Amazon and Halliburton: A Tie Up to Watch? Yep

September 11, 2020

DarkCyber noted “Explor, Halliburton, AWS Collaborate to Achieve Breakthrough with Seismic Data Processing in the Cloud.” The write up explains that crunching massive seismic data sets works. Among the benchmarks reported by the online bookstore and the environmentally-aware engineering and services companies are:

  • An 85% decrease in CDP sort order times: Tested by sorting 308 million traces comprising of 1.72 TB from shot domain to CDP domain, completing the flow in an hour.
  • An 88% decrease in CDP FK Filtering times: Tested with a 57 million-trace subset of the data comprising 318 GB, completing the flow in less than 6 minutes.
  • An 82% decrease in pre-stack time migration times: Tested on the full 165 million-trace dataset comprising of 922GB, completing the flow in 54 minutes.

What do these data suggest? Better, faster, and cheaper processing?

We noted this paragraph in the write up:

“The collaboration with AWS and Explor demonstrates the power of digital investments that Halliburton is making, in this instance to bring high-density surveys to market faster and more economically than ever before.  By working with industry thought leaders like Explor and AWS, we have been able to demonstrate that digital transformation can deliver step-change improvements in the seismic processing market.” – Philip Norlund, Geophysics Domain Manager, Halliburton, Landmark

Keep in mind that these data are slightly more difficult to manipulate than a couple hundred thousand tweets.

Stephen E Arnold, September 11, 2020

No Return of the JEDI for Amazon

August 31, 2020

i read “Conflict of Interest? We’ve Heard of It. AWS on Selection Panel to Choose’s Chief Digi [sic] Officer.” The main point of the article, which I assume is accurate, is that AWS UK top dog Doug Gurr will sit on a committee responsible for choosing the UK’s next chief digital officer. The Register article provides links and contextual information. Helpful.

However, the write up does not address what DarkCyber’s research team is the reason for the approach to providing input. Is it possible that Amazon’s top dogs remember the significant and somewhat humiliating defeat delivered right between the eyes of the tag team of Jeff Bezos and Teresa Carlson, world’s richest human and former head of Microsoft governmental sales respectively?

Losing that work has already had a negative impact on Amazon’s policeware business and dims its hoped for incursions into adjacent services; for example, processing IRS tax returns to identify possibly fraudulent claims. Microsoft has had the original idea of stepping up competitive pressure in Middle Eastern countries which AWS has worked hard to move to these nation states’ technological futures. Yikes.

Net net: Amazon is doing what it can to make sure there will be no return of the JEDI.

Stephen E Arnold, August 31, 2020

Cloud Data: Clear with Rain Predicted for On Premises Hardware

August 21, 2020

I like surveys which provides some information about sample size. “Survey: How the Pandemic Is Shaking Up the Network Market” says that 2,400 information technology decision makers participated. How were these individuals selected? How was the survey conducted? When was the survey conducted? are questions not answered. Nevertheless, some of the findings seemed interesting.

One of the surprising factoids was the shift from a license for a period of time to a “subscription.” How many outfits are subscribing to cloud services? The write up reports:

The average proportion of IT services consumed via subscription will accelerate by 38% in the next two years, from 34% of the total today to 46% in 2022, and the share of organizations that consume a majority (over 50%) of their IT solutions ‘as a service’ will increase by approximately 72% in that time.

Automatic monthly payments and probably tricky cancellation policies will be part of the subscription business, but that’s just a hunch, not a survey finding.

Other items of interest included these factoids:

77% [of those responding to the survey] said that investments in networking projects had been postponed or delayed since the onset of COVID-19, and 28% indicated that projects had been cancelled altogether.

35% of ITDMs globally are planning to increase their investment in AI-based networking technologies, with the APAC region leading the charge at 44% (including 60% of ITDMs [the acronym which few probably know means “IT decision-makers”]  in India and 54% in Hong Kong).

just 8% [of the sample] globally plan to continue with only CapEx investments.

Net net: Pricing and curtailing capital expenditures may be trends. If these data are accurate, the data suggest that companies targeting on premises sales of hardware may face some headwinds. Of course, I believe everything I read on the Internet, particularly objective surveys.

Stephen E Arnold, August 21, 2020

Which Cloud Is Better?

August 20, 2020

DarkCyber noted “AWS Vs. Azure: Key Differences and Business Benefits.” This is a free analysis. The write up offers some interesting points, and we suggest that you consult the original for the nuances and additional details.

