Amazon Web Services has acquired NICE, a company headquartered in Asti, Italy that provides software for high performance computing. NICE’s products enable customers to optimize their high performance computing workloads. NICE’s EnginFrame product delivers a grid portal for accessing and utilizing grid services and resources. Meanwhile, NICE’s Desktop Cloud Visualization “enables Technical Computing users to remote access 2D/3D interactive applications over a standard network.” The acquisition of NICE points to an interest on the part of Amazon Web Services in deepening its high performance computing product and service offerings. AWS Chief Evangelist Jeff Barr noted in a blog post that NICE will retain its branding for EnginFrame and Desktop Cloud Visualization products. The acquisition is expected to be finalized by Q1 of 2016.
On Monday, Intel announced its intent to lead a $100M capital raise for Mirantis, one of the few pure play commercial OpenStack vendors in the market today. Intel leads the investment alongside Goldman Sachs and existing investors August Capital, Insight Venture Partners, Ericsson, Sapphire Ventures and WestSummit Capital. The investment marks the second $100M capital raise on the part of Mirantis in the space of a year given that Insight Ventures led a $100M funding round with Mirantis less than a year ago. The October 2014 $100M capital raise led by Insight Ventures represented the largest funding raise in the history of open source computing and, as such, this year’s investment marks another notable milestone in the history of capital raises for open source-based technologies. Intel’s decision to lead the $100M capital raise builds upon its support of OpenStack as a Platinum member of the OpenStack consortium as of 2015. Today’s investment constitutes another emphatic affirmation of OpenStack that promises to transform the cloud computing landscape significantly by giving Mirantis the capital to innovate with respect to its commercial distribution of OpenStack. As one of the only remaining pure play OpenStack vendors in the marketplace, the investment bolsters the valuation of Mirantis and empowers it to consolidate its positioning as a distributor of an enterprise grade platform for building private, IaaS clouds that interoperate with other OpenStack-based cloud platforms.
.NET and Java enterprise PaaS company Apprenda recently announced that it will be available in the Cisco Intercloud Marketplace. Slated for launch in the fall of 2015, the Cisco Intercloud Marketplace aggregates applications that run on Cisco’s Intercloud platform for building hybrid clouds. As part of the collaboration between Apprenda and Cisco, Apprenda will support Cisco SDKs and APIs. The partnership between Apprenda and Cisco underscores the co-implication between Platform as a Service vendors qua Apprenda and hybrid infrastructures such as Cisco’s intercloud, a “cloud of clouds” that facilitates the creation of hybrid, OpenStack-based clouds by delivering infrastructure and application development functionality. Apprenda’s forthcoming availability within the Cisco Intercloud Marketplace builds upon recent partnerships with Piston Cloud (recently acquired by Cisco) and Microsoft Azure in a clear sign that, with the exception of Pivotal Cloud Foundry, the days of a standalone PaaS platform may well be numbered as the industry churns out partnerships between application, database and infrastructure technologies such as the Basho Data Platform and Piston Cloud OS 4.0. The bottom line here is that PaaS is increasingly morphing into an appendage to IaaS-focused platforms albeit, a critical one by way of its ability to deliver a ready to use database and application stack that can be immediately consumed by developers.
Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure took the two leadership positions in its latest Magic Quadrant report for Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Worldwide. Amazon is the clear market leader and, according to Gartner, claims more than 10 times the computing capacity of the other 14 vendors represented in its Magic Quadrant report. Other vendors represented in the report include Google, Rackspace, IBM SoftLayer and VMware vCloud Air. Gartner estimates that the IaaS space will experience growth of 33% in 2015 and become a $16.5B market globally with an annual growth rate of 29.1% through 2019. In a press release about the report, Gartner noted that “the market for cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is in a state of upheaval, as many service providers are shifting their strategies after failing to gain enough market traction.” The report’s finding that Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure represent the two market leaders means that the rest of the space will need to significantly differentiate their product offerings to flourish in an increasingly competitive space.
In a presentation from Day 1 of the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, Jonathon Bryce, Executive Director of the OpenStack Foundation announced the rollout of the initial round interoperability protocols and testing to ensure that OpenStack distributions successfully interoperate with one another. Currently, 16 companies have interoperability testing results available and the OpenStack Foundation plans to ensure the application of its interoperability testing on all OpenStack-branded products during the remainder of 2015. Bryce also notes that over 30 OpenStack products and services in the marketplace have pledged to support federated identity. Bryce’s elaboration on the aggressiveness of the OpenStack Foundation’s efforts to ensure the development of a common OpenStack core stack across all distributions suggests that OpenStack is likely to live up to the promise of interoperability and open standards that constituted part of its core vision as an open source IaaS platform that allows customers to migrate workloads from one OpenStack environment to another with ease. Companies that have produced live interoperability results at present include IBM, SwiftStack, Red Hat, Bluebox, Rackspace and Mirantis.
On Monday, Google introduced Google Compute Engine pre-emptible virtual machines. Pre-emptible machines enjoy a 70% discount on standard pricing but may be shut down at any time and have a maximum runtime of 24 hours. The larger vision behind pre-emptible machines involves Google’s objective of reclaiming computing capacity depending upon the intensity and duration of other workloads within its public cloud environment. By shutting down pre-emptible machines and recovering compute capacity, the Google Cloud Platform can maintain a high degree of performance without spinning up additional VMs, thereby saving operational overhead and concurrently passing along some of the attendant cost savings to the customer. Given the unpredictability with which pre-emptible virtual machines may be shut down, they are suited only for select use cases such as massive data processing, data analytics, visual effects and simulations that are not time sensitive with respect to the allotted time period for their completion. Pre-emptible machines are ideal for applications that are architected such that they can handle the termination of a few VMs on a periodic basis. Meanwhile, customers stand to enjoy fixed pricing in addition to the 70% pricing discount and may subsequently decide to allocate a designated percentage of their fleet of VMs to pre-emptible machines in recognition of the way in which their computational processing is only minimally impacted by periodic VM shutdowns. Google announced pre-emptible virtual machines in conjunction with significant price cuts for VMs for Google Compute Engine amounting to a maximum of 30%. Google’s elaboration of Google Cloud Platform price cuts and the availability of pre-emptible machines indicate the intensity of competition in the IaaS space where prices skyrocket downward as major players such as Microsoft and Google intensify their assault on Amazon’s stranglehold on the leadership position in the IaaS space.