China is the new — and very big — frontier in cloud computing. U.S.-based cloud giants — already under fire in Europe and here due to Edward Snowden’s disclosures that the NSA harvests citizen data from big American providers — Microsoft, Google, Yahoo — et al, some of those same companies are courting business — and controversy — by opening up shop in China. But the news last week was that China Unicom is launching what it called a full-service cloud based on OpenStack. Oh, and the Aliyun cloud arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba plans to offer cloud services outside China, starting in India. Those domestic offerings join previously announced Tianyi cloud services under construction by China Telecom.
So, it doesn’t take a genius to see that the cloud infrastructure landscape in China will get interesting as domestic players face off against Amazon Web Services which is setting up a new region out of Beijing while IBM and Microsoft both work with 21Vianet, a Chinese internet provider, to offer cloud services inside the country.
The great Oracle debate
It’s striking how quick people are to write of humongous legacy IT powers in this cloud era. Companies like IBM, Oracle and Microsoft. Oracle, in particular, seems to get people’s goat. Gigaom’s story last week recounting Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s latest statements about how he intends to compete with AWS, Microsoft and Rackspace on low-cost IaaS while making hay in higher end SaaS and PaaS, touched a nerve. Check out the comments over on Hacker News and please feel free to weigh in here as well. Can Oracle navigate this tricky transition?
Oracle seems to be on the wrong side of history, with its pricey database and applications and its attempt to tie all of that software into its vertically integrated Exa-boxes. But geez, Oracle has a ton of dough and if Ellison is serious, he can spend it to build out infrastructure — of course the risk of is cannibalizing all that high end stuff he loves to sell (and sell support on.) He seems to think he can make up for low infrastructure margin on high-margin SaaS and PaaS. We’ll see.
Edward Snowden’s Christmas message
Whatever you think of former NSA hand Edward Snowden, you have to admit he has a flare for timing. On Christmas Day he showed up on Britain’s Channel 4 to offer his Christmas Day message and in a Washington Post interview to warn of the loss of privacy and the emergence of state-sponsored surveillance. Just in case we missed his point over the last six months of carefully timed disclosures, if we’re going to hand over our privacy wholesale, we should at least know that’s what’s happening.
The Structure Show
In case you missed the latest Structure Show check out Derrick Harris’s and my thoughts on the state of OpenStack, Paypal’s buyout of Stackmob etc. and Microsoft’s seemingly never-ending search for a new CEO.