Amazonia for April 15, 2019

April 15, 2019

An interesting week in Amazon’s ebookstore. Jeff Bezos’ annual shareholder letter contains many nuggets. The one DarkCyber found thought provoking was also noted by ZDNet. “In Amazon Shareholder Letter, Bezos Says AWS Targeting Specialized Databases for Specialized Workloads”, I noted this passage:

AWS itself – as a whole – is an example. No one asked for AWS. No one. Turns out the world was in fact ready and hungry for an offering like AWS but didn’t know it. We had a hunch, followed our curiosity, took the necessary financial risks, and began building – reworking, experimenting, and iterating countless times as we proceeded.

ZDNet’s story adds:

From there, Bezos drops a few lines that make AWS a bit of an obsession for Oracle, a database giant. Bezos said the AWS army of databases has been informed by enterprise customers “constrained by their commercial database options and had been unhappy with their database providers for decades.

The idea is that outfits like Oracle Database, IBM DB2,  and to some degree Microsoft with its SQLServer construct have offered an engine. Happy licensees and database administrators would dutifully write scripts and use vendor-certified tools.

The future, as DarkCyber understands it, is many different databases, each with different capabilities. Once these are in the AWS environment, AWS developers and their customers can pick a tool and get on with real work.

Want SQL? Amazon has Aurora. Want to make Elasticsearch grunt through log files? AWS can do that with its own stretchy search engine and log file tools. Want to do Googley-things? AWS offers DynamoDB.

Other points:

  • Third party resellers are making money even though Amazon could fall behind in the revenue and profit department
  • Amazon wants, needs, has to fail
  • Pesky customers don’t know what they want
  • Amazon is not big in retail
  • Amazon has raised its minimum wage so the competition can follow the leader.

Chug, chug, chug goes the Bezos bulldozer. Like some big machines, sometimes ants, jaguars, and the odd competitor gets crushed.

JEDI Squash Game: Final Match

Amazon and Microsoft are the finalists in the squash game for the JEDI contract. Microsoft got some love with its virtual reality award. Plus many DoD professionals cannot live without PowerPoint. Amazon has some government work too. GeekWire reports:

it will be interesting to see how public the companies are willing to be in pursuit of the deal.

Yes, it will be interesting. For the government, for the companies, and for the lawyers representing the outfit which loses the contract.

AWS Deep Learning Containers

Containers make it easy to put related stuff in one place. The holiday ornaments go in Box A, and the old kitchen items go in box 2. Amazon’s deep learning containers are smarter. InfoQ reveals:

AWS DL [Docker] Containers were created by Amazon to remove the “undifferentiated heavy lifting” for customers who regularly use Amazon EKS and ECS to deploy their TensorFlow workloads to the cloud. Amazon has also optimized the images for use on AWS to reduce training time and increase inferencing performance.

You can read the Amazon write up at this link. The main idea is that setting up and doing smart software is getting easier, better, faster, cheaper (allegedly). Just fill in the blanks:


Want more? Search Amazon for cloud. Helpful tip.

Building Bridges to Oman

Amazon visited Oman.The subject of the visit was sales and probably some chatter about other Amazon services. Was policeware on the agenda? DarkCyber does not know. According to Zawya, the reason for the meeting was:

to explore the investment opportunities in the field of information and communication technology and eCommerce as well as identifying the promising markets in the Sultanate.

Ecommerce was a focal point. Policeware? Not mentioned in the source report.

First, It Was Hollywood. Now It Is Big Oil

The Brownsville Herald reported:

Amazon is getting cozy with the oil industry — and some employees aren’t happy about it…

The company is now courting oil producers to Amazon Web Services, which offers cloud computing services to government agencies and major companies, such as video-streaming service Netflix and digital scrapbooking site Pinterest. AWS is one of Amazon’s biggest money makers, accounting for more than 70% of Amazon’s total profit last year.

What’s the angle? Amazon sells its data analytics and other services to Shell and BP. Amazon wants more big oil customers. Is an employee protest percolating?

More Robotics

Business Insider, an outfit seemingly desperate for email addresses and money, reported that Amazon acquired Canvas Technology. The Colorado robot shop makes a robot cart. The cart “carts”. Robots do not require bathroom breaks, meals, or psychological counseling yet.

Amazon Employees Want Climate Change Policies

Herald and News reported that Amazon is into wind energy. But Amazon employees want more climate action from Amazon. This is not save Amazon the company. This is save Amazon the jungle. The newspaper said:

In an unprecedented public push to change Amazon policies, nearly 4,500 employees have put their names to a letter asking CEO Jeff Bezos and the commerce giant’s board of directors to become global leaders in fighting climate change.

Now about the big boxes to send little products? No information, but Amazon has signed three wind farm deals. Those megawatts come online by 2021, In the meantime, chug chug chug does the bulldozer which runs on diesel fuel.

Partner and Developer Quick Clicks

Some items which provide some information about the growing reach of Amazon is the community of vendors of which most people have never heard:

  • Napatech. A line of FPGA (floating point gate array) hardware for Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud. The “solution” provides network encryption and description. Source: PR Newswire
  • Prancer. A new cloud validation framework. This is a connector to make it possible to check up on Amazon AWS if you are a client of the bulldozer. Source: Yahoo Finance
  • ZephyrTel. A strategic collaboration with Amazon AWS. Source: Business Wire on Yahoo
Amazon Cash Pivot

The no people, no cash approach may not be working. Pesky humans and their resistance to change. Yahoo reported that Amazon’s automated stores may start accepting cash. Soon. Source: Yahoo

Amazon: Now a VC Broker

CNBC reported in “AWS Bets on Services Portfolio Amidst Increasing APAC Cloud Competition”:

Amazon is testing a new way to bolster its relationship with start-ups and possibly bring in more capital to the ecosystem. The fledgling effort, known as the Amazon Web Services Pro-Rata Program, is designed to link private investors with companies that use AWS, as well as venture funds whose portfolios are filled with potential cloud customers. Amazon is not investing money through the program.

Didn’t Mr. Bezos work on Wall Street? He probably is no longer influenced by that work. What do you think?

One More Thing…

Apple Insider reports that Bezos bulldozer operators listen to Echo audio. For the allegedly true real news story navigate to “Thousands of Amazon Workers Are Listening In On Echo Audio, Report Says.” We believe reports.

Stephen E Arnold, April 15, 2019


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