Blog

Jane Dornemann

An avid explorer of both continents and consonants, Jane matches her passion for travel with her enthusiasm for words. A former journalist and PR pro, she brings the one-two punch of a well-written story and solid strategy.

Senior Storyteller | LinkedIn
decorative image of a hot air balloon with the text cloud cover vol. 8

01/19/2023

Want some army goggles?

By Jane Dornemann

decorative image of a hot air balloon with the text cloud cover vol. 8

Image by Evan Aeschlimann

Gossip (for nerds) 

  • Remember when Microsoft face-planted with HoloLens and in a bid to still make it profitable, sold a gazillion of them to the military? Well, the dude who decided that was a good idea has left—and the initiative is in shambles. “I didn’t know I was supposed to LEAD this program,” he said. “I thought I was supposed to just riff on ideas from my swivel chair and let other people take the fall.” 
  • Investment bank UBS predicts a slowdown in Azure growth and has downgraded the stock, causing share prices to fall in a self-fulfilling prophecy. This follows Google’s report based on leaked Microsoft documents that estimated a $3B operating loss for Azure in fiscal 2022, then shared that with CNBC.  
  • Satya Nadella concedes it is going to be a rough ride for tech through 2025, stating that, unfortunately, average CEO pay will have to remain at 324 times that of their median workers. “Sorry, guys” Nadella said. 
  • But there’s a plan! Rumors abound that Microsoft is going to invest $10B in ChatGPT, to which this writing team says E tu, Brute? It would give Microsoft 75% of OpenAI’s profits, and the young company is soon to be valued at $29B.  
  • Why would Microsoft do this, assuming OpenAI has no intention of selling? To integrate ChatGPT into its products, including Bing. Except nothing is going to bring Bing out of the trashcan it belongs in, amiright. 
  • “They’re still trying to make Bing a thing?” said UBS analysts, who downgraded the stock again because Bing. 
  • Regardless, Satya says AI is the next major chapter for the tech industry, so expect more focus on this space from the major players.  
  • Microsoft is also pushing the metaverse, saying that we will eventually have a hybrid model of consumerism that is part IRL and part VR.  
  • AWS has, so far, remained blissfully untouched by Amazon’s layoffs, outside of its hiring pause. Most of the layoffs will happen in the company’s HR division, which is so on brand I can’t even.  
  • Microsoft has hired a chief sustainability officer who was previously with the National Security Council in the White House. In the meantime, Microsoft VP Teresa Carlson has left to join Flexport
  • You know what these female execs don’t have? The luxury of running with a headshot like this guy’s. A former Twitter VP, who strangely looks like Bradley Cooper and Santa Claus had a baby, has come onboard with Microsoft as a VP of design and research. Bonus points for drinking Sapporo. When can I get to a point in my career where a journalist covering my new role asks for a photo and I say “Here, use this one of me drinking Fireball while my dogs lay spread eagle on the couch.” 
  • There’s a reason those superhero Halloween costumes have to put “will not make you fly” on the package. I was raised by two lawyers and it seemed like adults just sued each other all day, and between Amazon and Microsoft, maybe lil’ Jane was on to something. Amazon’s Twitch has entered a patent-infringement lawsuit with an Israeli FOOD import/export company (???) BSD—just as Microsoft battles gamers IRL over Activision (please, please result in a courtroom full of LARPers). BSD has previously sued Microsoft and Apple. In the meantime, Meta is suing a different Israeli company over spyware. 

World domination 

  • Microsoft has acquired Fungible, a company that makes data processing units. For $190M, otherwise known as the going price for a dozen eggs, Microsoft will use Fungible’s tech team to improve Azure services. 
  • It is also investing in autonomous trucking startup Gatik AND collaborating with an Indian space agency. “We’re going to use the autonomous trucks to drive astronauts to and from the rocket ship, this way we don’t have to pay for an Uber,” said the guy who came up with the Army goggles idea. 
  • France just fined Microsoft $64M for cookies, and they don’t mean macarons. Great timing alongside the company’s rollout of EU data localization via its EU Data Boundary for the Microsoft Cloud. 

