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When energy giant Enel SpA started looking last year for an outside company to manage its computer systems and files, the Italian firm had a red line: All its data had to stay in the European Union. The company that got the contract? U.S. tech giant Amazon.com Inc., which won by promising that Enel’s data would be housed in a German facility that met Enel’s other requirements: “reliable, flexible, agile and cheap.” Political and legal pressure has for years been mounting on European companies to store their sensitive information in Europe—in part to keep it away from what many suspect are prying American eyes. But the push toward so-called data localization has done little to slow the growth of U.S.-based cloud-computing businesses operating in Europe.
Retail giant Amazon, now the fourth most valuable U.S. company, also continues to build its cloud computing arsenal. On the company’s second quarter earnings call last week, Amazon Web Services’ sales grew 58% year over year to $2.89 billion. Earlier that week, Gartner IT 1.38% released new research estimating that AWS stores nearly double the amount of data as the next seven cloud competitors combined. (The actual figure was 1.6 times the data for sticklers out there.) This despite the fact that Microsoft, Google, IBM, and nearly every telecom company out there has tried to take on AWS by offering their own shared computing, storage, and networking infrastructure.
While OpenStack has become a popular open-source cloud software stack, one part, its DevOps program Fuel, has had a much harder time garnering users. Now, Google, Intel, and Mirantis are re-writing it to use Kubernetes as its underlying orchestration engine. With all respect to Fuel's original designers, it really never took off. Kubernetes, on the other hand, already has many users. Kubernetes, as most of you know, is a container management and DevOps program. On OpenStack, this Kubernetes deployment will use Docker containers. The Kubernetes-based Fuel will provide a single platform for virtual machines, containers, and bare metal systems to dynamically control OpenStack operations and life-cycle management.
Cloud computing has been on a roll for a while now, and instead of slowing down, it just keeps speeding up. Last week, for example, the cloud hit the accelerator big time, as demonstrated by a pair of key developments: First, Amazon announced record quarterly results for Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS simply blew through its Q2 numbers, hitting $2.9 billion in revenue, which was up more than $1 billion from the same quarter in 2015. Yes, quarterly revenue increased by a billion dollars in just one year. Second, Oracle announced a $9.3 billion takeover of cloud ERP provider NetSuite. That’s a huge investment in the cloud from a company that not so long ago went out of its way to ridicule the very concept of cloud computing. (Sure, NetSuite had deep Oracle ties, but almost $10 billion to buy into the cloud is serious money.)