What? Cloud Computing Costs Cut from Business Budgets

July 18, 2024

Many companies offload their data storage and computing needs to third parties aka cloud computing providers. Leveraging cloud computing was viewed as a great way to lower technology budgets, but with rising inflation and costs that perspective is changing. The BBC wrote an article about the changes in the cloud: “Are Rainy Days Ahead For Cloud Computing?”

Companies are reevaluating their investments in cloud computing, because the price tags are too high. The cloud was advertised as cheaper, easier, and faster. Businesses aren’t seeing any productive gains. Larger companies are considering dumping the cloud and rerouting their funds to self-hosting again. Clouding computing still has its benefits, especially for smaller companies who can’t invest in their technology infrastructure. Security is another concern:

“‘A key factor in our decision was that we have highly proprietary R&D data and code that must remain strictly secure,’ says Markus Schaal, managing director at the German firm. “If our investments in features, patches, and games were leaked, it would be an advantage to our competitors. While the public cloud offers security features, we ultimately determined we needed outright control over our sensitive intellectual property. "As our AI-assisted modelling tools advanced, we also required significantly more processing power that the cloud could not meet within budget.”

He adds:

“We encountered occasional performance issues during heavy usage periods and limited customization options through the cloud interface. Transitioning to a privately-owned infrastructure gave us full control over hardware purchasing, software installation, and networking optimized for our workloads.”

Cloud computing has seen its golden era, but it’s not disappearing. It’s still a useful computing tool, but won’t be the main infrastructure for companies that want to lower costs, stay within budget, secure their software, and other factors.

Whitney Grace, July 18, 2024

Can the Bezos Bulldozer Crush Temu, Shein, Regulators, and AI?

June 27, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

The question, to be fair, should be, “Can the Bezos-less bulldozer crush Temu, Shein, Regulators, Subscriptions to Alexa, and AI?” The article, which appeared in the “real” news online service Venture Beat, presents an argument suggesting that the answer is, “Yes! Absolutely.”


Thanks MSFT Copilot. Good bulldozer.

The write up “AWS AI Takeover: 5 Cloud-Winning Plays They’re [sic] Using to Dominate the Market” depends upon an Amazon Big Dog named Matt Wood, VP of AI products at AWS. The article strikes me as something drafted by a small group at Amazon and then polished to PR perfection. The reasons the bulldozer will crush Google, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard’s on-premises play, and the keep-on-searching IBM Watson, among others, are:

  1. Covering the numbers or logo of the AI companies in the “game”; for example, Anthropic, AI21 Labs, and other whale players
  2. Hitting up its partners, customers, and friends to get support for the Amazon AI wonderfulness
  3. Engineering AI to be itty bitty pieces one can use to build a giant AI solution capable of dominating D&B industry sectors like banking, energy, commodities, and any other multi-billion sector one cares to name
  4. Skipping the Google folly of dealing with consumers. Amazon wants the really big contracts with really big companies, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations.
  5. Amazon is just better at security. Those leaky S3 buckets are not Amazon’s problem. The customers failed to use Amazon’s stellar security tools.

Did these five points convince you?

If you did not embrace the spirit of the bulldozer, the Venture Beat article states:

Make no mistake, fellow nerds. AWS is playing a long game here. They’re not interested in winning the next AI benchmark or topping the leaderboard in the latest Kaggle competition. They’re building the platform that will power the AI applications of tomorrow, and they plan to power all of them. AWS isn’t just building the infrastructure, they’re becoming the operating system for AI itself.

Convinced yet? Well, okay. I am not on the bulldozer yet. I do hear its engine roaring and I smell the no-longer-green emissions from the bulldozer’s data centers. Also, I am not sure the Google, IBM, and Microsoft are ready to roll over and let the bulldozer crush them into the former rain forest’s red soil. I recall researching Sagemaker which had some AI-type jargon applied to that “smart” service. Ah, you don’t know Sagemaker? Yeah. Too bad.

