Welcome To The Biggest Week In Cloud


Ben Kepes, Contributor

March 25, 2014

And here you were all thinking that Monday was the highlight of the cloud week with news of Box’s forthcoming IPO. In fact this is just the start of what looks to be a week of epic proportions with big news events scheduled by many of the cloud infrastructure leaders.

First up is Google who tomorrow will hold its “Google Platform Live” event which sees chief of the cloud division Urs Holzle take the stage to announce some stuff – most people are picking major price cuts as the primary announcement although reserved instances (whereby customers can lock in low pricing by agreeing to longer term contracts) looks to be a likely candidate for inclusion as well. The key thing for Google however isn’t cost, rather it’s ensuring its customers and the industry generally that they are really committing to a public cloud program and providing the support, road-map clarity and SLAs to back it up.

While Google should be able to provide the best public cloud infrastructure in the market, at least based on its experience of running mass operations, the reality and the theory are sometimes two different things and Google will be keen to hold up some real customer success as proof that it can deliver. Many have noted that customer case studies are few and far between when it comes to the Google Compute Platform so look for some hand-selected customers to take the stage as well.

Not wanting to be outdone, the undisputed (well, OK, IBM disputes their size but no one else does) king of the public cloud AWS has a summit on Wednesday at which every indication is that they’ll announce the general availability of Workspaces, the AWS desktop virtualization product. AWS will still be smarting from the blow dealt by VMware who beat it to general availability for their desktop product. Expect AWS to up the ante and deliver some more news to go “one better” than VMware.

The company has also flagged some discussion of AWS as part of a hybrid cloud strategy – given the company’s obvious interest in larger enterprise customers, expect this to be a major topic of conversation. The hybrid and high-performance story will be somewhat dented by the news that the Nasdaq is reconsidering its FinQloud product (a financial services specific solution based on AWS) due to a lack of customer take up.

Finally we have Microsoft whose newly minted CEO, Satya Nadella, will take the stage on Thursday. Most commentators expect an announcement of Office for the iPad but long-term Microsoft watcher Mary-Jo Foley scooped the news that Microsoft will likely rename Windows Azure to Microsoft Azure this week as well. To be honest, I don’t really know of anyone who strongly identifies Azure as a “Windows” product. But at least in order to appease those who are Linux-centric, the move is an important symbolic one. While some suggest that a name change will do little to change the reality of Microsoft’s cloud offerings, I’m more positive. the customer feedback I’ve had is that Azure (Windows or otherwise!) is becoming a very compelling suite of offerings – look to Nadella to push this even further to the forefront.

It’s a big week for the cloud – the deluge of press releases and commentary has already started and won’t slow down till the weekend!

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