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From: Glenn Petersen3/21/2019 10:15:02 AM
   of 1542
 
Google Just Showed Us the Future of Gaming

Data centers could make individual game consoles obsolete

Eric Ravenscraft
Medium
Mar 19


Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty
______________________

On Tuesday at GDC 2019, Google announced Stadia, a new game-streaming service that will let you play AAA video games—the industry’s blockbusters—on almost every device you own, including your laptop, phone, TV, or even a Chromecast. If it works as advertised—a big “if”—it could end the gaming hardware market as we know it.

With Stadia, which is slated to launch later this year, Google is aiming for nothing less than entirely detaching video games from the hardware you own. Instead of downloading a game to your computer or putting a disc in your console, the game would be installed on a remote server that Google owns and operates.

You won’t have to buy a new console or build a new PC to run the latest generation of games. Instead, Google can upgrade Stadia servers entirely behind the scenes. You’ll just wake up one day and find that you can play games with better graphics. This presumably means high-end gaming is about to get a lot cheaper—a top-of-the-line PlayStation 4 Pro costs about $400—though Google declined to share pricing details with OneZero.

We don’t tend to think about it too much, but video games have an unusually intimate connection with the hardware they run on. Every few years, Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, and PC hardware manufacturers release new devices that add more power and features to the games you play. Microsoft made 4K gaming possible with the Xbox One X, NVIDIA launched graphics cards capable of ray tracing, and Nintendo had that weird expansion pack that made Donkey Kong 64 not crash. For as long as they’ve existed, video games and their hardware have been intrinsically linked. Think The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, for instance, and you’ll picture the Nintendo 64 it ran on.

But while this relationship is widely accepted in gaming, the same isn’t true for most other kinds of software. A professional video editor might need a better machine to squeeze more out of Adobe Premiere, but no one has to upgrade their phone every couple years to use Gmail or buy a new laptop to run the latest version of Microsoft Word.


Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty
____________

This kind of cloud gaming service has been tried many times before, from the failed OnLive to PlayStation Now and to the still-in-beta NVIDIA GeForce Now. But two key factors set Google’s attempt apart. First, you may already own a device capable of running Stadia. GeForce Now is the closest to this platform-agnostic dream, with support for both Mac and Windows computers, but Stadia goes a step further by including Chromebooks, phones, and even the modest Chromecast streaming device. If you have a gadget capable of running YouTube, Google says you can play the newest high-end games using Stadia.

Second, the servers these games will run on are owned by Google. And Google is very good at building servers. Video games, especially the visually rich AAA games that most modern consoles can play, are among the most resource-hungry applications any computer can run. For an individual player, keeping up with the pace of hardware innovation can be a Sisyphean task—and an obscenely expensive one at that. For Google, upgrading massive systems with the latest hardware is done routinely.



Consider the current gold standard of gaming: 4K resolution, running at 60 frames per second. If you have a 4K TV today, you have a few options available to play games that can get the most out of it. You can buy an Xbox One X or a PlayStation 4 Pro, or you could build a PC capable of playing 4K games.

According to Google, Stadia will launch with support for playing games at 4K HDR at 60 fps right off the bat. For a new service launching in 2019, perhaps that’s to be expected. However, the company went a step further, announcing that it would scale up to 8K and 120 fps in the future. The company didn’t give a timeline for when this would happen, but since the first consumer-level 8K TVs were only just announced this year, few consumers are likely to be in any rush.

This approach also removes the roadblock for more subtle innovations. For example, NVIDIA’s new ray-tracing graphics cards simulate the way light works in the real world, creating instant shadows and realistic reflections and simplifying a lot of the work game developers have to do to make a game look good. The benefit is so immediately obvious that it spawned its own meme.

But ray tracing presents a problem for game developers: It only works on NVIDIA graphics cards that support the feature. The company is expanding the list of supported cards, but that still leaves a potential audience that’s limited to a subset of PC gamers who have a small selection of relatively high-end graphics cards. With such a minuscule audience, few outside of the biggest studios will invest resources into developing games for it. It’s just not worth it yet.

Were that technology to be incorporated into Stadia servers, however, the potential audience would be massive. Instead of waiting for consumers to slowly migrate to new hardware, bigger and better games can be shipped as soon as Google’s data servers are upgraded. Companies like NVIDIA would also be more likely to sell their new high-end hardware directly to Google, rather than trying to incrementally sell $600-plus cards to average consumers.

There are still a lot of potential stumbling blocks for Stadia. The biggest bottleneck is home internet speeds, which, in the United States, have not always had the bandwidth to support something as intense as 4K game streaming. There’s also the price: $20 a month for access to a library of games?—?as is the case for PlayStation Now?—?might be reasonable, but if the company makes users pay separately for additional features like 4K streaming or ray tracing, it might end up a wash compared to just buying a console.

