What is so special about cloud services?

They have changed how IT professionals work with computing infrastructure. They’ve changed how application developers approach projects, collaborate and architect their software. They have controlled how enterprises store data and perhaps most of all the cloud has changed the relationship between Development and Ops. It could be argued they have single-handedly ushered in the DevOps era! 

The last 10 years have seen providers like Microsoft and AWS disrupt the IT industry. They’ve turned it on its head, inside out and upside down!  They have turned once cutting edge tech into routine methodologies that businesses use routinely in an era of progression and digital transformation.

It seems only right that we acknowledge this disruption with an Our Week in Digital edition dedicated to these pioneers of cloud services!

Read on for more…

Cloud, OWID, Cloud Services

Reliance Jio in deal talks with Microsoft.

Reliance Jio have only been up and running for 3 short years. However, in that time they have turned the Indian telecom and featured phone markets upside down.  

This week it was announced that Reliance Jio are ready to expand their portfolio to include many other business areas. Among them, broadband, blockchain and IoT. They also had some exciting and transformative partnership news!

On Monday, Reliance Jio announced a long term partnership with software giant, Microsoft.  

The collaboration

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella revealed that the 10-year deal involves a collaboration to launch a series of cloud data-centres in India. This will ensure “more of Jio’s customers can access the tools and platforms they need to build their own digital capability”.    

Together Jio and Microsoft will offer Azure, Microsoft 365 and Microsoft AI platforms to more organisations across India. They will also work cohesively to bring Azure Cognitive Services to more devices. The solutions will also look to be more inclusive. They will do this through being available to businesses across the country in 13 Indian languages. Not only this. The services will be readily affordable. They have been designed for small and medium-sized business models in a developing financial ecosystem. The cloud services will be offered to businesses for as little as Rs 1,500 ($21) per month.

In a joint statement from the alliance, it has been announced that Jio will migrate all of its non-networking apps to the Microsoft Azure platform. It will also recommend that it’s new solution be adopted by its growing ecosystem of startup businesses. 

When will this be rolled out?

In terms of time scale, the project looks set to be up and running by next year. The first two data centres will be operational in Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Like many other big-hitting Silicon Valley tech firms, Microsoft sees massive potential in the Indian subcontinent. It is a hive of digital development. One where tens of millions of users and businesses have come online for the first time over recent years.  

Nadella spoke freely about the opportunities this new project will open up to a nation on the cusp of technological and digital development.  

“At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more. Together, we will offer a comprehensive technology solution, from computing to storage, connectivity and productivity for small and medium-sized businesses everywhere in the country.”

Indian cloud services

According to recent research from Gartner, Cloud services in India are estimated to generate a revenue of $2.4 billion this year. This is a 25% lift from the last 12 months. Microsoft has won several major clients in India over recent years. Insurance giant ICICI Lombard, being just one.

This link up with Reliance Jio will significantly strengthen Microsoft’s relationship with India. However, it does have wider implications for its rivals. Especially those who also provide cloud services – Amazon in particular. Microsoft is enjoying a head start into the Indian market. Adding strength to this is the fact they have India’s top telecoms provider by their side. An alliance to be reckoned with in an ecosystem growing at an impressive rate.

Amazon announces general availability of AWS Lake Formation.

Great news for Amazon’s Web Service subscribers who have large data sets on their hands! 

This week Amazon have announced general availability of their AWS Lake Formation. AWS Lake Formation is a fully managed service that facilitates the building, securing and management of data lakes.  

Businesses across America, Asia Pacific and Europe can start enjoying this now!!

AWS vice president of databases, analytics, and machine learning Raju Gulabani confirmed that this development has sprung from customer feedback; 

“Our customers tell us that Amazon S3 is the ideal place to house their data lakes. Which is why AWS hosts more data lakes than anyone else — with tens of thousands and growing every day. They’ve also told us that they want it to be easier and faster to set up and manage their data lakes”. 

