Amazonia, February 18, 2019

February 18, 2019

Amazon’s Bezos bulldozer may have driven out of Queens last week. The high profile HQ2 could be on the move. How’s Newark look? Mr. Bezos may be in chess mode, sacrificing one location in order to pull off another Bezos bulldozer maneuver. Other Amazonia which caught our attention is summarized below:

A Mid Life Crisis Moment?

The Telegraph reported that Amazon’s expansion in Saudi Arabia may be lost in the desert. Allegedly there is a “feud” between Mr. Bezos and Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Details are few, but when money is at stake, minor differences can be smoothed by Bezos bulldozers properly equipped. The dust up between Mr. Bezos and Mr. Pecker may have some part to play in this alleged issue related to data centers in the Kingdom. Note: You may have to pay to view the “real” news story.

How Big Is AWS?

Amazon expansion into Saudi Arabia in doubt after feud between Jeff Bezos and Crown Prince

Data about the size of Amazon’s cloud business can be fuzzy. Business Insider, however, has the inside skivvy. AWS is bigger than its next four competitors combined. The number seems to be about $26 billion give or take a few billion. Quartz expresses the size in this way:

Amazon Web Services Brought in More Money Than McDonald’s in 2018.

The source does not covert the revenue to Big Macs, a favorite yardstick of some financial wonks.

Slam Dunk: Team Microsoft’s Defense Fizzles

We noted that Steve Ballmer and his Los Angeles Clippers basketball team pulled off a slam dunk. The Clippers smashed home a deal with Amazon for cloud services with Amazon. News of the deal surfaced on February 15, 2019. Ballmer’s Second Spectrum will use AWS to collect and analyze data. Perhaps Azure’s analytics will allow Team Microsoft to determine what went wrong. More details appear in GeekWire. But keep in mind that Microsoft’s Dynamics Suite is available in the Amazon Web Services Marketplace, according to Customer Think. Mr. Ballmer can dribble over and shoot around with a familiar suite of tools.

Eero: Scary?

Amazon’s acquisition of mesh WiFi devices continues to ripple across the home marketplace.

ZDNet stated:

The initial response to this has been mixed, some industry commentators have even called this acquisition “scary”, fearing that the Seattle-based internet retailer and public cloud provider will use Eero’s devices as a way of hoovering more and more information from its customers, with the intention of selling them more of its products.

The threat is that Amazon will leverage its other assets like its advanced machine learning capabilities and create a unified threat management solution at a very competitive price.

UTM from Amazon might blunt some competitors’ sales success and give AWS another advantage in its policeware capabilities.

Scary? Not for everyone. Just some.

About Those Leaky AWS Buckets

The world’s leading online bookstore has released some tips for AWS customers who want to secure their data. Navigate to “Serving Private Content with Signed URLs and Signed Cookies.” The trick is to use CloudFront urls, not Amazon urls. Hmmm.

Amazon Changing Colors?

The Bezos Bugle (aka the Washington Post) reported that Greenpeace thinks Amazon is “wavering on its commitment to renewable energy.” Here’s the nugget:

The [Greenpeace] report also contends that technology companies, particularly Amazon Web Services, which has rapidly expanded its Northern Virginia presence. need to do more to promote renewable energy sources. Amazon committed to moving to 100 percent renewable energy to run its data centers, but the report contends the company appears to be wavering from its pledge.

Amazon ECR and ECS Gain PrivateLink Support

Not familiar with Amazon acronym mania? ECR is the Electronic Container Registry. ECS is Elastic Customer Service. The PrivateLink is a networking technology “aimed to facilitate access to AWS services in a highly scalable and available way.” The poetic phrase comes from an news report in Infoq. These are administrative tools which, in theory, make AWS much more developer friendly. The source article includes a diagram of the bits and pieces one needs to make use of these Amazon offerings.

More Bare Metal Instances

Amazon introduced five new Amazon EC2 bare metal instances. Storage Review summaries the instances in a helpful table. Each delivers 14 gigabits per second.

New AWS Partner

Amazon does not make it easy to locate its Advanced Technology Partners. Wandisco announced that it is now an ATP partner in the APN or Amazon Web Services Partner Network of APN. Wandisco said:

The Advanced Technology Partner designation is the highest tier for Technology Partners that provide software and internet solutions in the AWS Partner Network. WANdisco achieved its status through a rigorous qualification process, based on referenceable customers on the AWS Platform and strict technical guidelines.

What’s Wandisco offer? The company “can enable organizations to seamlessly move large volumes of data with consistent and continuous availability.” More information is at this Yahoo link. Note that Yahoo links can go dead without warning.

Striim Builds for RedShift

Another Amazon partner is Striim. The company announced that it offerings streaming data pipelines to Amazon Redshift. The idea is that the service can help AWS customers migrate and move enterprise data in real time from a broad range of data sources to Amazon Redshift. The service can speed the adoption of a hybrid cloud architecture running on AWS. More information is available from Yahoo Finance. Note that Yahoo links can go dead without warning.

Become an Amazon AWS Expert

Geek.com reports that you can become a certified Amazon Web services architect for $35.

Ethical Hacking on AWS

The service introduction is not for everyone, but it is an important addition. According to Softpedia News:

If you want to run BackBox Linux in the cloud, on your AWS account, you should know that the ethical hacking operating system is now available on the Amazon Web Services cloud platform as an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) virtual appliance that you can install with a few mouse clicks.

