Amazon Adopts Kubernetes Open Source Technology as Competition Heats Up

Amazon Adopts Kubernetes Open Source Technology as Competition Heats Up on Wednesday announced its adoption of Kubernetes, a popular open-source technology, in a sign of increased competition in the cloud computing business, which Amazon Web Services has long dominated.

Kubernetes has emerged as a standard among companies as they build more applications on public clouds, the big computer data centers that are displacing traditional customer-owned computer systems.

Earlier this year companies including Microsoft Corp, Oracle Corp, and IBM Corp announced their support for Kubernetes, which was originally developed by a team at Google.

AWS Chief Executive Andy Jassy made the Kubernetes announcement at Re:Invent, AWS’s annual conference in Las Vegas which this year attracted more than 40,000 attendees. Amazon also announced a marketing deal with the US National Football League and a flurry of other AWS features, including machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms.

One of Kubernetes’ key advantages is its ability to run an application on any public cloud, including Microsoft’s Azure and Alphabet’s Google Cloud Platform, making it easier to migrate from one cloud vendor to another.

Amazon had previously offered a service of its own that was similar to Kubernetes, but the Google technology has established itself as the standard for such so-called “container” technologies and AWS ultimately had little choice but to support it, analysts said.

“This is an example of AWS looking outside of their own world in response to customer need,” said Joe Beda, one of the creators of Kubernetes and the chief technology officer of Heptio, a Seattle startup that builds software around Kubernetes technology.

Microsoft, Google gain ground
AWS pioneered the cloud computing business in 2006 with a service touted as a quick and easy way for smaller business to get affordable, high-powered computing services. It soon began to catch on among larger companies and continue to grow very rapidly, hitting $4.6 billion in revenue on 42 percent year-over-year growth in the most recent quarter.

But the market has begun to change. Although AWS’s share of the worldwide cloud infrastructure market has increased from 43.8 percent in the first half of 2015 to 45.4 percent in the first half of this year, two of its key rivals have also gained share, according to IDC, the market research firm.

Google Cloud Platform’s slice has grown from 1.7 percent in 2015 to 3.1 percent earlier this year, and more notably, Microsoft Azure’s share has increased from 5.6 percent to 10.3 percent in that time span.

“Amazon is still the clear market leader, but the cloud infrastructure market is massive and there’s room for many players,” said Amit Agarwal, chief product officer of Datadog, a New York startup that lets companies monitor their operations on public clouds.

Under the new deal with the National Football League, AWS will be one of the league’s “official technology providers,” allowing AWS to market its connection to the league and advertise during football broadcasts that it is powering the games’ “Next Gen Stats.”

The price of the deal was not disclosed.

“We’re working with some of the NFL broadcasters to investigate what are the great use cases for how to embed (this partnership) for the fan experience,” Ariel Kelman, AWS vice president of worldwide marketing, told Reuters.

The idea is to market AWS to decision-makers without IT backgrounds, such as the chief executive and chief financial officers, Kelman said.

“Before they didn’t have to do that because they were the only guys in town,” Brett Moss, a senior vice president at Ensono, a Chicago IT services provider, said of the marketing effort. “Not anymore.”


The Corporate Partnership Bringing Education And Technology To Rural Ghana

Many girls in rural Africa lack access to education due to factors like gender inequality and familial poverty. But for the past 10 years, a social entrepreneur and former educator in Ghana has been working to change that.

After observing the difficulty many young girls have while trying to access education and stay in school – as well as the lack of innovation in the educational system – social entrepreneur and Ghana native Kafui Prebbie believed he could improve education through technology – so he did.

Prebbie founded TECHAide, a technology company working to digitally deliver educational content to those typically unable to access education in Ghana.

TECHAide provides affordable hotspots, servers, mobile devices, interactive educational software and community computer labs to deliver educational lessons, videos and other content that can be leveraged in rural communities that traditionally lack these resources.

Recently, Prebbie launched the company’s newest product – ASANKA – a mobile hotspot and content delivery system named with a dual meaning: Community Bowl, a Ghanaian reference, and an acronym for All Subjects and New Knowledge Access.

