Amazon wins injunction to temporarily halt Microsoft JEDI contract award – reports

A US judge has temporarily paused Microsoft’s $10 billion JEDI cloud computing contract following an appeal from Amazon, signalling a significant win for the latter.

According to various reports, Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith, of the US Federal Claims Court, agreed to the initial step. While the existence of the injunction can be made public, the documents pertaining to them are currently sealed.

Amazon has been ordered to pay a $42 million bond – petty cash considering Amazon Web Services (AWS) alone hit almost $10 billion in revenues for its most recent quarter – to cover costs should the court find the motion was filed wrongfully.

The awarding of the JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) cloud computing contract to Microsoft by the Department of Defense (DoD) elicited surprise and even derision from industry watchers. AWS has been running the CIA’s cloud for the past five years with little complaint following a lengthy battle with IBM for the contract.

Given the DoD insisted on a single cloud provider throughout the majority of the procurement process, the smart money was always on AWS as the cloud infrastructure market leader. Yet in the press release confirming the award of the contract to Microsoft in October, the DoD said it ‘continued… [the] strategy of a multi-vendor, multi-cloud environment… as the department’s needs are diverse and cannot be met by any single supplier.’

AWS alleged in its appeal, the reports of which first came to light two weeks afterwards, of potential presidential interference – Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owning the Washington Post – making the contract process ‘very difficult’ for government agencies. Around the time Oracle’s legal challenge over its exit dismissed, President Trump announced he was looking into the contract, citing ‘tremendous complaints’ from other companies. A CNBC article reported that a book from James Mattis, former secretary of defence, alleged Trump told him to ‘screw Amazon’ out of the contract.

The company has separately filed paperwork to depose the President and current secretary of defence Mark Esper.

A Microsoft spokesperson told Ars Technica that “while we are disappointed with the additional delay, we believe that we will ultimately be able to move forward with the work to make sure those who serve our country can access the new technology they urgently require.”

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US judge pauses JEDI contract work following Amazon lawsuit


Sabina Weston

14 Feb, 2020

A federal judge has granted Amazon’s request to temporarily halt work on the Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure (JEDI), the controversial project which involves almost 80% of the Department of Defence’s IT systems being migrated to the cloud – a process that could last a decade.

According to court documents filed by AWS in December 2019, it is alleged that President Trump engaged in a series of “public and behind-the-scenes attacks” against “his perceived political enemy” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, reportedly telling Pentagon Secretary James Mattis to “screw Amazon”.

Now it seems that Trump’s alleged comments might potentially come back to haunt him, as Amazon wants the President to explain his involvement in court.

Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith granted Amazon’s request to pause the JEDI contract work, but also ordered Amazon to pay $42 million (£33 million) if the injunction was proven to be wrongfully issued.

Campbell-Smith did not release a written opinion nor clarify whether the President would be forced to testify in the case, an unprecedented practice so far.

The US Pentagon had awarded the controversial $10 billion, 10-year contract to Microsoft last October, despite AWS being seen as a clear frontrunner by some.

Amazon filed an appeal two months later, suggesting at the time that “political influence” had led to the ‘biased’ contract ruling. Trump had locked horns with Bezos, whom he refers to as “Jeff Bozo”, as he is the current owner of The Washington Post – a publication which has been exceptionally critical of the President ever since his 2016 election.

JEDI had been repeatedly embroiled in lawsuits and controversies. In late 2018, Oracle filed a lawsuit against the Department of Defence in the US Court of Federal Claims, arguing that it is illegal to award the cloud contract to only a single winning bidder.

Oracle and Microsoft extend cloud connectivity partnership with Amsterdam hub

Oracle’s cloudy partnership with Microsoft, announced in June, was one of the more eyebrow-raising stories of 2019. On the surface, it may have seemed peculiar, but digging down, the duo’s focus on retail customers – particularly with some retailers wishing to steer clear of AWS – made sense.

