Apple spends more than $30 million on AWS per month – reports

Apple is spending more than $30 million (£23.1m) on Amazon Web Services (AWS) each month, according to reports.

Originally reported by CNBC, citing sources familiar with the matter, Apple had ‘in the past few months’ signed an agreement which included a commitment to spent ‘at least’ $1.5 billion on AWS over the course of five years.

While the company has never commented publicly on its arrangements, Apple has previously relied on both AWS and Google for its cloud computing needs. As far back as February 2016, an analyst note from Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak noted “evidence of AAPL’s intention to move away from AWS”, inferring Apple’s plans to build out its own data centre infrastructure.

This facet is also referenced in the CNBC report, noting an announcement from the Cupertino firm in January 2018 that it would plan to spend $10bn on data centres in the US by 2023.

From the software side however, Apple’s commitments do not appear to be wavering, if a recent job posting is anything to go by. In February the company began advertising for a senior DevOps engineer, with one of the key responsibilities being to “lead and architect [Apple’s] growing AWS footprint.”

One example of the role Google’s cloud plays in underpinning Apple’s operations was in a January 2018 update to the iOS Security Guide. As this publication reported at the time, page 16, which focused on iCloud, noted how after files were broken into chunks and encrypted they were stored ‘without any user-identifying information, using third-party storage services, such as S3 and Google Cloud Platform.’

To put the spending into perspective, Spotify revealed in its IPO filing last year that it was ‘in the process of transitioning all data storage and computing’ from its own servers to Google Cloud Platform, and was paying Google €365 million over three years to do so. This translates to approximately $11.36m (£9.8m) per month.

Apple’s commitment to Google is again long-standing. In March 2016 – one month after the Morgan Stanley note was published and with a nod to its findings – CRN reported that Apple had ‘quietly signed on as a GCP customer in a deal worth several hundred million dollars, while also reducing its reliance on AWS’, as cited by multiple sources.

The inner workings of what many call the FAANGs – Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google, the five most popular tech stocks – remain of fascination to industry watchers. This time last year, it was reported that Netflix, long-time poster child of AWS, was utilising Google’s cloud for several functions. Netflix told this publication at the time there was ‘no change’ in the company’s ‘comprehensive’ relationship with AWS, noting it had long-held disaster recovery workloads on Google.

As befits enterprises with significant computing resources and requirements, using more than one cloud vendor makes perfect sense. Speaking to CloudTech in May, Yeming Wang, general manager of Alibaba Cloud’s European arm, explained that becoming a company’s second – or third – provider was a key part of its expansion strategy.

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Apple spends $30m a month on AWS


Clare Hopping

24 Apr, 2019

Apple is spending more money on AWS cloud than any of its competitors, splashing out on average $30m a month on Amazon’s services.

According to CNBC, the company has signed up to a multi-year agreement with the cloud giant, although this may only be a stop-gap until Apple has finished building its own cloud-based infrastructure.

Although AWS and Apple could be viewed as competitors, Apple wants to make sure its customers are serviced as reliably and as fast as possible when using cloud-based services such as iCloud and it has, therefore, turned to what it thinks is the best in the business to do so.

Using AWS is an interesting move by the tech firm, although as it’s now reporting revenues based upon services including iOS App Store, AppleCare, Apple Pay and iCloud, rather than hardware shipments, having some sturdy infrastructure behind it will surely have a positive impact on those figures.

CNBC reports that many other online services companies, such as Pinterest and Lyft are also relying on AWS to deliver services, but their spending is considerably lower, despite building their whole business model upon the cloud.

Despite announcing its plans to create its own network of data centres to support this growing services business, Apple is still looking to accelerate its AWS knowledge and was recently seen advertising for an AWS tech lead to help expand its cloud footprint.

The company has said it expects to invest $10 billion on US-based data centres over five years, with $4.5 billion of that in 2019.

