Top Cloud Computing News: April 2019

Rachel Dines
Sr. Director of Product Marketing


Last month, Bezos called out Oracle in his annual letter to shareholders, Google made a big bet with Anthos, we learned that big companies have big cloud bills, and a new Facebook data breach creates some tough ethical questions. Read on for everything you might have missed in April in the world of cloud computing.

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Google is making a big bet here—that enterprises that are just getting started on public cloud will skip over traditional compute and go straight to containers and serverless.

Jeff Bezos’ Annual Letter Goes Deep on AWS, Makes Jabs at Oracle

Every year, for the past 20+ years, Jeff Bezos has published an open letter to shareholders. These letters are candid, insightful, and oftentimes funny, but most importantly they give us insight into what is top of mind for Bezos. There are several themes that come up over and over again, for example “customers” has appeared 443 times in the 23 letters written to date. While the word “competition” has only appeared 28 times, this year’s letter takes several shots at the competition, specifically Oracle. I have long enjoyed the back and forth jabs between AWS’s Andy Jassy and Oracle’s Larry Ellison, but rarely has Bezos stepped into the fray. In this letter, Bezos spends 4 paragraphs talking about AWS, in which he dives into what the company has done around databases and machine learning. This is the most that Bezos has written about AWS in several years (maybe ever?).  Bezos writes ”we heard loudly that companies felt constrained by their commercial database options and had been unhappy with their database providers for decades – these offerings are expensive, proprietary, have high-lock-in and punitive licensing term” He goes on to say that they used this input to build database offerings like Aurora, which is faster, more durable, and “one-tenth of the cost.” He goes on to explore the idea that relational databases aren’t the right answer for modern workloads—they just can’t scale to meet the demands. Bezos closes out the section on AWS by reminding us all of the massive scale and reach of AWS: it’s now a $30B annual run rate business and still growing at impressive rates.

Google Anthos Changes the Game

Have I been talking about Google a lot lately? I feel like GCP has been in the news more in the past few months than usual. April was no exception, especially with Google NEXT, their flagship conference. The biggest news coming out of NEXT was the announcement of Google Anthos, a platform that gives customers the ability to run Google anywhere—in the data center, OR in another public cloud. Back in February, I commented on Google getting into the hybrid cloud game with the beta of Cloud Services Platform. Fast forward two months and CSP has a new (and better) name: Anthos. I noted that unlike AWS Outpost or Azure Stack, Anthos is only a container-based or serverless offering with no traditional VM option. They offer the ability to convert VMs into Kubernetes Pods, but cannot run traditional compute natively. The other major difference between Anthos and the hybrid offerings of AWS and Azure is that Anthos is explicitly multicloud—Google says you can run it on-prem or even in another cloud provider. Google is making a big bet here—that enterprises that are just getting started on public cloud will skip over traditional compute and go straight to containers and serverless, the same way countries that never established landlines went straight to mobile phones.

Spoiler Alert: Big Companies Have Big Cloud Bills

One of the themes of this Spring could be characterized as “people freaking out over how much XYZ company spends in the cloud.” First it was Lyft, then Pinterest, and now Apple, who is rumored to spend $30M a month with AWS. I have some breaking news for you: big companies have big cloud bills. As more and more of the cloud native companies IPO, more and more of these massive cloud bills will be uncovered. And it’s not just the “born in the cloud” organizations—the majority of enterprises have adopted public cloud and are growing FAST. In a webinar last month where I explored trends in AWS spending, I shared that our enterprise customers (more than $1B in revenue) saw 58% annual growth in their cloud spend! In fact, CloudHealth has well over 100 customers with more than $1M/month spend in the cloud. While these numbers might seem huge, they pale in comparison to the cost of running a data center facility and all the equipment in it. Big cloud bills are just the cost of doing business in today’s world.

Facebook Data Leak Leads to Ethical Dilemma

Almost every month brings a new story of a security break or data leak, leading pundits to jump onto our soapboxes and opine about shared security responsibility in the cloud era. Last month, however, brought us something a bit different. Security researchers discovered a public S3 bucket containing millions of unencrypted Facebook records. However, it wasn’t Facebook that left the bucket exposed, it was a third party app developer. Here’s where things get dicey: the security researcher contacted the app developer, but got no reply. They contacted Amazon, who doesn’t have the authority to touch a customer’s environment without their permission. They contacted Facebook who also contacted AWS. Ultimately it took weeks before the data was removed. Herein lies the dilemma: does AWS have the responsibility (or even the right) to interfere with a customer’s environment, if its causing potential harm to consumers? And if so, where do you draw the line? It’s unclear whether AWS eventually took down the buckets, or if the app developer eventually took them down themselves. Either way this presents a complicated and potentially fraught situation.

That wraps up the top cloud computing news in April 2019! Join me next month for the latest and greatest happenings in all things cloud computing.

Top Cloud Computing News: March 2019

This month the web turns 30! Google has a poorly timed outage, an IT worker goes to jail for wiping out production instances on AWS, and we break down the proposals for breaking up big tech. Click here to read more.

Top Cloud Computing News: February 2019

Last month we saw Google get in the game on two fronts with the beta of their on-premises solution and the acquisition of a database migration vendor. Heptio also reemerged as VMware Essential PKS, and I break down the VMware container offerings. Click here to read more.

Top Cloud Computing News: January 2019

The first month of 2019 kicked off with another migration acquisition -- this time to empower the partner channel, a Microsoft win at the Pentagon and the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud Management Platforms (finally!). Click here to read more.