Now, the two companies are extending their alliance with the launch of a new cloud interconnect in Amsterdam. Organisations who are customers of both, already able to connect Azure and Oracle Cloud seamlessly in the US, will be able to build workloads which seamlessly interoperate between Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud regions within the European Union data jurisdiction.

Alongside the interoperability between both clouds is integrated identity and access management, meaning customers do not have to play around with entering multiple passwords when accessing their cloud resources and applications.

MESTEC, a provider of software for the manufacturing industry, played the traditional role of the customer wheeled out to advocate the new solution. The company said it was implementing its application tier in Azure, connected to Oracle’s autonomous database and running on Oracle cloud infrastructure with ‘extremely positive’ results; a projected 50% reduction in infrastructure and management cost, and up to 500% increase in performance.

“By connecting Oracle and Azure, we’re able to rapidly introduce innovative technologies into our solution, ultimately resulting in a better, smarter solution for our customers enabling them to make dramatic improvements in manufacturing performance,” said Mark Carleton, director at MESTEC.

Both companies already have a data centre presence in Amsterdam, with Azure’s being marketed as West Europe. Oracle, meanwhile, in its comprehensive yet complicated list of haves and have-nots, notes Amsterdam has 33 of the 76 available features.

“Our new interconnect in Amsterdam is good news for many businesses that rely on software from both companies,” said Andrew Sutherland, SVP EMEA Oracle Cloud in a statement. “They can share applications and it will make it faster and easier for customers to run a combination of Oracle and Microsoft software. They can divide up workloads as needed across our enterprise-class cloud.”

This was by no means the only news which came out of Oracle towers this week. Among the list of customers touted was retailer N Brown Group, who extended its partnership, and Australian health insurance firm HBF. The company’s primary product update has been from the machine learning side, with the launch of the Oracle Cloud Data Science Platform.

Microsoft and Oracle plan to make direct interconnect available in other regions, including Europe, Asia, on the US west coast, as well as in a US government-specific region.

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Organise your life with Trello

13 Feb, 2020

To do, doing and done: that’s Trello in a nutshell. The tool is based on Kanban, a project-management and development method named after the Japanese word for “billboard”.

That’s a fair description of what Trello looks like: just as a community noticeboard will be covered in notices of events, jobs and announcements, so a Trello board holds lots of small “cards”. Each one usually details a single task, with your various cards grouped into lists to help keep everything organised.

Here’s a practical example of how Kanban works. When editors on our sister site Expert Reviews want to cover a product or news story, they create a Trello card and place it in a list entitled “Ideas”. Once the feature has been commissioned, the card is dragged onto the “Writing” list. When the copy is received, the card is moved into the “Editing” list, after which it will go into the “Publishing” list and so on. 

What makes Trello so powerful is that there’s no requirement to follow a particular workflow. You can create as many lists as you like and structure your Trello board to suit your needs. That flexibility has helped Trello gain more than 50 million users, including large organisations from Adobe to UNICEF – as well as individuals seeking to stay on top of their personal projects. If you haven’t yet considered Trello, it’s time you did. Here’s how it can help you to organise your life.

Creating your account

Getting started with Trello doesn’t have to cost a penny: you can create a free account here. You’ll see that there are also Personal, Business and Enterprise plans at various prices, but for individuals and small businesses the free service may be all you need. It offers an unlimited number of personal boards, cards and lists, and allows you to attach files of up to 10MB to your cards. It also lets you create up to ten team boards, which can be shared between users.

Being signed up to the free service doesn’t limit your ability to connect to other boards, either. If you use Trello both at work and home, your login gives you convenient central access to all of the boards to which you’ve been granted access – including both paid-for and private ones. 

Setting up a personal board is easy. Once you’ve logged in, you just need to click the plus icon at the top of the interface and give your new board a name when prompted. Your board will immediately appear. If, later on, you want to remove a board from your account, you must first close it (by selecting Show Menu | More… | Close Board…). You can then delete it by clicking the menu button on your Trello dashboard, followed by More | Delete Board….

