AWS shows Cloud is NOT a high-margin business

AWSearningsLast week Amazon.com was the first of the large cloud service companies other than Rackspace to finally break out revenue and expenses for its cloud operation. The market was cheered by news that Amazon Web Services (AWS) last quarter made an operating profit of $265 million with an operating profit margin of 19.6 percent. AWS, which many thought was running at break-even or possibly at a loss, turns out to be for Amazon a $5 billion business generating a third of the company’s total profits. That’s good, right? Not if it establishes a benchmark for typical-to-good cloud service provider performance. In fact it suggests that some companies — IBM […]

Be a cloud storage tycoon with Google Nearline

garage-full-of-possessions2-1Update — Reader Justin Fischer points out my math below is off. Interestingly I wasn’t the only reporter to make this mistake. Sorry.

If you have an entrepreneurial bent it’s hard not to see an opportunity to start the next big cloud storage company in last week’s Nearline Storage announcement by Google. I saw it immediately. So did Google make a big pricing mistake? Probably not.

Nearline storage usually means files stored on tapes in automated libraries. You ask for the file and a robot arm loads the tape giving you access to your data in a couple minutes. Google’s version of nearline storage is way faster, promising file […]

Reporter’s Notebook: Yahoo, IBM, IEEE and me

presspull

I haven’t been writing as much lately. This has been for several reasons, some of which may surprise you. It’s true I’ve had to spend a lot of time fending-off attacks from IBM corporate (more on that below) but I’ve mainly been at work on two secret projects. One is a new documentary series for PBS and the other a new technology startup I’m doing with a partner. The PBS series will be announced when PBS decides to announce it but most of the shooting is already done. The startup has taken the traditional VC route and looks, surprisingly, like it will actually be funded. Evidently if your idea is wild enough and […]

2015 Predictions: It’s about the money, stupid!

MaxHeadroom460It’s time, finally, for my long-delayed 2015 predictions. Things just kept changing so fast I had to keep re-writing, but have finally stopped. 2015 will definitely be the Year of Monetization, by which I mean it’s the year when the bottom line and showing profits will become a key motivator in almost every market. And while profit — like beer — is generally good, it isn’t always good for everyone. So here are my 10 predictions in no particular order.

Prediction #1 — Everyone gets the crap scared out of them by data security problems. In many ways this was set up by 2014, a year when, between Edward Snowden and Target, […]

IBM’s Power8 servers are less than meets the eye

ibm-nvidiaTwo weeks ago IBM told the IT world it was taking on Intel in the battle for server chips with new Power8 processors incorporating advanced interconnection and GPU technology from NVIDIA. This followed an announcement earlier in the year that Google was using Power8 processors in some of its homemade servers. All this bodes well for IBM’s chip unit, right?

Not so fast.

Some product announcements are more real than others. While it’s true that IBM announced the imminent availability of its first servers equipped with optional Graphical Processing Units (GPUs), most of the other products announced are up to two years in the future. The real sizzle here is the NVlink and CAPi stuff that won’t really […]