Lake formation

If you aren’t in the know, Lake Formation automates a number of the steps typically involved in creating a data lake. This includes collecting, cleaning, deduplicating, and cataloguing data. It also makes the data available for analytics in provisioned and configured storage.

Using Lake Formation, customers can bring data into a data lake from a range of sources. Using pre-defined templates, businesses can define policies to govern access by different groups within the organisation. The data is automatically classified and prepared.  

That’s not all. Lake Formation also provides a centralised dashboard. From this, admin users can manage data access policies, governance, and auditing across multiple analytics engines.  

In the not too distant future, it’ll enable engineers to analyse data within large data sets using their choice of AWS analytics and machine learning services. This will include (but not be limited to) Amazon Redshift, Amazon Athena, and AWS Glue, with Amazon EMR, Amazon QuickSight, and Amazon SageMaker.

Users

Among the early users are some big names. Panasonic Avionics Corporation, Accenture, Zalando and Big Data software company Quantiphi all have adopted AWS Lake Formation.

Panasonic Avionics director of cloud and data services Anand Desikan, believes AWS Lake Formation allows them to manage their big data more efficiently;

“We can now define policies once and enforce them in the same way, everywhere, for multiple services we use, including AWS Glue and Amazon Athena. The enhanced level of control gives us secure access to data and metadata for columns and tables, not just for bulk objects. This is an important part of our data security and governance standard.”

Competitors

AWS isn’t without competitors though. Unsurprisingly, Microsoft offer their own fully managed solution with Azure Data Lake. As do Google, who offer a suite of data lake processing and analytics tools in Cloud Datalab, Dataproc, and Dataflow.

The Data Lake market is expected to reach $12.01 billion by 2024, according to research conducted by Advanced Market Analytics. The market is growing due to increased adoption of data lakes among business needing to store a wide variety of data.  This is particularly true for those organisations within the Big data, Cloud Computing and Telecommunication Sectors. 

It also marks a significant trend across the wider ecosystem. As more and more enterprises are forced to “go digital”, unsurprisingly, there has been a widespread rise in the implementation of Cloud-Based Software and Services.

Indeed, this is why Amazon built AWS Lake Formation.  

Gulabani can perhaps explain it best.

He says that by using Lake Formation “customers can spend more time learning from their data and innovating, rather than wrestling that data into functioning data lakes. [W]e’re excited to see how customers use it as one of the building blocks for growing and transforming their businesses and customer experiences.”

Clumio raises $51 million for cloud hosted data backup and recovery tools.

Clumio was founded in 2017 by serial entrepreneur Poojan Kumar. Since its inception, it has been working to develop an extensive suite of cloud-based backup solutions. 

This week it has been announced that Clumio has emerged out of stealth with $51 million in funding over two rounds. A series A led by Sutter Hill Ventures and a series B led by Index Ventures with participation from Sutter Hill.

Clumio’s eponymous software-as-a-service product has been building on Amazon Web Services for the past two years. It taps the cloud to help enterprise customers securely manage backup and recovery from remote sites or data centres. Kumar looks to the cloud as; 

“IT can no longer afford the time, complexity and expense of building and managing heavy on-premises hardware and software solutions if they are to successfully deliver against their digital transformation initiatives”.  

How it works

Clumio protects workloads like VMware Cloud on AWS and native AWS services by automatically replicating data in less than 15 minutes after setup. It automatically scales up resources to meet demand.  Meanwhile ensuring backups are encrypted in-transit and at rest. Admins can create compliance policies that apply to virtual machines (VMs) both on-premises and in the cloud. It removes infrastructure complexity from day to day operations by providing cloud-native backup. In addition to this it has an easy to use management interface for business workloads.