New boards appear empty, with a prompt to create your first list. Enter a title for this and then move on to create as many additional lists as you need. When you’ve finished, click the “X” to close the new list dialog. Don’t worry if you’re not sure at first exactly how to structure your board as you can always reorganise things later. You can reorder lists by simply grabbing their headers and dragging them around, and you can add extra lists via the “Add another list” button that appears at the right end of your board. 

Now you’ve got at least one list, it’s time to populate it with some cards. You can do this by clicking the three dots at the top of a list and selecting “Add Card…” – or you can click the “Add a card” link at the bottom. Once you’ve named a card, you can click into it to give a more detailed description, add notes, attach a file or link and so on. One particularly useful feature is the ability to set deadlines and reminders for individual cards: to do this, click “Due Date” from the “Add to card” menu. Once you’ve got several cards in a list, you can drag them into any order you like, and drag them between lists as needed.

You can also create new cards by email, which can be convenient if you quickly want to add an item to your board while you’re out and about. To make use of this feature, you’ll need your board’s unique email address: to find this, click More and pick “Email-to-board Settings”. Copy the address shown and save it in your contacts for convenient access later on. Note that this address is unique to you, so if other people have access to the board, they will need to use their own address.

You can now create a card by simply sending or forwarding any email to this address; the contents will be added to a new card, along with any attachments up to an overall limit of 10MB. You can set which list emailed cards are added to by clicking List under “Your emailed cards appear in…” and picking from the menu. If you want more control over Trello via email, plugins are available for G Suite and Outlook, which allow you to customise new cards from within your email client.

When a card reaches the end of its workflow, you can archive it from the main dialog menu that opens when you click on it, or from the context menu that opens when you right-click. Archiving a card removes it from the board, but it won’t actually be deleted unless you click the Delete button that appears on archived cards. You can review, restore or purge archived cards from the list that appears when you click Show Menu | Archived Items. 

Use Trello Power-Ups

There are plenty more clever things you can do with Trello, courtesy of the plugins it calls “Power-Ups”. If you’re on the free plan, you can add a single Power-Up to your boards, while paid users can enable as many as they like.

As an example, if you use Slack to communicate with your colleagues, activating the Slack Power-Up allows you to click and drag Slack content directly onto a card. Other supported platforms include Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and Mailchimp. In fact, just about any popular business tool will happily integrate. 

Integrations can also work in the other direction. Every Trello board has a calendar, which records the due dates applied to your cards. You can incorporate these into Outlook or Google Calendar using the Calendar Power-Up: to enable it, point your browser here and click Add Power-Up.

Once it’s enabled, return to your board and click on the gear icon, followed by Calendar Settings. Click “Enable sync” and copy the calendar address from the iCalendar Feed box. In Outlook, you can now open your calendar, click Open Calendar in the Home tab, click From Internet… on the menu that appears and paste in the address you copied. Events from your Trello calendar will now appear alongside those already in your Outlook calendar. You can hide them by unticking the Trello calendar in the sidebar’s My Calendars section.

Google Calendar users, meanwhile, simply need to click the three dots beside “Add calendar” in the sidebar, then paste the copied calendar address into the URL box and click to save their settings.

Save time with Trello templates

We’ve mentioned that Trello can be adapted for any type of workflow, but if someone else has already developed a board that serves your needs, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Click here and you’ll find a broad selection of ready-to-use boards for jobs such as managing a marketing calendar, planning a trip, generating ideas in the early stages of a project and propagating a corporate overview.

Note that, although a template may be free to integrate, it might rely on Power-Ups. The Learn A Language template for example – created by the CEO of Duolingo – uses the Google Drive and Calendar Power-Ups, while the Etsy Order Fulfillment template uses the Dropbox, Custom Fields and Automate.io Power-Ups. As we’ve noted, free users can only use a single Power-Up so you may need to create your own workaround, or subscribe to a paid plan to take full advantage of Trello’s potential.

Automating Trello

A lot of what you do in Trello will be repetitive – and we don’t just mean dragging cards from one column to another. For example, it’s likely that you will have weekly or monthly maintenance tasks to perform, and when you create cards of a certain type you might want to give them all default due dates. However, rather than laboriously doing this for every single card, you can apply automation using Trello’s Butler Power-Up.

