud launched its second data center in Japan. This move doubles the Chinese cloud provider’s capacity of cloud services in Japan, where the company is seeing growing demand for big data analytics with machine learning capabilities.
Combined, the data centers will offer more than 50 cloud services including elastic computing, networking, storage, image search, database, and disaster recovery. The new facility runs on 25G network infrastructure, an upgrade from its original 10G network.
Alibaba’s second Japanese data center launch is evidence that the company is continuing to push in the Asia Pacific, where other major cloud providers such as AWS and Google Cloud have also in recent years begun to mark their territory. To learn more about Alibaba as a major cloud provider. Check out our Alibaba Cloud Report, available right now on liftrcloud.com.
New Certification Programs for Data Scientists and Cloud Skills
This past week IBM and Google Cloud took similar actions, announcing certifications for data scientists and cloud skills. Both categories of skills are in high demand as well as command high salaries.
IBM’s Data Scientist certification, which is designed to validate data science skills, is being offered with The Open Group, an international vendor-neutral consortium. For Google, they will be offering four new certifications programs: cloud developer, cloud network engineer, cloud security engineer, and a G-Suite certification.
The news from IBM and Google addresses the way in which many people with business backgrounds come to the cloud-computing world, especially for: analytics, applying AI, and machine learning. These job candidates have business backgrounds but need new technical skills, such as applying analytics to produce actionable insights from large data-sets or improving business outcomes, to become data scientists. The new certifications will become proof-points that job candidates have the required analytics skills.
Microsoft Azure’s Brief Outage
Late last week, Microsoft Azure reportedly experience a brief outage on January 29. The outage affected SQL Server database instances. A small number of customers reported the outage on Twitter.
The outage, lasting less than 10 minutes, was repaired after Microsoft recovered data from the replicated back-up copies of customers’ SQL Server databases. As a standard practice, Microsoft Azure copies customers’ SQL Server data up to five times in order to ensure that data is stored in alternative resources on the cloud for DRaaS, or backup recovery and disaster recovery as a service, purposes.
Earnings Reports Are In: AWS, Microsoft, and More
A slew of earnings reports came in this past week. Amazon.com announced last Thursday that their earnings for the fourth quarter of 2018 were strong. The company’s reported quarterly revenue was $72.4 Billion, growing 19.7% year-over-year. Amazon.com’s revenue for all of 2018 was $232.9 billion, exceeding the $200 billion mark for the first time. As for AWS, the cloud services unit, they reported a quarterly revenue of $7.43 billion, slightly higher than Wall Street estimates had been expecting. AWS quarterly revenues in the fourth quarter grew 45% year-over-year.
Amazon also reported a 47% increase in AWS net revenue from 2017-2018, and had 29.3% operating margin in 2018. The company stated that AWS did not build out hardware capacity aggressively in 2018 as it absorbed previous years’ data center capacity; however, Amazon set guidance for an increase in AWS operating expenses in 2019 as it resumes adding more hardware capabilities. Microsoft reported their earnings on January 30, revealing that the revenue for its Commercial Cloud business unit was $9 billion, which grew 45% year-over-year. Microsoft failed to break out the revenue from its Microsoft Azure cloud services unit. Rather, the unit they reported includes the combined revenue from Microsoft Azure, the Office 365 productivity software bundle, the Enterprise Mobility and Security products, and commercial LinkedIn services.
During the earnings call with Wall Street analysts, Microsoft executives did comment that Azure revenue grew 76% year-over-year compared with the quarter a year ago. They credited strong growth from the consumption and upper-user based businesses and hybrid computing. Microsoft’s Azure cloud service revenue makes Azure second only to AWS as the top Cloud Service Providers worldwide. Microsoft claims Azure is the only hyperscale cloud with a consistent computing stack that extends from the data center to the edge, an architectural advantage customers across every industry recognize. This claim is true, until AWS launches Outposts later this year.
AMD also announced their earnings this past week. They reported that their fourth quarter server unit shipments more than doubled sequentially based on growing demand for their highest end 32 core EPYC server processors. The EPYC cost of units more than doubled sequentially, driving significant growth in data center revenue for the quarter. The company believes after reaching the mid-single digit market share in the fourth quarter of 2018, they should expect it to be another four to six quarters to reach 10% market share. EPYC is starting to get traction with first-generation “Naples”; however, second-generation “Rome” processors should net AMD much better traction with customers, as well as get AMD to double-digit market share.
Like Microsoft Azure, Alibaba cloud also saw substantial growth. The company reported that their cloud computing revenue grew 84% year-over-year at RBM 6.6 billion. This was primarily driven by increased spending from enterprise customers. Adjusted EBITDA for the cloud computing segment was the loss of RMB 274 billion, reflecting a negative 4% EBITDA margin; an improvement from the -5% from the same quarter last year. They did not comment much about cloud; but Liftr Insight’s Paul Teich believes putting their CTO in charge of cloud is a great move. It shows that they are going to invest to stay state-of-the-art.
Paul Teich will be attending IBM’s Think conference in San Francisco next week from February 12-15 for Liftr Cloud Insights. You can contact Paul directly through our website if you would like to contact him at the event. Also, follow along with Liftr Cloud Insights on Twitter for more coverage.
That’s a wrap on this week’s Liftr Cloud Look Ahead. Has your business made interesting strides using cloud? We want to hear from you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you next week!