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As cloud computing enters its second decade in the IT market, one of the biggest headaches for chief information officers shopping for cloud providers hasn’t changed: Are they really selling cloud services or something else? “In many ways we’re nowhere nearer understanding what cloud is,” Gartner Inc. Vice President David Mitchell Smith told a group of CIOs gathered here at Gartner’s annual enterprise IT convention. “There are still a lot of grey areas and blurriness in the cloud business,” he said.
- Operating gross profit margin in the third quarter was 48 percent, down 2.1 percentage points from the same period a year earlier. This missed the average analyst estimate of 50.1 percent.
- Sales were $19.23 billion, down 0.3 percent from the previous year, beating the average analyst estimate of $19 billion. While this is the closest IBM has gotten to revenue growth in more than four years, it’s still the 18th quarter of sales declines.
- Profit, adjusted for certain items, was $3.29 a share, better than the average analyst estimate of $3.23, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
- The strategic imperatives group -- which includes businesses such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and data analytics -- reported revenue of $8 billion in the quarter, up 16 percent from a year earlier.
- IBM shares fell 3 percent in extended trading to $150.21. They closed little changed at $154.77.
A decade after the launch of the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon Web Service (AWS) is still the leader in Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud computing. However, ten years into a market, companies are expecting more than cheap infrastructure. Cloud conversations have shifted to business agility and advanced services. With cloud computing emerging as a fundamental component of next generation IT architectures, Microsoft, Google, and IBM battle to topple AWS from its throne. The Google Cloud Platform team made numerous announcements to prove that it’s serious about growing a cloud business, including hiring Diane Greene, the founder of VMware. In the past year, Microsoft has also made tremendous inroads across the enterprise with a combination Office365, Azure Active Directory and Azure cloud infrastructure services. By most counts, it’s the number 2 cloud provider.
For anyone shopping for cloud services, comparing price and performance can be a real problem. “There’s a gap in investor knowledge as well as industry knowledge,” said Jonathan Atkin, a San Francisco-based analyst with RBC Capital Markets. “It’s very difficult to compare apples to apples.” Mr. Atkin and his team tested cloud services from Amazon.com’s Amazon Web Services, Microsoft’s Azure, Google parent Alphabet Inc. and other vendors last month. The bank ran five different tests to analyze how each cloud provider fared with respect to compute, memory, bandwidth and other criteria. To compare cloud services across vendors and size of workloads, Mr. Atkin took the total cloud spend – which includes memory, storage, compute and other services – and divided it by the total gigabytes of RAM used. The metric may help CIOs or other cloud buyers think about how much they spend per month per gigabyte of RAM, Mr. Atkin said.
I was a Docker skeptic. The idea of containers was not particularly new (BSD Jails, Solaris zones, etc.) and it didn’t seem to be enough to sustain a company or a new way of working. I’ve changed my mind. Spending time with Docker during Cloud Field Day about a month ago opened my eyes to the larger ecosystem that Docker is building, and that others are building around it. There is so much more to Docker than just the idea of immutable containers. For a start, Docker made using containers easy. That’s no small feat for a tricky piece of technical infrastructure. Making it easy, and specifically easy for developers, to use removed a lot of friction that was no small contributor to the pain of other, earlier methods. It gave developers are really simple way to create a fully functional development environment, isolated from all other dependencies, with which to work.
New versions of VMware’s core management software including vSphere, Virtual SAN and the vRealize Suite expand support for application containers and make it easier for customers to manage workloads in IaaS public clouds from Microsoft and Amazon Web Services. The moves announced this week the company’s VMWorld Europe conference in Barcelona are significant because there’s been fodder in the market for years about what trends like increased use of the public cloud will mean for private cloud vendors and how the rise of application containers could kill virtual machines. Instead of fighting these innovations, VMware is embracing these innovations, says Raghu Raghuram, the company’s executive vice president of Software Defined Data Center.
The mobile computing era changed the expectations we place on our personal computers and internet services. These days, we like our computing on the fly, moving between areas of variable connectivity as we go about our lives while expecting that email, spreadsheet, or cat video at the instant it is requested. And we're bringing basic connectivity to far-flung places around the planet through satellites, which provide a basic connection to the rest of the world but are subject to all kinds of atmospheric interference and latency issues.