This is another useful component in Amazon’s policeware offerings. How robust are these policeware capabilities? Quite robust in the view of DarkCyber.

Amazon Invests in Rivian

Rivian is an electric vehicle start up. Jalopnik reported that Amazon pumped some amount (maybe $700 million) into the company. Jalopnik said:

And it’s hard to say what Amazon would want with electric cars, if you think of Amazon solely as a supply chain and retail enterprise that exists to crush the spirits and bathroom breaks of its workers.

Amazon supports TuSimple, a self driving truck company. The relationship began in 2018.

Google and Amazon: War of Words Escalating?

We noted that former Oracle executive Thomas Kurian sees Amazon AWS as a threat to the online advertising company. The fix may be hiring more Oracle style sales professionals. Fortune does not explain that “Oracle style” sales can be quite interesting, particularly if one is a customer with insecurities. Fortune included this statement in their report about Mr. Kurian’s plans:

An audience member commented to Kurian that for two years, Google has said it is concentrating on building a formidable sales-and-support staff, but that people “haven’t seen signs of change in the market structure.” Kurian responded by saying that Google has increased its spending on sales and support staff by a factor of four over the last three years, although he didn’t cite a specific number. He said that growing a sales force so quickly would be a challenge for any company, but that when he talks to customers, “they feel we have gone a long way.”

The subtext, in DarkCyber’s opinion, is that AWS is a bit of a problem for the online advertising giant. Mr. Kurian wants to respond to customers, an approach which Google has largely found unnecessary for about a quarter century.

Austin: More Amazon and More Traffic

Ah, Austin. The city has street people, traffic congestion, and soon more Amazonians. According to local TV news outlet KVUE:

Amazon said the 25,000 jobs they expected to create in New York will now go to tech hubs and corporate offices across the country, including in Austin.

Note: Local news outlets often take down their stories.

AWS Outposts Coming Later in 2019

SDX Central Confirms AWS Outposts

SDX Center reports that Amazon’s on premises hardware, known as AWS Outposts, will be available later in 2019. The idea is a single on ramp for cloud services. Cisco may team up with Amazon for certain peripherals.

Mildly Humorous Items
  • American Media may pay Amazon to host its online services and data. Source: Geekwire
  • IBM software now runs on Amazon’s cloud. Source: Geekwire
  • Choice Hotels uses both Google and Amazon. Source: Yahoo Finance

Stephen E Arnold, February 18, 2019

Amazonia for February 11, 2019

February 11, 2019

Amazon has been bulldozing away and pushing some jungle undergrowth into the parking lot of major media outlets. Let’s take a quick look at what’s shaking at the electronic bookstore on steroids:

In a New York We May Be Gone

I learned in “Facing Opposition, Amazon Reconsiders NY Headquarters Site, Two Officials Say.” The source? The Washington Post or what some of the DarkCyber researchers call the “Bezos Bugle.” The push back has ranged from allegations of subsidizing a successful company to suggestions that taxpayer money could directly benefit shareholders of Amazon. I learned:

In the past two weeks, the state Senate nominated an outspoken Amazon critic to a state board where he could potentially veto the deal, and City Council members for the second time aggressively challenged company executives at a hearing where activists booed and unfurled anti-Amazon banners. K ey officials, including freshman U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), whose district borders the proposed Amazon site, have railed against the project.

Worth monitoring because if the JEDI deal goes to Microsoft, would Amazon bail out of Virginia?

Indiscreet Pictures and Allegations of Blackmail

Amazon once was a relatively low profile outfit. Then the rocket ships, the Bezos divorce, the JEDI dust up, and now a spat. One headline captures the publicity moment: “Jeff Bezos Says Enquirer Threatened to Publish Revealing Pics.” I don’t want to unzip this allegation. You can expose yourself to the “facts” by running queries on objective search systems like Bing, Google, and Yandex. Alternatively one can turn to the Daily Mail and its full frontal report on this allegedly accurate news story.

Movie Madness

I don’t know anything about the Hollywood movie game. I noted “Woody Allen Sues Amazon for $68 Million for Refusing to Release His Films.” In the context of allegations of blackmail, this adds another facet to the diamond reputation of the humble online bookstore. According to the write up:

Allen blames the studio’s unwillingness to release his films on “a 25-year old, baseless allegation against Mr. Allen” — specifically, Allen’s adopted stepdaughter, Dylan Farrow, telling the world that he sexually assaulted her when she was a child. The suit claims that Farrow’s comments shouldn’t affect the Amazon deal, since the “allegation was already well known to Amazon (and the public) before Amazon entered into four separate deals with Mr. Allen—and, in any event it does not provide a basis for Amazon to terminate the contract.”

Amazon is taking a moral stand it seems. Interesting in the context of the blackmail allegations. Another PR coup?

Accounting Methods or Fraud?

The Los Angeles Times reported that some Amazon delivery drivers’ tips were not paid to the drivers as an add on to their pay. The tips were calculated as part of their regular wage. “Where Does a tip to an Amazon Driver Go? In Some Cases, Toward the Driver’s Base Pay” reported:

Amazon guarantees third-party drivers for its Flex program a minimum of $18 to $25 per hour, but the entirety of that payment doesn’t always come from the company. If Amazon’s contribution doesn’t reach the guaranteed wage, the e-commerce giant makes up the difference with tips from customers, according to documentation shared by five drivers.

