On Thursday, HP announced an agreement to invest $50M in Hortonworks. HP’s investment builds on the $100M Hortonworks raised in March in a financing red led by funds managed by Blackrock and Passport Capital as well as existing investors. The investment illustrates HP’s commitment to its reseller relationship with Hortonworks that allows it to resell the Hortonworks Data Platform. Moreover, HP plans to continue refining the engineering of its products such that they integrate with YARN, the resource management component of version 2.x of Hadoop. In addition to preparing its products to operate in conjunction with YARN, HP will be integrating its product architecture to optimally perform in conjunction with the Hortonworks Data Platform more generally. Key HP products targeted for integration with the Hortonworks Data Platform include the HP HAVEn platform, one component of which is HP Vertica. As a result of the $50M equity investment, HP’s Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Martin Fink will join the board of directors of Hortonworks. HP’s investment in Hortonworks underscores how the Big Data revolution lies poised to accelerate as technology companies deepen their relationships with Hadoop vendors in anticipation of delivering turnkey big data analytics solutions that simplify and streamline the operationalization of Big Data.
•Revenue for the quarter ending June 30, 2014 amounted to $23.38B, up 18% year over year from $19.89B.
•Net income was $4.61B, down from $4.97B for the same quarter during the preceding year.
•Earnings per share calculated to $0.55/share or $0.05/share below the $0.60/share earnings target anticipated by Wall Street. For the same quarter in 2013, Microsoft posted earnings of $0.59/share.
•Commercial cloud revenue grew 147% to an annualized run-rate of over $4.4B. Over the course of the quarter, cloud revenue grew $564M, largely due to triple digit growth in enterprise sales of Office 365 and Azure.
•Windows licensing revenue grew 11% to $13.48B.
•Office 365 subscribers grew to 5.6 million and added a million users this quarter.
•Bing advertising revenue grew 40% and now consumes 19.2% of the U.S. search engine market.
•Revenue from server products grew 16%, including Azure, SQL Server and System Center.
Despite missing its earnings per share target, cloud revenue represents the shining star in this quarter’s earnings report as Microsoft pivots toward Nadella’s “mobile first and cloud first” strategy and away from a business model based on PCs. Nadella himself commented on the Q4 2014 earnings results by highlighting the figures related to cloud revenue as follows:
We are galvanized around our core as a productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world, and we are driving growth with disciplined decisions, bold innovation, and focused execution. I’m proud that our aggressive move to the cloud is paying off – our commercial cloud revenue doubled again this year to a $4.4 billion annual run rate.
The bottom line here is that Microsoft’s aggressive move to focus on Azure and a cloud-based version of Office 365 has paid dividends in an impressively short period of time. Investors can feel confident in the cloud-component of Microsoft’s new strategy, although they are likely to feel less certain about its ability to deliver with respect to mobile devices and applications, particularly given the challenges specific to the $7.2B Nokia acquisition, which itself claims responsibility for 12,500 of the 18,000 employees that are slated to be laid off by the Redmond, WA tech behemoth. That said, 147% growth in its cloud business bodes well for the Azure platform, particularly given that it is fueled in part by Microsoft’s booming Office 365 cloud-based subscription offering, which operates on Azure infrastructure. Expect growth in Microsoft’s cloud revenue to continue although the company will wrestle with the $1.1 to $1.6 billion cost of integrating Nokia Devices and Services (NDS) through fiscal year 2015, and the first half of the 2015 fiscal year in particular.
VMware has partnered with SoftBank Commerce and Service to deliver VMware’s vCloud Hybrid service IaaS platform to Japan. SoftBank will provide VMware with datacenters, network and a dedicated sales team whereas VMware will manage the implementation and subsequent management of the vCloud platform in Japan. Meanwhile, VMware stands to benefit from SoftBank’s network of more than 7000 resellers in Japan. Japan represents only the third country after the U.S. and U.K where VMware is launching its vCloud Hybrid Service and the first country in Asia. vCloud Hybrid Service is currently available in private Beta and will be generally available in Q4 of this year. vCloud Hybrid Service creates a single-tenant private cloud, a multi-tenant virtual private cloud or a disaster recovery cloud that facilitates the extension of on-premise infrastructures to the cloud. VMware also announced preliminary plans to use its technology in China to build a hybrid cloud service in Beijing in collaboration with China Telecom.
Rackspace and Datapipe Take Leadership Positions In Gartner Magic Quadrant For Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting, North America
Datapipe and Rackspace take the two leadership positions in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting, North America as illustrated below. Datapipe offers fully managed hosting solutions on Amazon Web Services in addition to private cloud and hybrid cloud solutions. Rackspace, meanwhile, recently introduced a managed cloud service that builds upon its branding for “fanatical support” by delivering managed infrastructure and managed operations solutions. CenturyLink was also positioned strongly as a visionary with a strong ability to execute. Managed hosting solutions are likely to play a critical role in the next phase of the evolution of IaaS adoption as organizations increasingly strive to simplify and streamline IaaS adoption by transferring responsibility for provisioning, managing and troubleshooting IaaS environments to vendors who specialize in managed cloud solution delivery.