Best Friends Forever 

  • The Navy opened up its wallet and was like “here’s $724 million” to AWS. Sailors and stuff will get access to the cloud through 2028 and will work toward phasing out legacy IT systems per a mandate in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.  
  • Microsoft is making moves in automotive. Cognata, which develops autonomous driving technologies, has launched a new service on Azure so automotive companies can virtually evaluate their sensors. And General Motors will use Azure and AI services to simplify its software development. 
  • AWS is supplementing its hiring pause with even more emphasis on its partners. As a “critical part of our go-to-market strategy,” AWS says it will continue to invest in partners, especially partners who help customers adopt and mature on AWS. 
  • Speaking of partners: Montoux, an actuarial automation platform (SNOOZEFEST) is “strategically collaborating” with AWS so that customers can migrate and modernize their workflows with Montoux over to AWS. We could title the eBook: “Love, Actuary: Migrate and Modernize.” 
  • All other AWS Partner news in a nutshell: 
  • Entrust, which provides payment infrastructure, has put its cloud-based IAM solution on AWS Marketplace.  
  • Normalyze has hit AWS Marketplace. It’s a security platform that lets you see where all your data is in the cloud. eBook title could be, “Normal Eyes: Finally See Your Data.” 
  • Privacera, which sounds like a pharmaceutical drug with gnarly side effects for some embarrassing condition, is actually a company that provides a data security and access governance platform—and its earned its AWS Competency in Data Analytics.  
  • Cargo shipment optimization platform provider Awake AI has passed the AWS Foundational Technical Review.  
  • Solvo, which provides adaptive cloud infrastructure security solutions, has joined the AWS ISV Accelerate Program. 
  • Aspire, a global technology services firm, has become an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner. 
  • VMWare launched Cloud Flex Storage, a managed service for VMWare Cloud on AWS. 
  •  IoT solutions provider KORE is using AWS, including AWS IoT Core, to make and sell more secure stuff. 

New stuff  

  • AWS, Microsoft, and Meta want to break Google Maps’ hold on all of us with their Overture Maps Foundation that will yield “untold innovations for the benefit of the people,” a bold statement coming from a group that includes a social media company partially responsible for January 6th and COVID conspiracies. Among their WORLD-CHANGING efforts, which involves duplicating what Google has already done, is using VR/AR—appealing to my anxiety-ridden trolling of Maps for a place to park before I drive somewhere new. 
  • Even though Microsoft is all about productivity these days, it’s like they are testing our self-control, what with their new games on Teams and NOW, video filters! Yes, I am paying attention even though I just put a virtual top hat on my head! Yes, yes, I am listening even though I am presenting as an ear of corn.  
  • There’s a new AWS open-source tool in town called Finch. It’s cloud-agnostic and will allow devs to build, run, and publish Linux containers. The motivation for creating Finch? macOS and Windows make open-source container development difficult. 
  • To better compete with Amazon, Microsoft has released a pilot of the Microsoft Retail Advertising Network, which will help retailers sell your data even more monetize their website traffic. 

Ma’am, I’m going to have to call security 

  • O happy day, S3 buckets will now be encrypted server-side by default! Which makes you wonder why that wasn’t a thing already!  

Miscellany 

Julianne lands in the 2A shop with some eye-catching pop

01/03/2023

Julianne lands in the 2A shop with some eye-catching pop

By Jane Dornemann

Julianne lands in the 2A shop with some eye-catching pop

Image by Brandon Conboy

Before Julianne Medenblik, one of 2A’s newest designers, found herself jazzing up eBooks and PowerPoint presentations that would keep anyone’s attention, she was memorizing monologues.

Starting out as an acting major in Chicago, Julianne eventually became disenchanted with the stage when auditions became draining and long-term career options seemed too few.

To find her path forward, she decided to return to her roots: she moved back home to Michigan and started taking art classes such as drawing and photography, something she remembered enjoying in high school.

“I call it the year of finding myself as an adult,” Julianne recalled.

Rediscovering her passion for creating art, and inspired by friends who had pursued graphic design, Julianne enrolled in graphic design school. “It felt like where I was supposed to be all along,” she said.

