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This week in cloud: Cloud as job creator, crazy times for Microsoft Azure storage

It was another busy week in cloud. Amazon(s amzn) continued its enterprise push with the delivery of its promised Redshift data warehouse service and announced OpsWorks, an application configuration and management tool based on the Chef framework which competes to some degree with third party tools like Rundesk, Scalr and Rightscale. 

Rackspace CTO John Engates
Rackspace CTO John Engates

Shocker:  cloud computing can increase headcount

One fear among IT people is that the move to cloud computing will mean job cuts. But that may not really be the case, according to a new Rackspace(s rax)-backed survey. Among 1,300 U.K. and U.S. companies surveyed by the Manchester Business School, more than half (62  percent) said they actually increased headcount or boosted wages and bonuses using IT savings realized from their move.

“We really think [cloud deployment] can create jobs under the right circumstances,” Rackspace CTO John Engates said in an interview. “It leads to innovation and that … opens up the floodgates and gives people access to tools for more innovation — it’s a virtuous cycle.”

Of course,”if you’re the guy who punches the button on the server every day, you might have to retool your skill set,” he added.

Cloudtech has more on the survey.

Best and worst of times for Microsoft Azure storage

Windows AzureMicrosoft(s msft) Azure storage had an up and down week: On Tuesday, it beat out Amazon S3, HP(s hpq), Rackspace(s rax), HP(s hpq) and Google(s goog) as the best cloud storage provider according to results of performance tests by Nasuni. On Friday however, it suffered an embarassing worldwide outage after letting an SSL certificate expire.

Microsoft has been down this certificate expiration road before, as have other cloud providers.

Rackspace moves to tiered pricing

Rackspace_Logo_08_07_2012[2]On Friday, Rackspace cut prices on its content delivery network (CDN) services and said it would move to tiered price model for other services. Most reporters (including yours truly) saw this as a competitive move against Amazon Web Services.

But Rackspace CMO Suaad Sait said the move does not signal a race to the bottom in cloud pricing. “We’re not trying to start any crazy price war,” he said in an interview.

He characterized both the CDN price cut and the tiering move as a response to customer input. “If you look at our bandwidth pricing, it was out of whack compared to what surrounded it,” he said.

Net, net, he said, there has been no change from Rackspace’s “fanatical support” theme nor its goal of being the proven premium provider of cloud services. 

More cloud news from around the web

Storage kingpin Seagate joined the OpenStack Foundation and Open Compute Foundation. OpenStack is an open-source cloud effort pushed by some 150 vendors.  OpenCompute was initiated by Facebook(s fb) last year to push the design of standard, energy-efficient hardware for webscale data centers.

U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel says the federal government has barely scratched the surface of cloud-big data convergence opportunities. 

Telecompaper, citing a new KPMG Cloud Monitor survey, reports that more than a third of German companies surveyed use cloud computing.