Cloud services: The top 3 leaders and the rising stars

Category leaders land on top thanks to broad product portfolios, compliance expertise, and extensive partnerships, according to ISG.

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The ISG Provider Lens Quadrant Report on public cloud providers puts Accenture at the top of list of companies that provide consulting and transformational services for large accounts.

Image: ISG

Accenture, Amazon Web Services, and Deloitte are the strongest cloud providers, according to a new report from the Information Services Group. Accenture took the top spot in two categories—consulting and transformation services and managed public cloud services. AWS was the leader in hyperscale infrastructure and SAP HANA infrastructure services. Deloitte ranked highest among the four leaders in the governance, risk and compliance services category.  

The ISG Provider Lens Quadrant Report of public cloud providers assesses solutions and services based on portfolio attractiveness and competitive strength. 

The global infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) market grew by 14% year over year in the third quarter, according to

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Microsoft doubles down on cloud data with new products, makes new appeal to Amazon’s rivals

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella introduces the company’s new cloud data products. (Screenshot via webcast)

Microsoft is rolling out new cloud technologies for wrangling, protecting and analyzing large amounts of corporate data, escalating its competition with Google, Snowflake and Amazon in the $25 billion global market for data analytics and business intelligence.

Microsoft said its previously announced Azure Synapse Analytics technology is now generally available, with capabilities including data warehousing, artificial intelligence, security and compliance. The company also announced a preview of a new product, Azure Purview, which automatically discovers data across cloud platforms, on-premises servers and online applications.

Speaking via video at a virtual event, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made an apparent appeal to Amazon’s competitors, without mentioning the company by name. Nadella said it’s important to be able to trust not just a vendor’s technology capabilities and but also its “business model alignment” with its customers.

“No customer wants

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Salesforce takeover of Slack is a defining moment for cloud software

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss. Those lyrics from The Who nearly 50 years ago sum up the sinking sense of inevitability that comes with each new round of consolidation in tech.

Periods defined by their innovative start-ups and restless reinvention give way to phases when industry leaders buy up the most promising newcomers and either snuff out their ideas or bend them to their own ends.

The cloud software business — also known as software as a service, or SaaS — may just have reached its moment of reckoning. This week’s $27.7bn acquisition of workplace messaging company Slack by Salesforce looks like a turning point — and not just because Slack has been emblematic of a wave of start-ups searching for new and more creative ways of working.

In the parlance of business software, the deal highlights the perennial tension between “best of breed” products —

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Cloud Software Stocks Rip Higher After Strong Earnings from Snowflake, Others

Many enterprise software stocks are adding to their big 2020 gains on Thursday, as investors take heart in a batch of strong earnings reports that were posted on Wednesday afternoon.

Zscaler  (ZS) – Get Report is up 24.3%, Okta  (OKTA) – Get Report is up 6.9%, Snowflake  (SNOW) – Get Report is up 16%, Elastic  (ESTC) – Get Report is up 14.2% and CrowdStrike  (CRWD) – Get Report is up 15.1% after each company comfortably beat its October quarter estimates and (generally speaking) issued strong guidance. And a number of other software names appear to be catching sympathy bids.

Palantir Technologies  (PLTR) – Get Report, which tumbled yesterday on a Morgan Stanley downgrade, is up 8.8%. Smartsheet  (SMAR) – Get Report is up 6.8%, Datadog  (DDOG) – Get Report is up 4.8%, Unity

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Salesforce buys Slack for $27.7 billion in cloud company’s largest deal

Marc Benioff, founder, chairman and CEO of enterprise cloud computing company Salesforce.

Kim Kulish | Corbis News | Getty Images

Salesforce is making the biggest acquisition in its 21-year history. The company announced on Tuesday that it’s buying chat software developer Slack for over $27 billion.

Through a combination of cash and stock, Salesforce is purchasing Slack for $26.79 a share and .0776 shares of Salesforce, according to a statement. That comes to about $45.86 a share. Prior to initial reports of a deal last week, which led to a 38% pop in Slack’s shares, the stock was trading at under $30.