Simply put, Butler works on the principle of triggers and actions, as its developer Oscar Triscon explains: “Imagine having an assistant that can be instructed to react to your actions on the board. You tell him: ‘When I move a card to the Done list, please mark the due date complete in a card, add a green label and post a comment saying ‘@board I got this’.’ Then, every time you move a card to Done, those actions are performed on the card – as if by magic. You can set up rules just like that one using Butler, which is built into every Trello board. Importantly, you don’t need to know any computer programming: the rules are entered in plain English.”

There’s plenty more you can do with Butler: it lets you add buttons to cards and boards, create schedules and manipulate due dates. So you can, for example, configure it to create a series of standard cards at the start of each day or week, or add a button to your dashboard that organises all of your tasks by deadline. 

It’s worth keeping in mind that free account users only have access to basic Butler actions, such as setting due dates, creating checklists and moving cards automatically. Paid subscribers get the full feature set, but Personal users can run only 200 commands per month performing up to 2,000 operations, while those on the Business and Enterprise plans get much higher limits.

Connect Trello to other apps

If Trello’s built-in automation doesn’t do quite what you want, you can use the IFTTT automation platform to expand its capabilities using third-party tools such as Evernote, Pocket and the Google Assistant. Get started by heading to and clicking Connect. Read what rights you’ll be granting IFTTT and, if you’re happy with them, click “Log in”, followed by Allow.

You’ll also need to connect the third-party services you want to integrate with Trello, assuming you haven’t already done so. To do this, click in the search box at the top of the screen, enter the name of the service you want to use – we’ll use the Google Assistant for this example – click Services and again click Connect to log in to your account.

Once you’ve connected both Google Assistant and Trello to IFTTT, you can then use the former to control the latter. Go here and click Connect and then customise the commands you can speak to your Google Assistant to create a new Trello card (see screenshot opposite). The “$” in the preset commands represents a spoken variable, which will be used as the title of the card you create. So, if you said “Okay Google, add tax return to the Trello list”, the card would be titled “tax return”. Scroll further down the screen, choose which board and list you want new cards to appear in, then click Save.

Convert Post-it notes to Trello boards

If you’re currently relying on a forest of Post-it notes for your project management needs, the transition to Trello shouldn’t be too difficult – after all, a Trello board already looks like a wall covered in notes. What’s more, 3M (the firm behind the ubiquitous yellow stickers) has built a handy feature into its free Post-it app for Android and iOS that lets you capture and digitise up to 200 notes at a time using your phone or tablet’s camera and export them directly to Trello. Download it here.

It’s also possible to send captured content to PowerPoint, Excel and Dropbox, or export it as PDF. You can scan things other than Post-it notes, too – but the app is optimised for square content so rectangular notes will be squashed. 

Google Cloud snaps up multi-cloud analytics platform for $2.6bn


Bobby Hellard

13 Feb, 2020

Google Cloud has acquired businesses intelligence platform Looker for $2.6 billion (£2bn) as it looks to further boost its data analytics services for multi-cloud customers.

Looker will be integrated into Google Cloud‘s analytics and data warehouse services, such as BigQuery and its customers will still be able to use any cloud data management they like, such as Amazon RedShift, Azure SQL or Oracle.

The deal, which was the first major acquisition of Thomas Kurian’s reign as CEO of Google Cloud, was first announced in June, but it couldn’t be completed till now as it was subject to a probe from the UK’s competition watchdog.

The competition and Markets Authority (CMA) reportedly ruled that the deal would not adversely impact competition with regard to the market for data analytics tools and software. As both Google and Looker were not close competitors, the CMA didn’t feel the deal would result in increased prices and affect organisations that use business intelligence tools, according to Reuters.

“Google Cloud and Looker share a common philosophy around delivering open solutions and supporting customers wherever they are – be it on Google Cloud, in other public clouds, or on-premises,” said Kurian.

