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August 25, 2015

First the cloud now analytics: Amazon takes on Big Data

As AWS and Aliyun make machine learning capabilities available, can analytics companies survive?

By James Nunns

Amazon Web Services is offering another capability to its European users with its Machine Learning services.

Although the services had already launched in the US, they had not been available to companies in Europe due to regulations regarding data location.

The company has found a way around that by using AML in its Dublin region, meaning that the data will continue to reside in Europe and not leave the region.

Companies will then be able to take advantage of the analytics and predictive capabilities with the added benefit of lower latency due to its European location.

Powered by its cloud platform, AML offers visual tools and wizards to help guide developers of all levels, but it is particularly beneficial to those that don’t have knowledge of complex algorithms related to machine learning models.

The services can be put to use in areas such as fraud detection using predictive analytics.

AWS isn’t alone when it comes to offering these services in the cloud, with Alibaba’s Aliyun cloud unit launching DT PAI.

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DT PAI will handle machine learning processes in its public cloud and is another sign of the company’s move to be competitive in the market.

According to the company, it will contain advanced machine learning algorithms and will be able to process data with 10 billion plus dimensions of features and 100 billion plus of records.

Cloud companies are becoming increasingly active in the machine learning space, with Microsoft Azure, AWS and Google all having their own offering.

Public cloud offerings are increasingly encroaching into the market territory of Big Data or data analytics companies. While many companies in the Hadoop space for example are integrated with cloud services, there is a clear threat appearing.

As a company such as AWS begins to offer its own brand of data analytics, the question can be asked if there is a need for stand-alone data analytics companies.

Moves in this area from Aliyun are supported by its parent company that has committed to spending $1bn to expand it in Japan, Europe and the Middle East.

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