Amazon AWS EC2 Pricing

February 11, 2021

Amazon AWS makes many things simple: Off the shelf machine learning models, buying cables, and spending money. If you want to get a sense for the complexity of pricing at AWS, take a look at “EC2 Instances.Info: Easy Amazon ED2 Instance Comparison.” The effort required to compile the table was significant. In addition to the data structured by EC service, region, and other tags — there’s the splash page table itself. Impressive. For those with some financial and technical expertise, a new job category now exists: Figuring out AWS pricing for a project and then determining how to minimize costs over time. From the Amazon one click patent to this pricing inventory. How far has Amazon driven the Bezos bulldozer? A long way.

Stephen E Arnold, February 11, 2021

Can a Cockroach Love the Google Cloud? Absolutely

February 9, 2021

Cockroach Labs has released its third annual report comparing cloud service providers Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). On its own blog the company posts, “GCP Outpaces Azure, AWS in the 2021 Cloud Report.” The focus is on online transaction processing (OLTP). Writers Arul Ajmani, John Kendall, Yevgeniy Miretskiy, and Jessica Edwards tell us:

“Our intention is to help our customers and any builder of OLTP applications understand the performance tradeoffs present within each cloud and within each cloud’s individual machines. Perhaps your current configuration isn’t the most cost effective. Or you are looking to build a net-new application and want to see which provider has the fastest network latency. Maybe storage has been an issue in the past and you are looking for new solutions. Regardless of your motivation, the report is designed to help you achieve your goals and develop the best architecture for your specific needs. The 2021 Cloud Report is developed by a team of dedicated engineers and industry experts at Cockroach Labs. It compares AWS, Azure, and GCP on micro and industry benchmarks that reflect critical OLTP applications and workloads. This year, we assessed 54 machines and conducted nearly 1,000 benchmark runs to measure CPU Performance (CoreMark), Network Performance (Netperf), Storage I/O Performance (FIO), OLTP Performance (Cockroach Labs Derivative of TPC-C).”

The post summarizes the report’s highlights. As suggested by the title, the team found Google to deliver the most throughput. On the other hand, AWS’ network latencies remain on top for the third year in a row. We’re told AWS’ custom Graviton2 Processor beat the competition, both running AMD processors, for 16-core CPU performance. The writers also explain when it is worth paying more for each providers’ “advanced disks.” For more details, see the post or navigate to the report itself. Cloud SQL database maker Cockroach Labs was founded in 2015 and is based in New York City. No observations about the prevalence of certain insects in Alphabet City.

Cynthia Murrell, February 9, 2021

Subscriptions Are Dead: Bad News for Substack and Its Truck Load of Competitors

February 3, 2021

I know. I know. I know that “Subscription-Based Pricing Is Dead: Smart SaaS Companies Are Shifting to Usage-Based Models” is talking about cloud service providers. These are the small, emotionally sensitive firms like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and others who struggle to make ends meet each month. The basic idea is that the taxi meter approach to pricing is the future. Hop in the cab, tell the head in the clouds driver your destination, and pay what the meter shows upon arrival. Did your driver crash? Did your driver take you to Sonic Drive In before reversing course and delivering you near your destination? Did your driver like some gig workers driving vehicles for money pull a gun and rob you? No? Lucky you.

The write up states:

Some fear that investors will hate usage-based pricing because customers aren’t locked into a subscription. But, investors actually see it as a sign that customers are seeing value from a product and there’s no shelf-ware. In fact, investors are increasingly rewarding usage-based companies in the market. Usage-based companies are trading at a 50% revenue multiple premium over their peers. Investors especially love how the usage-based pricing model pairs with the land-and-expand business model. And of the IPOs over the last three years, seven of the nine that had the best net dollar retention all have a usage-based model.

To read this article, guess what? You have to pay a subscription fee. I know. I know. Silicon Valley “real” news outfits just emit parental and oracular, consult like statements.

A couple of observations may be warranted:

First, many customers dislike usage based pricing because of surprises when the bill is presented. And, believe me, when the bill is submitted, getting a sensitive firm to alter it can be a time sink hole.

Second, the usage based model was one that was popular among some timesharing companies. Example: The much loved Dialcom or the European Space Agency’s operation decades ago. Why? Surprise fees.

Third, usage based pricing demands convoluted price lists. I assume that you, gentle reader, remember the wonderful days of IBM’s J1, J2, and J3 fee schedules. AT&T had some excellent methods as well. After Judge Green’s break up of Ma Bell, even Baby Bells howled when Bellcore fired off an invoice. Those were the days.

Now, if the write up is correct, the good old days have returned, except at the “real” news outfit making this profound statement.