What’s not in question is the earth-shattering effect Stadia will have on gaming hardware in the home if the service works as advertised. To use a soon-to-be-timely pop culture analogy, the industry has resembled the endlessly turning wheel of power in Westeros that Daenerys Targaryen describes in Games of Thrones: Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, NVIDIA, each taking their turn on top with successive and expensive upgrades. Consumers have accepted the need to buy new consoles or graphics cards every few years, because there has been no other way to play the latest games. In a world where you can play the newest Tomb Raider in perfect 4K HDR on something as simple as a Chromecast, however, the endlessly turning wheel of hardware upgrades won’t just stop—it will break altogether.

onezero.medium.com

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From: Glenn Petersen3/23/2019 9:25:12 PM
   of 1542
 
Giant Military Contract Has a Hitch: A Little-Known Entrepreneur

By Karen Weise and Thomas Kaplan
New York Times
March 20, 2019



CreditCreditAvalon Nuovo
___________________________

Deap Ubhi is a restless guy. At 26, he quit his job in private equity in Northern California, where he had grown up and gone to college, and then moved to India to found Burrp!, a local search site similar to Yelp. He sold the company in 2009 and along with other alums became what they called the Burrp! mafia, seeding and growing other start-ups in India.

“Fast and is extremely straightforward,” one Indian entrepreneur wrote about Mr. Ubhi in an online reference. “Not for the faint of heart.”

After returning to the West Coast, he joined Amazon in 2014 to encourage start-ups to adopt the company’s cloud-computing products. But in less than two years, Mr. Ubhi left to start a company that provided technology to restaurants, inspired by his family’s experience running an Indian-Jamaican-Mexican fusion joint.

He then shifted his career in a new direction, taking his Silicon Valley mentality to the heart of the Washington bureaucracy. He joined a Pentagon effort to recruit techies, and turned the restaurant start-up into a side hustle. He wanted to use his skills not “to make a search engine more performant, or help a box of stuff get to a customer faster; but rather towards service of the American people,” Mr. Ubhi later wrote.

But that circuitous career has landed Mr. Ubhi, now 39, in the center of a Washington drama. The question of what roles he played inside the Pentagon, and when, is holding up one of the largest federal information technology contracts in history. It is a scuffle with an unusual mixture of tech industry rivalries, national politics and the obscure world of government procurement.



Deap Ubhi in 2009. His short time working in the Pentagon has put him at the center of a Washington drama.CreditSattish Bate/Hindustan Times, via Getty Images
__________________________

The project, a $10 billion deal to bring modern cloud computing to the Pentagon’s arsenal, drew the attention of the biggest tech companies from the moment it was announced in 2017. Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM and Oracle all wanted the prize.

But it had a hitch: The contract would go to only one cloud vendor, even though many big companies prefer to work with multiple cloud providers. Amazon, the runaway leader in cloud computing, appeared to be perhaps the only company capable of fulfilling the Pentagon’s huge demands. And that is where Mr. Ubhi’s connections to the company, where he now works again, have thrown a wrench into the process.

The software giant Oracle, which is widely considered ill equipped to land the deal, has aggressively criticized the one-vendor approach. As part of its opposition, the company is arguing in federal court that Mr. Ubhi’s ties to Amazon shaped the contract in the company’s favor.

Before the case was filed last year, the Pentagon found that Mr. Ubhi had no improper influence, and it continued evaluating the proposals despite Oracle’s lawsuit. But in late February, the government said it had received “new information” about Mr. Ubhi that it needed to investigate, essentially delaying the process.

A Pentagon spokeswoman, Elissa Smith, declined to say what new information about Mr. Ubhi had been brought to the department’s attention. The Pentagon had said that the winner of the contract was projected to be announced in April. But Ms. Smith said the inquiry into Mr. Ubhi was “expected to impact the award date.”

Mr. Ubhi, contacted through Amazon, declined to comment, as did the company.

Oracle also declined to comment. But in its lawsuit, Oracle has highlighted Mr. Ubhi’s outspoken enthusiasm for Amazon. In early 2017, he took to Twitter to thank Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder, for opposing President Trump’s travel ban. “Once an Amazonian, always an Amazonian,” he wrote.



Safra A. Catz, a co-chief executive of Oracle, which has has aggressively criticized the Pentagon’s approach to a giant cloud computing contract.CreditKevin Hagen for The New York Times
__________________________

The comments touch on an issue floating around discussions about the contract: whether Mr. Trump would put his finger on the scale. The president’s disdain for Mr. Bezos and Amazon is well documented on his Twitter feed. At a private dinner with Mr. Trump, one of Oracle’s co-chief executives, Safra A. Catz, discussed the contract, Bloomberg reported last year. After that report, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said Mr. Trump was “not involved” in the contracting process.

