ArchiTECHt Daily: Amazon sizes up the competition

One of my favorite stories over the weekend was this GeekWire writeup of a recent interview with Amaz
ARCHITECHT
ArchiTECHt Daily: Amazon sizes up the competition
By ARCHITECHT • Issue #16
One of my favorite stories over the weekend was this GeekWire writeup of a recent interview with Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy at the University of Washington. He offered some relatively rare insights in how AWS views the cloud computing market, and even addressed the issue of cloud lock-in. Even accounting for vendor spin, he also left quite a bit to unpack.
This quote from Jassy is a good example: “I don’t think in our wildest dreams we ever thought we’d have a six- to seven-year head start, especially because we’re across the lake from another big technology company in that space, and we all know so many people at each other’s companies.”
In the first half, he pointed out what is probably the biggest case of collective blindness in the IT industry ever—at least in terms of how much money it cost software vendors. It took a long time for legacy software and hardware vendors to offer any credible cloud platform, and many of them still aren’t there. They dismissed AWS, skirted around the edges of what it was doing without ever really competing directly, and now it’s eating their lunches.
The second half of that quote, however, is a bit of revisionist history. Microsoft actually launched Azure in 2008, around two years after Amazon launched AWS. Google announced its App Engine platform-as-a-service offering in 2008, as well. 
Jassy does speak in the interview about the higher-level abstractions some competitors were trying, and perhaps that accounts for some the six -to-seven-year head start he claims. It took Microsoft a while (until 2010) to shed the more PaaS-y nature of Azure and start offering virtual machines. Google didn’t announce anything resembling infrastructure as a service until Compute Engine in 2012. It’s now 2017 and both are still playing a serious game of catch-up.
But then again, at least in the part of the interview that GeekWire highlights, Jassy never mentioned Google as a competitor at all.

What's new on ArchiTECHt
This is a transcript of the Jan. 12 ArchiTECHt Show interview with Dave Rensin, director of Customer Reliability Engineering at Google. It’s worth a read. Continue reading on ArchiTECHt »
Source: University of Michigan
Around the web: Artificial intelligence
Ford has been very progressive in thinking about itself as a transportation company rather than just a car company. This is the latest sign of that.
If I were Wells Fargo, I might actually revert a few decades and focus on hiring the right employees to interact with customers and rebuild trust. But everyone is doing AI so …
This is good advice on how to think about applying AI to your startup idea. For many reasons, picking a specific workload is probably preferable to trying to be the Cloudera of artificial intelligence.
Posting this mostly because I missed the original announcement of BigDL, Intel’s CPU-based framework for doing deep learning on Spark. Lots of companies already have CPUs and Spark, so you see what Intel is trying to do.
I wrote last week about the increasingly small packages able to run AI applications. The latest example, albeit from a lab at the University of Michigan, is possibly the smallest yet.
From the recent Asilomar meeting of AI types. Here is the money quote: “I am less concerned with Terminator scenarios,” MIT economist Andrew McAfee said on the first day at Asilomar. “If current trends continue, people are going to rise up well before the machines do.”
Jack Dorsey was talking up AI during an otherwise dismal earnings call. I actually think its best application would be on the business of selling data and analytics, or on filtering abusive content.
This type of capability is of limited utility. It’s good for broad demographic analysis, but computers are no better at guessing ages than people. Maybe worse. But faster.
If there is a company more suited to take advantage of computer vision for retail purposes than Pinterest, I don’t know what it is. In the case of fashion, it’s also doing this wisely by including humans as curators after algorithms have classified everything.
A collection of video presentations from Facebook, Google, Clarifai, Bloomberg and more, from a recent Facebook-led event.
Around the web: Cloud and infrastructure
The U.S. isn’t the only country advocating for more companies to but locally made stuff. And on the tech front, where the U.S. dominates, you have to imagine a trade war will be bad for business.
Just a good collection of photos from across Rackspace’s various U.S. offices, as part of a photo-essay series on “Americans at Work.” No mention of its recent layoffs.
Around the web: All things data
Between this and the various tools out there to do ops work in via Slackbot, Slack is setting up to become a focal point of all company activity. I hope it’s figuring out how to grow that business and nurture that ecosystem.
Her point about understanding societies and cultures is very important, once you get beyond wholly digital situations like serving web ads. Data makes software systems act, but not humans.
This is the Hadoop security framework pushed largely by Hortonworks. It’s getting difficult to keep track of which ASF projects belong to which vendors.
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