She did the intern thing, designing marketing materials, social media posts, and infographics for a small web development company–until they hired her full-time and she found herself frying bigger fish like designing entire apps and websites. From there, the pandemic landed her in a contractor role for a package design firm, where she tackled projects for big names like Mr. Coffee and Sunbeam. (Work perk: she got to see her stuff come to life on store shelves across the country.)

“While that experience was more corporate than my previous work, I learned a lot about the legal side of design—for example, did you know that any product sold in Canada is required to have both French and English on the packaging? And the font for each language must be the exact same size?” (No, we didn’t know that Julianne, but we will be using it to fill the void of small talk silences at some point!)

Julianne was crafting designs for a real estate company when she stumbled on a 2A job post, and the rest is history. These days she’s thinking of ways to add visual dazzle to our storytellers’ words, whether it’s for an animation or a product one-pager.

As a remote worker, her only home office companion is Louis, her Pomeranian. When she’s not impressing 2A clients, she is ingesting all things pop culture, listening to Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga, playing Animal Crossing, or indulging in “awful reality TV dating shows.” And the more she delves into design, the more she realizes that her penchant for mystery novels has boosted her creative process at work.

“Those books are about finding a solution, putting information together until it fits,” she said. “Sometimes, thinking about how to select visuals that make sense, and have them work together in one space, is like being the Nancy Drew of graphic design.”

Oh, and if you like stickers, check out Julianne’s designs on her Etsy shop. If you’re not a sticker hound, you can also peruse her portfolio.

It’s re:Invent’s world, we just live in it 

12/20/2022

It’s re:Invent’s world, we just live in it 

By Jane Dornemann

It’s re:Invent’s world, we just live in it 

Image by Evan Aeschlimann

re:Invent re:Cap 

What better way to recover from that Thanksgiving turducken than to attend re:Invent? Didn’t go? That means two things: (1) you didn’t get COVID and (2) we went for you (and got COVID). Here’s the rundown:  

  • TechCrunch felt the keynote was so bad that they led with a photo of a man yawning in a hoodie and then didn’t even bother to write a story, they just posted photos of slides. All I’m going to say is, I’m sure we could have helped. 
  • FYI, Amazon wants to end ETL. Which is why Amazon Aurora now integrates with Amazon Redshift, and Amazon Redshift now integrates with Apache Spark. 
  • AWS DataZone, which lets users discover, catalog, share, and govern data across AWS, on-prem, and third-party sources is in preview
  • Also in preview: AWS Clean Rooms, a concept I’d like to introduce to my Lego-obsessed nine-year-old. It lets users securely share and analyze data with other AWS customers in a “safe room.” No “age/sex/loc?” when your parents are asleep! 
  • Too lazy to think up your own damn rules for data tables? Preview AWS Glue Data Quality. So many previews it’s like going to the movies these days, where you sit there for AN HOUR watching trailers before the ACTUAL MOVIE comes on and by then your edible has worn off. Straight up tragedy. 
  • Whenever I hear Amazon SageMaker I just think of a hybrid robot/sentient being that mass-produces baby Yodas. But really it’s for ML. AWS has added features such as Role Manager, Model Cards, Model Dashboard, and Studio Notebook.  
  • Welcome Amazon Security Lake, which centralizes security data from the cloud and on-prem into a purpose-built data lake.  
  • Another security preview: Amazon Verified Permissions, a scalable, fine-grained permissions management and authorization service for custom applications. And then there’s AWS Verified Access…and at this point in the announcements, do you even care anymore? Is anyone even still reading this? Anyway, AWS wants to make it available to Apple products. 
  • Shortly after Microsoft announced its supply chain solution, AWS debuted its own. AWS Supply Chain gives customers a unified view of inventory, logistics, ERP systems, suppliers, and others to generate actionable insights. 
  • Speaking of supply chains, have you cried in the car after buying groceries lately? Well, dry your tears because the cloud can save corporations money, just the news we all needed to hear. The AWS CEO told everyone at re:Invent that if they double down on the cloud, they can cut costs. With tools like AWS Supply Chain, Selipsky said, “Grocers, now you can bump that gallon of milk to $9. And you know they’ll pay it because kids need milk. THEY NEED IT. Just do it already. In the cloud.” 

