AWS WorkMail, VMWare & Google Partnership, AWS results breakdown and other cloud news from the week ending 2015-02-01.
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This Week In Cloud

Weekly roundup of interesting developments in the cloud industry, curated by David Mytton.

AWS WorkMail - Managed email/calendar (28 Jan)
AWS announced the preview for their cloud email + calendar product, WorkMail. Their announcement also made a big deal about the security features, which include the ability to provide your own keys (via the AWS Key Management Service) for at-rest encryption and the ability to choose which AWS region your data will be stored in.

Setting up a single mail server might be easy enough but scaling that and the necessary anti-spam/virus components really shouldn't be something you need to deal with. Adding email and calendar to the AWS cloud makes sense as yet another service AWS can provide for you. This seems very familiar to the Rackspace strategy of being your internal IT department. The AWS product portfolio brings them even closer to that goal!

Many who want to use cloud services will already be using Outlook or Google Apps so Amazon has specifically differentiated by addressing concerns that might otherwise keep customers running their own email systems - security, data locality and mobile policies. Interestingly, these are all strong points of Microsoft Exchange.

With the WorkDocs integration, this is almost a direct replacement for Google Apps, except that AWS has no "native" document format and requires you to upload existing documents to comment/share, such as Word or PDFs. In contrast, Google Docs, Spreadsheets and Slides are all SaaS-first apps with no "file format" of their own (even if you can upload other formats to work on). It seems AWS is targeting Microsoft OneDrive + Office365/Outlook users, which will be enterprises who already use these technologies.

Google wants you to replace Office with their Docs/Spreadsheet/Slides trio. Amazon wants to work alongside your existing files...for now.
VMWare and Google Cloud integration (29 Jan)
Even if the range of products doesn't match AWS, Google Cloud Platform has some excellent technical products, clean APIs + docs and great command line tools. It easily rivals AWS on core components like compute, storage and networking. However, it's reputation around enterprise support, management and billing functionality isn't so good. 

This is why it's interesting to see Google partner to offer Google products to VMWare users. Even though VMWare does have its own vCloud Air public cloud, it's unclear what adoption it has and I would bet most customers are using VMWare on premise, and tapping into public cloud for specific workloads. In this context, it makes sense for Google to offer it's cloud products like DNS, BigQuery and storage.

The strategy here is clearly "hybrid". This is backed up by new Google Cloud features like VPNs, so you can easily tie your existing networks into Google Cloud services, all the way from raw compute to managed PaaS with App Engine. Amazon has been very public about knocking "hybrid" strategies - even if they offer a range of features that allow you to tie into existing networks I suspect these may be designed to ultimately get you to move all your workloads into their cloud. Google, on the other hand, seems to be trying to make the best of both worlds in knowing that some workloads are going to remain on-premise for a long time. And the most likely way they'll be managed is with VMWare. I wonder if we'll see anything announced around OpenStack soon?
AWS to break out cloud numbers (29 Jan)
"Cloud" revenue has so far been very hand-wavy - every big provider is claiming $billions in revenue but without defining what "cloud" actually means. Vendors like IBM, VMWare, Microsoft, Oracle can easily shove all sorts of other products into the "cloud" category that everyone else wouldn't classify as cloud at all. This makes it difficult to compare them.

Now, Amazon are going to split out the AWS figures separately. This is important because AWS's only business is cloud, and all their products match what most people would call "cloud". Of course they're only now doing this because they expect the numbers to be impressive, but it's a good first step and I hope to see all the other vendors do the same (or most likely, not, because they will probably be far behind AWS!).
Other things of note
  • Microsoft is claiming strong growth in mobile and cloud, with revenue up to $5.5m in the previous quarter (link). 
  • SaaS monitoring is a hot space with Datadog raising $31m funding (link) and Librato being acquired by SolarWinds for $40m (link).
  • Softlayer's previous CEO, Lance Crosby, has left IBM (link), who themselves are going through a round of redundancies (link).
Copyright © 2015 David Mytton, All rights reserved.

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