Stephen E Arnold, February 3, 2021

AWS Offers Multicloud Services Without Fanfare

January 21, 2021

One problem with cloud offerings is when a service does not sold for one operating system, but not another. AWS usually brags about its accomplishments, but Protocol said, “AWS Quietly Enters The Multicloud Era.”

AWS has two new versions of its managed containers and managed Kubernetes services, EKS Anywhere and ECS Anywhere, that can run on both Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. AWS confirmed that its new software will manage workloads running on other cloud providers. AWS does not like to play with other cloud services, however, its customers do, so they caved.

Google and Microsoft were late to the multicloud game too. When their customers demanded software management on multiple cloud infrastructures, they realized many used AWS. It was also a good way to make their customers happy and possibly more money.

AWS lacks support, though:

“It does not appear that ECS Anywhere and EKS Anywhere offer the same degree of support for multicloud deployments as Azure Arc or Google Anthos, which were designed to be user-friendly multicloud tools. And according to the ECS Anywhere launch blog post, ‘the supportability of ECS Anywhere scenarios at the time of general availability may be artificially limited due to other constraints.’”

That stinks for the moment, but give it awhile and the AWS team will offer more support as demand for service grows.

Whitney Grace, January 21, 2021

Clouds Hide a Basic Truth: Rebuilding Mandatory

December 10, 2020

I read “There Must Be a Better Way to Build on AWS.”

Here’s the passage I noted:

The real cost of going with AWS is its complexity. There is hardly anything more important to an early-stage startup than moving fast, but this is exactly where AWS fails startup founders. It is hard to set up and manage, which is the opposite of fast.

The article spells out a truth which gets modest coverage in the zip zip world of headline feeds:

So startup founders are forced to choose whether to bite the bullet with AWS, or to move fast and pay a premium for tools like Firebase — only to have to rebuild from scratch later anyway.

I think this is an interesting observation. Amazon AWS has several “hooks” to lure innovators. These must be factored into the Bezos bulldozer’s operations manual:

  1. Lock in. Amazon has generated a 21st century version of the IBM lock in model.
  2. Radar pings. Innovators on Amazon can get a financial break. Amazon gets an opportunity to see what works.
  3. A stealthy bulldozer. Innovators may not hear Amazon coming. Why? The old school corporate machines ran on noisy diesel engines. Amazon’s bulldozer is electric, thus, it is quiet unless one hears the sound of objects being crushed.

Net net: Useful article with a great punch line. Build on Amazon only to rebuild another way. Efficient? Sure, do the work twice.

Stephen E Arnold, December 10, 2020

Cloud Management: Who Is Responsible When Something Goes Wrong?

December 4, 2020

I read “Deloitte Helps Build Evolving Kinetic Enterprises by Powering SAP on AWS.” Wow, I have a collection of buzzwords which I use for inspiration or for a good laugh. I love the idea of “evolving kinetic enterprises.” Let’s see. Many businesses are busy reacting to the global pandemic, social unrest, and financial discontinuities. But kinetic enterprises!

The write up explains via a quote from a consultant:

“The future, though, is all about built-to-evolve. And that’s exactly what the kinetic enterprises are. It’s really how we’re helping our clients [to] create the right technology infrastructures that evolve with their business.”

Okay, let’s put aside the reacting part of running a business today. These organizations are supposed to be “kinetic.” The word means in the military a thing that has kinetic energy like a bomb, a bullet, or a directed energy beam. Kinetic suggests motion, either forward or backward.

The kinetic enterprise is supposed to move, do killer stuff? Obviously companies do not want to terminate with extreme prejudice their customers. Hold that thought. Most don’t I assume although social media sparking street violence may be a trivial, secondary consequence. So, let’s go with most of the time.

Set the craziness of the phrase aside. Ignore the wonky consultant spin, the IBM-inspired SAP software maze, and the role of Amazon AWS. What about this question:

When this cloud management soufflé collapses down, who is responsible?

Am I correct in recalling that Deloitte had a slight brush with Autonomy. AWS went offline last week. And SAP, well, just ask a former Westinghouse executive how that SAP implementation worked out.

The message in the story is that:

  1. No consultant on earth will willingly accept responsibility for making a suggest that leads to a massive financial problem for a client. That’s why those reports include options. Clients decide what poison to sprinkle on their Insecure Burger.
  2. SAP has been dodging irate users and customers for while, since 1972. How is your TREX search system working? What about those automated roll up reports?
  3. Amazon AWS is a wonderful outfit. Sure there are thousands of functions, features, and options. When one goes off the rails, how does that problem get remediated? Does Mr. Bezos jump in?

The situation set forth in the article makes clear that each of these big outfits (Deloitte, AWS, and SAP) will direct the customer with a problem to some one else.

This is charmingly chracterized as a “No throat to choke” situation.