The rather positive leaning Amazon write up points out that as nifty as those five points about Amazon’s supremacy in the AI jungle, the company has vision. Okay, it is not the customer first idea from 1998 or so. But it is interesting. Amazon will have infrastructure. Amazon will provide model access. (I want to ask, “For how long?” but I won’t.), and Amazon will have app development.

The article includes a table providing detail about these three legs of the stool in the bulldozer’s cabin. There is also a run down of Amazon’s recent media and prospect directed announcements. Too bad the article does not include hyperlinks to these documents. Oh, well.

And after about 3,300 words about Amazon, the article includes about 260 words about Microsoft and Google. That’s a good balance. Too bad IBM. You did not make the cut. And HP? Nope. You did not get an “Also participated” certificate.

Net net: Quite a document. And no mention of Sagemaker. The Bezos-less bulldozer just smashes forward. Success is in crushing. Keep at it. And that “they” in the Venture Beat article title: Shouldn’t “they” be an “it”?

Stephen E Arnold, June 27, 2024

Google Demos Its Reliability

June 5, 2024

dinosaur30a_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dinobaby. Unlike some folks, no smart software improved my native ineptness.

Migrate everything to the cloud, they said. It is perfectly safe, we were told. And yet, “Google Cloud Accidentally Deletes $125 Billion Pension Fund’s Online Account,” reports Cyber Security News. Writer Dhivya reports a mistake in the setup process was to blame for the blunder. If it were not for a third-party backup, UniSuper’s profile might never have been recovered. We learn:

“A major mistake in setup caused Google Cloud and UniSuper to delete the financial service provider’s private cloud account. This event has caused many to worry about the security and dependability of cloud services, especially for big financial companies. The outage started in the blue, and UniSuper’s 620,000 members had no idea what was happening with their retirement funds.”

As it turns out, the funds themselves were just fine. But investors were understandably upset when they could not view updates. Together, the CEOs of Google Cloud and UniSuper dined on crow. Dhivya writes:

“According to the Guardian reports, the CEOs of UniSuper and Google Cloud, Peter Chun and Thomas Kurian, apologized for the failure together in a statement, which is not often done. … ‘UniSuper’s Private Cloud subscription was ultimately terminated due to an unexpected sequence of events that began with an inadvertent misconfiguration during provisioning,’ the two sources stated. ‘Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian has confirmed that the disruption was caused by an unprecedented sequence of events.’ ‘This is a one-time event that has never happened with any of Google Cloud’s clients around the world.’ ‘This really shouldn’t have happened,’ it said.”

At least everyone can agree on that. We are told UniSuper had two different backups, but they were also affected by the snafu. It was the backups kept by “another service provider” that allowed the hundreds of virtual machines, databases, and apps that made up UniSuper’s private cloud environment to be recovered. Eventually. The CEOs emphasized the herculean effort it took both Google Cloud and UniSuper technicians to make it happen. We hope they were well-paid. Naturally, both companies pledge to do keep this mistake from happening again. Great! But what about the next unprecedented, one-time screwup?

Let this be a reminder to us all: back up the data! Frequently and redundantly. One never knows when that practice will save the day.

Cynthia Murrell, June 5, 2024

Google Dings MSFT: Marketing Motivated by Opportunism

May 21, 2024

dinosaur30a_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dinobaby. Unlike some folks, no smart software improved my native ineptness.

While not as exciting as Jake Paul versus Mike Tyson, but the dust up is interesting. The developments leading up to this report about Google criticizing Microsoft’s security methods have a bit of history:

  1. Microsoft embraced OpenAI, Mistral, and other smart software because regulators are in meetings about regulating
  2. Google learned that after tire kicking, Apple found OpenAI (Microsoft’s pal) more suitable to the now innovation challenged iPhone. Google became a wallflower, a cute one, but a wallflower nevertheless
  3. Google faces trouble on three fronts: [a] Its own management of technology and its human resources; [b] threats to its online advertising and brokering business; and [c] challenges in cost control. (Employees get fired, and CFOs leave for a reason.)

