Tag Archives: amazon

Amazon makes clever private cloud play

In a savvy bid to make its cloud a de facto standard, Amazon Web Services has given its blessing to an open-source version of its APIs produced by Eucalyptus Systems. In a clear signal that it will not challenge Eucalyptus for infringing on its property, Amazon is in fact partnering with the company. Eucalyptus supplies on-premises cloud-launching software that can mobilize APIs that are a match for Amazon’s major services.

Amazon could back away from the move at a later date, but it’s unlikely. On the contrary, Amazon appears to have decided that small and midsize companies and large enterprises building out private clouds should be its natural ally.

That means an enterprise that develops its private cloud using Eucalyptus will have built-in compatibility across several Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud services, including EC2 compute and S3 storage. Such compatibility would be an advantage to companies that want to use the public cloud for websites and some types of customer service and other public-facing processing while maintaining a more guarded and managed set of cloud services in their own data center.

Doubters wondered whether Eucalyptus hadn’t jumped the gun in being early to market with Amazon-compatible APIs. The risk was service giant Amazon would dismiss Eucalyptus as an interloper and find a way to make its APIs incompatible, or worse, take it to court for infringement. The Eucalyptus APIs sprang out of an open-source project at the University of California at Santa Barbara, led by Professor Rich Wolski, now CTO of the firm. But the APIs have stood both the test of time and of Amazon’s patience.

“This agreement is going to accelerate our roadmap and help us maintain our compatibility with AWS,” said Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos in a prepared statement on the announcement.

Instead of viewing them as potential competitors, Amazon has come to view Eucalyptus as an ally in consolidating its hold on the public infrastructure as a service market. With Eucalyptus installed inside enterprise data centers, its customers have a way to build their private clouds without disrupting their Amazon Web Services relationship.

Whether Amazon’s blessing was given in a timely manner may be another question. Amazon has shown little interest in joining open-source projects or sharing the benefits of its dominant position by opening up its own APIs for use by corporate developers. And it was outside its business plan to package up its own software and sell it for installation inside the enterprise.

With no action on that front, another open-source effort has gained traction as an alternative: Rackspace, a would-be Amazon competitor coming out of the hosted services field, launched its own infrastructure-as-a-service, then teamed up with NASA to form the Open Stack project.

Open Stack attracted more support than Eucalyptus did because it was conceived on a scale that allows its backers to become public cloud services suppliers themselves should they choose to. Cisco Systems, Citrix Systems, Oracle, Intel, AMD, Dell, Brocade, HP, NTT, and NetApp are among its members. The project claims 155 company participants to date, many of them code contributors.

At the recent Cloud Connect event in Santa Clara, the question was repeatedly raised in sessions: how close were Open Stack APIs to Amazon’s? There was no simple, succinct answer. But several parties, including Cisco’s CTO for cloud Lew Tucker, observed that the Open Stack technologists were broadly patterning their APIs on Amazon’s. They weren’t compatible and they’d never be accused of infringement; on the other hand, it wouldn’t that hard to translate between the two.

Such is Amazon’s dominance in the public cloud market. Those who might want to compete with it don’t stray too far from its example. Amazon in turn understands that it has so successfully established–with Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and others–the model of a cloud data center model that thousands of companies want to emulate it.

The conflict for Amazon, according to Adam Selipsky, VP of business development, was that they didn’t want to encourage private cloud consumption; they wanted businesses to get cloud services from EC2. In fact, Amazon officials have repeatedly said that the only real form of cloud computing is the public cloud, juggling thousands of different workloads across a massive infrastructure.

Now that Amazon has partnered with Eucalyptus, it’s got a different story. There is such a thing as the private cloud–and it’s a good thing, especially when it operates in conjunction with EC2.

We’ll find out next month how many other private cloud backers feel the same way. The Open Stack Summit will convene April 16-18 in San Francisco, with additions expected to be announced to its code base. Rackspace, HP, NTT Communications, Nebula, ServiceMesh, HyperStratus, Piston, CloudScaling, and Softlayer will take notice and be unlikely to abandon their Open Stack-based strategies in favor of Amazon’s APIs. Open Stack is gaining not only traction but a head of steam.

