Pivotal and the Google Cloud Platform have announced a collaboration whereby Pivotal Cloud Foundry, the platform as a service based on the open source Cloud Foundry project, will now be generally available on the Google Cloud Platform. Pivotal’s collaboration with Google builds upon existing partnerships with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure and gives it expanded access to developers building applications on cloud-based platforms. Key perks of using the Google Cloud Platform for Pivotal Cloud Foundry applications include access to Google Cloud’s load balancing technology as well as Google’s data and machine learning services such as Google BigQuery, Google Cloud SQL and Google Cloud Natural Language API. The availability of Google’s data and machine learning services testifies to an impressive depth of integration between Pivotal Cloud Foundry and the Google Cloud Platform, one that was made available by custom-built service brokers created by Google’s engineering team. The ability to create Pivotal Cloud Foundry-based apps on the Google Cloud Platform, with full access to Google’s enviable roster of data and machine learning products, gives developers a rich portfolio of battle-tested building blocks from which to build and iteratively enhance their applications. Stay tuned to the cadences of the integration between Pivotal Cloud Foundry and the Google Cloud Platform to understand whether the integration of the two platforms renders Google Cloud Platform a more promising partner for Pivotal Cloud Foundry developers and its customers than Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. In the here and now, however, Pivotal—which is part of Dell Technologies—stands positioned to expand its availability to enterprise customers via a partnership that differentiates by way of access to Google’s renowned Big Data and machine learning technologies.
Microsoft reported adjusted quarterly revenue of $22.33 billion and earnings per share of 76 cents, exceeding analyst expectations of 68 cents per share for $21.71 billion in revenue for the first quarter of the 2017 fiscal year, namely, the quarter ending September 30, 2016. The 76 cents earnings per share announcement amounts to $6 billion in non-GAAP net income for Microsoft, or an increase of 9 percent in comparison to the $5.4 billion in net income for the first quarter of the 2016 fiscal year. Meanwhile, Microsoft Azure experienced 116 percent in revenue growth with its intelligent cloud offering bringing in $6.38 billion in revenue for the most recent quarter. Moreover, Azure compute usage more than doubled based on a year over year comparison. Microsoft’s impressive earnings report led to stock gains that surpassed the high of $59.97 reached in 1999 with share prices surpassing $60 per share in after hours trading. Thursday’s earnings announcement underscores the importance of Azure as one of the key drivers of Microsoft’s growth and illustrates the vitality of Microsoft’s “cloud first” transformation under Satya Nadella. Microsoft has yet to grapple with the implications of the recently announced Amazon-VMware partnership although Nadella’s emphasis on the company’s commitment to machine learning and artificial intelligence throughout all of its offerings may offer a clue as to one of its prospective differentiators in the cloud computing space.
On October 4, Automic Software (Automic) announced the release of version 12 of its suite of products designed to enhance business automation and agility for enterprise operations teams. Responding to the challenges faced by operations teams in the wake of increasing cloud adoption, Automic delivers software that enhances the ability of enterprise operations teams to collaborate with DevOps resources and initiatives. Automic’s suite of business automation software applications helps organizations deploy and manage workloads across multiple environments as well as manage releases across a multitude of platforms and infrastructures. In addition, Automic Software orchestrates the delivery of automation throughout the technology stack, giving enterprises greater operational agility and efficiency with respect to the automation of manual processes.
Automic Software helps organizations navigate the challenge of transitioning workloads to the cloud by giving operations teams the tools to monitor and optimize applications that are hosted within hybrid cloud infrastructures. The company’s bevy of automation tools empowers customers to manage a fleet of applications in the cloud as illustrated by the dashboard below:
The graphic above, for example, shows how administrators can use Automic Software to quickly identify failed jobs in addition to relevant trends. Automic Software delivers analytics across disparate database and application siloes, thereby giving customers holistic insights that facilitate iteratively nuanced optimization, troubleshooting and architectural design. Automic’s new unified interface and new unified reporting and analytics tool provides customers with a consistent interface for queries and reports that collectively simplify and streamline the process of monitoring applications and the infrastructure on which they are hosted, regardless of whether the hosting environment in question features a cloud-based, on-premise or hybrid cloud infrastructure. Moreover, version 12 of the platform allows administrators to perform upgrades with zero downtime in addition to the ability to encapsulate applications for the purpose of expedited migration and deployment across different environments. Aimed at operations teams who have been tasked with managing a multitude of applications in the cloud, but lack the appropriate set of tools required to automate application upgrades, manage workloads and application releases, Automic Software seeks to ease the pain of cloud adoption by giving administrators a holistic set of tools to manage their portfolio of cloud-based applications. Expect Automic Software to expand its footprint in the space of business automation products as DevOps practices proliferate and correspondingly intensify the need for platforms capable of easing the burden of operations teams responsible for maintaining applications within hybrid cloud infrastructures.