Google is not a marketing outfit nor is it one that automatically evokes images associated with trust, data privacy, and people sensitivity. Google seized an opportunity to improve Web search. When forced to monetize, the company found inspiration in the online advertising “pay to play” ideas of Yahoo (Overture and GoTo). There was a legal dust up and Google paid up for that Eureka! moment. Then Google rode the demand for matching ads to queries. After 25 years, Google remains dependent on its semi-automated ad business. Now that business must be supplemented with enterprise cloud revenue.


Two white collar victims of legal witch hunts discuss “trust”. Good enough, MSFT Copilot.

How does the company market while the Red Alert klaxon blares into the cubicles, Google Meet sessions, and the Foosball game areas.?

The information in “Google Attacks Microsoft Cyber Failures in Effort to Steal Customers.” I wonder if Foundem and the French taxation authority might find the Google bandying about the word “steal”? I don’t know the answer to this question. The title indicates that Microsoft’s security woes, recently publicized by the US government, provide a marketing opportunity.

The article reports Google’s grand idea this way:

Government agencies that switch 500 or more users to Google Workspace Enterprise Plus for three years will get one year free and be eligible for a “significant discount” for the rest of the contract, said Andy Wen, the senior director of product management for Workspace. The Alphabet Inc. division is offering 18 months free to corporate customers that sign a three-year contract, a hefty discount after that and incident response services from Google’s Mandiant security business. All customers will receive free consulting services to help them make the switch.

The idea that Google is marketing is an interesting one. Like Telegram, Google has not been a long-time advocate of Madison Avenue advertising, marketing, and salesmanship. I was once retained by a US government agency to make a phone call to one of my “interaction points” at Google so that the director of the agency could ask a question about the quite pricey row of yellow Google Search Appliances. I made the call and obtained the required information. I also got paid. That’s some marketing in my opinion. An old person from rural Kentucky intermediating between a senior government official and a manager in one of Google’s mind boggling puzzle palace.

I want to point out that Google’s assertions about security may be overstated. One recent example is the Register’s report “Google Cloud Shows It Can Break Things for Lots of Customers – Not Just One at a Time.” Is this a security issue? My hunch is that whenever something breaks, security becomes an issue. Why? Rushed fixes may introduce additional vulnerabilities on top of the “good enough” engineering approach implemented by many high-flying, boastful, high-technology outfits. The Register says:

In the week after its astounding deletion of Australian pension fund UniSuper’s entire account, you might think Google Cloud would be on its very best behavior. Nope.

So what? When one operates at Google scale, the “what” is little more than users of 33 Google Cloud services were needful of some of that YouTube TV Zen moment stuff.

My reaction is that these giant outfits which are making clear that single points of failure are the norm in today’s online environment may not do the “fail over” or “graceful recovery” processes with the elegance of Mikhail Baryshnikov’s tuning point solo move. Google is obviously still struggling with the after effects of Microsoft’s OpenAI announcement and the flops like the Sundar & Prabhakar Comedy Show in Paris and the “smart software” producing images orthogonal to historical fact.

Online advertising expertise may not correlate with marketing finesse.

Stephen E Arnold, May 21, 2024

The Google Explains the Future of the Google Cloud: Very Googley, Of Course

April 30, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

At its recent Next 24 conference, Google Cloud and associates shared their visions for the immediate future of AI. Through the event’s obscurely named Session Library, one can watch hundreds of sessions and access resources connected to many more. The idea — if you  have not caught on to the Googley nomenclature — is to make available videos of the talks at the conference. To narrow, one can filter by session category, conference track, learning level, solution, industry, topic of interest, and whether video is available. Keep in mind that the words you (a normal human, I presume) may use to communicate your interest may not be the lingo Googzilla speaks. AI and Machine Learning feature prominently. Other key areas include data and databases, security, development and architecture, productivity, and revenue growth (naturally). There is even a considerable nod to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Okay, nod, nod.