Founded 10 years ago, Prebbie shares the company has reached more than 100,000 students in Ghana. And while TECHAide’s reach validates need, Prebbie wanted to take his technology to a new level – leveraging personal mobile devices to bring education to even more young students across Ghana, a goal that required the help of a strong corporate partner.


India’s Crackdown on Chinese Technology Companies Gathering Pace

India’s Crackdown on Chinese Technology Companies Gathering Pace


  • UCWeb was earlier reported to be leaking data from India to China
  • UC Browser has over 100 million monthly active users in India
  • The matter is being looked into by government before it takes any action

India is intensifying a crackdown on Chinese technology companies with a government official saying security testing of China’s UC Browser is being done to see if it’s leaking data.

Testing on the popular browser made by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s UCWeb is under way and the government is awaiting a report before deciding on any action, Ajay Prakash Sawhney, secretary in the Ministry of Information Technology, said on Wednesday. UC Browser has over 100 million monthly active users in India and claims over 50 percent of the mobile browser market in the country.

The IT Ministry said earlier this month that it was focusing on “securing Indian cyberspace” and its digital infrastructure. It directed over two dozen smartphone companies to provide detailed written responses by Monday on their “safety and security practices, architecture, frameworks, guidelines and standards.” The companies included prominent Chinese device makers such as Xiaomi, Lenovo, Oppo, Vivo and Gionee as well as global brands Apple and Samsung and Indian companies.

While the government hasn’t singled out Chinese phone companies, it noted in the directive that mobile devices have achieved 75 percent penetration in the Indian market and “there’s a need to ensure the safety and security of the devices.”

Brands such as Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Lenovo have improved their market share, accounting for over half of the smartphone shipments to India for the second successive quarter ending in June, according to data from researcher IDC. Xiaomi, which is fast closing the gap with the country’s leading brand Samsung, plans to open 100 brick and mortar stores in the next two years to further its market share.

Samsung, Apple, Micromax, Oppo and Vivo did not respond to emails seeking comment on the government’s directive. Xiaomi declined to comment.

Border standoff
The security audit comes amid a tense standoff between the armies of India and China over territory in the tiny mountain kingdom of Bhutan.

India’s sudden directive has puzzled phone makers. “Let’s not play hide and seek. If the government wants that Indian data should not go out, it should say so decisively,” Pankaj Mohindroo, national president of the Indian Cellular Association, said in a phone interview.

The government could be seeking to locate data hosting servers in India, create a national firewall for the apps and create a standard for a secure smartphone, he said.

It’s not just the growing market share of Chinese brands that worries the government, but also that the bulk of components are directly imported from China. “Over 95 percent of the components come from China or are made by Chinese-owned companies in Taiwan or elsewhere, nothing is made in India other than chargers, batteries and headsets,” said Sudhir Hasija, chairman of Karbonn Mobiles Pvt, a domestic budget phone maker.

“There’s a feeling that China collects data through their chip sets from users,” said Hasija. “This is the worry of the whole world and this is also the worry of the Indian government.”

India’s imports of electronics could rise to about $300 billion (roughly Rs. 19,22,538 crores) by 2020 with demand increasing to $400 billion (roughly Rs. 25,63,383 crores), according to a June forecast by The Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India, an industry body.

“This could be the first step to getting technology companies to set up servers within India,” said Ravinder Zutshi, a former deputy managing director of Samsung India and the ex-chief of the country’s leading consumer electronics manufacturers’ body. “This could be the government’s way of ensuring that there’s no data leaking outside the country’s borders,” Delhi-based Zutshi said by in a phone conversation.


IT Company’s Cloud-ready Transition Tied to Client Needs, Technology Trends

One IT company insists that the key to success is assuring the cloud readiness of a client is before implementing any part of a transition plan.

James Farhat, CEO of Applications Consulting Training Solutions, an ISV and technology solution provider based in Jacksonville, Fla., spoke with Small Business Trends regarding his experience in becoming a cloud-ready IT company and in transitioning his clientele to the cloud.

Farhat said that his company’s transition has evolved alongside the needs of his customers and changing technology trends.