Key points we noted:

  • A cloud is mostly neutral. The developer and tech team’s experience and knowledge make the difference.
  • Migration is easier if the technology professional has experience with a particular cloud.
  • More advanced cloud features cost more money; for instance, machine learning.
  • Prices are about the same regardless of cloud vendor.
  • AWS is better with open source technology.
  • Cloud providers are becoming adept at matching other cloud vendors’ offerings. But in the hybrid cloud game, Microsoft is number one.

The write up includes a league table. What’s interesting is that the Alibaba cloud business is within spitting distance of Google’s market share.

Stephen E Arnold, August 20, 2020

Chinese Clouds Move In: The Data May Be Wonky But the Message Is Clear

August 12, 2020

I am not a big fan of data generated by mid tier consulting firms. I call these outfits azure-chip consulting firms. Overall these firms are not able to attract and retain the type of individual who works at Bain, BCG, Booz Allen, and McKinsey. That’s a generalization, but it is one with which I am comfortable.

I read “Amazon Continues to Dominate Global IaaS Market: Report.” The data come from the estimable outfit Gartner, and the report involves real numbers. Some of the Gartner reports are what I would call subjective, but this report includes percentages.

The main point is that Amazon is the Big Dog for infrastructure as a service. The idea is that instead of have hardware in a closet and a couple of pizza eaters on the payroll to maintain the gear, one uses the cloud. It is magical and, best of all, does not involve capital expenditures and those pizza lovers.

The Gartner study explains that Alibaba, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and TenCent dominate the market. That means Hewlett Packard and IBM are doing what they know how to do: Disappoint in fast growing market sectors.

The write up states:

These top five providers accounted for 77% of the total market in 2018, and in 2019 this number swelled to 80%. Throughout all IaaS providers in the market, 75% saw growth in 2018.

Okay, but to DarkCyber the main point is that two Chinese companies are now nosing into territory once dominated by US firms. As in the artificial intelligence market, the increased presence and success of these outfits from the Middle Kingdom is the big story. Even with squishy numbers, the change is evident.

Stephen E Arnold, August 12, 2020

Softies and SASers Team to Deliver Bigly Solutions

July 24, 2020

Microsoft and SAS are two of the biggest names in technology. They have decided to combine their powers to form a strategic, technological partnership. IT-Online shares the news in the report, “SAS, Microsoft Partner On Analytics And AI.”

SAS specializes in analytics software, while Microsoft popularized the personal computer. With this new partnership, their customers can expand SAS business solutions across Microsoft’s veritable product array. This specifically means:

“As part of the partnership, the companies will migrate SAS’ analytical products and industry solutions on to Microsoft Azure as the preferred cloud provider for the SAS Cloud. SAS’ industry solutions and expertise will also bring added value to Microsoft’s customers across health care, financial services and many other industries.”

The ultimate goal for Microsoft and SAS is to bolster their bottom dollar, but both clientele sets will gain many advantages. SAS will have easier access to the cloud and Microsoft gains access to powerful analytics software. The analytics software is of particular interest for Microsoft, because they want to integrate SAS technology into Azure and Dynamics 365 for new solutions.

Is this Cloud babble? You know: Blah, blah, flexibility. Blah, blah, scalability. It is a fancier way for both companies to enrich their product offerings for large organizations with inertia and a desire to move to the future of computing. Too bad Amazon.


Whitney Grace, July 24, 2020

The Cloud Becomes the New PC, So the Cloud Becomes the Go To Attack Vector

July 24, 2020

Cloud providers are not Chatty Cathies when it comes to some of their customers’ more interesting activities. Take malware, for example. Bad actors can use cloud services for a number of activities, including a temporary way station when deploying malware, delivering bogus or spoofed Web sites as part of a social engineering play, or just launching phishing emails. Major cloud providers are sprawling operations, and management tools are still in their infancy. In fact, management software for cloud operators are in a cat-and-mouse race. Something happens, and the cloud provider responds.

Hackers Found Using Google Cloud to Hide Phishing Attacks” provides some information about the Google and its struggles to put on a happy face for prospects and regulators while some Googlers are reading books about dealing with stressful work.

The article reports:

Researchers at cybersecurity firm Check Point on Tuesday cited an instance when hackers used advanced features on Google Cloud Platform to host phishing pages and hide them. Some of the warning signs that users generally look out for in a phishing attack include suspicious-looking domains, or websites without a HTTPS certificate. However, by using well-known public cloud services such as Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure to host their phishing pages, the attackers can overcome this obstacle and disguise their malicious intent, improving their chances of ensnaring even security-savvy victims…

What’s the fix?

Obviously vendors of cloud management software, hawkers of smart cyber security systems, and bright young PhD track cyber specialists have ideas.

The reality may be that for now, there is no solution. Exposed Amazon S3 buckets, Google based endeavors, and Microsoft (no, we cannot update Windows 10 without crashing some machines) Azure vectors are here to stay.