“As more organisations adopt a multi-cloud strategy, Looker customers and partners can expect continued support of all cloud data management systems like Amazon Redshift, Azure SQL, Snowflake, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server and Teradata.”

The deal is actually the result of a four-year partnership between the two companies, according to Looker CEO Frank Bien, who said that it will give his firm better reach and strengthen its resources.

“Looker partners can expect to continue to work with us as they have before,” Bien wrote in a blog post. “We expect that our award-winning support team will not only continue delivering an exceptional chat support experience but will also be bolstered by the additional resources and global presence of the Google Cloud team.”

Microsoft and Oracle expand strategic cloud partnership


Maggie Holland

12 Feb, 2020

Oracle has stepped its cloud-focused partnership with Microsoft up a notch by focusing on enterprise interoperability with a new interconnect facility based in Amsterdam.

Given Amsterdam is a strategic European datacentre hub for Oracle, this new location will help companies in the region who use technology from both companies to be able to more easily share cross-application data and move on-premise workloads properly to the cloud, according to the tech giant.

An example cited by the company was the ability for a business to be able to run Windows-based apps on Azure connected to Oracle’s Autonomous Database or Exadata on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).

“Our customers have understood what cloud means. They’ve made use of our cloud and some of our competitors’ clouds. It’s started to pique real interest in whether they can apply that to [enterprise] workloads,” said Andrew Sutherland, senior vice president of Oracle Cloud in EMEA, at the firm’s Oracle OpenWorld Europe (OOW) event in London today.

“The understanding of cloud and benefits is no longer a push by Oracle. It’s a pull from the market.”

Sutherland said that the creation of the Interconnect was done directly to cater for customers who use both Azure and Oracle solutions, adding “Our job is to overcome the hurdles and we’re doing that at great speed.”

Mestec, a firm that helps manufacturers optimise performance, is one such customer giving a warm reception to news about the latest phase of the Oracle/Microsoft partnership.

“We wanted to build a SaaS-based solution manufacturers could subscribe to.  That’s done great things for our customers, but it pushed the responsibility for the resilience of the infrastructure onto us,” said Mark Carleton, chief operating officer (COO) of Mestec. 

“The next generation was to move to PaaS. The obvious choice for us in terms of database was Oracle Autonomous Database. We’ve also had experience in Microsoft .NET. We were able to port that to Azure in less than a day…We made those [technology] decisions before Oracle and Microsoft announced their partnership… It vindicated our decision.”

Making use of the combined power of both for its smart factory solution – which is reliant on high-performance cloud infrastructure and databases – Carleton believes Mestec will be able to reduce its infrastructure and management costs by 50 percent while at the same time benefitting from a whopping 500 percent boost in performance.

“By connecting Oracle and Azure, we’re able to rapidly introduce innovative technologies into our solution, ultimately resulting in a better, smarter solution for our customers enabling them to make dramatic improvements in manufacturing performance,” he added.

Datacentre and connectivity investment remains a key focus for Oracle. It has plans to add further interconnect locations in Asia and the US West Coast as well as regions dedicated for public sector customers in the US.

In terms of datacentre growth, ambitious plans previously outlined continue unabated, according to Steve Daheb, senior vice president of Oracle Cloud.

“Our focus is to make it as simple as possible for our customers to move to the cloud,” he said.  

“We continue to expand our datacentres. We announced at OpenWorld [in San Francisco] that we were going to almost double our datacentres. We have been opening them at a click of one datacentre every 23 days. By the end of this year, we will have 36 regions available covering the entire globe. It’s a massive investment to meet the demands of our customers.”

Thales strikes key cloud partnership to support Fujitsu services


Keumars Afifi-Sabet

12 Feb, 2020

Fujitsu has agreed on a deal with Thales to integrate the security firm’s cloud and encryption services into its own portfolio to expand its security offerings to customers in Europe.

Thales’ Cloud Hardware Security Modules (HSM) and Key Management services will be adopted by the Japanese tech firm, with a view to bolstering its public key infrastructure (PKI) based services.