But Amazon has just given thousands of budding private cloud builders pause to reconsider. If they can get an Amazon-compatible cloud the first time they try–and still avoid lock-in; it’s now open-source code–why not do it? Open Stack is progressing fast, but it’s still a work in progress. By endorsing Eucalyptus, Amazon has given a tacit promise of assistance on continued compatibility. It’s ready for more long-term relationships with Eucalyptus customers if they want Amazon cloud services as an option. Amazon has just closed a circuit that had been left dangling. Amazon APIs are proprietary and not a du jure standard; they may never be. But they just took a step closer to becoming a de facto standard inside the corporate data center as well as out.

Amazon’s S3 offers the fastest storage cloud

A series of tests were conducted by storage vendor Nasuni. What they found is quite shocking. The results of the tests indicate that both rival cloud services, MS Azure and Rackspace, are slow to accept data. Whether this is a limitation of the network or a limitation of the hardware, we can not be sure.

Nasuni conducted five series of tests. The results are, again, quite shocking. Since all of these systems are cloud storage, you would expect similar performance, but you would be wrong. For example, moving 12TB from Amazon to Azure takes 40 hours, whereas moving the same data back took only four. 12TB from Rackspace to Amazon took five hours, yet Amazon to Rackspace took almost an entire week! Amazon “bucket” to Amazon “bucket” took only four hours.

Once again, it’s not clear if this is just a limitation of the network, or if there is a massive difference in technology that is leading to these poor write speeds. Nasuni said the cloud providers were not “forthcoming about why their performance would vary so greatly.” However, “Nasuni did not experience the same behavior with Amazon S3, and this measurement probably further indicates limitations in Azure’s architecture or bandwidth, as other customers using the system appear to be affecting our results to a large degree.”

Amazon Kindle Fire sales soaring

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Amazon.com shipped nearly 3.9 million Kindle Fire tablets in the last three months of 2011, making the online retail giant the world’s second-largest tablet maker in the quarter, market research firm IHS said Thursday.

With the soaring sales of Kindle Fire, Amazon captured 14.3 percent of the global tablet market share in the quarter, surpassing Samsung Electronics to take the No. 2 position, according to a new report by IHS.

Apple remained the dominant player in the tablet market, shipping 15.4 million iPads, but its share dropped to 57 percent in the fourth quarter from 64 percent in the previous three months, said Xinhua.

The debut performance of the Kindle Fire, which hit the market only in mid-November of 2011, played a strong role in Apple’s share shift, but it was Apple’s own newly introduced iPhone 4S smartphone that proved to be the strongest competitor for the iPad, IHS analysts noted.

“The rollout of the iPhone 4S in October (in 2011) generated intense competition for Apple purchasers’ disposable income, doing more to limit iPad shipment growth than competition from the Kindle Fire and other media tablets,” Rhoda Alexander, senior manager of tablet and monitor research for IHS, said in a statement.

Looking forward, analysts predicted that Apple will reclaim its tablet market share when it starts to sell the next version of the iPad, which is expected in the second quarter of this year.

As for Kindle Fire, the long-term viability of the product will hinge on the success of Amazon’s business gamble, “which depends on tablet sales driving substantial new online merchandise sales at Amazon.com in order to attain profitability”, Alexander said.

Amazon Tries To Save Cash By Halting Free Deliveries In China

Amazon.cn, the Chinese branch of the American Internet retailer, has adjusted its delivery standards and will now charge a CNY5 delivery fee for any order under CNY29.

Amazon is the latest Internet B2C retailer to give up the free delivery policy for all shipments in China, following 360buy.com and Newegg.com.cn.

Wang Hanhua, president for Amazon.cn, revealed to local media that the free delivery measure was a very expensive investment and Amazon.cn has spent several billion Renminbi to support this policy in the past.

Amazon.cn has marked on its official website that consumers can gain free delivery by purchasing goods of over CNY29, effective from 07:00 on February 2, 2012. The new policy affects all products sold and delivered by Amazon.cn as well as those sold by vendors and delivered by Amazon.cn. However, products sold and delivered directly by vendors are not included.

B2C e-commerce websites in China have recently started cutting distribution costs. On November 22, 2011, 360buy.com announced that it would give up the complete free delivery policy and started charging a CNY5 delivery fee for any order under CNY39. About a month later, Newegg.com.cn, which previously provided free delivery in first-tier Chinese cities, said it would charge delivery fees for any order under CNY99.