This is a weekly browsing of recent relevant industry news articles, helpful for educating ourselves as well as for sharing with our peers. Please post any thoughts in the comments section!
U.S. federal government spending on cloud computing jumped 25% in the past three years, driven by infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) investment. An article by Nextgov discusses the finding of a recent report by big data analysis firm Govini that shows strong cloud spending. This follows an earlier report that government spending on the Internet of Things (IoT) has risen 20%. In its analysis, Govini found that in 2015 the federal government spent $3.3 billion on cloud computing, representing a rise of 25% from $2.6 billion in 2012. That year was a particularly weak year for cloud computing investment by the government, as sequestration had driven spending down to a 5-year low in 2012.
A computer meltdown last week at Delta Air Lines Inc. offers a lesson for corporate IT chiefs, industry analysts say. In the race to develop more customer-facing applications and services, don’t neglect the backend IT systems. That’s especially crucial at larger firms, where backend systems over time can become a jumble of new and old IT applications, infrastructure and architectures from a mix of different vendors – often as a result of acquisitions or incomplete integration efforts, they say. The growing complexity of these systems can result both in more breakdowns and far slower recoveries. About a third of large companies have reported at least one major IT disruption within the past five years, according to a Forrester Research Inc. report earlier this year.
Google is making a number of announcements around its Cloud Platform today. Most of these focus on its various cloud database services, but the company is also making a major update to its low-cost Nearline cloud storage service for cold data, making its disk volumes faster, and allowing its users to bring their own encryption keys to Cloud Storage. The overall message Google is clearly trying to send here is that its cloud computing services are ready for production use. On the database side, the big news is that all of Google’s cloud database services are now out of beta. That means the company’s second generation version of Cloud SQL, which allows you to easily run and manage MySQL databases in the cloud, is now generally available after about nine months in beta.
From a technology perspective, the idea of delivering computing services from the cloud has gone mainstream. Every day, it seems, we end up hearing about or interacting with a new service or app that gets its capabilities from the ephemeral and, frankly, sometimes baffling idea of computers in the sky. Well, okay, not exactly — advanced computing topics aren’t always known for their precision of language and clarity of meaning — but we all do use lots of online resources that are powered by servers and other computing devices that we can’t see or touch. For consumers, these types of cloud computing-driven interactions are becoming regular and commonplace. Looking for transportation? Hail a ride from Uber or Lyft. Settle a debate? Ask your question of Siri, Cortana, Google Now or other personal assistants. Listen to your favorite tunes? Fire up Spotify, Pandora, Tidal or a host of other choices.
A couple of weeks ago Amazon announced its quarterly numbers. As has been the case over the past year or so, the numbers looked good. Really good. Derided for years as a profitless company propped up by investor largesse, Amazon grew its revenues by 31 percent, from $23.9 billion to $30.4 billion, while profits leapt 832 percent, from $92 million to $857 million. Most of the profit came from AWS: on $2.88 billion in revenues, AWS reported $718 million in operating income. In Q216, AWS grew 58 percent year over year (YoY), down slightly from Q1’s 64 percent, but still healthy. As I wrote earlier this year, AWS’s curious failure to align with Amazon’s overall low-margin approach to pricing indicates that it is deliberately keeping prices high to avoid further increasing customer demand. Said another way, AWS’s growth is governed by capacity, not customer demand — which means we can expect it to continue its 50 percent growth rate for the next several years.