The security company’s Cloud HSM service, Data Protection on Demand, will be used by Fujitsu within its core security infrastructure in order to provide businesses with a more secure key management service.

The decision to opt for Thales technology lies in a need for Fujitsu to raise the level of security in its existing customers’ infrastructure and to remain compliant with regulations, the company said.

The security firm’s Cloud HSM service offered a cost-effective way to provide customers access to a Microsoft certification authority-based PKI regime.

“We’re always looking to ensure our customers have access to the very best security solutions on the market and this partnership with Thales offers exactly that,” said Fujitsu’s security offering architect, Petri Heinälä.

“One of our customers, a leading European pharmaceutical company, is already benefitting from our adoption of Data Protection On Demand. The client needed to shore up their key management practices, with increased healthcare regulations related to data protection, data privacy and audit controls.”

The partnership has also been strengthened with the launch of an enterprise data encryption service that uses Thales’ key management platform.

The companies claim this platform ensures effective compliance with data protection legislation while offering a secure means of encrypting sensitive business data.

This new service will form part of Fujitsu’s Data Protection suite of services and will be made available to customers across on-premise, hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

“Data protection is a clear priority for many businesses as they fight to prevent breaches and comply with increasing regulatory requirements,” said Thales’ vice president for encryption solutions, Todd Moore.

“Protecting core assets such as identities and data using encryption and PKI management should now be the minimum security posture for every organisation.

“It’s vital that managed services providers are able to respond to the changes quickly, efficiently and affordably, while meeting the security requirements head on.”

Hedera Hashgraph selects Google Cloud as preferred cloud provider

Hedera Hashgraph, a provider of a decentralised network and distributed ledger technology (DLT), has selected Google Cloud as its preferred cloud provider to push through enterprise-grade DLTs.

Hedera’s hashgraph consensus mechanism advocated by the company is touted as faster and more secure than other blockchain consensus offerings. The company sees itself as part of the third generation of public ledger technologies, after Bitcoin and Ethereum, promising more than 10,000 cryptocurrency transactions per second. Current clients, alongside Google, include Boeing, Deutsche Telekom, and IBM.

“The Hedera proof-of-stake public network, powered by hashgraph consensus, achieves the highest grade of security possible, with blazing-fast transaction speeds and incredibly low bandwidth consumption,” the company touts on its home page. “By combining high-throughput, low fees, and finality in seconds, Hedera leads the way for the future of public ledgers.”

The move to preferred cloud status deepens the working relationship between Hedera and Google Cloud, with the latter noting its ‘extensive geographical coverage’ to help improve the performance of Hedera developers’ applications.

“As we continue to evolve our infrastructure, we’re excited to expand our work with Google Cloud to now make DLT even more readily available for our community members, no matter their size or industry,” said Atul Mahamuni, SVP of products for Hedera in a statement. “This is about developing solutions that drive real business value.”

For many of the biggest cloud providers, the potential of blockchain technologies is being noted. According to an analysis of the managed blockchain platforms market by Everest Research Group in January, IBM and Microsoft Azure came out on top.

Google Cloud does not have the same offering – indeed, the Everest report misses them out entirely – but as well as Hedera other initiatives are taking place. In August Cypherium, a New York-based startup focusing on building an enterprise-grade blockchain platform, partnered with Google Cloud, following deals with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and IBM.

Alongside this, Google – rather than just Google Cloud – is joining the Hedera Governing Council. As part of membership, Google Cloud will operate a Hedera network node, as well as make ledger data available to bolster Google Cloud Platform’s other public DLT datasets.

You can read more about the Hedera news here.

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UK tech salaries up 13% in 2019


Bobby Hellard

11 Feb, 2020

The average salary for a UK tech worker increased by 13% in 2019, jumping to £74,000 per annum, according to recruitment site Hired. 

Software developers now earn £37,000 more than the average British worker, according to Hired’s State of Software Engineers report, which looks at 2019’s software engineering roles around the world and the programme languages they use.