Best Friends Forever 

  • Open-source AI company Stability has selected AWS as its preferred cloud provider and will use Amazon SageMaker on top of its infrastructure. I just want all of these AIs to fight each other. 
  • AWS Partner awards went to a long list of companies, including Snowflake, Databricks, and Trend Micro. AWS named Splunk as the ISV Partner of the Year in North America, and Splunk announced an add-on for Amazon Security Lake. 
  • In the words of Ted “Theodore” Logan, strange things are afoot at the Circle K. After putting 50 of its solutions on AWS Marketplace, former(?) competitor IBM has added four more—at a discount. Find the newest additions here. IBM also got an AWS Partner award for “Most Likely to Cry Uncle and Fold…Hard.” 
  • And just as IBM looks to tone down the mainframe talk, Precisely moves in to work with AWS on its mainframe modernization service called Precisely Connect, which replicates mainframe data in real time. 
  • Rackspace is racking up the Microsoft Solution Partner designations, having now earned five—Data & AI, Digital & App Innovation, Infrastructure, Modern Work, and Security.  
  • Tietoevry, which reads like a Russian villain’s name but is actually a company that helps businesses transform in the cloud, has one-upped Rackspace with SIX designations
  • Slalom, which makes anyone sound drunk when they say the name, has expanded its collaboration with AWS. They are developing vertical solutions for several industries. 
  • AWS and Accenture are working on Velocity, a service that reduces the complexity of building apps in the cloud and “optimizes business outcomes by 50%.”  
  • Security and compliance automation platform Drata is now part of the AWS ISV Accelerate Program. And feature management platform LaunchDarkly has achieved AWS DevOps Competency and “is set to become the first FedRAMP-authorized feature management platform on the market as it delivers its platform to the federal space.” Prosimo is also doing some stuff with AWS. 

Wheelin’ and dealin’ 

  • American Family Insurance named AWS as its preferred cloud provider and will use it to complete the company’s digital transformation. “The cloud will allow us to deny coverage for completely reasonable claims much faster,” said the insurance company “We are super jazzed about it.” 
  • SymphonyAI, not to be confused with StabilityAI (again, please fight each other) has expanded its collaboration with Microsoft to further develop a product that detects and prevents financial crimes.  

World domination 

  • Snowflake is now available on Azure in the UK. There is a growing demand for cloud-based data analytics solutions because everyone in English IT is getting crumpet crumbs all over their keyboards and they can’t analyze good. 
  • Leave some crumpets for the folks at the London Stock Exchange, who will Microsoft Azure, AI, and Teams in a $2.8B deal
  • My Emerald Isle people are helping Microsoft go green—the company purchased a large amount of wind and solar to power data centers in Ireland. As they say, Tús maith leath na hoibre
  • Have you ever had a four-way? The Pentagon has, now that it’s splitting a $9B cloud contract among Google, AWS, Oracle, and Microsoft. I appreciate your open-mindedness Pentagon, just make sure no hearts get hurt. 
  • Germany is neining Microsoft 365. The country’s regulatory body, The German Datenschutzkonferenz, which you should say five times really fast and see what comes out, says users can’t possibly be compliant with data privacy regulations while using the system. And no amount of Hefeweizen and strudel is going to fix the fact that Microsoft “does not fulfill the most basic requirements of GDPR.” 

Gossip (for nerds) 

  • All I ever wanted in my life was to watch more advertisements, particularly ones like the new Lindsay Lohan Pepsi commercial where she tells us all to put milk in our soda. Looks like Microsoft can help, now that it’s planning to double the size of its ad business to $20B
  • Just as Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal seemed like it would be a go in the U.S., the government was like PSYCH!!! The FTC has sued to block the deal.  
  • To make things even worse, the tech giant is ready to make concessions to EU regulators so the deal goes through over there. And it’s offered Sony a 10-year contract for Call of Duty. 
  • This could be so financially damaging to MSFT that stockholders are wondering if they should bail. But analysts still say Microsoft stock is a buy, even if the deal doesn’t go through. Because when has the stock market ever reflected what’s going on in real life? Those pinstripes don’t live on these streets!  
  • A Microsoft VP for the Business Applications group is moving to the company’s Azure + Industry department. Taking her place is a guy who now has two jobs, since he is also still leading marketing for Modern Work. Ain’t that the truth. 