Here are a few session titles from just the “AI and ML” track to illustrate the scope of this event and the available information:

  • A cybersecurity expert’s guide to securing AI products with Google SAIF
  • AI for banking: Streamline core banking services and personalize customer experiences
  • AI for manufacturing: Enhance productivity and build innovative new business models
  • AI for telecommunications: Transform customer interactions and network operations
  • AI in capital markets: The biggest bets in the industry
  • Accelerate software delivery with Gemini and Code Transformations
  • Revolutionizing healthcare with AI
  • Streamlining access to youth mental health services

It looks like there is something for everybody. We think the titles make reasonably clear the scope and bigness of Google’s aspirations. Nor would we expect less from a $2 trillion outfit based on advertising, would we? Run a query for Code Red or in Google lingo CodeRED, and you will be surprised that the state of emergency, Microsoft is a PR king mentality persists. (Is this the McKinsey way?) Well, not for those employed at McKinsey. Former McKinsey professionals have more latitude in their management methods; for example, emulating high school science club planning techniques. There are no sessions we could spot about Google’s competition. If one is big enough, there is no competition. One of Googzilla’s relatives made a mess of Tokyo real estate largely without lasting consequences.

Cynthia Murrell, April 30, 2024

Has Google Aligned Its AI Messaging for the AI Circus?

April 10, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

I followed the announcements at the Google shindig Cloud Next. My goodness, Google’s Code Red has produced quite a new announcements. However, I want to ask a simple question, “Has Google organized its AI acts under one tent?” You can wallow in the Google AI news because TechMeme on April 10, 2024, has a carnival midway of information.

I want to focus on one facet: The enterprise transformation underway. Google wants to cope with Microsoft’s pushing AI into the enterprise, into the Manhattan chatbot, and into the government.  One example of what Google envisions is what Google calls “genAI agents.” Explaining scripts with smarts requires a diagram. Here’s one, courtesy of Constellation Research:


Look at the diagram. The “customer”, which is the organization, is at the center of a Googley world: plumbing, models, and a “platform.” Surrounding this core with the customer at the center are scripts with smarts. These will do customer functions. This customer, of course, is the customer of the real customer, the organization. The genAI agents will do employee functions, creative functions, data functions, code functions, and security functions. The only missing function is the “paying Google function,” but that is baked into the genAI approach.

If one accepts the myriad announcements as the “as is” world of Google AI, the Cloud Next conference will have done its job. If you did not get the memo, you may see the Googley diagram as the work of enthusiastic marketers. The quantumly supreme lingo as more evidence that Code Red has been one output of the Code Red initiative.

I want to call attention, however, to the information in the allegedly accurate “Google DeepMind’s CEO Reportedly Thinks It’ll Be Tough to Catch Up with OpenAI’s Sora.” The write up states:

Google DeepMind CEO may think OpenAI’s text-to-video generator, Sora, has an edge. Demis Hassabis told a colleague it’d be hard for Google to draw level with Sora … The Information reported.  His comments come as Big Tech firms compete in an AI race to build rival products.

Am I to believe the genAI system can deliver what enterprises, government organizations, and non governmental entities want: Ways to cut costs and operate in a smarter way?

If I tell myself, “Believe Google’s Cloud Next statements?” Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, OpenAI, and others should fold their tents, put their animals back on the train, and head to another city in Kansas.

If I tell myself, “Google is not delivering and one cannot believe the company which sells ads and outputs weird images of ethnically interesting historical characters,” then the advertising company is a bit disjointed.

Several observations:

  1. The YouTube content processing issues are an indication that Google is making interesting decisions which may have significant legal consequences related to copyright
  2. The senior managers who are in direct opposition about their enthusiasm for Google’s AI capabilities need to get in the same book and preferably read from the same page
  3. The assertions appear to be marketing which is less effective than Microsoft’s at this time.

Net net: The circus has some tired acts. The Sundar and Prabhakar Show seemed a bit tired. The acts were better than those features on the Gong Show but not as scintillating as performances on the Masked Singer. But what about search? Oh, it’s great. And that circus train. Is it powered by steam?

