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May 31, 2018

Cloud’s Big Four: A Round-Up of the Latest Offerings

The big four continue to roll out an impressive array of new services and functions. We take a peek.

By CBR Staff Writer

The Big Four cloud services providers regularly roll out new offerings for their users. We took a look at some of the latest across the cloud world.


The granddaddy of managed cloud services has rolled out several new updates in recent weeks. These include the general availability yesterday of Amazon Neptune, the fully-managed graph database engine, which is optimised to support Property Graph and RDF, through Apache TinkerPop Gremlin and SPARQL.

AWS has also added built-in authentication support in Application Load Balancers (ALB) and introduced C5 instances equipped with local NVMe storage.

These respectively let developers eliminate code written to support authentication, offloading the responsibility of authentication from the backend, and offer an up to 50 percent improvement in price-performance over the C4 instances. The C5 instances are designed for applications like batch and log processing, distributed and or real-time analytics, ad serving, highly scalable multiplayer gaming, and video encoding.

Microsoft Azure

Azure has made new capabilities to enable GDPR compliance generally available.  These include the Azure GDPR Data Subject Request (DSR) portal, a compliance manager, data log export function and more.

Now in public preview meanwhile is Azure Active Directory (AAD) authentication for Azure Blobs and Queues, a capability most requested by enterprise customers looking to simplify how they control access to their data, Microsoft said.

AAD authentication allows customers to use Azure’s role-based access control framework to grant specific permissions to users, groups and applications down to the scope of an individual blob container or queue. This capability extends the existing Shared Key and SAS Tokens authorization mechanisms which continue to be available.

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Azure has also released an update to to its IoT Reference Architecture Guide.

IBM Cloud

IBM’s latest offering is IBM Cloud Private (ICP) for data, which it has made generally available from May 29. The new data platform integrates data science, data engineering and application building into a single environment.

IBM Analytics General Manager Rob Thomas said: “Since announcing the platform in March, we’ve been busy adding new capabilities in preparation for launch, like tight integration with our risk management service for holistic data management in preparation for GDPR. We’ve also dramatically extended our open data management support with key new partnerships with MongoDB and Postgres.”

The company also recently integrated with the Red Hat OpenShift container application platform. Through this agreement, clients will be able to extend their use of IBM middleware, such as WebSphere, as well as IBM Cloud Private for Data, to virtually any cloud running OpenShift.

The company has also added a range of third-party services spanning IoT to AI via wealth management. These include Accrete.AI’s “Rational Exuberance”, “Topic Data” and ” Rumor Hound” tools, which scrape data sources including news stories to surface market-moving data patterns and deliver investment insight.

Google Cloud

“One of the most common requests we get from customers migrating to GCP is whether we’ll offer a managed version of Apache Kafka” wrote Google Cloud product manager Kir Titievsky earlier this month. As a result the platform has now made available Confluent Cloud, is a fully-managed streaming service based on Apache Kafka and led by the creators of Kafka—Jay Kreps, Neha Narkhede and Jun Rao.

It has also announced the ability to create Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)-native clusters in Kubernetes Engine. A VPC-native cluster uses Alias IP routing built into the VPC network, the company said.

“This gives you the flexibility to manage access to shared network resources using IAM permissions while still isolating your departments. Shared VPC lets your organization administrators delegate administrative responsibilities, such as creating and managing instances and clusters, to service project admins while maintaining centralized control over network resources like subnets, routes, and firewalls,” the company said.

Google Cloud has also made availale the Neo4j Enterprise VM solution (a graph database management tool).

Cloud Growth Not Slowing

As Computer Business Review earlier reported, market growth rate in cloud services use continues to increase substantially, with growth jumping to an impressive 51 percent year-on-year in Q1, as cloud migration shows no sign of slowing.

John Dinsdale, a Chief Analyst and Research Director at Synergy Research Group said: “Normal market development cycles should result in growth rates that slowly diminish – and that is what we saw in late 2016 and through most of 2017. But the growth rate jumped by three percentage points in Q4 and by another five in Q1. That is good news for the leading cloud providers, whose historically high levels of capex are helping to ensure that they are the main beneficiaries of that exceptional market growth.”

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