Neo Technology recently announced the release of Neo4j 3.1, a significant release that features notable enhancements to Neo4j’s clustering architecture that enhance the scalability and performance of the Neo4j graph database platform. Importantly, Neo4j 3.1 introduces causal clustering to its database platform, which brings causal consistency to Neo4j in contrast to the eventual consistency paradigm that characterizes most contemporary NoSQL database platforms. Stronger than causal consistency, Neo4j 3.1’s causal consistency ensures that all nodes within a graph database are consistently updated, thereby empowering organizations to deliver updated and consistent data to end users as a result of their interactions with the database. Neo4j’s VP of Products Philip Rathle remarked on the significance of the introduction of causal consistency to the Neo4j platform as follows:
The introduction of Causal Clustering in Neo4j 3.1, combined with Neo4j’s new security foundation, delivers a scalable, reliable, and secure enterprise graph platform like no other on the market. Neo4j 3.1 will enable organizations to leverage the connections in their data for operational decision making while complying with their internal and external security mandates.
The causal clustering specific to Neo4j 3.1 means that the graph travels as one ACID-transaction that ensures the consistency of the graph. Unique within the NoSQL and graph database space, Neo4j 3.1’s causal consistency delivers consistent data for applications, thereby facilitating the achievement of higher degrees of compliance across the enterprise in contrast to applications that rely on eventual consistency. Neo4j 3.1 also features enhanced security and access management functionality in the form of support for Active Directory/LDAP authentication and enhanced role-based access control. Nevertheless, the core innovation of Neo4j 3.1 is represented by its causal clustering architecture that augments its ability to serve the needs of graph-based applications for enterprise customers at scale. Currently in Beta, Neo4j 3.1 is expected to become generally available in Q4 of 2016.
Oracle has partnered with Verizon to enable customers of the Oracle Cloud to use Verizon’s Secure Cloud Interconnect service to connect to Oracle Cloud infrastructures in the U.S. and Europe. Oracle’s partnership with Verizon’s Secure Cloud Interconnect service enhances the ability of enterprise customers to migrate workloads to the Oracle Cloud in addition to delivering improved connection reliability and lower latency. The collaboration between Verizon and Oracle to deliver Verizon’s Secure Cloud Interconnect for Oracle FastConnect gives Oracle Cloud customers augmented capabilities to customize and monitor network performance using Verizon’s SDN functionality. Furthermore, Verizon Secure Cloud Interconnect supports Oracle Cloud capabilities such as dedicated, high speed MPLS connections as well as access to data spanning hybrid cloud infrastructures. Oracle’s partnership with Verizon underscores the seriousness of its intent to develop its cloud business and is likely to presage a bevy of future partnerships that empower it to build next generation cloud computing infrastructures that can compete with Amazon Web Services, per Oracle CTO Larry Ellison’s bold proclamation that “Amazon’s lead is over” at its OpenWorld Conference in San Francisco in September.
Google has announced a rebranding and restructuration of select products from its portfolio under the rubric “Google Cloud”. Google Cloud encompasses the Google Cloud Platform, Google’s productivity apps such as Gmail and Google Docs as well as its suite of machine learning tools and mapping applications. All Android devices and Chromebooks are now part of the Google Cloud as well. Importantly, the Google Cloud brand also features services that propel the digital transformation of enterprises by providing consultative and engineering support and professional services to help organizations transform their digital persona in collaboration with Google’s suite of cloud and machine learning products. The restructuration of a multitude of Google’s products under the Google Cloud umbrella, in conjunction with its foregrounding of service offerings geared toward digital transformation, marks a significant first step with respect to Google’s rebranding as a cloud product and service geared toward the digital needs of the contemporary enterprise. With the unveiling of the new Google Cloud brand, Google squarely positions itself as a partner of companies actively engaged in digital transformation and extends the tentacles of its products and services deeper into the enterprise.