New stuff  

  • Microsoft is publicly previewing Role-Based Access for applications in Exchange Online. 
  • AWS released updates to AWS Marketplace that will “make it easier and simpler to procure” solutions in the store, which include services such as them just taking your wallet out of your pocket for you. 
  • AWS launched AWS Application Composer, a low-code tool for building serverless applications that are deployable in a few clicks. 
  • AWS is espousing ethical AI, which is increasingly sounding like an oxymoron rather than a potential reality. The cloud provider’s AI Service Cards aim to provide transparency and responsible use of AI, documenting things like gender and race biases in AI outputs. The ethical AI won’t fight the other AIs like I want because fighting is not nice. 
  • AWS has launched a biggie: Amazon Omics for precision medicine. The cloud giant has been pushing its involvement in precision medicine and genomics, and this has the potential to support breakthrough cancer treatment research and other medical advances. 
  • Amazon Connect is getting new ML capabilities, like forecasting, capacity planning, and scheduling features. 
  • Accessibility news: It is now easier for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to use Microsoft Teams.  

Ma’am, I’m going to have to call security 

  • In a recent research report on hacks, Microsoft warns that password attacks have seen a huge rise and is strongly recommending using password encryptors. Hopefully, they’ll never be able to crack my favorite password, ourlastchancewasberniesandersnowwearealscrewedtheresnothingyoucandoheressomewine1! 
  • Another inroad that hackers now favor is Telegram. In a blog, Microsoft says that a hacking group is targeting Telegram users by asking for feedback on crypto fee structures, then sending a malicious Excel doc for them to peruse. Wait, a scam associated with crypto?? No, this can’t be real. I refuse to believe such outlandish nonsense. 
decorative image of a hot air balloon and text that says cloud cover vol 6

11/28/2022

Judging a company by its holiday party

By Jane Dornemann

decorative image of a hot air balloon and text that says cloud cover vol 6

Image by Evan Aeschlimann

Wheelin’ and dealin’

  • The biggest Microsoft news item lately is the multi-year partnership between NVIDIA and Microsoft. Together they’ll build a new supercomputer running on Azure, and it will be the best supercomputer. It will train AI workloads like no other AI workload you’ve ever seen before. (Did you read that in a Trump voice? You should have).
  • In the name of national security purposes, Microsoft and AWS are going to have to work together at the Pentagon to upgrade our ground and space communications infrastructure with next-gen networking technology. Things I learned from this article: we actually have a “Space Warfighting Analysis Center.”
  • Who cares about space fighting, let’s talk about Earth fighting! Lockheed Martin and Microsoft made a “landmark agreement” to blow shit up all day!!!….by way of the cloud. Microsoft’s latest secure framework will make Lockheed Martin the first non-government entity to independently operate inside the Microsoft Azure Government Secret cloud.
  • No money for paying teachers a living wage (unless you’re a college president) but plenty for 5G, say Cal Poly, which is working with AWS to “enhance connectivity” on campus.
  • Formula 1 has raced to extend its collaboration with AWS to inform F1 Insights, an AI-driven program that detects vehicle speeds and displays them on TV broadcasts.
  • Deloitte has turned to AWS for help launching its digital banking services. Named BankingSuite, Deloitte’s new suite of solutions will leverage Amazon Connect and other services.