By the standards of most administrations, it would be extraordinarily unusual for the president to insert himself into the competition for a government contract. But when Mr. Trump was president-elect, he drew attention for taking on Boeing over the cost of a new Air Force One aircraft and pressing Lockheed Martin over the cost of the F-35 fighter jet.

If Mr. Trump went so far as to say “who should compete, or how one company should be evaluated compared to another, that would be a first,” said David A. Drabkin, a former procurement official at the Defense Department.

A Defense Department procurement official is formally overseeing the cloud contract, known as the joint enterprise defense infrastructure, or JEDI. But Ms. Smith declined to identify the officials who would be involved with choosing the winner.

A White House official reiterated on Wednesday that the president was not involved.

The military has lagged behind the private sector in adopting cloud computing, but officials have made clear that they know the stakes. The Pentagon’s move to the cloud has been led by the chief information officer, Dana Deasy, a former global chief information officer at JPMorgan Chase.

“Battlefield advantage is driven by who has access to the best information that can then be analyzed to inform decision making at the point and time of need,” Mr. Deasy wrote last year.



Amazon’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos, left, at the Pentagon in 2015 with Ashton B. Carter, right, the defense secretary at the time.CreditSenior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz/Department of Defense
_____________________

Adopting technologies widely used in the private sector is key to the mission of the defense digital service, the Pentagon tech team Mr. Ubhi joined in 2016. It is unclear what Mr. Ubhi worked on during most of his time in government. But in his last two months, during fall 2017, he did market research for JEDI, according to the Pentagon.

In court documents, Oracle argues that Mr. Ubhi worked on JEDI when the Pentagon decided to take the approach of hiring a single cloud provider. Oracle cites internal documents in which Mr. Ubhi expressed support for a single cloud. When the Air Force awarded a different cloud project to multiple vendors, Mr. Ubhi wrote that the contract “makes me weep.”

Oracle says Mr. Ubhi clearly favored Amazon over other tech companies. In an online chat conversation on Slack about another cloud-computing provider, he sent a closed-eyes, tongue-out emoji.

Amazon has countered that the Pentagon identified 72 people substantially involved in developing the contract and its requirements, and that Mr. Ubhi worked on JEDI for only seven weeks, in the early stages.

At the end of October 2017, Mr. Ubhi recused himself from JEDI, saying Amazon and his restaurant start-up, Tablehero, “may soon engage in further partnership discussions.” Two weeks later, he resigned and then rejoined Amazon, where he still works on the commercial, not government, side of the business, the company said.

There is no evidence that Amazon bought Tablehero. Dheeraj Jain, an investor in Tablehero, said Mr. Ubhi has not responded to emails. “We have written off this investment, unfortunately,” he added. “And we are not happy about it.”



Dana Deasy, the Pentagon’s chief information officer, has been leading its move to the cloud.CreditSarah Silbiger/The New York Times
___________________________

The Pentagon released the JEDI request for proposals nine months after Mr. Ubhi recused himself. It said a single cloud would let it move faster and with more security, a decision the Government Accountability Office later affirmed.

Because Amazon appeared to have a leg up, the contract immediately became a point of contention among tech contractors. Both Oracle and IBM filed protests with the Government Accountability Office, which adjudicates federal contract challenges. The office denied Oracle’s protest and later rejected IBM’s on procedural grounds. Oracle, whose cloud market share is small enough to be grouped in the “other” category in several leading research reports, took its fight to the United States Court of Federal Claims.

The delays from the Oracle lawsuit could help Microsoft. In the months since the request for proposals went out, the company, which has supplied the Pentagon for decades, has improved its capabilities to the point that some experts believe it is an increasingly credible competitor to Amazon.

But even if Mr. Ubhi is found to have tainted the contract, it is not clear that it would change the Pentagon’s plan to use a single cloud provider. The Government Accountability Office in November found that the Pentagon’s justifications “reasonably support” the decision. The office said it would be “improper” to go against what the Pentagon determined was best for the country, even if Mr. Ubhi had shaped the contract.

When he was working on the project, Mr. Ubhi said that bolstering national security was the point.

In October 2017, he wrote in a blog post that he believed his work on JEDI would “be a unique asset to help our men and women in uniform make more data-driven decisions, and to allow our leadership to be more effective.”

Little did he know, it seems, that his work on it could put the project on pause, or, if Oracle has its way, in jeopardy.

Kate Conger contributed reporting. Alain Delaquérière contributed research.

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From: Glenn Petersen4/10/2019 5:02:34 PM
   of 1542
 
CIA Considering Cloud Contract Worth ‘Tens of Billions’

The agency is hungry for more commercial cloud.

By Frank Konkel
NextGov
April 9, 2019



Dzianis_Rakhuba/Shutterstock.com
________________________

After six years in a classified commercial cloud built by Amazon Web Services, the CIA wants more commercial cloud capabilities from potentially multiple companies.