Is this an accounting method related in some way to Enron’s special purpose entities? But in the context of blackmail and a legal battle with Woody Allen, I am not sure how to interpret the LA Times’ report if it is accurate.

Amazon and Facial Recognition

Amazon has thrown some support behind the idea that facial recognition systems may require a bit of regulation. I learned about this interest in “Amazon Weighs In on Potential Legislative Framework for Facial Recognition.” The idea is that responsible use of facial recognition technology may be a good idea. The write up stated:

…Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published a study that found Rekognition, Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) object detection API, failed to reliably determine the sex of female and darker-skinned faces in specific scenarios.

Image recognition systems do vary in accuracy. The fancy lingo is outside the scope of this week’s write up. Examples of errors are interesting, particularly when systems confuse humans with animals or identify a person as a malefactor when that individual is an individual of sterling character. Eighty percent accuracy is a pretty good score in my experience. Stated another way, a system making 20 mistakes per 100 outputs is often close enough for horseshoes. A misidentified individual may have another point of view.

Alexa Gets a New Skill

The Digital Reader reported that you can now have Alexa play a choose your own adventure audiobook. Amazon wants to make sure it has a grip on the emerging trend of “interactive fiction.” Perfect for the mobile phone, zip zip zip reader.

Baby Activity API

The engineers at Amazon have chopped another trail through the digital jungle. Programmable Web reported that Amazon’s new baby activity skill API let parents track infant data hands free. Parents should be able to track their baby’s data. Are third parties tracking the infant as well? The write up states:

The new API includes several pre-built interfaces for tracking specific data points, including Weight, Sleep, DiaperChange, and InfantFeeding. Amazon plans to continue adding to these interfaces in hopes of streamlining integration.

If a third party were to have access to these data, combining the baby data with other timeline data might yield some useful items of information at some point in the future. Behavioral cues, purchases, social interactions, and videos watched could provide useful insights to an analyst.

More Live Streaming and a Possible Checkmate for QVC

Amazon Live Is the Retailer’s Latest Effort to Take on QVC with Live Streamed Video” states:

Amazon is taking on QVC with the launch of Amazon Live, which features live-streamed video shows from Amazon talent as well as those from brands that broadcast their own live streams through a new app, Amazon Live Creator.

Will the Twitch model work for remarkable products like super exclusive Tanzanite? QVC may try to compete. DarkCyber believes that effort would tax the shopping channel in several ways. Some cloud pros might suggest putting QVC offering on a cloud service. Will AWS make the short list?

 Amazon Space

Atlantic reported that the electronic bookstore “has 288M sq. ft. of warehouses, offices, retail stores, and data centers.”

Quite an Amazon-scale week.

Stephen E Arnold, February 11, 2019

Amazonia for February 4, 2019

February 4, 2019

The Bezos retail bulldozer could be slowing. Nevertheless, the AWS jungle continues to flourish with hefty growth. Eweek remains a cheerlead stating confidently that “Amazon’s AWS cloud business will continue to grow.” Other jungle news includes:

Yahoo Reports about Amazon Disappointing Outlook

Yahoo. I thought that was Oath. The purple financial service reported that Amazon’s outlook [is] disappointing. The story asserted:

AWS’s revenue continued to grow at a breakneck pace. Its revenue growth isn’t accelerating anymore, as it was for several quarters through to Q2 2018, but it’s also not decelerating, as it did last quarter. In constant currency, the cloud computing service’s revenue has increased year over year as follows: 46% in Q4 2018, 46% in Q3 2018, 49% in Q2 2018, 48% in Q1 2018, 44% in Q4 2017, and 42% in Q3 2017.

Rekognition Denied Respekt

Gizmodo reports that it knows of only one law enforcement client for Amazon’s Rekognition facial recognition policeware. The issue is the accuracy of FAR as these systems have been described by some observers. According to “Defense of Amazon’s Face Recognition Tool Undermined by Its Only Known Police Client”:

the only law enforcement agency Amazon has acknowledged as a client says it also does not use Rekognition in the way Amazon claims it recommends, Gizmodo has learned. In doing so, the law enforcement agency undermines the very argument Amazon uses to discredit critical research about Rekognition.

How accurate are FAR systems? The Gizmodo article reports:

…researchers from the MIT Media Lab published a study indicating that Rekognition’s facial analysis function showed it struggled to correctly identify women of color. Once again, Amazon suggested the results stemmed not from bias in the software itself, but from incorrect threshold settings….

Amazon is likely to face more scrutiny for its FAR than other, lower profile firms. This is likely to be a contentious issue for Amazon as it ramps up its sales efforts to the LE and intel community. Competitors may find it an attractive issue to discuss in their sales presentations.

Amazon and Banking

Bank Innovation reports that Amazon may move Alexa into voice and cloud based banking. You can read the analysis at this link. The story points out that

E-commerce giant Amazon mentioned its cloud computing platform Amazon Web Services, or AWS, 58 times, its virtual assistant Alexa 25 times, and retail just once in its earnings release for the fourth quarter of 2018.

Is there a connection among Amazon’s law enforcement services and the financial sector? The write up does not explore that angle.