Best Friends Forever

Gossip (for nerds)

  • Amazon has a hiring freeze in place through Q1 2023 and is totally boosting morale with statements like “target low performers.” The company has reportedly asked managers to rank employees like they’re a bunch of dudes in a dorm room rating chicks from 1 to 10. Maybe AWS didn’t get the memo that the capitalist overload approach didn’t bode well for Elon Musk.
    • Word on the street is that Amazon layoffs will touch Amazon Alexa staff, contractors, cloud gaming (within the devices division), retail, and HR.
  • Maybe Microsoft was tired of all the attention AWS has been getting from employee harassment claims, so they’ve taken matters into their own hands (WHICH THEY WILL KEEP TO THEMSELVES). The company released a 50-page annual report containing recommendations for not harassing peeps. One example? If you’re dating a co-worker, we all have to know. Microsoft employees can send their juicy office romance deets to [email protected]. P.S. I am super jealous of whoever’s job it was to conduct a “misconduct audit.” I would wear a bowtie every day, have very slick hair parted directly in the middle, and wear poofy pantaloons and the shiniest shoes and nobody could mess with me because that’s what I’m there to audit.
  • Two big things are happening for Microsoft on March 23: I go on vacation, and it’s also the deadline by which EU regulators decide whether Microsoft’s Activision deal can go through—or not. European incels who spend way too much time playing Call of Duty, mark your calendars!

World domination

  • If you need another reason to come to North Carolina next year aside from having a blast at a renaissance fair with myself and Forsyth, you can soon visit Microsoft’s $1B campus just outside Charlotte. Somehow all that money will only generate 50 new jobs.
  • More North Carolina news: AWS has entered a partnership with Duke Energy, a company that loves to keep charging me for heating at my old address. AWS will supply the cloud technology for Duke’s new smart grid software and services.
  • There’s a new AWS Region opening in Spain, which, among other things, will help European countries comply with EU privacy regulations like GDPR because those countries actually care about the people who live there.
  • Microsoft is all in on data centers across 11 regions in Asia, and Satya Nadella is giving special attention to China and India. China offers the opportunity for Microsoft to work with more multinational companies, and India is generating a high demand for cloud-native apps.
  • In the ongoing race for telecom dominance, AWS has secured a lead over Microsoft.
  • AWS has 5G stuff to sell and potential customers might need a little inspiration following speculation that it’s not that much better than 4G. Targeting buyers with bloated budgets and bad decision-making skills, AWS joined a coalition with Dell, Splunk, and Cisco to get government agencies to adopt 5G.
    • But the UK is on the 5G bandwagon—Vodafone plans to expand its AWS Wavelength-powered technology to customers who need to be within a certain distance to a cloud or compute instance.

New stuff

  • While companies are laying off staff and leaving one person to do the job of three, Microsoft thought it would be a good time to release games on Teams for “when you’re bored at work.” Engaging in some Solitaire and Minesweeper with your colleagues (the ones who are left!!!!) can make you “20% more productive” according to research from BYU, a school that only recently removed “homosexual behavior” as an honor code violation, so should be legit.
  • Microsoft announced its Supply Chain Platform which fuses AI, low-code, SaaS, and collaboration tools to create supply chain agility. Mexican snack powerhouse Grupo Bimbo is among the user pool, so never will your local store be out of Bimbos. And we can all relax about cheese, too, ‘cause Tillamook is on board.
  • After talking about the release of SQL Server 2022 incessantly since the dawn of time, it’s now released, and nobody cares because we all know. We know, OK?
  • Less talked about than SQL Server 2022 (basically any topic fits into that category) is Azure Quantum Research Estimator. What does it do? It “creates and refines algorithms for quantum computers,” which will bypass computation limitations of future quantum computers.
  • Passwords are not cool anymore, says Microsoft, which has made it possible to connect to Azure Active Directory using certificate-based authentication. It’s meant to protect hybrid workers doing business on their own devices from phishing scams.
  • Microsoft is tightening security on Azure for DevOps with granular Personal Access Tokens. It provides damage control when credentials are leaked or stolen.