Perhaps one should tweet this message? Oh, right, Twitter was compromised. Yeah.

Stephen E Arnold, July 24, 2020

And Microsoft Wants Its Partners to Support Government Entities?

July 16, 2020

The article “Hack of 251 Law Enforcement Web Sites Exposes Personal Data of 700,000 Cops” troubles me for two reasons.

First, the loss of the data increases risk for the professionals listed in the data files. Not good.

Second, the write up asserts as “real” news:

All of the hacked websites were hosted and built by the Texas web development firm Netsential on Windows servers located in Houston. They were all running the same custom (and insecure) content management system, developed using Microsoft’s ASP.NET framework in the programming language VBScript, using Microsoft Access databases. Because they all run the same software, if a hacker could find a vulnerability in one of the websites that allowed them to download all the data from it, they could use that vulnerability to hack the rest of the websites without much additional effort.

DarkCyber believes that much of the 21st century cyber software jabber is marketing speak.


If the statement about Microsoft’s infrastructure and software is accurate, there are some questions to answer:

  1. How did the Microsoft partner program allow “experts” certified by Microsoft to create a system with some interesting security issues?
  2. Where did the Netsential Web site go? Why did its content disappear?
  3. What does this incident mean in the context of the Department of Defense JEDI contract?

DarkCyber is concerned when a giant corporation cannot update its own Windows 10 operating system and fail to ensure that its partners are qualified to perform sensitive work in a careful manner.

Is there some useful code on Microsoft Github? Snap. Github fell over again just as I was looking.

Another troubling US technology lapse it seems for a company wanting to provide cloud services to the US government and law enforcement.

Stephen E Arnold, July 16, 2020

Cloud Pricing: Humor and Insight

June 22, 2020

We are putting the finishing touches on my Amazon Policeware lecture for the upcoming cyber crime conference. This particular talk has to be pre recorded. Why? Not sure, but creating a program is more difficult than lecturing from a stack of note cards.

I do include a brief reference to cloud pricing. I think there are some important truths in Amazon AWS pricing with regard to the company’s reinvention and reapplication of IBM’s old-school lock in strategy.

The write up “The Three Fs of Cloud Pricing” presents one facet of the Bezos bulldozer’s approach to policeware vendors and ultimate customers. Based on my DarkCyber team’s research, drgriffin is putting horseshoes on the iron stake.

If you have a “stake” in AWS cloud technology as a partner, ultimate customer, start up AWS user, or any of the other category of players in the Amazon forest, you will find the drgriffin write up information.

Here’s a snippet, but read the original, please:

Allowing people to play with the product for free was good for customers. But it was even better for cloud adoption. The free tier was part of their strategy of selling IT infrastructure directly, without having to go through finance and executives.

Remember that Google sought to circumvent information technology professionals. The attitude was, “You are a problme, and if you were any good, you would work at Google. Since you are NOT at Google, therefore, you are useless.”

Amazon, to cite one example, has taken a different approach; that is, the free tier. Don’t contraband vendors use a similar tactic?

Stephen E Arnold, June 22, 2020

Who Loves the Cloud More? Vendors, IT Pros, or Bean Counters?

June 15, 2020

Cloud systems are still considered high tech upgrades for organizations, but IT professionals prefer and view them as SOP says the IT Brief article: “Over Half Of IT Pros Prefer Hybrid And Multi-Cloud Architectures-Report.” Denodo conducted a survey and discovered that 53% of the IT professional respondents favored hybrid and multi-cloud architectures. The data is consistent with deployment statistics indicating that 42% of current cloud systems are hybrid configurations.

One of the biggest complaints from the respondents were cloud security and governance, but overall they preferred cloud because they can build up resiliency, cherry-pick features, and diversify skills.

More organizations are turning to the cloud to host their systems:

“Over the past year, there has been a positive reinforcement of cloud adoption with at least a 10% increase across beginners, intermediate, and advanced adopters.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure jointly hold a huge 90% of the new-entrant market, according to Denodo.

But users are not just lifting their on-premises applications and shifting them to either of or both of these clouds; more than a third (35%) said they would re-architect their applications for the best-fit cloud architecture.”

BI, analytics, data science, and data warehousing are top priorities for cloud developers. While cloud systems are favored, data integration poses the biggest challenge for organizations. Security is up there too. Cloud systems are perfect for the way technology is shifting to more mobile devices, but total reliance on the cloud is not advised. Outages at Amazon and IBM suggest that a hybrid system that includes on-site capabilities will protect an system when the magical Internet loses some of the 24×7 LED signs posted on the information super highway.

Whitney Grace, June 15, 2020

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