MongoDB: An Analyst’s View

Amazon’s Move Against MongoDB Does Not Worry Me” explains:

Amazon is effectively pitching customers on using AWS to get the best of MongoDB when there’s already a more functional version of the database available on not only AWS but also on Google Cloud and Microsoft‘s (NASDAQ: MSFT) Azure. It’s called Atlas, and last quarter this cloud version of MongoDB accounted for 22% of MongoDB’s revenue. Total cloud revenue from Atlas soared 300% year over year in the third quarter. The following chart shows what Amazon is after with DocumentDB — replacing or enhancing the majority of Mongo deployments hosted on-site or co-located in a data center.

No problem. Amazon is using an older version of MongoDB. No worries, says the expert.

Amazon and Facebook

First, Apple showed Facebook that it is not able to control its destiny. Killing the Facebook calendar and other in house functions was a bit of a wake up call for the move fast, break things outfit.

Now Facebook perceives Amazon as a threat as well. According to “Facebook Thinks Amazon’s Ad Business Has Officially Become a Threat,” Facebook is nervous. Facebook mentions Amazon in its annual report.

One interesting Amazon data point, if it is accurate, is:

Amazon’s share of the online digital ad market is expected to grow to 2.8% in 2019, up from 2.1% last year, according to eMarketer.

There may be some headroom for Amazon to expand.

Amazon Plays Rugby AI

Who knew Amazon was athletically able to imitate IBM’s marketing of AI in sports?

According to Investor Ideas, Amazon Web services has been chosen for the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship. If you are into the use of smart software and brutal sports, you can find more information at this link.

Stephen E Arnold, January 4, 2019

Amazonia for January 28, 2019

January 28, 2019

Amazon and Open Source

We learned from GeekWire that Amazon Web Services continues open-source push with code behind SageMaker Neo. The write up told us:

Amazon Web Services has decided to release the code behind one of its key machine-learning services as an open-source project, as it continues to push back against critics who find its relationship with open-source software out of balance.

Amazon wants to make friends with the open source world.

The write up pointed out:

The release is also another sign that AWS increasing involvement with the open-source community, after years of criticism over its tendency to use open-source projects as the foundation for revenue-generating services without contributing much back to the community. Neo-AI joins Firecracker, which was also unveiled at re:Invent 2018, as another fundamental technology advance that the cloud leader has decided to release as an open-source project.

Amazon has some interesting use cases for open source. Some of these reminded DarkCyber Annex of Microsoft’s efforts years ago but blended with a little of the IBM lock in methodology.

Amazon Backup: Good Bye Cohesity and Veeam?

Amazon has rolled out its official back up service. “AWS Backup, a fully-managed, centralized backup service that makes it faster and simpler for customers to back up their data across AWS services and on-premises, helping customers more easily meet their business and regulatory backup compliance requirements.” Source: About Amazon

Amazon Helps Lots of Small Businesses. Yep, Lots.

According to Neowin, Amazon has helped 50,000 small businesses. The dollar volume of the help was pegged at $500,000. Plus, an additional “200,000 SMBs managed to generate $100,000” in revenue.

Alexa Team Number 10,0000

What are 10,000 people doing with Alexa. We assume that the Alexa in the auto device is high on the list. Business Insider listed some other important projects in the Bezos jungle:

  • Machine learning
  • Making Alexa “more knowledgeable”
  • Giving Alexa a personality.

Another area of activity is improving the question and answer capability of Alexa.

Amazon Facial Recognition Performance

The New York Times revealed that Amazon’s facial recognition may have some accuracy challenges. For example, Amazon’s Rekognition mistakes women as men 19% of the time, and darker-skinned women as men 31% of the time, more than similar services from IBM and Microsoft.

Amazon and Zigbee. Zigbee?

Amazon is ubiquitous. At least that is what Quartz has concluded. Good catch. Zigbee, which does not occupy too much of my time, is now joined the Board of Directors of the Zigbee Alliance, reports The Verge. The write up states:

Amazon now has a say in the development of a commonly used smart home standard, giving the company more power as it continues to push smart speakers, cameras, doorbells, and all other kinds of gadgets into its customers’ homes.

Another path cut through the jungle by the Bezos bulldozer is being blazed.

Amazon Drivers Unhappy?

We spotted a news item from the CBS affiliate in Dallas, Texas. The write up states:

More than a dozen of Amazon packages were found on the side of the road in Arlington Sunday, addressed to homes not far from where they were left.

A single unhappy driver, perhaps. A signal that pesky humans can foil the well oiled Amazon machine? Amazon delivery robots may be the answer. But humans are still needed for Amazon’s house cleaning service which is becoming more widely available in the US. Humans are still required for this, however.

