The battle for cloud computing supremacy recently accelerated to a new level, with Amazon and Microsoft both slashing prices to stay competitive. Amazon should stay the leader in public cloud offerings, but Microsoft's immediate response indicated it's a fight that will continue for the foreseeable future.
From the Microsoft website: Here are the details... We are matching AWS' lowest prices (US East Region) for S3 and EBS by reducing prices by up to 20% and making the lower prices available in all regions worldwide. For Locally Redundant Disks/Page Blobs Storage we are reducing prices by up to 28%. We are also reducing the price of Azure Storage transactions by 50%.
Amazon cut prices for the S3 storage prices by 22 percent, while the EBS Standard volume storage and I/O operations saw a price cut up to 50 percent.
In the future, both companies will continue to roll out enhanced features with more competitive pricing, so consumers and business users have more flexibility in choosing a service. Google, IBM, Rackspace, and other established cloud vendors also have cut prices to undercut competitors and force additional sales and marketing efforts from rivals.
IBM recently announced the newest generation of its X-Architecture for System x and PureSystems, as the company continues to focus on business clients. As more companies embrace cloud computing and big data analytics, there is a need for a modern architecture that is scalable to support changing business needs. Of note, the IBM X6 provides three times more scalable memory than rival X86-based systems, with up to 12.8 terabytes of flash memory support.
"Our enterprise X-Architecture for x86-based servers and solutions delivers high performance and the highest customer satisfaction in the industry, making us number one in hig-end x86 systems," said Adalio Sanchez, IBM x86 general manager, in a statement. "We continue to innovate and deliver leadership performance, reliability and investment protection for mission-critical workloads with X6."
IBM remains an industry leader in enterprise technologies, though tends to not grab the same amount of media attention as rivals.
According to John Dinsdale, an analyst at market research Synergy, Amazon "dwarfs all competition" when it comes to cloud computing. Considering the total cloud computing market pulled in a total revenue of $2.5 billion in Q3 alone, this is a big market.
Amazon took most of this revenue, growing its own cloud revenues by 55%, as well as increasing its overall market share. The problem is, Amazon doesn't report just how much money it makes in the cloud, as it throws its cloud-based revenue into the "other revenue" category. It's estimated that Amazon will generate over $3 billion from its cloud business this year.
This hasn't stopped Synergy from pushing out estimates that Amazon had cloud revenues of around $700 million, making Amazon's cloud business more profitable than that of Microsoft, IBM, Google and Salesforce.com... combined, by 15%.
Sony is doing wonders behind the cloud, thanks to its acquisition of cloud gaming service Gaikai last year. But what is Microsoft doing? Well, according to 'sources familiar with a meeting' who revealed to The Verge, it has shown off Halo 4 running on a Windows Phone and PC, both streaming the first-person shooter from the cloud.
It's currently just a concept project, but reportedly ran smoothly on both devices, with the Redmond-based giant getting the latency on a Lumia 520 down to just 45ms. The demonstration at Microsoft had a Windows Phone with an Xbox controller attached through an accessory, and a low-end hybrid PC. The company doesn't have a name for its cloud-based service just yet, but it should be quite the announcement when Microsoft decides to out the service.
We could see Microsoft pushing out backwards compatibility for Xbox 360 games to the X box One, with Microsoft's Senior Director of Xbox, Albert Penello, saying: "it could be more complicated things like rendering full games like a Gaikai and delivering it to the box."
Microsoft's cloud service, SkyDrive Pro, has seen an increase of its base 7GB storage to a better-competing 25GB. Administrators can even increase this to 100GB, if they're willing to shell out the coin for it.
Microsoft is even offering incentives if you use that extra space, where the Redmond-based software giant now offers a larger 2GB file cap, automatic versioning for new users and a new client view that displays all shared documents. The new storage should be hitting users right now, so if you're a SkyDrive Pro user, check your account!
Russian search giant Yandex announced today that it would be expanding its Google Drive-like cloud storage service to include more storage based on a new pricing structure. 20GB of space is currently free and users can now buy an additional 10GB for just $1 per month, or $10 per year. 100GB will cost you $5 per month or just $50 per year, and those who need a lot of cloud storage can purchase 1TB for $30 per month or $300 per year.