The purchase marks one of the largest ever for the software industry. The biggest was IBM’s $34 billion purchase of Red Hat in 2018, followed by Microsoft’s $27 billion acquisition of LinkedIn in 2016. Last year, the London Stock Exchange agreed to buy data provider Refinitiv for $27

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Amazon debuts Trainium, a custom chip for machine learning training in the cloud

Amazon today debuted AWS Trainium, a chip custom-designed to deliver what the company describes as cost-effective machine learning model training in the cloud. It comes ahead of the availability of new Habana Gaudi-based Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances built specifically for machine learning training, powered by Intel’s new Habana Gaudi processors.

“We know that we want to keep pushing the price performance on machine learning training, so we’re going to have to invest in our own chips,” AWS CEO Andy Jassy said during a keynote address at Amazon’s re:Invent conference this morning. “You have an unmatched array of instances in AWS, coupled with innovation in chips.”

Amazon AWS Tranium

Amazon claims that Trainium will offer the most teraflops of any machine learning instance in the cloud, where a teraflop translates to a chip being able to process one trillion calculations a second. (Amazon is quoting 30% higher throughput and 45% lower cost-per-inference

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AWS CEO Andy Jassy explains huge bets in hybrid cloud

  • Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy used his keynote at the AWS re:Invent conference on Tuesday to announce the introduction of several new products and services for the hybrid cloud market.
  • Hybrid cloud is a model that connects public cloud platforms like AWS with a customer’s own servers and data centers. 
  • Notably, Amazon Web Services spent years ignoring — and sometimes trashing — hybrid cloud computing, even as rivals like Microsoft, IBM, and Google have invested heavily in the technology. Jassy now slams those efforts as having “never lived up to the hype.”
  • At re:Invent this year, AWS announced smaller sizes of its Outposts devices, which allows customers to host the company’s cloud services from their own data centers.
  • It also announced that it would allow customers to host from their own servers Amazon Elastic Container Service and Elastic Kubernetes Service, developer tools that help manage cloud infrastructure.
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Amazon’s Andy Jassy talks up AWS Outposts, Wavelength as the right edge for hybrid cloud

At the end of a three-hour keynote address for Amazon’s annual re:Invent conference, which is taking place virtually this year, Amazon Web Services chief executive Andy Jassy wrapped up with an extended discussion about edge computing and its role in hybrid computing.

“Hybrid is not just about whether its on-premise or in the cloud,” said Jassy. Instead, IT needs “the same APIs, the same control plane, the same tools, the same hardware they get in AWS regions,” said Jassy. He was referring to Amazon’s AWS Outposts, a rack of equipment deployed at a customer facility that is a fully-managed service from Amazon. 

Jassy said Amazon has made the Outposts offering easier to purchase now with new form factors, 1U and 2U rack units, versus an entire rack-size deployment.

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“Hybrid is not just about whether its on-premise or in the cloud,” said AWS lead executive Andy Jassy in his keynote Tuesday,

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Amazon Web Services Bolsters Bet on Local Cloud, Homegrown Chips

(Bloomberg) — Amazon.com Inc.’s cloud computing division is adding products that help customers maintain local control of their data, a bet that could help it fend off rivals Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.



a stack of flyers on a table: The logo for Amazon Web Services on a smartphone.


© Bloomberg
The logo for Amazon Web Services on a smartphone.

Amazon Web Services has a wide lead in selling on-demand software services, a business built on the economies of scale provided by vast server farms in data centers. Last year, the company went small, for the first time selling services for customers’ own data centers. The move acknowledged demand from customers requiring faster processing and the need to meet regulatory requirements by storing information inside their own walls.

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AWS bolstered that bet on Tuesday, kicking off its annual customer conference with two new variants of Outposts, the server rack product it started selling a year ago. While prior versions required customers to buy

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Zoom’s surging free user base dents margins as cloud costs rise

(Reuters) — Zoom warned on Monday its gross margins would remain under pressure going into 2021 as the surging number of free users of its video conferencing service makes it hard to offset a spike in costs to maintain its growth.

Shares of the company, which have risen about sevenfold this year fueled by the meteoric rise in demand in video conferencing for work, school or socializing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fell 5% after the bell, despite upbeat fourth-quarter forecasts.

Zoom operates some of its own data centers, but it also relies on cloud computing services from outside vendors such as Amazon.com and Oracle, meaning it must bear costs for free users.

Those bills, driven in part by a jump in free users in the third quarter as millions of students and teachers started new school semesters, pushed down Zoom’s gross profit margins to 66.7%, below analysts’

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