Stephen E Arnold, January 28, 2019

Amazonia for January 21, 2019

January 21, 2019

The online bookstore has been busy. Developments we noted at DarkCyber included:

Amazon Wants to Make Coding Easier

GeekWire reported that Amazon has a secret “low code / no code project. The idea is “anyone to create business applications around their custom needs.” Disintermediation may be one consequence if this initiative takes root and bears fruit. The catchphrase for the project may be “AWS for everyone.” Source: GeekWire

Build AWS Using AWS

With Amazon becoming a development platform, one can use the Amazon command line environment. A user can also use Microsoft Visual Studio. You may need the AWS command line interface and Python. What are the implications for developers? Amazon is in your future. Source: Virtualization Review

How to Build a Serverless Solution

A how to which makes what might be a complex process less complicated. The article includes nods to developers who use Microsoft tools. There are code snippets too. The Amazon system screenshots are legible and labeled. The message is, “Use Amazon.” Source: Medium

Rackspace Embraces AWS

Rackspace, a vendor of cloud services, rolled out a suite of Amazon friendly services. The company suggested its services is designed to help companies leverage adoption of Amazon Aurora, Amazon Redshift, AWS Glue and Amazon Athena. Why embrace a competitor. The company’s rationale is “the database service gives customers the ability to prep, load and query data sets while reducing operational costs and time to market.” Source: ZDNet

Amazon Is Your Backup

The company rolled out a centralized backup service. The idea is that if you deal direct with Amazon, backups can be automated. The services meshes nicely with some other Amazon services. Our source said: [The new services helps]  “customers more easily meet their business and regulatory backup compliance requirements. AWS Backup makes protecting storage volumes, databases, and file systems easier by giving customers a single service to configure and audit the AWS resources they backup, automate backup scheduling, set retention policies, and monitor recent backups and restores in one place.” Cloud and on premises data can be handled with the backup service. Source: AsianAge

Where Does One Run and AWS Workload?

Amazon now has an answer. The online bookstore purchase TSO Logic. The company’s software was developed to “find the optimized spot to place each and every workload.” No more trial and error for AWS developers. Amazon also purchased CloudEndure, a firm with disaster recovery tools. The deals suggest that Amazon wants to accelerate rounding out its offerings to developers. Source: SDX Central

Trade Publication Identifies MongoDB As a Target

Amazon’s document oriented database is an example of Amazon’s Bezos biceps flexing. According to CRN:

Amazon is simply trying to offer a more feature-rich document database.

The write up pointed out:

The MongoDB stock plunge after publication of an AWS blog revealing the new service… illustrates the tremendous muscle AWS has in the market and impact development of its services can have on independent software vendors.

TechCrunch describes the new database service and its license in a less decorous way. The phrase “middle finger” suggests the nature of the Amazon tactic.

Sources: Computer Reseller News and Techcrunch

Amazon’s Government Push Gains Momentum

DCD reported that “AWS will host the UK government’s Crown Marketplace.” Will the GSAAdvantage service be a target for Amazon’s sales team. The write up points out that when entities embrace large providers:

This approach has cost some small companies dearly. In 2017, Salford-based cloud provider DataCentred shut down after its largest customer, the tax collection agency Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, moved to AWS.

Source: Data Center Dynamics

Amazon Opens Its AI Conference to a Wider Audience

For conference organizers who dismissed Amazon as a worthy subject, a wake up call has been sounded. CNBC reported that “Amazon is launching a public version of its invite-only robotics and AI conference.” DarkCyber assumes that the conference will address Amazon’s policeware initiative. What’s Amazon’s policeware? Source: CNBC

Stephen E Arnold, January 21, 2018

Amazonia for January 14, 2018

January 14, 2019

Tired of buying stuff on Here’s some Amazonia to start your week off the Amazon way.

Management Romance?

Did the ‘National Enquirer’ Finally Get One Right with Its Sensational Exposé of Bezos’s Affair?” reveals some interesting information. DarkCyber has no comment.

Buying Technology

Amazon purchased the Israel based CloudEndure. I did not know that clouds could “endure”. I get the idea though. With this technology, Amazon is able to deliver better disaster recovery. Is the technology better than that from every other cloud outfit? It may be because most cloud disaster recovery systems are not exactly the same as opening the refrigerator door. Additional details are available from GeekWire; for example, the estimated purchase price of a tiny fraction of the Bezos divorce settlement.

Yes, One Million

According to the Verge, more than one million people have preordered the Echo Auto device. It is less expensive than purchasing a Tesla. Since an errant 90 year old smashed my beloved Kia in a parking lot, I don’t think much about automobiles. But obviously a million people do and trust Amazon to deliver a better auto experience.

Amazon Partner Marketing

Becoming an Amazon partner may be a step some outfits may want to consider. Coupa, a financial outfit, is ramping up its Amazon love. According to Pymnts:

Coupa users can link their accounts to Amazon Web Services to automatically have AWS invoices sent to the Coupa platform. The integration means companies using both Coupa and AWS can more quickly process those invoices, while gaining enhanced visibility into their spend with AWS services. The integration deploys Coupa’s InvoiceSmash solution, which accelerates invoice processing and payments for users, aimed at enabling companies to capture early payment discounts from their suppliers.

Many of Amazon’s partners are companies which have for many observers a low profile. DarkCyber Annex believes that if Amazon gains traction in the business sector, getting into the Amazon partner arena may be a wise move.

Amazon and Its Satellite Play

Why is Amazon embracing satellites? One answer may be is that cloud computing can reach into the great beyond. According to Formtek:

Amazon AWS brings new meaning to SaaS.  It’s Satellite as a Service, actually named AWS Ground Service. Ground Station attempts to make the world of satellite data capture and processing into a utility service, something that can be easily turned on and off without up-front capital expenditures.  Their target audience are businesses, researchers, governments and space agencies.  The goal is to make the upload and download of data from satellites simpler and cost effective.

