Alphabet: Another PR Hit Related to Raising Prices and Changing the Google Rules?

April 23, 2021

Here in Harrod’s Creek, everyone — and I mean everyone, including my phat, phaux phrench bulldog — loves Google. After reading “Why I Distrust Google Cloud More Than AWS or Azure” it is quite clear that the post in iAsylum.net is authored by someone who would find our Harrod’s Creek perception off base.

The write up contains some salty language. On the other hand, there are a number of links to information supportive of the argument that Google cannot be trusted. Now trust, like ethics, is a slippery fish. In fact, I am not sure my trust checkbook has much value today.

The main point of the iAsylum write up is that Alphabet Google cannot be trusted. The principal reasons are that Google changes prices and acts in capricious ways. Examples range from Google Map fees to the GOOG’s approach to developers.

The most painful point for us lovers of all things Google was the question in the essay:

Will Google Cloud even exist a decade from now?

That’s a difficult question to answer. Some companies are predictable. Amazon’s Bezos bulldozer moves in quite specific directions. True, it can swerve to avoid a large rock, but for the most part, the Bezos bulldozer’s actions are not much of a surprise. Got a hot product? Amazon may just happen to have one too. No surprises.

Google is unpredictable. There’s the HR and ethics mess in the AI unit. There’s the spate of legal challenges about the firm’s approach to advertising. There’s the search service which returns some darned interesting results, often not related to the query the user submitted.

For those of us in Harrod’s Creek, worries about the future should be factored into our lives. But for now, we love those Google mouse pads. Our last remaining mouse pad is now yellowed and cracking. But it once was a spiffy thing.

Let me rephrase the iAsylum question:

Will Google Cloud evolve like my Google mouse pad?

Stephen E Arnold, April 23, 2021

Oracle Matches One Amazon AWS Capability: Bringing Order to Chaos

April 19, 2021

In 2018, I started noticing more Amazon AWS support for ServiceNow. ServiceNow is a company which uses cloud technology to help its customers manage digital workflows for enterprise operations. Amazon revealed in 2018 “How to install and configure the AWS Service Management Connector for ServiceNow,” the procedure which some AWS customers had mastered before the blog post gave its stamp of approval.

Oracle Integrates ServiceNow into its Cloud Infrastructure” makes it clear that the much loved database vendor is doing what AWS did in 2018. The article reports:

Oracle has announced the integration of ServiceNow into its Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. The integration means enterprise customers have the ability to access and manage OCI (Oracle Cloud Infrastructure) resources via their existing ServiceNow service portal and the ITOM (ServiceNow IT Operations Management) Visibility application, which will give them a single dashboard to manage their public cloud resources from Oracle and other cloud providers.

Legacy Oracle customers like government agencies are likely to find the integration helpful. At one time, the likes of Amazon itself and Google might have been over the moon. Both of these cloud giants jettisoned Oracle technology and have moved in other directions.

A ServiceNow VP spins the Oracle move this way:

“With this integration, ServiceNow and Oracle are making it seamless for enterprises to unlock productivity for distributed teams to deliver products and services faster, access powerful business insights and create great experiences for employees, wherever they may be,” says ServiceNow’s vice president & general manager of Operations Management & Data Foundations, Jeff Hausman.  Joint customers leveraging the Now Platform and OCI will get the best of both worlds, a seamless experience that maximizes the value of cloud investments and the ability to harness the power of artificial intelligence for proactive operations.”

Many buzzwords like seamless, unlock productivity, business insights, experiences which are “great”, value, proactive, and of course artificial intelligence.

The winner may be ServiceNow. For Oracle, I am not sure yet. Maybe on deck to enter the cross cloud de-chaosizing work now going on in many organizations.

Stephen E Arnold, April 19, 2021

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

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