The agency is in the early stages of planning a contract for commercial cloud computing services that will be worth “tens of billions” of dollars, according to contracting documents presented to select tech companies by the CIA in late March and obtained by Nextgov.

Dubbed the Commercial Cloud Enterprise, or C2E, the two-phase initiative will “expand and enhance” the commercial cloud capabilities it first contracted for with Amazon Web Services in 2013.

That contract, called C2S and valued at up to $600 million over 10 years, provided commercial cloud capabilities such as data storage, computing and analytics to the CIA and its 16 sister agencies within the intelligence community.

“Since that time, cloud computing has proven transformational for the IC–increasing the speed at which new applications can be developed to support mission and improving the functionality and security of those applications,” the CIA contracting documents state.

Whereas C2S has been managed by a single company, the CIA expects to “acquire foundational cloud services” from multiple vendors in phase one of C2E, which is good news for companies like IBM, Microsoft, Google and others expected to compete for the contract.

The initiative’s second phase also opens up competition with a stated goal to “acquire through multiple vehicles” cloud management capabilities and specialized platform- and software-as-a-service offerings. To be considered for the contract, cloud service providers must have a commercial presence and must meet rigid government requirements to host secret and top secret classified information. AWS is currently the only commercial cloud provider cleared to host all levels of classified data.

AWS established a foothold in the national security space through C2S. Over the years, it has introduced new services and earned plaudits from the CIA’s top tech officials for being more secure than the agency’s own data repositories. Most recently, Andrew Hallman, deputy director for innovation at the CIA, praised the department’s previous cloud efforts and said its future plans will focus on fusing various cloud architectures together.

“We have a major cloud provider and we have had a journey to cloud becoming very successful,” said Hallman, speaking March 28 at an event hosted by Nextgov and Defense One.

“The important thing is to look at what the future of cloud looks like—hybrid cloud architectures, multi-cloud architectures—and that, for us, the very important thing is making really wise decisions about how those architectures work together.”

Meanwhile, cloud computing’s import across government continues to expand, with federal agencies collectively expected to spend $2 billion on the technology in the coming year. AWS has been favored to win the largest cloud contract up for grabs, the Pentagon’s multibillion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract.

Currently held up in court, JEDI is the Pentagon’s nascent effort to bring enterprisewide commercial cloud capabilities to the Defense Department and its branches, akin to what C2S did for the intelligence community. Like C2S, JEDI will be awarded to a single commercial cloud service provider, one of the reasons it’s been so controversial, with companies vying in public and private to influence the deal.

The CIA’s C2E contract, however, dwarfs even JEDI in size and scope, though the contract is subject to change because the government is so early in the contracting process. According to a proposed acquisition timeline accompanying the contracting documents, the CIA intends to engage industry regarding contract requirements through next year. The timeline proposes the C2E contract be bid out in May 2020 with an award “no later than July 2021.”

https://www.nextgov.com/it-modernization/2019/04/cia-considering-cloud-contract-worth-tens-billions/156190/

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From: Glenn Petersen4/28/2019 10:37:26 PM
   of 1542
 
Alibaba Pushes Its Cloud Unit Globally As It Trounces Amazon in Asia

By Lulu Yilun Chen
Bloomberg
April 24, 2019

-- Chinese web giant will continue cloud investment abroad

-- Alibaba Cloud won largest market share in Asia, Gartner says

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s $3 billion cloud services arm is fast becoming an important driver of its global expansion.

The e-commerce giant widened its lead over Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. in Asia’s cloud computing market in 2018, according to Gartner, which in turn helped it narrow its global gap with those two rivals. That’s helping Alibaba advance billionaire co-founder Jack Ma’s vision of earning half its revenue beyond China.

Alibaba’s overseas cloud expansion will continue to outpace its domestic growth as the company pushes further into other countries, according to Lancelot Guo, Alibaba Cloud’s vice president and head of strategy. “Internationalization is a key strategy for Alibaba and cloud,” Guo said in a phone interview. “We want to grow even faster.”

The company declined to disclose its budget or revenue target. Guo said it seeks to cater to U.S. companies investing in China and vice versa, and that setting up data centers in Indonesia and Malaysia will help it comply with local data requirements.

The cloud business underpins Alibaba’s revenue growth, helping it offset saturation in its home e-commerce arena. The overall cloud market could grow by 55 percent to $331.2 billion in three years, according to Gartner, and Alibaba’s cloud business has been generating triple-digit revenue growth over the past three years, outpacing the industry.

Gartner estimates that Alibaba last year accounted for 19.6 percent of the Asia region’s markets for infrastructure as a service and infrastructure utility services, two of the most popular forms of cloud business. That means its regional market share rose by nearly a third from 2017, while Amazon’s fell slightly to 11 percent. (Globally, Amazon leads with 30.4 percent to Alibaba’s 4.9 percent.)