Disclaimer: This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from Datapipe here or Rackspace here. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.
Rackspace recently announced details of a managed cloud service plan that gives customers the opportunity to take advantage of managed services for their cloud deployments. The managed cloud service plan comes in two forms: (1) managed infrastructure, which provides advisory services regarding infrastructure set-up and architecture; and (2) managed operations, which enables Rackspace engineers to access customer servers to tweak code as necessary. The managed infrastructure and operations offerings represent Rackspace’s attempt to differentiate itself from competitors such as Amazon Web Services and Windows Azure, both of which demand greater responsibility on the part of developers and IT staff to provision, configure, deploy and manage Infrastructure as a Service environments. The introduction of the managed cloud service pivots on Rackspace’s famed “fanatical support” by building on the company’s strengths as a leader in consultative support for IaaS deployment and management. Rackspace President Taylor Rhodes summarized the new managed cloud offerings as follows:
Our basic level, called Managed Infrastructure, offers Fanatical Support with much more managed service than do the more-expensive, premium service levels offered by many of our competitors. Our higher service level, called Managed Operations, provides even more managed services, up the stack into the support of application level — addressing customer needs that most of our rivals won’t even touch.
Components of the managed infrastructure offering include architectural advice, support for workload migration and scaling, launch assistance and round the clock availability of cloud engineers to troubleshoot and resolve issues. Managed operations additionally delivers support for operating systems, web servers, database servers, cloud databases, cloud backup and monitoring and user provisioning and permissions. Rackspace’s managed infrastructure offering is priced at $.005/GB, assuming a $50 minimum per month while managed operations is priced at $.02/GB, with a $500 monthly minimum. In addition to its managed cloud service, Rackspace announced details of an expanded program for developers and more transparent pricing. Altogether, Rackspace’s new managed cloud offering is likely to give it some short term publicity and inject new life into its ailing IaaS positioning, but the San Antonio-based company will need a deeper transformation if it intends to seriously compete with the big players in the IaaS space, particularly given that competitors such as Amazon Web Services already partner with other vendors to offer managed services comparable to those revealed by Rackspace last Tuesday.
PredictionIO today announces the finalization of $2.5M in funding in a capital raise whose investors include Azure Capital QuestVP, CrunchFund, Stanford StartX-Fund, Kima Ventures, IronFire, Sood Venture and XG Ventures. The funding will be used to accelerate product development and marketing and sales and operations for the company’s open source machine learning server for predictive analytics. PredictionIO aspires to fill the role in the predictive analytics space played by MySQL in the relational database space by delivering an open source platform that empowers data scientists to both leverage a pre-defined library of predictive algorithms as well as create new algorithms that they can either choose to contribute to the platform, or keep to themselves. Built using Scala, the PredictionIO platform supports JVM and Java-based code as well as backend Hadoop-based data. Typical use cases for PredictionIO’s technology include the production of personalized content and recommendation engines, as well as algorithms that predict the behavior of users and industries based on historical trends. Available through the Amazon Web Services marketplace or via download, Prediction IO already boasts an open source user community of over 4000 developers and undergirds predictive analytics in “hundreds” of applications across of variety of verticals. The platform fills a critical niche in the big data analytics space by delivering an open source platform as a service-like infrastructure for the development of predictive analytics. Importantly, PredictionIO empowers companies who cannot afford to hire quant-level data scientists to quickly develop and tweak predictive models using its guided, machine learning-based user interface. That said, much of the success of PredictionIO will depend on the richness and variety of its library of pre-configured predictive modeling algorithms, but its initial round of funding represents a promising start toward accelerating adoption and expanding the platform’s impressive list of existing libraries and relevance for various use cases.
Red Hat today announces the release of Inktank Ceph Enterprise 1.2, the storage platform that Red Hat acquired in April 2014. Inktank Ceph delivers object and block storage for cloud storage use cases, with a specific focus to date on storage solutions for OpenStack deployments. Today’s release features the addition of erasure coding functionality that allows customers to more cost effectively store replicas of storage objects by using a mathematical technique that transforms an object defined by k variables into n variables, where n > k. Erasure coding breaks data into constituent components and subsequently delocalizes the fragments across different storage platforms in a way that circumvents the necessity of storing exact replicas of the storage objects in question. The addition of erasure coding reduces the cost of storage per GB, thereby rendering Inktank Ceph more affordable for customers that have massive amounts of structured or unstructured data. Additionally, Inktank Ceph Enterprise 1.2 features Cache Tiering functionality that moves hot data to high performance storage devices when needed, and cold data to lower performance devices. With today’s release, Inktank Ceph embraces a range of use cases over and beyond storage solutions for OpenStack deployments such as the storage of massive amounts of unstructured data for customers with high volumes of document-based, textual or media content. Inktank Ceph also supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 5 and thereby allows Red Hat to deliver an integrated OpenStack solution based on technology from one vendor. In conjunction with enhancements to Calamari, the platform’s management console, Inktank Ceph 1.2 positions itself as a cost-effective storage platform that is able to manage an increasing variety of customer use cases.