DarkCyber Annex knows that Google loves those balloons. Facebook once had solar powered gizmos. Microsoft has ground based Azure. Amazon appears to have some folks who wants to do the final frontier thing whether these is a demand or note.

The Future of Software Innovation

DarkCyber Annex believes that the future of software innovation is to use AWS. An interesting example is documented in Diginomica. The news service reports:

The way that Zendesk has built its new Sunshine platform on AWS is a groundbreaking new take on enterprise SaaS that looks to the future of CRM.

Amazon’s infrastructure will enable more than CRM.

Amazon’s Content Management Play

Amazon could print ebooks. But the company did not have a robust, ready-to-use document management system. OpenText and its like were happy with this state of affairs. Unfortunately, both open source centric and proprietary document management outfits may face a new reality. Their world has changed. ZDNet ran a story with the title “Watch Out MongoDB.AWS Launches Fully Managed Document Database Service.” The problem is that the target is not just open source database systems. Those under threat include the folks who rarely think about Amazon as much more than a glorified eCommerce site. I would wager $1 that the Omnifind crowd at IBM is unlikely to change its stripes because of this announcement. Perhaps this indifference may be a misstep?

Amazon and the Microsoft Compatibility

Amazon seems to be neutral when it comes to criticizing its cross town rival. But Amazon partners are not subject to the same management restraint. DarkCyber Annex noted that Yahoo reported via Business Wire:

ECS, a leading provider of advanced technology, science, and engineering solutions, and a Premier Consulting Partner in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network (APN), announced that it is a launch partner of the new file-sharing system Amazon FSx for Windows File Server. An automatically scaled and fully managed file system, Amazon FSx has native compatibility supporting the features, performance, and security capabilities most used by commercial and public sector customers. The system automates time-consuming administration tasks such as hardware provisioning, software configuration, patching, and backups.

Another AWS ecosystem partner. This one is edging into Microsoft’s sacred territory. “Plug compatible” — those words signaled a change for IBM. AWS partner may be a similar token.

Stephen E Arnold, January 14, 2019

Amazonia, January 7, 2019

January 7, 2019

The Bezos bulldozer keeps on pushing through the virgin forest. Crunch, crunch—That’s the sound of the power of the machine creating new revenue streets and highways. Consider these bits of Amazonia:

One of the Five Eyes Is Smiling

One branch of the British government has inked a deal with Amazon to build the “Crown Marketplace.” Think in terms of the British version of GSA/DSA running on Amazon’s AWS infrastructure, buying goodies from Amazon’s warehouses, and getting some of the stuff delivered in nifty Amazon trucks. When will GHCQ follow the CIA’s approach and use Amazon for plumbing? Source: The Telegraph which dearly wants your email address.

GovCloud West: EC2 High Memory Arrives

Most commercial outfits won’t care or understand the steady expansion of the breadth and depth of the GovCloud. Mark your calendar, while some folks were guzzling Champaign, Amazon Amazon EC2 High Memory instances with up to 12 TB of memory to the US GovCloud West region. Source: Amazon itself. Want to know more about “high memory”? Click this link.

FBI Uses Amazon Facial Recognition Service

The policeware landscape is being reshaped by the Bezos bulldozer. Navigate to “FBI Pilot Programme Uses Amazon’s Controversial Facial Recognition Software.” Keep in mind that this write up comes from the ever friendly, always objective Sputnik News. The write up reports:

Sputnik reported that the artificial intelligence behind Rekognition, which can identify, track, and analyze people and recognize up to 100 faces in a single image, was being marketed by Amazon to US police departments for as little as $6 a month. That tiny fee gave law enforcement agencies access to Amazon Web Services (AWS). In turn, Amazon requested that those agencies recommend the brand to their partners, including body camera manufacturers, according to documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

That’s a compelling price point for many law enforcement entities. True or false. Well, the secret region is a thing.

Perception Health Embraces the AWS Marketplace

The Amazon watchers at ArnoldIT.com noted this statement:

Perception Health, a leading provider of healthcare market prediction software, announced today their inclusion on the new machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) discovery page on AWS Marketplace.

Why? Bezos’ bulldozer is turning to health. Perception Health wants to dabble in the machine learning marketplace Amazon has built along side its streaming data marketplace. Perception likes the strokes Amazon doles out to its partners. Good partner, the Bezos bulldozer rumbles softly. Source: PRNewswire

Where’s That Blog Belong?

The answer is on AWS. WordPress is a popular blogging platform. WPEngine stated:

WP Engine leverages a modern technology stack to make sure our customers have the resources they need to scale their WordPress environments. It’s why we give our customers access to a suite of developer tools they can use to build great websites, and it’s why we utilize best-in-class technologies like Amazon Web Services (AWS) to add resiliency and speed to our digital experience platform.

Different cheer, same enthusiasm. Source: WPEngine

PHP and Amazon

You know PHP. You want zero hardware to drag down your nights and weekends. You will embrace AWS Lamda. Details are in “Severless PHP on AWS Lambda.” If you want to know more about AWS Lambda, click here. Source: PHPDeveloper

Microservices on Amazon

Screw up one part of a microservice based app and you can have an exciting time of it. But what if one wants to combine the goodness of microservices with the Bezos bulldozer? No problem. Details plus code appear in “How to Deploy a Microservice Application to AWS.” Now about those microservices which don’t “service”? Sparse info, gentle reader.