Huawei boosts cloud partner network with Infosys tie-up


Clare Hopping

24 Apr, 2019

Infosys has joined the Huawei Cloud Partner Network and will work with the tech giant to develop enterprise-focused cloud services on its cloud platform.

The tie-up means Infosys can help a wider range of customers move to the cloud and take advantage of other cloud-based services available via the Huawei Cloud Partner Network. It will offer a suite of apps and services to specifically benefit customers looking to move workloads to the cloud from on-premise infrastructure.

“Combining Huawei Cloud’s product innovation and Infosys’ strengths in next-generation digital services, we will help our clients accelerate their transition to the cloud,” said Ravi Kumar S., president of Infosys. “As part of this engagement, we will provide a suite of technologies hosted on Huawei Cloud, such as workload migration solutions including SAP and other enterprise workloads.”

At the end of last year, HCPN had onboarded more than 6,000 partners, offering almost 3,000 applications to customers from 40 availability zones in 23 territories.

“With more than 30 years of experience in building ICT infrastructure and a deep understanding of the enterprise market, we believe Huawei has the capabilities to provide, secure, sustainable and innovative cloud services to wide-ranging industries, enabling our clients to accelerate cloud migration and drive business growth,” said Edward Deng, president of Huawei Cloud Global Market. “We hope to further expand the HCPN partner ecosystem by identifying and developing partners such as Infosys with deep consulting expertise.”

He added that the company’s partnership with Infosys will help businesses achieve a more effective project delivery, cutting costs, allowing better alignment of resources and reducing the risks to business.

Equinix extends European cloud footprint by buying AM11 data centre


Clare Hopping

24 Apr, 2019

Equinix has bought Switch Datacenters’ AMS1 data centre business in Amsterdam in a deal worth €30 million.

The data centre provider already owns ten data centres in the Netherlands, with eight of these in Amsterdam itself. This newest addition will further boost Equinix’s hold on the Dutch market and increasing its worldwide users to 3.9 billion.

The site not only has the capacity for an additional 700 cabinets, it’s also located in a place that will enable it to expand to an adjacent building with space for another 1,300 cabinets.

“The Netherlands and especially the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area is a top destination for global businesses looking to expand into Europe,” said Peter van Bergel CEO of AMS-IX, a long-standing customer and partner of Equinix. 

“There is access to a highly educated and multilingual workforce and a state-of-the art technology infrastructure to meet the digital needs of these businesses.”

He added that businesses are demanding more data centre capacity and interconnectivity and through the purchase, Equinix will be able to address this, while AMS-IX can continue to contribute to the landscape.

Equinix’s AM11 data centre will interconnect with its AM7 data centre, providing a wealth of business services to both existing AMS-IX customers and Equinix clients.

“Amsterdam is a key interconnection point for Europe, with leading enterprises and cloud service providers making it a primary hub for IT infrastructure,” Eugene Bergen, EMEA president at Equinix.

“Adding interconnection capacity in this market enables local and international customers to leverage Platform Equinix to meet their changing business needs. Whether that is to connect to networks, clouds, or content and digital media providers, Equinix is the place to be.”

Salesforce upgrades Sales Cloud with productivity tools


Clare Hopping

24 Apr, 2019

Salesforce has unveiled a raft of productivity features for its Sales Cloud software, helping users save time completing arduous tasks such as admin.

One of the headline features of the Sales Cloud update is the ability for users to view all customer information from their mobile or desktop email inbox. Rather than just being able to see the sender’s name, they are now able to view extra data pulled in from Salesforce, such as account details, contacts and opportunities to discuss at their next meeting.

Additionally, actions are surfaced following meetings, so they can be monitored and ticked off when completed. Notifications are also sent at key milestones, such as when pricing is discussed or a deal is closed.

From a campaign perspective, the Einstein Campaign Insights feature can group together prospects likely to engage with a particular campaign so they can be retargeted with similar campaigns that are likely to result in success. Both sales and marketing teams will have access to these key insights, offering the opportunity to unify efforts across the two departments for conversion.

