Posts Tagged ‘public cloud’

Google Acquisition Signifies Cloud-Computing Competition

Posted by Adrien Tibi

Google have issued a statement of intent within the cloud-computing industry by acquiring commerce platform Orbitera for an estimated fee in excess of $100 million. This most recent purchase comes just days after a Gartner report saw Amazon Web Services crowned king of the cloud, and unveils Google’s aspirations to challenge for the coveted cloud throne.

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud revenue is expected to triple to $43.6 billion by 2020, up from $12.6 billion in 2015, according to research firm IDC. This is good news for the likes of big cloud players such as Google, Microsoft, IBM and Amazon, the latter of which capture over half of all total revenue in the public cloud market.

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Public Cloud Market

Amazon Web Services (AWS), began its cloud project over a decade ago and is now the leader in an increasingly competitive market. The company raked in $2.66 billion during the second quarter of 2016 – a 58 percent increase on the previous year and the most revenue ever captured in a quarter.

Google also experienced positive second quarter earnings, as their parent company Alphabet announced their ‘Other Revenues’ segment, which includes its cloud services, jumped more than 30 percent, compared with its first quarter, to $2.2 billion. But it is the Orbitera merge that has been grabbing the headlines, as it signifies more than just a challenge to Amazon and current cloud competitors, it also marks a change in strategy – namely a move to a multi-cloud system.

Multi-Cloud Strategy

Multi-cloud strategies have become more common as enterprise organisations attempt to further establish the platform and increase its credibility within the industry. Orbitera is a platform which acts as a marketplace for cloud solutions, simplifying the way consumers search for and purchase products.

Up until now the Google Cloud Platform has not been available for customers to buy through this marketplace system, but all that is set to change as a result of this new deal. A Google spokesperson said: “This acquisition will not only improve support of software vendors on Google Cloud Platform but also provides customers with more choice and flexibility in today’s multi-cloud world.”

Although Google is generally ranked within the top three cloud providers worldwide, the gap between AWS, Microsoft and Google in third place has been widening slightly in recent quarters. Google is moving rapidly to change this, and before announcing the Orbitera acquisition they also reported a 15 percent decrease in power expenditure, from utilising artificial intelligence, across their factories. On top of this, the technology giant has greenlighted plans to develop a further $600 million data centre in Oregon, increasing total spending in this destination to nearly $2 billion.

Cloud-Computing Opportunity

In spite of these plans, Synergy Research Group estimate that AWS is currently three times the size of any of its nearest competitors, meaning that Google has their work cut out to close the gap. However, considering that the tech-giant runs a huge network of sophisticated data centres, has won over a number of high-profile corporate clients and its parent company currently sits on a war chest of $80 billion, there is plenty of opportunity for Google to strengthen its position within the cloud-computing market. In this vein, Forrester’s Dave Bartoletti has said: “No one innovates like Google. They now have to turn that innovation into products and relationships that make enterprise customers comfortable. Enterprise buys from companies they know and like.”

If nothing else, the Orbitera acquisition has strengthened Google’s resolve within the competitive cloud-hosting industry. The multi-cloud strategy may well not prove to be the emphasis needed to close the gap on current market leader AWS, but it does offer a compelling, rivalrous way of thinking about enterprise infrastructure. Still, that’s not to say that either company are faultless in their cloud-computing pursuits, and if the Gartner report is anything to go by, they both have a way to go.

Cloud Competition Criticisms

In spite of AWS’s current dominance in the market, there have been significant criticisms about its functionality. This was echoed within the Gartner research, which cautioned that “optimum use requires expertise” and that the company “is not eager to be the lowest-cost bidder.” In the same vein, the report also noted that Google “is still in the rudimentary stages of learning to engage with enterprise and mid-market customers, especially those that are not technology-centric businesses.”

Whilst AWS and Google were both on the receiving end of Gartner’s judgements, the other big-four competitors Microsoft and IBM were equally critiqued – the report discovered that in the case of Microsoft Azure not all functionality is thoroughly implemented or easy enough to use, whilst, IBM’s SoftLayer “is missing many cloud IaaS capabilities desired by mid-market and enterprise customers.”

In the world of cloud-computing, whether it’s public cloud, a bare metal platform, or a hybrid cloud mix it is important to remember that bigger does not necessarily equal better.

When is Bare Metal the Right Choice for ECommerce?

Posted by Adrien Tibi

For the majority of eCommerce businesses, workloads are quite predictable, making bare metal cloud a much more cost effective infrastructure choice than public cloud in many cases.

Swathes of eCommerce founders are understandably drawn to public cloud vendors, such as AWS – enticed by low entry point pricing and offers, as well as the success stories of prominent names. But there are two sides to the public cloud pricing equation, and low entry point prices are invariably offset by premiums elsewhere in the portfolio. Typically, this impacts businesses who do not make use of the scalability aspects of the platform.

Ready to deploy on bare metal? Create your free account and start configuring your bare metal servers here.


Don’t Mistake Yourself for Amazon

If an eCommerce store experiences massive peaks and troughs in its visitor numbers, the ability to access burstable capacity, and to avoid the need to over-provision to cope with those peaks, represents a very real financial benefit. The reality is, however, that most eCommerce businesses, even the most successful, are quite unlike Amazon, which built AWS to meet its own need for scalability first.

Amazon’s eCommerce business faces unique challenges that arise from its size and success – massive fluctuations in visitor numbers are only the beginning. Amazon also contends with a truly global audience, calling for infrastructure in every region in order to cater for demand while delivering a satisfactory user experience.