H2O Analytics Run Better on AWS

Hard to believe that an Amazon partner helps market itself and Amazon with such enthusiasm. Here’s an example of nerd cheerleading:

If you haven’t started migrating your analytics to the cloud, then hopefully this will convince you to start reconsidering. The opportunity to have access to a 64, 96 or even 128 core machines with 2TB of RAM rarely crosses the path of most Data Scientists. This can mostly be accredited to the fact that most of us don’t really need such a large machine for what we need to achieve, see Szilard’s twitter posts if you need convincing. Another reason that we don’t use these big machines are purely because we just don’t have access to such machines within our working environments. Luckily for us, access to cloud computing have become more accessible and well, lets be honest, cheap as chips.

Yep, rah rah. Source: Digital Age Economist (aren’t all economists now alive “digital age economists”?)

Amazonia, December 31, 2018

December 31, 2018

Everyone’s favorite online bookstore is thinking big thoughts. Keep tabs on the Bezos bulldozer with this week’s highlights.

Amazon Does Ontologies

Just when the jargon of the 1990s enterprise search engines has almost disappeared, Koinalert pointed out that AWS has added the ONT_Dev Platform. Yes, you can now create a list of controlled terms and use them without the likes of pesky specialist vendors. You can find more details in the Koinalert post, which  points out that Google is planning a me too. Good for you, Google.

Amazon Drones Stalled

Amazon drones are not delivering burritos yet.  The Gazette reported that Jeff Bezos promised drones five years ago. Amazon has not given up. The company has drone wizards buzzing away in the US, Austria, France, Israel, and the United Kingdom. Slow going for the Bezos high fliers when it comes to drones. (Site is wonky and a pay wall may be in place.)

More Store Fronts and More Pressure on Delivery Services

Whole Foods will become a whole lot bigger. Amazon is going to invest some of those AWS bucks in expanding food? Nope. Prime Now. The FedEx, UPS, and local delivery outfits may face new pressure. Plus, the subscription model adds a new twist to what consumers perceive as “free.” Source: Digital Trends. But Amazon’s food retail initiative may face problems in some countries like India, says the Economic Times.

Amazon Flicks to Physical Theaters

The new Hollywood – namely, Amazon – wants to release its original films in Imax theaters. Amazon is turning on the charm to build bridges to the moguls who may fear for their financial lives. Why build theaters when there are plenty of venues in the US. Source: Telegraph newspaper

Play Ball with Amazon

The Amazonians are into sports. Reuters reported that Amazon is considering the purchase of the Yes Network. Involved in the talks are the New York Yankees. Will these folks play ball?

Amazon Wants to AWS Health Care

The capitalist tool points out that Amazon is poised to revolutionize health care. Forbes has discovered somewhat belatedly that Amazon has developed software able to make sense of patient records and clinical notes. Why? Forbes notes that the market for making sense of patient data is a $7 billion dollar opportunity for the vendor of Solimo drug store products. What’s a Solimo. See the next item.

Amazon Solimo: Stalled? What’s a Solimo

Amazon’s product line for goods sold at US type drug stores is on the landing strip with those Amazon drones. According to Marketwatch, the Solimo product line is slowing down. The number of stocking units or SKUs went up, but sales are slowing. The reason? Maybe market saturation? A warning signal perhaps? Saturation approaching?

Stephen E Arnold, December 31, 2019

Amazonia for December 24, 2018

December 24, 2018

Amazon operates at scale. For those who don’t want a lump of coal in their holiday stocking, Amazon cheer is in order:

Sharing the Digital Goodies

Amazon, according to the Inquirer, gave a customer access to another Amazon customer’s Alexa voice recordings. Just an error. According to the Inquirer,
It turns out two men has requested their data under Europe’s GDPR, and Amazon had just sent each set of files to the wrong person, ironically causing more GDPR paperwork. Source: The Inquirer

Amazon Means Delivering the Goods

Amazon is the new USPS. According to the New York Times, customers perceive that only Amazon can deliver gifts in time for the holiday. The newspaper adds its own Amazon commercial, stating “Amazon is far and away the leader in e-commerce, outpacing competitors like Wal-Mart, Target and eBay.”

Alleged Dirty Tricks

Bloomberg dissects the procurement dust up for the multi-billion dollar Department of Defense cloud computing contract. IBM and Oracle have signaled that whatever the DoD does will result in a loss for these two long-standing DoD vendors. There’s another dossier zipping around DC, complete with allegations of improper relationships. The Bloomberg story reveals that the dossier reveals that Amazon acquired ABD Advisor to pump out pro-Amazon information.

The Amazon Marketplace Jungle

Amazon’s marketplace has its own culture and its own rules. “Prime and Punishment” reveals what may be a digital jungle. Bogus reviews, dirty tricks, and eBay-inspired questionable products. Push through the underbrush for a look at the primitive life thriving in the Amazon.

Another Amazon Product Service Run Down

Wired explains why Amazon is the king of the digital jungle. The write up reveals that Amazon’s cloud services generate money. The write up states:

AWS offers so many cloud computing products and services that it would be cumbersome to name them all. In 2011, Amazon introduced AWS GovCloud, aimed at government agencies. Four years later, it launched AWS IoT, a platform for connecting and managing the plethora of connected devices known as the Internet of Things. Shortly after, the company won a $600 million contract to build AWS Secret Region, a cloud storage service for the CIA.

