It was a schizophrenic week for U.S. cloud companies pushing their agendas and businesses abroad. On the one hand, it was boom time for expansion to China with Amazon Web Services and IBM announcing plans (within hours of each other) to expand their respective cloud operations to China. Both are opening up data centers in Beijing. IBM, like Microsoft has already moved into China, are working with local internet service provider 21Vianet to do so.
So things are ramping up for U.S. cloud players in China — at least those wiling to make deals with local providers and the authorities there. In Europe things continue to be nuanced. The civil liberties committee of the European Parliament is recommending that Europe suspend the Safe Harbor agreement with the U.S. that allows American cloud firms to handle the data of EU citizens
As GigaOM’s David Meyer reported last week, the current Safe Harbor pact allows U.S. firms can self-certify to say they comply with EU-strength data protection standards. But, NSA leaker Edward Snowden has shown that EU citizens’ data is far from protected when traveling through U.S. firms’ systems, and German privacy officials have already called for its suspension.
Remember, cloud is hard
So maybe it’s not fair to expect an upgrade from one version of OpenStack (Grizzly) to the next (Havana) to be easy-peasy. But even some execs in big OpenStack-backing companies admit privately that the rush to add features and functions and the proliferation of projects is hurting the cause. More attention needs be paid to boring stuff like stability and backwards compatibility, they say.
The message is: If it’s this hard for shops already using OpenStack to upgrade, good luck attracting more enterprise users.
M&A moving and shaking
Looks like the big enterprise software players got their holiday shopping done. Last week, IBM snapped up Aspera, a company that specializes in moving massive amounts of data to and from clouds — a key problem if you’ve ever tried to do it. Aspera claims it can send a 24-gigabyte file halfway around the world in 30 seconds. T’re that’s helpful technology to control if you’re trying to move existing legacy customers into your own SmartCloud Enterprise cloud universe or maybe even grab some net new users from other clouds.
Another serial acquirer, Oracle, was at it again, buying Responsys for $1.5 billion. Oracle plans to integrate Responsys’ cross-channel marketing know-how into it’s marketing cloud which already includes Eloqua, the marketing automation company Oracle bought last year for a mere $871 million. Since Salesforce.com acquired ExactTarget in June (for $2.5 billion) you have to wonder if still-independent marketing companies are on somebody’s acquisition list. Microsoft and SAP have been quieter on the marketing software front. Independent marketing players include Constant Contact, Hubspot, Lyris and StrongView. The latter two companies were quick to send out email last week portraying Oracle’s move as a validation of their respective strategies.
The Structure Show
This week it’ s just two people ranting on (er discussing) the state of cloud. But it’s pretty fun.