Storj Labs Finalizes $3M In Seed Funding For Its Open Source Distributed Cloud Storage Platform

Storj Labs has announced the finalization of $3M in seed funding for its open source distributed cloud storage platform that delivers peer to peer to storage using blockchain technology and cryptography. Google Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, Techstars and angel investors from venture capital firms in addition to Cockroach Labs, Ionic Security and Pindrop Security are amongst the company’s early investors.The Storj Labs storage platform uses “farmers” who rent space on their own hard drives and storage infrastructures to other users. Storj Labs claims that the decentralization of its storage platform enables enhanced security and lower costs as compared to storage solutions offered by vendors such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and the Google Cloud Platform. Because only end users have the encryption keys to their stored data, farmers cannot access data stored within the infrastructure they are providing to Storj Labs. Furthermore, the inherent decentralization of its platform means hackers and data thieves have no central servers to attack, compromise or destroy. Storj Labs currently boasts over 15,000 API users and more than 7,500 farmers. The company aims to disrupt cloud storage with improved performance, security and lower costs by means of its decentralized, peer to peer, client-side encrypted storage solution.

Google Cloud Platform Is First Public Cloud To Make Available Intel’s Xeon Skylake Processor

As noted by Urs Holzle, SVP of Google Cloud Infrastructure in a recent blog post, Google Cloud Platform has adopted the Intel Xeon Processor Skylake, a next generation micro-processor optimized for high performance compute workloads. Skylake’s Intel Advanced Vector Extensions render it exceptionally well suited for 3 dimensional modeling, compute-intensive data analytics, genomics, scientific modeling and engineering simulations. Moreover, Google Cloud Infrastructure has optimized Skylake for Google’s VMs to ensure Google Cloud Platform customers receive maximum benefit from Skylake’s capabilities. The availability of the Intel Xeon Processor Skylake on the Google Cloud Platform marks the fulfillment of a promise made by Google and Intel in November to integrate Intel’s most recent microprocessor into the Google Cloud Platform. Google Cloud Platform now claims the distinction of the first public cloud to use the Intel Xeon Processor Skylake in what amounts to a hugely important deal for Intel as it faces increased competition from AMD, particularly given the forthcoming launch of the AMD Ryzen microprocessor. Meanwhile, Google stands to benefit from Skylake’s ability to enhance customer capabilities with respect to applications requiring more intensive computational power and modeling capabilities. Importantly, the availability of the Xeon Skylake Processor on the Google Cloud Platform illustrates a broader partnership between Google and Intel aimed at accelerating cloud adoption for enterprises.

Datadog Announces General Availability Of APM Solution That Enables Integrated Insights Into Application and Infrastructure Performance From Datadog Platform

On February 15, Datadog announced the general availability of Application Performance Monitoring (APM). Datadog’s APM platform complements its infrastructure monitoring capabilities and enables it to deliver a holistic set of monitoring solutions that absolves customers of the need to implement siloed application and infrastructure monitoring solutions. Amit Agarwal, Chief Product Officer at Datadog, remarked on the significance of the company’s application monitoring capabilities as follows:

Based on customer demand, we are blurring the distinction between infrastructure monitoring and application performance monitoring by offering both within Datadog. We want to enable enterprises to benefit from APM deployed broadly across all of their hybrid or private cloud infrastructure that is running code. Traditionally, companies with scaling infrastructure are only deploying APM on a small percent of their applications or machines in order to cut down on costs.

Here, Agrawal elaborates on how Datadog’s APM capabilities motivate customers to select APM solutions for a broader subset of their application portfolio in contrast to “a small percent of their applications or machines” in order to curb costs. Moreover, Datadog’s APM offering facilitates the deployment of application performance monitoring for applications deployed within both private and hybrid cloud environments. Conceived in response to customer requests, the Datadog APM solution gives customers not only the combination of application and infrastructure performance monitoring, but more importantly, insight into the intersection between infrastructure and applications and their ability to reciprocally influence one another.

Key features of the Datadog APM platform include the detection of anomalies via machine learning-based algorithms, flame graphs that identify the most frequently used code paths, customizable dashboards and the ability to track end user application requests across host machines and other related infrastructure and application components. Datadog APM empowers Datadog to disrupt the space of IT monitoring platforms by leveraging the company’s machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies to understand the reciprocity between the effect of applications on infrastructure, and conversely, the impact of infrastructure on applications. Importantly, the general availability of Datadog’s APM solution positions it strongly to go head to head with the likes of New Relic, Splunk and AppDynamics by taking advantage of its holistic analytics and advanced data visualization capabilities as illustrated by the dashboards below:

Expect Datadog to continue enhancing its APM solution and aggressively expanding market share in the application monitoring space now that its APM solution is generally available.

DigitalOcean Releases Load Balancers For Its IaaS Platform In Response To Deepening Customer Needs

DigitalOcean today announced the release of load balancers for its cloud platform. The release of load balancers responds to one of the most highly requested products from DigitalOcean customers and testifies to the company’s increased commitment to supporting “larger, scale-out” applications. Julia Austin, CTO of DigitalOcean, remarked on the significance of the introduction of load balancers to the DigitalOcean platform as follows:

We’re quickly expanding the capabilities of our cloud to support larger scale-out applications. With Load Balancers, we are providing developers and businesses with a simple service for maximizing the availability and reliability of applications without disrupting the end user experience. Load Balancers is the first major new product DigitalOcean has released this year. Over the coming year, you’ll see us continue to release a number of important products and features to meet our customers’ high availability, data storage, security, and networking needs.