It’s been a tumultuous year for global tech operators as the U.S., Europe and countries across Southeast Asia tighten their grip on data services. Vietnam and Thailand are among the nations warming to a stricter model of governance than tech companies have been accustomed to in the internet era.

That’s one reason to invest in local data centers. Alibaba has 15 such facilities in Asia excluding China, including Hong Kong, Australia, India and Japan. “We are very, very sensitive and aware,” said Guo. “We work with a lot of third parties to understand each country’s laws.”

bloomberg.com

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From: Glenn Petersen5/27/2019 10:20:33 AM
   of 1542
 
Nvidia announces its first AI platform for edge devices

by Mike Wheatley
sikiconANGLE
UPDATED 03:30 EDT / MAY 27 2019



INFRA
________________

Nvidia Corp. is bringing artificial intelligence to the edge of the network with the launch early Monday of its new Nvidia EGX platform that can perceive, understand and act on data in real time without sending it to the cloud or a data center first.

Delivering AI to edge devices such as smartphones, sensors and factory machines is the next step in the technology’s evolutionary progress. The earliest AI algorithms were so complex that they could be processed only on powerful machines running in cloud data centers, and that means sending lots of information across the network. But this is undesirable because it requires lots of bandwidth and results in higher latencies, which makes “real-time” AI something less than that.

What companies really want is AI to be performed where the data itself is created, be it at manufacturing facilities, retail stores or warehouses. And it’s a problem that several tech firms have attempted to address, most recently Intel Corp. with the launch of its first 10-nanometer “Ice Lake” chips today but also dozens of startups.

But Nvidia’s entrance into the AI edge is notable because the company’s graphics processing units are widely regarded as some of the best AI-processing hardware around. That includes its Tesla V100 for deep learning, and its Quadro GV100, which enables ray tracing, the process of creating realistic images, to be done in real time.

The new NVIDIA EGX platform is scalable from a light server based on the Jetson Nano processor that performs 0.5 Trillion operations per second in a few watts, to a micro data center with a rack of NVIDIA T4 based edge servers that can do 10,000 trillion operations per second. The energy-saving capabilities of the chip are important for AI, since traditional hardware is a massive power hog when running such tasks.

In a media briefing, Justin Boitano, senior director of enterprise and edge computing at Nvidia, said there will be huge demand for a platform such as NGX because there will be something like 150 billion machine sensors and “internet of things” devices in the world by 2025. He said many of these sensors would be used for initiatives such as “smart cities,” and will be pumping out data that needs to be processed onsite, for reasons such as a demand for lower latency, real-time response, data sovereignty rules or privacy concerns.

“AI is really the killer application in all industries both in vision and in speech,” Boitano said.

Partnerships are important as well if people are actually going to put those chips to good use. For that reason Nvidia is integrating the NVIDIA Edge Stack software than runs on EGX with Red Hat Inc.’s OpenShift Kubernetes container orchestration platform in order to make it compatible with modern software applications.

The platform also integrates security, storage and networking technologies from Mellanox Technologies Ltd., which is a company that Nvidia intends to acquire by the end of year for a cool $6.9 billion.



“Mellanox Smart NICs and switches provide the ideal I/O connectivity for data access that scale from the edge to hyperscale data centers,” said Mellanox Chief Technology Officer Michael Kagan.

Nvidia is teaming up with no fewer than 13 different server makers to sell the EGX platform, including big-name manufacturers such as Cisco Systems Inc., Dell-EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. and Lenovo Group Holding Ltd.

NGX is also compatible with AI applications running on major cloud infrastructure services such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, and can connect to IoT services such as AWS IoT Greengrass and Azure IoT Edge.

images: Nvidia



https://siliconangle.com/2019/05/27/nvidia-announces-first-ai-platform-edge-devices/

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From: Glenn Petersen6/5/2019 3:02:53 PM
   of 1542
 
Mee described some of the complexity in the market as related to public cloud companies providing traditional on-premises offerings. He didn’t provide names, but Amazon Web Services leads the public cloud market and has been promoting its ability to serve customers even in their own data centers. He also mentioned Kubernetes, open-source software created at Google that lets developers easily move around their applications and workloads.

Pivotal Software loses almost half its value after ‘train wreck’ of an earnings report

Published an hour ago
Jordan Novet@jordannovet
CNBC.com
  • Wedbush downgraded Pivotal stock in the wake of the earnings report.
  • The company said it’s taking steps to fix sales execution issues.



Pivotal Software CEO Rob Mee.
Source: Pivotal Software
________________________`

Pivotal Software shares crashed on Wednesday, knocking off about half the company’s market value, after a light revenue forecast raised concerns that demand for its products is weakening.

The stock plunged as much as 45% to a low of $10.10, pulling its market capitalization below $3 billion. Prior to Wednesday, Pivotal’s worst day since its IPO last year came in September, when the shares dropped 20%.