The company says that even though this cloud service is based in Russia, Yandex.Disk is available internationally and already has apps for Windows, Mac, Android, Windows Phone, and a browser-based UI. Yandex has also reported that the service has over 12 million unique users per month, with the majority of the traffic coming from within Russia and about 7 percent from the rest of the world.
Lenovo enters the cloud storage market with new Reach service, will officially launch 'later this year'
Lenovo has announced their intentions to enter into the cloud storage market. Their new service is called Reach and will feature a beta starting June 22. Consumers can preview the service, though only a few select testers will gain access to the beta.
The official launch will come "later this year", with the exact date depending on how smoothly the initial beta goes. Lenovo could have some trouble gaining market share as there are already a plethora of free cloud storage offerings. Google, Microsoft, Dropbox, and others offer centralized storage for free, with more space available for an up-charge.
With new software offerings like BitTorrent Sync, Lenovo could face even more difficulty obtaining users as some only use Dropbox for its syncing functionality. Sync has easily replaced Dropbox for my needs.
We'll have more on Lenovo Reach when an official announcement is made.
Microsoft has debuted new per-minute billing for its Windows Azure cloud computing network. This new rate is just one of several billing-related changes implemented by Microsoft and detailed in a blog post earlier this morning. Other changes include not charging for stopped virtual machines.
- No charge for stopped VMs
- Pay by the minute billing
- MSDN use rights now supported on Windows Azure
- Discounted MSDN dev/test rates
- MSDN monetary credits
- Added portal support for tracking MSDN monetary credit usage
Starting with the headlining change, Microsoft has introduced per-minute billing, a feature that Google already offers on its Google Compute Engine. Amazon Web Services charges by the hour, which is how Microsoft previously billed. This meant that a user would have to pay for the full hour, even if they used the system for just a few minutes.
Another change is Microsoft will no longer charge for stopped VMs, allowing developers to power off a VM over the weekend to save cash. Previously, developers would have been required to pay as Microsoft kept a reserved instance running, unless the deployment was explicitly deleted.
Both NBC Universal and Warner Bros have filed an official request asking Google to de-list Mega.co.nz from its search results, even though Mega's homepage does not list any links or mention any of its content.
This unwarranted action comes hot on the heels of two DMCA request filed by the Hollywood giants that cite copyright infringement on the films Mama and Gangster Squad. While I understand the takedown request for the files, I do not understand the de-list request at all. Mega encrypts every file on its website and has no way of knowing what file is legal and what file is illegal. In my opinion, the request to de-list is just a bully tactic to try and intimidate the site's founder, Kim Dotcom.
"This is in line with the unreasonable content industry behavior we have experienced for years," said Dotcom. "The constant abuse of takedown rules and the ignorance of DMCA obligations by the content industry are based on the confidence that the current U.S. administration is protecting this kind of behavior. The political contract prosecution of Megaupload is the best example."
I use services like Dropbox, Box and Google Drive every day, and each one has a specific use case for me. Fox example, Box is my personal cloud storage, while Dropbox is used for syncing files to my phone, PC and tablet, and Drive is my place to collaborate on files with co-workers. For personal storage of files that I share with friends regularly, I have begun to rely on Mega, and today things just got better for Kim Dotcom's file hosting service.
This morning Mega announced that it has launched two new features to its cloud based file locker service. First up is Event Notifications, which collects and shares with you "relevant activity" data on what others are doing with the files you shared with them. Up next is maybe my most wanted feature, Zipped Downloads. That's right, now you can zip and share entire folders with your friends - users can simply select "download as zip" when viewing files, and Mega will package everything up and deliver it in a neatly wrapped package.
The company clarified the Event Notifications feature on its blog:
"MEGA no longer leaves you in the dark about what is happening inside your shared folders. Every user now has an event notification timeline, which shows you, how and when which folders were replaced, moved, accessed and every other conceivable way people can interact with them."