Advertising gets a mere three mentions, but our research teams anticipates that ads will be an opportunity for the company to put increased pressure on the fragmented colossus, Google.

AWS: How Big? $600 Billion Big

Business Insider reports that Amazon Web Services could be a $600 billion dollar business by itself. That’s a hefty number. But Excel spreadsheet fever is easy to catch at this time of year. Jeff Bezos himself believes Amazon can fail. So whom does one believe: The financial analyst or the king of the jungle?

Crystal City to Gleam Again?

The once lustrous Crystal City may gleam again. The reason? Amazon. The “Update On Amazon’s HQ2 Impact On Crystal City & Long Island City” states:
According to Trulia via Forbes, as of December 8, there were almost 100 properties for-rent or for-sale that mentioned Amazon’s new headquarters, or National Landing. A total of 44 neighborhoods across the DC metro area contained at least one listing that mentioned Amazon’s new campus (to be built) as a noted selling point.

What? Us Worry? Ask FedEx and UPS

FedEx and UPS may face a tough 2019. Amazon has added more aircraft to its fleet of airplane. According to CNet:

Amazon announced that it was expanding its fleet to 50 aircraft (up from 40). Amazon says this is to support the increasing number of Prime subscribers who expect free two-day delivery…. By adding 10 more aircraft, Amazon is expanding its fleet by 25 percent — a sizable increase.

UPS owns 247 aircraft and FedEx owns over 650. Nothing for these firms to worry about.

Amazon In House Brands

Amazon has more than 100 in house brands. Bloomberg points out:

Amazon has more data on what people shop for than anyone else and can lure people to its own brands with house ads and software-generated product suggestions online and through the Alexa digital assistant and prominent online placements like in the Solo and Dawn examples. And those brands may feel compelled to pay Amazon for ads to ensure their products remain front-and-center when shoppers go looking for them. Amazon loves to say it only thinks about what’s best for shoppers, but is it good for shoppers to have top product listings dominated by companies that pay Amazon for prominent placement and Amazon’s house brands?

If you own shares of Amazon, the answer is, “Yes.”

Stephen E Arnold, December 24, 2018

Amazonia for December 17, 2018

December 17, 2018

The online bookstore has been motoring forward. As Facebook and Google face heat in Europe and the US, Amazon floats in the clouds.

We noted these items this week:

A parrot has used the owner’s Alexa to play music and order products. The parrot allegedly specified strawberries, watermelon, raisins, broccoli and ice cream. — Source: Fox News

You can buy an Alexa enabled twerking stuffed bear. The bear complements the Big Mouth Billy talking fish. Source: PocketLint

Amazon is uniquely well-positioned to dethrone UPS and FedEx’s duopoly. It’s built up a strong logistics infrastructure, counting hundreds of warehouses and thousands of delivery trucks. — Source: Business Insider

AWS used to be easy, but over the last decade it’s become a specialization. Every time I wander back to it, there’s another layer of complexity in the way towards doing something simple. — Source: Hacker News post by Sonny Blarney at https://bit.ly/2SJSQjg

Amazon could be using facial recognition to create ‘database of suspicious persons’ The concept would give homeowners, police a way to more easily ID someone engaged in potential criminal activity. — Source: OCRegister.com

“Use NoSQL and do things the “dumb” way every time. Because the perf characteristics are much more obvious to the programmer and designer, now you can just do a full join, or a full table scan every time for every query. Much more stable!” — Source: Colm Mac Carthaigh at https://bit.ly/2QQ7Vm4

An interesting browser plug in surfaces. “Looking to raise awareness of Amazon’s power in the marketplace and of its HQ2 incentives, a group of tech workers in New York created a Chrome browser plug-in called Block Amazon for Me. ‘We asking people to reconsider what they are supporting and what are the real costs,’ said Woody, who is the project manager for the plug-in project…”– Source: CNet

Amazon is moving in, leaning in, and pressuring both the Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure: “Amazon Outposts, a service scheduled to become available in the second half of 2019, will allow customers to provision physical racks of Amazon Web Services (AWS) servers and have them shipped to their own data centers. The racks will be configured with the same servers that Amazon runs in its AWS data centers; once installed, the racks will connect back to the AWS mothership over the Internet and then can be configured with storage services and virtual machines through Amazon’s AWS Management Console. And just as with services hosted in Amazon’s own data centers, customers won’t own these racks—they’ll rent them. The costs and connectivity requirements associated with Outpost have yet to be determined.” — Source Ars Technica

An Alexa clock is available. Engadget notes that the Amazon Echo clock requires an Amazon Echo in Version 1.0. These Amazon gadgets will connect to gizmos like the Amazon microwave in the near future. —  Source: Engadget

The “everything” is hyperbole. But a useful run down of some Amazon developments has been assembled by Vox. Here’s an interesting item: “AWS also partnered with Lockheed Martin to get a competitive edge on faster and cheaper “downlinking” (downloading, basically) of information stored on satellites, making it officially part of the military industrial complex.” — Source: Vox

Stephen E Arnold, December 17, 2018

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