Stephen E Arnold, December 4, 2020

Security: A Happy Illusion Like Free Chocolate Chip Cookies at a Hotel Desk

November 12, 2020

Hotels.com, Expedia Provider Exposed Data for Millions of Guests” contains a couple of interesting statements.

  • A company called Prestige Software provides the hotel reservation systems for Hotels.com, Booking.com, and Expedia.com.
  • Data for bookings were stored on Amazon AWS S3. The system contained credit card data for millions of people.

The article points out that the incident “does illustrate the dangers of a heavy reliance on third party providers for platforms.”

The article does not ask the question, “Prestige Software, what’s your approach to AWS S3 security?”

Stephen E Arnold, November 12, 2020

The Amazon Digital Zeus: One Bezosverse with Many Clouds

November 3, 2020

I read “AWS Hearts Multi-Cloud? It’s Gonna Happen” because of the words “hearts” and “gonna.” Interesting. The main point of the write up is that Amazon has a digital planet. There will be one sky over the planet, and Amazon will provide the air conditioning and heating to make life comfortable.

The write up includes some nifty lingo; for example:

  • Any cloud
  • Cross cloud
  • Multi cloud
  • Poly cloud.

Consultants repurposing themselves from failed Covid and pandemic gigs are in business. The opportunities for analyses, studies, and reports are plentiful.

The write up contains an interesting factoid, which I have not been able to verify. Here it is in its naked glory:

In fact, when we [Cloud Irregular] surveyed 26,000 cloud builders this summer at A Cloud Guru, about 75% of them identified AWS as their company’s primary cloud. But basically the same number said they also have some workloads running on Azure or GCP. Again, nobody is doing this as a strategic choice, it’s just reality. 3 out of 4 cloud shops are cheating on AWS.

That is a heck of a sample: 26,000 developers!

Amazon wants to be the center of the Bezosverse, which makes sense from Mr. Bezos’ point of view I assume. The write up notes:

They are the velociraptors of cloud, and as long as they are willing to cannibalize their own offerings in the pursuit of customer value, they will remain hard to beat.

But is the future secure for the Bezosverse? The write up concludes with this Delphic observation:

“Multi-cloud is the killer value prop AWS just can’t compete with” is no longer the only safe bet in startup land. Every dinosaur in the virtual re:Invent expo hall is just asking to get hit with an asteroid. Brace for impact.

I am braced.

Stephen E Arnold, November 3, 2020

Gartner Heads for the Clouds with Silver Linings

October 5, 2020

Organizations are offloading their computing, because it saves on expenses and allows them to have endless storage space, maintenance, upgrades, and customer service. At least cloud computing is supposed to be the end all solution. The Register reported on a recent Gartner review of cloud computing services, “Gartner On Cloud Contenders: AWS Fails To Lower Its Prices, Microsoft ‘Cannot Guarantee Capacity’, Google Has ‘Devastating’ Network Outages.”

Gartner’s review faced criticism from the start, because it only covered seven cloud infrastructure and platform services, because they fit the definition of “hyper scale cloud providers.” The biggest players are not surprising: Google, Microsoft, and AWS. The other companies are smaller but specialize in niches: Alibaba, Oracle, IBM, and Tencent. Gartner separated its review criteria into magic quadrants, but failed to identify any movers or shakers.

AWS soars to the top of the report and Gartner warns Amazon wants to own more parts of the value chain that delivers cloud computing services. Microsoft placed second, because it is a good service for Microsoft-based systems and company has a good approach to open source.

Readers of the article were unhappy with it, because:

“It’s not random speculation, it’s paid propaganda.

In 2011 Gartner “predicted” that windows phone would leap ahead of iOS in market share by 2015…

Back in 2003 they said that windows mobile would dominate the smartphone market.

Microsoft paid Gartner for this “analysis”.

Other observations included:

  • There are some people who actually consider Gartner reports to be worth something, and this did result in a few companies standardizing on Microsoft mobile devices for a time based on reading the Gartner reports – only to be forced to quickly move to android or ios devices when the devices they were using got dropped.
  • They don’t actually use or test the products/services they write about, information published by Gartner is supplied by the vendors themselves – ie it’s “best case” marketing material and doesn’t reflect real world experience where advertised functionality is almost never as good as the marketing literature claims it to be.
  • At most what they do, is compare the claimed feature sets of vendors… Only many vendors will exaggerate their claims, they may have features X Y and Z on paper but that doesn’t mean you as a potential customer would need or want those features, nor does it mean that they actually perform as expected.

When it comes to choosing products or services, there really is no substitute for actual experience. There are people who have used a product extensively and know its individual strengths and weaknesses. Every product/service has its own strengths and weaknesses, but which set is best for your individual use case can vary.

Ah, marketing.

Whitney Grace, October 5, 2020

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

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