“Our transition evolved along with our clients’ needs and how technology has changed,” he said. “We felt like we’re always ahead of the game, or try to be at least, and felt the marketplace was moving in that direction.”

Based on his desire to be a trendsetter, Farhat began moving his company toward cloud-readiness five years ago, to get ahead of the competition.

“Because we did that five years ago, we’re sort of the go-to partner,” he said. “We have a lot of experience and use cases and have had a lot of success. Now that the market is moving more and more that way and adopting cloud-readiness, it’s provided credibility for us, making it easy to get clients and grow the business.”

Farhat started his company based on his passion for technology, a background in training and consulting and a desire to solve business problems.

“I’ve always been in the training and consulting business, but I’ve been in technology for a long time,” he said. “I have a tremendous amount of passion for technology and solving business problems. This is a platform for our organization to do so and to follow the methodology and mantra that we set forth.”

Inhibitors to Cloud Transition

Farhat’s passion for moving clients into the cloud has, along the way, been met with resistance and problems. He cited the following inhibitors:

Need for Education

“Educating clients to understand the opportunity the cloud presents is an issue,” he said. “There’s not enough education out there or enough adoption. I think that’s the biggest problem with a transition. Clients look at it more as a technology feature set versus the opportunity to help save a tremendous amount of cost in their business.”

Resistance From Executives, IT Staff

Farhat indicated that business owners and CEOs resist cloud transition due to a lack of understanding or concerns over security while IT staffers feel their jobs may be at risk.

To overcome such resistance, Farhat said, “We educate people and try to the lay the facts out, such as the savings and cost from the business profit center and that no issues with security exist. In translating it to the IT side, we talk about where the opportunity is for them and that their jobs aren’t in jeopardy.”

Downtime a Concern

Another topic Farhat covers in the education process is making sure that clients understand that downtime is a risk they must face but that there are ways to combat it.

“You are still somewhat at the mercy of the cloud provider to some degree,” he said, “but you’re also at the mercy of the person building the network or your Internet provider, so those have always played a role too.”

Farhat added that education begins during the sales cycle as well as in the proof of concept phase.

He cited, as an example, a large transportation company client.

“We did some education with their leadership and built a value proposition with Partner Sales Executives so they could really see what was going to happen,” he said. “We created a spreadsheet, an executive PowerPoint deck and came up with the best message for them to take all roles into consideration during the decision-making phase.

“We tried to make them feel comfortable that what we’re doing puts them in a better position for speed to market and more agile iterations for delivering technology for their external customers. As a result of that preparation, we ended up closing a $1.4 million deal.”

Time and Cost, Variables in Transition Process

When asked about the time involved in a transition, Farhat said it’s not an “hours” issue but that it depends on the client’s needs.

He also asserted that cost is a variable, and could run as little as $1,200 for a small business with 10 people to millions for a large corporation.

“I think at the end of the day you might have an average cost, fully loaded, of $2,400 a year per employee if you moved everything to the cloud and you had everything cloud based,” he said.

Farhat added that, often, he will bring in a financial analyst who can help the client see the opportunities from an economic perspective, such as the savings the business can accrue as a result of a reduction in IT labor costs or the lowering of maintenance expenses related to manual processes that can now be automated.

Best Place to Start With Cloud Transition

According to Farhat, no one size fits all when it comes to the best place to start making the transition to the cloud.

“You have to look at what your business problem is and what you’re trying to accomplish,” he said. “It is the business outcome that drives where you start.”

Farhat did say that his company has done a lot with platform as a service, advanced analytics in the cloud and sales performance management, building client portals in the cloud.


Farhat concluded his remarks by emphasizing the need to ensure the customer is well educated on the risks involved in making the transition and on the opportunities that exist as well.

He provided this advice to other IT companies contemplating becoming cloud-ready:

“Make sure that the client understands that risks have always existed. That doesn’t mean that you don’t try to drive home the opportunity for the business to save on IT operational management costs and provide a better infrastructure for their organization using the cloud. However, getting them to understand and come to terms with that is not always easy to do.”

Also checkout the company’s cloud ready solution: ACTS Skygraph, a context modeler solution used to simplify SharePoint configuration.

Cloud Photo via Shutterstock

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