Pivotal, which sells subscriptions for software that’s designed to help companies deploy applications across multiple clouds, lowered its full-year revenue guidance and now expects sales of $756 million to $767 million, well below the Refinitiv consensus estimate of $803 million.

CEO Rob Mee told analysts on a conference call after hours on Tuesday that the company was experiencing sales execution problems.

“Some of the deals we expected to close in Q1 slipped,” Mee said. He highlighted “a complex technology landscape that is lengthening our sales cycle.”



It’s a theme investors have heard from other enterprise technology vendors competing in crowded markets against large incumbents and high-growth upstarts. Pure Storage had its worst day ever as a public company last month following disappointing earnings. In lowering its outlook for the year earlier this week, Box Chief Financial Officer Dylan Smith pointed to “anticipation of longer sales cycles across our larger deals.” Zuora CEO Tien Tzuo said his company needed to improve its sales execution based on its latest quarterly results, which led to a 30% plunge in the stock on Friday.

For the fiscal second quarter, Pivotal expects revenue of $185 million to $189 million, trailing the average analyst estimate of $198 million, according to Refinitiv.

Mee described some of the complexity in the market as related to public cloud companies providing traditional on-premises offerings. He didn’t provide names, but Amazon Web Services leads the public cloud market and has been promoting its ability to serve customers even in their own data centers. He also mentioned Kubernetes, open-source software created at Google that lets developers easily move around their applications and workloads.

“I think it’s really causing customers to take their time and think about what they’re doing,” Mee said. He added that the company named a new head of sales for the Americas.

Pivotal’s first-quarter results were actually better than expected. The company reported a loss of 3 cents per share, excluding certain items, on $185.7 million in revenue. Analysts polled by Refinitiv had been expecting a loss of 5 cents per share on $184.1 million in revenue.

Some analysts downgraded the stock after the report. Daniel Ives and Strecker Backe of Wedbush Securities, reduced their rating to “neutral” from “outperform,” cut their price target from $26 to $15 and described the quarter and guidance as a “train wreck.”

“It is clear to us that this management team does not have a handle on the underlying issues negatively impacting its sales cycles and the activity in the field which gives us concern that this quarter will be the start of some ‘dark days ahead’ for Pivotal,” the analysts wrote.

They said Pivotal could be an acquisition prospect over time, but for now no buyer would closely consider it because of the issues it faces with growth.

Alex Kurtz and Steven Enders of KeyBanc Capital Markets maintained their “overweight” rating on Pivotal but lowered their price target from $27 to $21.

“Better understanding the breadth of the demand slowdown will be an important factor in this lowered outlook, as the miss could be localized to a handful of accounts given PVTL deal size,” the analysts wrote.

With Wednesday’s drop, Pivotal shares are down 34% this year.

cnbc.com

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From: FUBHO6/6/2019 1:55:19 PM
2 Recommendations   of 1542
 
Microsoft and Oracle to combine clouds
1h | Natalie Bannerman

www.capacitymedia.com
Microsoft and Oracle have entered into a cloud interoperability partnership enabling customers to migrate and run enterprise workloads across Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud.

Thanks for the partnership enterprises can connect Azure services like Analytics and AI, to Oracle Cloud services like Autonomous Database.

“As the cloud of choice for the enterprise, with over 95% of the Fortune 500 using Azure, we have always been first and foremost focused on helping our customers thrive on their digital transformation journeys,” said Scott Guthrie (pictured), executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and AI division. “With Oracle’s enterprise expertise, this alliance is a natural choice for us as we help our joint customers accelerate the migration of enterprise applications and databases to the public cloud.”

By allowing customers to run one of part of their workload in Azure and the other in Oracle Cloud it enabling a best-of-both-clouds experience, creating a one-stop shop for all the cloud services and applications they need to run their business.

In addition to providing interoperability for customers running Oracle software on Oracle Cloud and Microsoft software on Azure, it enables new and innovative scenarios like running Oracle E-Business Suite or Oracle JD Edwards on Azure against an Oracle Autonomous Database running on Exadata infrastructure in the Oracle Cloud.

“The Oracle Cloud offers a complete suite of integrated applications for sales, service, marketing, human resources, finance, supply chain and manufacturing, plus highly automated and secure Generation 2 infrastructure featuring the Oracle Autonomous Database,” said Don Johnson, executive vice president, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). “Oracle and Microsoft have served enterprise customer needs for decades. With this partnership, our joint customers can migrate their entire set of existing applications to the cloud without having to re-architect anything, preserving the large investments they have already made.”

Through the expanded partnership, a number of new capabilities have been made available including:

  • Seamless connection to Azure and Oracle Cloud , allowing customers to extend their on-premises data centres to both clouds.
  • Unified identity and access management, via a unified single sign-on experience and automated user provisioning, to manage resources across Azure and Oracle Cloud.
  • Supported deployment of custom applications and packaged Oracle applications on Azure with Oracle databases (deployed in Oracle Cloud.
  • A collaborative support model to help IT organisations deploy these new capabilities while enabling them to use existing customer support relationships and processes.