Here, Austin comments on how the availability of load balancers on the DigitalOcean platform promises to improve application uptime and reliability while delivering minimal disruptions to the end user experience. The introduction of load balancing to the DigitalOcean platform empowers developers to horizontally scale traffic to healthy droplets to ensure high availability for its applications. By making load balancers available on its cloud platform, Digital Ocean reveals an interest in rendering its cloud platform amenable to applications of a larger scale than those that have been featured on its IaaS platform to date. As Austin notes, for example, the company plans to release a multitude of products that address the evolution of the needs of its customers. All this suggests that, with nearly one million registered users and 40,000 teams actively using its platform since its cloud was launched five years ago, DigitalOcean is ready to expand its portfolio of products to satisfy the needs of increasingly large, complex and data intensive applications that may have additional storage, networking and data security requirements. As such, the release of load balancers on the DigitalOcean platform inaugurates a new phase in the company’s trajectory that underscores the success of its global reception and subsequent need to support increasingly complex and large-scale applications while nevertheless preserving the simplicity that constitutes a key component of its branding and product differentiation in the IaaS space.

Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy Reflects On The History Of AWS Alongside Some Remarks On Its Competition

The following interview with Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy provides a rare insight into Jassy’s thinking about the genesis of AWS and competitors who either focused on building tools “further up the stack” or those, like Oracle and IBM, who spent an “ungodly long time” before joining the opportunity served up by the public cloud space. The interview illustrates the intent of AWS’s early mission of rendering enterprise grade infrastructure available to developers and startups with the concomitant vision of expanding its portfolio of services after achieving greater adoption.

Microsoft Launches Microsoft Azure IP Advantage Program To Give Azure Customers Greater Legal Protection From Charges Of Intellectual Property Infringement

In a recent blog post, Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer of Microsoft, announced details of Microsoft’s plans to “protect innovation and investments as it applies to the cloud.” Citing research by the Boston Consulting Group that noted an increase in cloud-related intellectual property litigation over the last five years, Smith elaborated on Microsoft’s recognition of the risks associated with doing business in the cloud in the form of The Microsoft Azure IP Advantage program. The Microsoft Azure IP Advantage program gives customers unlimited indemnification coverage that now includes open source technologies such as Hadoop. In addition, the program allows customers to make use of roughly 10,000 Microsoft patents in order to protect themselves against charges of the infringement of intellectual property. The 10,000 patents draw upon Microsoft’s vast portfolio of its own patents and promises to give customers an unprecedented degree of legal protection for Azure-based applications. Moreover, Microsoft will offer continued legal protection to customers using one of its patents in the event that Microsoft decides to transfer one of its patents to another entity. Customers are eligible for Microsoft Azure IP Advantage if they spend at least $1000/month on Azure and have not filed patent-related lawsuits against other Azure customers.

The Microsoft IP Advantage program represents a key differentiator for Microsoft Azure against Amazon Web Services and the Google Cloud Platform given that it draws upon Microsoft’s extraordinary tenure in the tech industry and the slew of patents it has accumulated over the course of decades as one of the world’s premier technology companies. The program, which bears no parallel in the cloud industry at represent, underscores some of the out of the box thinking from the Azure team as Azure strives to bolster its differentiation from AWS and Google by tapping into Microsoft’s tenure as a software company as well as its deep relationships with enterprise customers. Microsoft’s Satya Nadella and Scott Guthrie will need to keep up the gas pedal on innovation, however, as Amazon Web Services and Google both continue to roll out new features and functionality at a breathtaking pace. For now, however, the Microsoft IP Advantage program demonstrates an extraordinary attentiveness to customer needs and marks another feather in Azure’s cap that allows it to stand out from other players within the cloud jungle.

Snap Inc.’s Amended IPO Reveals Multi-Pronged Public Cloud Strategy Featuring $1B Agreement with AWS in Addition to $2B for Google Cloud

Subsequent to its original IPO filing on February 1, Snap Inc. has disclosed an agreement with Amazon Web Services to spend a total of a $1B on AWS cloud services between January 2017 and December 2021 courtesy of an amendment to its original IPO filing. Under the terms of the agreement, Snap Inc. plans to spend $50M in 2017, $125M in 2018, $200M in 2019, $275M in 2020 and $350M in 2021. News of Snap Inc.’s agreement with AWS reveals its two pronged strategy with respect to public cloud providers given last week’s enumeration of its contract with Google for $2B in cloud services over the course of five years. Snap will use AWS for “redundant infrastructure support of our business operations” in a move that illustrates the strategic importance of a multi-cloud strategy for enterprises, particularly given corporate and investor concerns about vendor lock-in and availability. Snap Inc. is a camera company and parent of the popular messaging application Snapchat. Snap Inc.’s amended IPO underscores both the incipient success of Google Cloud’s strategy to court enterprise customers under the leadership of Diane Greene as well as the continued popularity of AWS within the enterprise in the face of intensified public cloud competition from Microsoft Azure, Google, IBM and Oracle.