Mark My World recently came out of stealth with the release of a mobile app that aims to disrupt the space of applications focused on enriching the vacation and travel experiences of interested users. The Mark My World mobile app, currently available for Apple iPhone and iPad on the App Store, empowers users to identify places of interest that they have visited or would like to visit, and record details of their experiences at the location in question. For example, users can record details of vacation-related itineraries such as cities they have visited, hotels, restaurants and museums of interest as well as any notable experiences they have had. Users also have the ability to upload photographs of their trip taken via their mobile device in addition to transcribing commentary about their experiences at vacation spots.
One of the innovations of the app consists in the ability of users to share details about their travels with members of their Mark My World network such as friends and family. By empowering users to share data with users in their Mark My World network, the app enables users to “friend source” travel-related information about hotels, restaurants, parks and other locations of interest from people they know and trust. By ensuring that users receive recommendations about travel-related destinations only from individuals within their designated Mark My World network, the app facilitates access to travel-related content curated by a user’s selection of users within their network, also known as “buddies.” Mark My World CEO Michael Rethy commented on the genesis and value of the app as follows:
My co-founder and I both have fun exploring and traveling the world, and love sharing and receiving tips from friends and family. We were always finding ourselves with multiple sticky notes, e-mails, books, mental ideas and magazine clippings of sites, hotels and restaurants people had told us to visit – just not at the moment or in the place we needed them. The app we’ve created solves that problem – it’s a novel and social way to collect places and to access them easily. The new social network you create with Mark My World ensures that the places you save will be from trusted sources. As the data is stored on the cloud, it syncs between mobile devices, so you can always have your Marks at your fingertips.
As Rethy notes, Mark My World delivers a centralized, searchable content repository that empowers users to store and retrieve details of their travel experiences. Moreover, Mark My World differentiates from crowd-sourced sites such as Yelp or Foursquare which serve up reviews and commentary on restaurants and other locations of interest from anonymous individuals whose tastes, judgment and travel experience are unknown to readers, rendering the corresponding information less reliable and personalized. The foundational concept behind Mark My World is the “Mark,” which allows users to designate a specific institution or geographic location as a repository of content either for personal reference, or to share with other Mark My World users. Marks are typically defined in relation to travel-related destinations such as resorts, hotels, restaurants, hiking spots and trails as illustrated below:
Here, the fields in the Mark about “Table Mountain” provide users with the ability to record data such as Address, Phone and URL about a location of interest, for future reference. The “Dream Date” field gives users the opportunity to input a date by which they aspire to visit the relevant destination in the event they have not yet visited the location, or aspire to revisit it in the future. Dream Date can also be used to specify a planned date of visit within an Itinerary, which can also be created within the app. “Marks” contain fields that empower users to elaborate on an experience at a Mark using narrative or images as illustrated below:
The graphic above demonstrates how a user can annotate details of a travel-related experience such as, in this case, the difficulty of a hike, in conjunction with an image. The image shows how “Marks” have the ability to create multivalent content repositories about destinations of interest either for individual, archival purposes or for sharing travel-related data with others.
Over and beyond serving as a content repository for travel, however, Mark My World differentiates from other travel-related applications by giving users the opportunity to personalize the information they receive by way of a self-selected network of users with whom they share information about the world. By facilitating the delivery of personalized travel-related content, the application represents a disruptive solution to the problem of obtaining reliable information about travel locations by empowering travelers to receive recommendations about restaurants, hotels, museums and itineraries from trusted sources. Integrated with Google Maps, Mark My World allows users to identify travel-related destinations using the Google Maps application and to correspondingly share “Marks” with other users. Users can also share Marks on Facebook via the app and integrate “Marks” from Facebook friends directly into their portfolio of “Marks” within the Mark My World application. Available on the App Store, Mark My World is currently compatible with Apple iOS and plans are underway to expand the app to all mobile platforms.