Sales Cloud’s Social Intelligence Module surfaces an AI-powered social media feed to present conversations to sales teams. These are pooled together from various data points and presented in an easy to digest way, so salespeople can make sure their efforts are in line with their prospects’ expectations. These insights can also be shared with other team members using Chatter.

For High Velocity Sales tool, Salesforce has added sales cadences and work queues to help identify and perfect pitches to new prospects. Complex sales funnels can be addressed with linked sales cadences and work queues can be customised to display the most important prospects’ details in one place.

“With these new productivity features, we’re managing the flow of information so that what you need is surfaced when you need it, all within Sales Cloud,” said Robin Grochol, SVP of product management for Sales Cloud at Salesforce.

“It’s about making every rep more efficient, guiding their focus to the most impactful accounts and tasks, and elevating and upskilling every individual’s performance.”

How channel partners are driving hyperscale cloud growth

Hyperscale cloud service providers continue to leverage their low-cost advantage to drive growth. According to the latest worldwide market study by Canalys, Google Cloud was the fastest-growing cloud infrastructure vendor last year – up more than 90% year on year – increasing its share of the total market from 6% in 2017 to 8% in 2018.

The top four hyperscale cloud service providers accounted for 61% of the total market in 2018. Amazon Web Services (AWS) remained the leader on 32%, followed by Microsoft Azure with 17%, Google Cloud in third place with 8% and Alibaba Cloud with 4%.

Hyperscale cloud market development

Canalys reports that hyperscale cloud infrastructure services are in a period of sustained growth, with spending up 46% in 2018 to more than $80 billion. Expenditure is also forecast to surpass $143 billion in 2020.

More businesses are deploying a hybrid multi-cloud strategy, integrating multiple providers with their existing on-premises IT infrastructure. Canalys estimates 30% of cloud infrastructure services spend, just over $24 billion, went through the IT channel of distributors, resellers, service providers and systems integrators in 2018.

"AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Alibaba Cloud are all increasing channel investment to raise their profiles, as competition for enterprise customers increases and workload cloud migration diversifies," said Alastair Edwards, chief analyst at Canalys.

The channel will play a vital role for the cloud service providers, in terms of boosting their customer reach, from both a sales and technical perspective. But each of the hyperscale cloud service provider titans current partner reach, engagement and program maturity differs — with Google Cloud trailing both AWS and Microsoft Azure in all areas. Alibaba Cloud is further back, behind the leaders.

 

 

Canalys estimates the top three providers represented 65% ($16 billion) of the channel's total cloud infrastructure services business in 2018. Microsoft manages one of the largest channel ecosystems in the technology sector and its Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program is the most mature among the cloud titans, according to the Canalys assessment.

Approximately 74% of revenue from Azure is estimated to come via its partners, which is by far the highest percentage in the sector. In contrast, AWS channel business accounts for around 15%, though its reach is growing rapidly, AWS having recruited over 35,000 partners to date, with hundreds a month wanting to join its partner program.

Canalys estimates that Google Cloud's channel business accounts for just over 25% of its $7 billion cloud infrastructure revenue. In spite of Google Cloud's rapid growth, its channel reach is relatively small, though it is trying a differentiated approach by being more focused on specific applications and verticals.

An estimated 13,000 partners have joined its partner program, of which just over 100 have achieved the highest-tier Premier Partner status, while less than a third of those have achieved a Specialization Partner designation.

Outlook for cloud channel application growth

In a recent Candefero channel survey, 20% of respondents think there is huge potential to working with Google Cloud, while 22% said they will work with other cloud service providers instead. Cloud computing service channel partners will continue to align with the market leaders.

That said, 44% of partners were intrigued to know more about partnering with Google. Their new leadership brings the experience of working with the largest enterprise customers. But to date, Google has not captured the broader channel where AWS and Microsoft are being more proactive.

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