UK developers saw a larger wage increase than any other tech hub around the world, even beating San Francisco which saw a 6% jump year-on-year.

Search engineers in the famous Bay Area still get paid the most, though, with an average wage of $157,000 (£122,000).  

The three best-paid developer roles in the UK were for embedded engineers, who earn £82,000 on average, blockchain engineers, who earn £81,000 a year and computer vision engineers who also get paid around £81,000 per annum. 

Global demand for Blockchain engineers has increased by 517%, according to the report, while gaming engineers saw the biggest wage increase in both London and San Francisco. 

Other software developer roles that saw an increase included machine learning engineers, which ranked in the top ten highest-paid jobs for most of the hubs listed, with an average salary of £101,000. 

“While salaries for software engineers continue to rise globally, the UK led the way in 2019, cementing the country’s place as one of the world’s top tech hubs,” said Gordon Smith, European GM at Hired. 

“To continue this unparalleled growth in the UK, employers, aside from offering competitive salaries, need to ensure that understanding what top talent want from their jobs is the main priority for hiring managers.”

Google’s Go is the world’s most in-demand coding language, according to the research, but JavaScript came out on top for most use. Although TypeScript is the most popular programming language in San Francisco, Toronto and London, while Ruby was more favoured in New York and Go in Paris.

Onecloud.com domain up for sale – but who could the prospective buyers be?

Exclusive The domain onecloud.com is up for sale – and the upcoming battle for its signature could attract a seven-dollar sum.

That is the verdict of Andrew Miller, president at ATM Holdings. Miller is helping conduct the transaction having been contacted by an individual seller. The seller, who has owned the domain since the early 1990s and has worked as a senior technology executive, ‘had a very hard time deciding whether to let it go’, according to Miller, but relented after consultations and agreeing that the time was right.

“This is the most valid time I’ve seen because it’s private equity firms, venture firms… as soon as they raise a round of $20-$30 million, they go out and buy their category domain, or their exact match domain,” Miller told CloudTech. “I started to realise that in this space there are so many emerging companies, not only in the US but globally, and it’s a pretty powerful story.”

For dotcom domains, as Miller put it, there is “only one kick at the can”. With regard to the cloud industry, the battles for the best real estate were concluded the better part of a decade ago – or so many thought. Type in cloudcomputing.com, for instance, and you are taken to a Dell Technologies page. Dell had previously bought the domain before trying – and failing – to trademark the term ‘cloud computing’ in 2008.

The story of cloud.com is a somewhat simpler affair. A startup called VMOps bought the domain from a private collector, who according to a 2010 NetworkWorld article ‘wanted to sell [it] to a company he believed in.’ A year later the company, now rebranded as Cloud.com, was bought by Citrix, where it has stayed. In November 2011, it was reported that Citrix put a monetary value of the cloud.com domain at $18 million.

A cursory search reveals a variety of companies with valid claims at the domain. Arguably the most well-known is OneCloud.io, a provider of integration solutions for enterprise applications, with particular expertise in Oracle. Alternately, there is OneCloud Software, disaster recovery providers for VMware-based data centres. Or the Mozambique-based cloud service provider OneCloud. Or services firm OneCloud Consulting. Industry watchers may also recall several years ago the very similar name of Box’s enterprise app store.

Yet there can be many other potentials and possibles, Miller hopes. Following the example of Cloud.com, any cloud company with VC cash on the hip looking to rebrand their product may consider it.

As noted by fellow domain specialist Kate Buckley, perhaps the most eye-catching case study of this nature was smart home manufacturer Ring. CEO Jamie Siminoff bought Ring.com for $1m, rebranding from Doorbot, and noted how it was ‘critically important’ to the company’s success. “Putting it in dollar terms he said he would estimate the name turned out to be worth between $30m and $50m to the company,” DN Journal put it.

“[Onecloud] is a pretty powerful name for someone to take on at the beginning, or rebrand to as well, even if they’re not a product yet,” said Miller. “That’s why it intrigued me – it covers all.

“I see onecloud.com being a case study in two years,” Miller added.

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