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    From: Glenn Petersen6/10/2019 9:30:41 AM
       of 1542
     
    Salesforce counters Microsoft:

    Salesforce is buying data visualization company Tableau for $15.7B in all-stock deal

    Ingrid Lunden @ingridlunden
    TechCrunch
    June 10, 2019

    On the heels of Google buying analytics startup Looker last week for $2.6 billion, Salesforce today announced a huge piece of news in a bid to step up its own work in data visualization and (more generally) tools to help enterprises make sense of the sea of data that they use and amass: Salesforce is buying Tableau for $15.7 billion in an all-stock deal.

    The latter is publicly traded and this deal will involve shares of Tableau Class A and Class B common stock getting exchanged for 1.103 shares of Salesforce common stock, the company said, and so the $15.7 billion figure is the enterprise value of the transaction, based on the average price of Salesforce’s shares as of June 7, 2019.

    This is a huge jump on Tableau’s last market cap: it was valued at $10.79 billion at close of trading Friday, according to figures on Google Finance. (Also: trading has halted on its stock in light of this news.)

    The two boards have already approved the deal, Salesforce notes. The two companies’ management teams will be hosting a conference call at 8am Eastern and I’ll listen in to that as well to get more details.

    This is a huge deal for Salesforce as it continues to diversify beyond CRM software and into deeper layers of analytics.

    The company reportedly worked hard to — but ultimately missed out on — buying LinkedIn (which Microsoft picked up instead), and while there isn’t a whole lot in common between LinkedIn and Tableau, this deal is also about extending engagement with the customers that Salesforce already has.

    This also looks like a move designed to help bulk up against Google’s move to buy Looker, announced last week, although I’d argue that analytics is a big enough area that all major tech companies that are courting enterprises are getting their ducks in a row in terms of squaring up to stronger strategies (and products) in this area. It’s unclear whether (and if) the two deals were made in response to each other.

    “We are bringing together the world’s #1 CRM with the #1 analytics platform. Tableau helps people see and understand data, and Salesforce helps people engage and understand customers. It’s truly the best of both worlds for our customers–bringing together two critical platforms that every customer needs to understand their world,” said Marc Benioff, Chairman and co-CEO, Salesforce, in a statement. “I’m thrilled to welcome Adam and his team to Salesforce.”

    Tableau has about 86,000 business customers including Charles Schwab, Verizon (which owns TC), Schneider Electric, Southwest and Netflix. Salesforce said it will operate independently and under its own brand post-acquisition. It will also remain headquartered in Seattle, WA, headed by CEO Adam Selipsky along with others on the current leadership team.

    That’s not to say, though, that the two will not be working together: on the contrary, Salesforce is already talking up the possibilities of expanding what the company is already doing with its Einstein platform ( launched back in 2016, Einstein is the home of all of Salesforce’s AI-based initiatives); and with “Customer 360”, which is the company’s product and take on omnichannel sales and marketing. The latter is an obvious and complementary product home, given that one huge aspect of Tableau’s service is to provide “big picture” insights.

    “Joining forces with Salesforce will enhance our ability to help people everywhere see and understand data,” said Selipsky. “As part of the world’s #1 CRM company, Tableau’s intuitive and powerful analytics will enable millions more people to discover actionable insights across their entire organizations. I’m delighted that our companies share very similar cultures and a relentless focus on customer success. I look forward to working together in support of our customers and communities.”

    “Salesforce’s incredible success has always been based on anticipating the needs of our customers and providing them the solutions they need to grow their businesses,” said Keith Block, co-CEO, Salesforce. “Data is the foundation of every digital transformation, and the addition of Tableau will accelerate our ability to deliver customer success by enabling a truly unified and powerful view across all of a customer’s data.”

    More to come as we learn it. Refresh for updates.

    techcrunch.com

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    From: Glenn Petersen6/12/2019 12:51:55 PM
       of 1542
     
    CrowdStrike pops nearly 80% in debut, now worth about $12 billion

    Published 42 min agoUpdated Moments Ago
    Lauren Feiner @lauren_feiner
    CNBC.com
    • CrowdStrike opened its first day of trading on the Nasdaq with a share price of $63.50, surging from its IPO price of $34.
    • The company provides cloud-based security software to companies like Amazon Web Services and Credit Suisse.
    • CrowdStrike recorded a net loss of $140 million for the year ended Jan. 31, while revenue more than doubled to $249.8 million.



    George Kurtz
    Heidi Petty | CNBC
    _______________

    CrowdStrike rocketed as much as 97% in its first day of trading on the public market on Wednesday. The security software vendor opened trading at $63.50 after it priced its IPO at $34 a share, above the high end of its expected range of $28 to $30 per share.

