First things first

Thanks for reading the first ARCHITECHT newsletter in two months. If you’ve been reading since last year, you might notice a few changes:

  • The newsletter is now publishing weekly instead of daily. (This is because I’m spending my days working as the content marketing director at Replicated, a very cool startup that helps SaaS companies deliver on-premises installations of their applications.)
  • I’m using a new newsletter service, which I hope will provide me with more data on how many people are actually reading. I also hope it doesn’t detract from the reading experience.
  • This issue has a section where I collected a bunch of items I thought were noteworthy, going back roughly to the start of the new year. Starting next week, I’ll be providing brief commentary on each new link, but reading through so much news over the past week or so means no time for that this week.
  • There’s a sponsorship page that hopefully can help automate that process. If you want to sponsor, you can check out availability there and contact me. I’ll include more info about podcast sponsorship once I have that up and running again.

(Also, although this issue is late, they will normally publish on Sunday. You can still view the newsletter archives here.

As for the news, there were 3 things this week that really stood out to me:

  • Red Hat buying CoreOS for $250 million: This makes an awful lot of sense. Buy acquiring CoreOS, Red Hat is able to add some top-level cloud-native engineering talent and technology to compete against Google, Microsoft and AWS — all of which are making bets on Kubernetes development and services — and also against the Cloud-Foundry-based Pivotal and its growing Kubernetes support (and, arguably, Docker, too). It’s my understanding that Red Hat is already making a nice chunk of change selling and supporting its Kubernetes-based OpenShift platform, but that’s some tough competition and Red Hat needs to keep sharp if it wants to compete over the long run. I don’t know how successful of an exit this represents for CoreOS, but at the least Red Hat is a home that understands the CoreOS ethos and might actually gets its technology in front of a much broader audience.
  • Andrew Ng’s $174 million AI Fund: New of this broke over the summer when Ng started raising funds for this effort, and how it’s finally here. What’s most interesting here is that the AI Fund apparently will operate less like a traditional VC fund, and more like a source of capital for teams (including Ng’s company) iterating on ideas without getting distracted by fundraising concerns. In theory, this seems like a good way to approach AI, where there are good ideas aplenty but not a lot of evidence on what makes a successful AI startup. Ng thinks he can identify a repeatable process for doing that, and he’ll be rewarded very richly if he can.
  • Cloud earnings: Watch out for Alibaba Cloud: AWS, Microsoft and Google all announced earnings this week, without much surprise. AWS had a $5 billion quarter, Microsoft had an $8 billion cloud quarter (some percentage of which comes from Azure), and Google had a billion-dollar cloud quarter (some percentage of which comes from Google Cloud). What got less attention is Alibaba Cloud, which reported a $553 million fourth quarter and 104 percent year-over-year growth. As I’ve said before, it’s hard to imagine Alibaba ever having much control over the U.S. market for cloud computing, but it’s a wide world after all. If it can dominate Asia and much of the developing world, then AWS et al will really have something to worry about.

Things you may have missed while I was away