On top of this, Amazon’s Big Data collection and storage, analytical power and back office systems all need to scale in line with customer demand too. Their need for burstable capacity is unprecedented.

Add to this, its marketplace offering, which accommodates millions of independent sellers, and the magnitude of these infrastructure challenges becomes even more impressive.

But Amazon is a one-off. The vast majority of eCommerce businesses have very different infrastructure requirements.


The Right Infrastructure for Your ECommerce Business

Fluctuations in visitor numbers to eCommerce websites rarely reach the point where the difference between the average and peak demand for computation power makes paying a premium for public cloud scalability worthwhile.

And while visitor numbers fluctuate, the volume of data being stored for transactions and other processes grows linearly – predictably and slowly in relative terms. The demand for analytical power and business intelligencemeanwhile, though driven by visitor numbers, is in many cases outsourced to third parties and so does not impact the core infrastructure requirements at all.

This predictability in demand, and therefore infrastructure requirements, is further supported by the tendency for successful eCommerce businesses to serve specific markets and geographies well, rather than taking the multi-national broad-line approach.

It rarely makes sense for an eCommerce business to host all of its infrastructure, if any, on the public cloud.


The Business Case for Bare Metal

Unless your workloads are like Amazon’s and you can benefit from access to premium, burstable, pay-as-you-go capacity, bare metal cloud will give you better ROI. It’s well known that, for most examples of always-on instances, a dedicated server within a bare metal cloud environment will cost a fraction of what the public cloud alternative will – once attractive new customer deals have expired, of course.

In addition to the cost advantages, bare metal instances always deliver better performance over time, thanks to their being single tenant and not sharing resources with any other users in any way. Given how vitally important page load and server response times are to the customer experience in eCommerce, this is a distinct advantage in bare metal’s favour.


In conclusion, the low-cost ticket price of public cloud is not what you will end up paying if your workloads are steady or your instances always on. In every case, the best way to ensure you get maximum ROI from your infrastructure, both in terms of cost and performance, is to match it closely to your workloads. Capacity planning is an essential step in cloud deployment of ecommerce businesses and should not be overlooked.

Amazon AWS is a Bare Metal Cloud – for Amazon

Posted by Adrien Tibi

For its users, AWS is a public cloud; for Amazon it’s their own cost-effective bare metal cloud.

Understanding how Amazon’s AWS supports the needs of its business is useful when considering the economics of building a cloud environment for your eCommerce business.

Undeniably the most popular and successful eCommerce business of our time, Amazon is unique. And with this success and scale have come challenges that no other eCommerce company has faced previously. Overcoming these challenges is what led to the birth of AWS and is why is now built fully upon it.

Ready to deploy on bare metal? Create your free account and start configuring your bare metal servers here.

Amazon’s Unique eCommerce Challenges

Perhaps the easiest component of the eCommerce business is providing an online store on which customers can browse and purchase products. Pages are highly templated, while images and content are driven by a database of products. The real challenges for an e-tailer with’s success all revolve around scaling this online store while meeting the demands of customers.

Delivering the best possible user experience, no matter where or when customers are using the site, requires infrastructure with enormous scalability. In order to maximise sales and minimise abandonment, product images and content need to load lightning fast, categories must be searchable and filterable and the site responsive when customers add products to baskets and move through the checkout process. Slow sites leak orders.’s visitor numbers also vary massively over time. For instance, the number of site users on an average Wednesday will be dwarfed by the Black Friday rush. Provisioning an infrastructure to cater for the peaks in demand, while simultaneously meeting customer expectations, would simply be economically unfeasible. The only option for Amazon was to build on a shared platform that can afford the kind of scalability required.

The issue is further complicated by’s global reach. The same kind of scalability and performance is needed in every region – images can’t be transferred across the globe as customers try to browse products. Instead, images and content need to reside near the user in order to provide a satisfactory customer experience. The only way to achieve this is with infrastructure close to the end-user, meaning huge estates at multiple points across the globe.


AWS = Bare Metal Cloud

Amazon will have very quickly realised that, while third party public clouds offer the scalability it needs, the economics are not in its favour.

In order to be able to offer massive scalability, a public cloud vendor needs to be able to sell unutilised capacity quickly and easily. This means charging low entry points to bring customers on-board for short-term or low-level usage but then charging a premium in other areas to offset the potential cost of under-utilisation. The result is that larger businesses end up paying more for their resources.

For Amazon, building its eCommerce business on someone else’s public cloud would be too expensive. So it built its own.

But when you build your own cloud you build a bare metal cloud, a collection of physical machines, networked and at your disposal, whether it’s for use in dedicated format for databases and containerised apps, or in virtual form for webservers etc. In AWS’s case, this bare metal cloud consists of more than two million Linux servers.

Public cloud is simply an economic model applied to such bare metal infrastructures. By building its own bare metal cloud, Amazon was able to remove the cost premium of building on someone else’s public cloud, and create an additional revenue stream selling the public cloud model to others.

The lesson for eCommerce businesses is to never make assumptions about which type of infrastructure is right for your needs and to always look beyond attractive new-user pricing. The right infrastructure for you always depends upon the type of workloads you will be running, the patterns in demand, locations of users and the utilisation of resources.

The right solution may well be a combination of public cloud and other platforms, like private or bare metal clouds and dedicated servers. The only way to discover this is to thoroughly understand your requirements or consult with experts who can advise you on all the available options.

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