Stephen E Arnold, April 9, 2024





Microsoft Decides to Work with CISPE on Cloudy Concerns

March 19, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

Perhaps a billion and a half dollars in fines can make a difference to a big tech company after all. In what looks like a move to avoid more regulatory scrutiny, Yahoo Finance reports, “Microsoft in Talks to End Trade Body’s Cloud Computing Complaint.” The trade body here is CISPE, a group of firms that provide cloud services in Europe. Amazon is one of those, but 26 smaller companies are also members. The group asserts certain changes Microsoft made to its terms of service in October of 2022 have harmed Europe’s cloud computing ecosystem. How, exactly, is unclear. Writer Foo Yun Chee tells us:

“[CISPE] said it had received several complaints about Microsoft, including in relation to its product Azure, which it was assessing based on its standard procedures, but declined to comment further. Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing platform. CISPE said the discussions were at an early stage and it was uncertain whether these would result in effective remedies but said ‘substantive progress must be achieved in the first quarter of 2024’. ‘We are supportive of a fast and effective resolution to these harms but reiterate that it is Microsoft which must end its unfair software licensing practices to deliver this outcome,’ said CISPE secretary general Francisco Mingorance. Microsoft, which notched up 1.6 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in EU antitrust fines in the previous decade, has in recent years changed its approach towards regulators to a more accommodative one.”

Just how accommodating with Microsoft will be remains to be seen.

Cynthia Murrell, March 19, 2024

Scattering Clouds: Price Surprises and Technical Labyrinths Have an Impact

February 12, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

Yep, the cloud. A third-party time sharing services with some 21st-century add ons. I am not too keen on the cloud even though I am forced to use it for certain specific tasks. Others, however, think nothing of using the cloud like an invisible and infinite USB stick. “2023 Could Be the Year of Public Cloud Repatriation” strikes me as a “real” news story reporting that others are taking a look at the sky, spotting threatening clouds, and heading to a long-abandoned computer room to rethink their expenditures.

The write up reports:

Many regard repatriating data and applications back to enterprise data centers from a public cloud provider as an admission that someone made a big mistake moving the workloads to the cloud in the first place. I don’t automatically consider this a failure as much as an adjustment of hosting platforms based on current economic realities. Many cite the high cost of cloud computing as the reason for moving back to more traditional platforms.

I agree. However, there are several other factors which may reflect more managerial analysis than technical acumen; specifically:

  1. The cloud computing solution was better, faster, and cheaper. Better than an in house staff? Well, not for everyone because cloud companies are not working overtime to address user / customer problems. The technical personnel have other fires, floods, and earthquakes. Users / customers have to wait unless the user / customer “buys” dedicated support staff.
  2. So the “cheaper” argument becomes an issue. In addition to paying for escalated support, one has to deal with Byzantine pricing mechanisms. If one considers any of the major cloud providers, one can spend hours reading how to manage certain costs. Data transfer is a popular subject. Activated but unused services are another. Why is pricing so intricate and complex? Answer: Revenue for the cloud providers. Many customers are confident the big clouds are their friend and have their best financial interests at heart. That’s true. It is just that the heart is in the cloud computer books, not the user / customer balance sheets.
  3. And better? For certain operations, a user / customer has limited options. The current AI craze means the cloud is the principal game in town. Payroll, sales management, and Webby stuff are also popular functions to move to the cloud.

The rationale for shifting to the cloud varies, but there are some themes which my team and I have noted in our work over the years:

First, the cloud allowed “experts” who cost a lot of money to be hired by the cloud vendor. Users / customers did not have to have these expensive people on their staff. Plus, there are not that many experts who are really expert. The cloud vendor has the smarts to hire the best and the resources to pay these people accordingly… in theory. But bean counters love to cut costs so IT professionals were downsized in many organizations. The mythical “power user” could do more and gig workers could pick up any slack. But the costs of cloud computing held a little box with some Tannerite inside. Costs for information technology were going up. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to do computing in house? For some, the answer is, “Yes.”