    The stock settled to a pop of more than 78%, pushing its market cap to about $12 billion, quadruple the valuation from its last private round in June 2018. The company is worth more than 37-year-old security software provider Symantec despite having about 5% as much revenue.

    Crowdstrike, trading on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol “CRWD,” joins a rapidly growing 2019 IPO class, which already includes Uber, Lyft and Pinterest. In the business software market, CrowdStrike follows the debuts of Zoom and PagerDuty and comes just a head of Slack’s direct listing.

    With the first-day surge, CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz is a billionaire, and the company’s early backers are notching huge returns. Warburg Pincus owns a stake worth over $3 billion. Accel’s stake is valued at over $2 billion, and Alphabet’s CapitalG controls shares worth over $1 billion.

    CrowdStrike, whose cloud-based technology is used to detect and prevent breaches, recorded a net loss of $140 million for the year ended Jan. 31, while revenue more than doubled to $249.8 million, according to the company’s prospectus.

    The company counts Credit Suisse, Tribune Media and Amazon Web Services among its customers.

    cnbc.com

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    From: Glenn Petersen6/28/2019 2:57:28 PM
    1 Recommendation   of 1542
     
    Enterprise SaaS revenue hits $100B run rate, led by Microsoft and Salesforce

    Ron Miller
    TechCrunch
    June 27, 2019


    In its most recent report, Synergy Research, a company that monitors cloud marketshare, found that enterprise SaaS revenue passed the $100 billion run rate this quarter. The market was led by Microsoft and Salesforce.

    It shouldn’t be a surprise at this point that these two enterprise powerhouses come in at the top. Microsoft reported $10.1 billion in Productivity and Business Processes revenue, which includes Office 365, the Dynamics line and LinkedIn, the company it bought in 2016 for $26.2 billion. That $10.1 billion accounted for the top spot with 17 percent

    Salesforce was next with around 12%. It announced $3.74 billion in revenue in its most recent earnings statement with Service Cloud alone accounting for $1.02 billion in revenue, crossing that billion-dollar mark for the first time.

    Adobe came in third, good for around 10% market share, with $2.74 billion in revenue for its most recent report. Digital Media, which includes Creative Cloud and Document Cloud, accounted for the vast majority of the revenue with $1.8 billion. SAP and Oracle complete the top companies



    A growing marketWhile that number may seem low, given we are 20 years into the development of the SaaS market, it is still a significant milestone, not to be dismissed lightly. As Synergy pointed out, while the market feels mature, if finds that SaaS revenue still accounts for just 20 percent of the overall enterprise software market. There’s still a long way to go, showing as with the infrastructure side of the market, things change much more slowly than we imagine, and the market is growing rapidly, as the impressive growth rates show.

    “While SaaS growth rate isn’t as high as IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service), the SaaS market is substantially bigger and it will remain so until 2023. Synergy forecasts strong growth across all SaaS segments and all geographic regions,” the company wrote in its report.

    Salesforce is the only one of the top five that was actually born in the cloud. Adobe, an early desktop software company, switched to cloud in 2013. Microsoft, of course, has been a desktop stalwart for many years before embracing the cloud over the last decade. SAP and Oracle are traditional enterprise software companies, born long before the cloud was even a concept, that began transitioning when the market began shifting.

    Getting to a billionYet in spite of being late to the game, these numbers show that the market is still dominated by the old guard enterprise software companies and how difficult it is to achieve market dominance for companies born in the cloud. Salesforce emerged 20 years ago as an early cloud adherent, but of all of the enterprise SaaS companies that were started this century only ServiceNow and WorkDay show up in the Synergy list lumped in “the next 10.”

    That’s not to say there aren’t SaaS companies making some serious money, just not quite as much as the top players to this point. Jason Lemkin, CEO and founder at SaaStr, a company that invests in and supports enterprise SaaS companies, says a lot of companies are close to that $1 billion goal than you might think, and he’s optimistic that we are going to see more.

    “We will have at least 100 companies top $1 billion in ARR, probably many more. It is just math. Almost everyone IPO’ing [SaaS company] has 120-140% revenue retention. That will compound $100 million or $200 million to $1 billion. The only question is when,” he told TechCrunch.



    Chart courtesy of SaasStr

    __________________________

    He adds that annualized numbers are very close behind ARR numbers and it won’t take long to catch up. Yet as we have seen with some of the companies on this list, it’s still not easy to get there.

    techcrunch.com

    It’s hard to develop a billion dollar SaaS company, and it takes time and patience, and perhaps some strategic acquisitions to get there, but the market trajectory continues to move upward. It will likely only grow stronger as more companies move to software in the cloud, and that bodes well for many of the players in this market, even those that didn’t show up on Synergy’s chart.

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