The data backup and recovery market has been anticipated to be worth $11.59 billion by 2022.  Not surprising when you consider that data loss can bury businesses that aren’t prepared for the worst. An estimated 96% of workstations aren’t being backed up. Meanwhile 93% of companies who lost servers for 10 days or more during a disaster filed for bankruptcy within 12 months. More alarming still, those enterprises that suffer catastrophic data loss rarely recover. 43% never reopen and 51% close within two years.

Competition

In a growing market, Clumio does have competition. To date, San Francisco based Rubrik has raised $553 million in venture capital for its live data access and recovery offerings. While data recovery juggernaut Veeam serves 80% of the Fortune 500 and 58% of the Global 5000.

Despite this though, inside industry analysts are convinced Clumio has what it takes to stand out in a crowded field. So much so that both John Thompson, chairman of the board at Microsoft, and Mark Leslie, managing general partner at Leslie Ventures have put their money where their mouths are and have invested in Clumio’s latest funding round. Kumar too believes that Clumio has a SaaS product that raises the conversation. Of the Clumio offering, he says that unlike legacy backup vendors, 

“Clumio SaaS is born in the cloud and all-in on AWS. We have leveraged the most secure and innovative cloud services available, now and in the future, within our service to ensure that we can meet customer requirements for backup, regardless of where the data is.”

Such large levels of investment to develop the Clumio SaaS will be welcomed by the wider community as enterprise becomes more dependent upon data for success. Only one-third of UK businesses ‘very confident’ in their current disaster recovery plans. We are sure that the Clumio investors will be happy their money is being well spent!

And Finally:

If you are a regular reader of Our Week in Digital, you’ll know we love a recruitment software story. To round off this week’s edition, we end with a report which underlines the dominance of Big Tech in our industry;

Industry warns Google are exploiting search monopoly to ‘dominate’ job recruitment sector.  

Job search companies have attacked Google’s online recruitment tool. Google jobs has been accused of being anti-competitive. As well as using its power over search  “as a lever to dominate yet another online industry”.

23 signatories from European job search sites including UK recruitment companies Adzuna and Best Jobs Online have penned a letter to Europe’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager. In the letter, they accuse Google of imposing anti-competitive pressure using its new Google for Jobs feature.

The feature sees job adverts appear at the top of online searches in a dedicated Google search box. Despite the fact that the jobs link through to external websites, the Google box appears above the main websites of the search companies. As such, it is thought that the move is a “ploy” to gain market share. In the future, Google may change its business model to add paid-for links. The signatories believe it to represent a “predatory offer”.

The companies are acknowledging the trends in how the modern job seeker goes about their job search by highlighting that on mobile devices, Google’s jobs box fills the entire search screen. Therefore it is thought to dominate the initial job hunting process and as such reduce traffic to recruitment websites. Although the letter does not represent a formal complaint, some of the firms could file for formal action. 

What people are saying about it

Thomas Höppner, a leading competition lawyer at the firm Hausfeld suggests that

“If the Commission does not react, it is not unlikely that at least some of those companies will feel obliged to express their competition concerns with a formal complaint”.

In response, Google said its search tool can be used by individual employers and job listing companies leading to, in many cases “a significant increase in the number of job applications they receive”. 

A Google spokesperson has commented that:

“By improving the search experience for jobs, we’re able to deliver more traffic to sites across the web and support a healthy job search ecosystem.”

The European Commission started a preliminary investigation into Google last year. They sent out requests for information to a number of companies to assess Google’s practices. The companies said this case had “overwhelming” parallels with the Commission’s former investigations into Google’s shopping service. The service earned the search giant a €2.42bn (£2.1bn) fine in 2017. 

It has been well documented that regulatory bodies here in the UK, across Europe and of course in the US have held these Silicon Valley giants in their sights for some time.  

Could this be yet another blow to big tech…?

About the author: As a founder of Ignite Digital Talent, I lead our brilliant team to ensure we deliver time and time again for our clients. I also stay closely networked with industry influencers to ensure we are well placed to understand the issues and challenges our clients face.

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