2 11 ostrich

An ostrich company with its head in the clouds, not in the sand. Thanks, MidJourney, what a not-even-good-enough illustration.

Second, most organizations lacked the expertise to manage a multi-cloud set up. When an organization has two or more clouds, one cannot allow a cloud company to manage itself and one or more competitors. Therefore, organizations had to add to their headcount a new and expensive position: A cloud manager.

Third, the cloud solutions are not homogeneous. Different rules of the road, different technical set up, and different pricing schemes. The solution? Add another position: A technical manager to manage the cloud technologies.

I will stop with these three points. One can rationalize using the cloud easily; for example a government agency can push tasks to the cloud. Some work in government agencies consists entirely of attending meetings at which third-party contractors explain what they are doing and why an engineering change order is priority number one. Who wants to do this work as part of a nine to five job?

But now there is a threat to the clouds themselves. That is security. What’s more secure? Data in a user / customer server facility down the hall or in a disused building in Piscataway, New Jersey, or sitting in a cloud service scattered wherever? Security? Cloud vendors are great at security. Yeah, how about those AWS S3 buckets or the Microsoft email “issue”?

My view is that a “where should our computing be done and where should our data reside” audit be considered by many organizations. People have had their heads in the clouds for a number of years. It is time to hold a meeting in that little-used computer room and do some thinking.

Stephen E Arnold, February 12, 2024

The Cloud Kids Are Not Happy: Where Is Mom?

December 13, 2023

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

An amusing item about the trials and tribulations of a cloud techno feudalists seems appropriate today. Navigate to the paywalled story “Microsoft Has Stranglehold on the Cloud, Say Amazon and Google.” With zero irony, the write up reports:

Amazon and Google have complained to the UK’s competition regulator that their rival, Microsoft, uses practices that restrict customer choice in the £7.5 billion cloud computing market.

What’s amusing is that Google allegedly said before it lost its case related to the business practices of its online store:

“These licensing practices are the only insurmountable barrier preventing competition on the merits for new customers migrating to the cloud and for existing workloads. They lead to less choice, less innovation, and increased costs for UK customers of all sizes.”

What was Amazon’s view? According to the article:

“Microsoft changed its licensing terms in 2019 and again in 2022 to make it more difficult for customers to run some of its popular software offerings on Google Cloud, AWS and Alibaba. To use many of Microsoft’s software products with these other cloud services providers, a customer must purchase a separate license even if they already own the software. This often makes it financially unviable for a customer to choose a provider other than Microsoft.”

How similar is this finger pointing and legal activity to a group of rich kids complaining that one child has all the toys? I think the similarities are — well — similar.

The question is, “What entity will become the mom to adjudicate the selfish actions of the cloud kids?”

Stephen E Arnold, December 13, 2023

Useful Cloud Market Share Data: Accurate? Well, Close Enough for Horseshoes

August 9, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_tNote: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

Anyone looking for a handy summary of data about big cloud players will find “AWS vs Google Cloud vs Microsoft Azure” worth reading. The article mentions the big folks and includes some data about smaller (although large) players; for example, Oracle. Trigger warning: The article users the term “hyperscalers” which I find a bit rizzy for my rhetorical spice cupboard.

Here are three representative items from the article. For more numbers, navigate to the original, please.

  1. Amazon’s worldwide [cloud] market share is 34 percent.
  2. The Google Cloud (bless those kind Googlers) is a bold 10 percent.
  3. Microsoft “cloud” [a fuzzy wuzzy nebulous and undefined word] surpassed $110 billion in annual revenue for 2022 and Azure accounted for $55 billion of the $110 billion.

Why is the cloud a big money maker? The article has an answer: Generative AI. Okay, that’s a good reason. I think there may be other factors as well.

If you collect these types of data, you will find the short write up a good reference point for a few months.

Stephen E Arnold, August 9, 2023

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