Miscellany

  • Gartner released its newest Magic Quadrant for cloud infrastructure and platform services, and the usual suspects made the cut. Tidbits:
    • 3 of the 8 providers originate from China
    • AWS has the most breadth and depth of capabilities but needs to refine its strategy for customers who want a multi-cloud solution
    • Microsoft customers are frustrated by increasing Azure costs
  • AWS is accepting applications for its next cohort, calling for startups with solutions that address healthcare worker burnout.
decorative image of a hot air balloon next to text that reads cloud clover vol. 5

11/08/2022

From AI to earnings

By Jane Dornemann

decorative image of a hot air balloon next to text that reads cloud clover vol. 5

Image by Evan Aeschlimann

Wheelin’ and dealin’

  • Honeywell has integrated its Walkie Talkie app with Microsoft Teams for “highly mobile” frontline workers, but really this push-to-talk app will be used by those obnoxious people on public transportation who have directionless convos over speakerphone and make you cringe when you think about how you’ll have to fight them for a can of beans in the climate change apocalypse.
  • If the spoiled rich “Daddy can you put more money in my account and I’ll love you foreverrrrrr” kid was a person it would be OpenAI, which is asking Microsoft for additional funding to pile on top of its $20 billion valuation. The deal could help grow Azure usage while also keeping OpenAI from AWS and Google Cloud.
  • Swiss banking firm UBS is expanding its partnership—and cloud footprint—with Microsoft to co-develop solutions for the financial services industry. Apps like “subprime mortgage bundling” and “auto-open tax dodging accounts” are likely to hit the marketplace next fall.
  • Uniphore, a “conversational automation” company that specializes in parent-child exchanges such as, “How was your day?” “Fine,” is officially an AWS ISV.
  • D-Wave Quantum has sauntered into AWS Marketplace, as has asset visibility and security company Armis.
  • Finally, Snowplow, a data creation software company that probably pissed off Snowflake when it launched, is now on AWS Marketplace.
  • OpenLegacy has joined the AWS Partner Network and slapped a solution on Marketplace. It helps companies connect their legacy systems to digital services via an API.
  • Another new partner is Digital River, which is helping AWS commerce customers with critical back-office functions to enable faster growth.
  • AWS Marketplace also welcomes solutions from Sentient Energy, which sounds like the small business of someone who rubs crystals all over you while making a weird moaning sound to channel another frequency. This company is more about analytics and visibility for power grids on the edge.

Gossip (for nerds)

  • If sales of antiperspirant and whiskey have skyrocketed lately that’s because it’s earnings time! Microsoft is down 30% from last year which explains why my 401K performance graph looks like a toddler was drawing and then fell asleep at the end. Of note: the energy costs associated with providing cloud services are a real money suck for Azure.
    • But even with that, they want to give you a deal! Microsoft has created a new payment option called Azure Savings Plans for Compute that can save customers 65% more than the pay-as-you-go model.
    • Perhaps Microsoft feels sufficiently buoyed by its gaming division following a record year of Xbox console sales. And they are super excited about their expanding partnership with the recession when nobody will have any money to do anything but play video games, especially after they’ve been laid off.
  • Ah, the schadenfreude of watching powerful companies stumble on earnings calls. Like Microsoft, AWS cited rising energy costs and sluggish customer spending as a factor for its slowest YoY growth since 2014. At a measly $20.5B, slightly above what Azure pulled in over Q3, it’s hard times. Looks like Bezos might have to sell his yacht, you know—the one with built-in parking space FOR ANOTHER YACHT. Steps away from a Dickens novel, I tell ya.
  • Or, a great way to lower cloud costs is to get off it entirely, according to Basecamp and Hey (why would you name your company Hey?). Parent company 37signals (which is not an early 2000s emo band) says they tried all the cloud had to offer and it sucks, hard—and calls on other larger companies to think about alternatives.
  • OK, nobody panic, Forrester is here with some common sense: the cloud market will actually become more lucrative during a global economic downturn, the firm says. The report was based off an intern bringing in her Magic Eight Ball and asking it “Will cloud be OK in 2023?” five times until she got “It is Decidedly So.”
    • A reporter with Yahoo! Finance who probably makes $25K a year and has a master’s degree is also not worried about AWS, so we’re all good.
  • The AWS exec who led the company’s professional services arm has skedaddled after bullying, discrimination, and harassment claims—which have since culminated in a lawsuit from an LGBTQ+ employee. I combed through the filing so you don’t have to: a male co-worker called her a bitch; she alerted HR, he was promoted to a “Level 10” position like this is the Church of Scientology, and she was fired. Sounds like my first job on Wall Street in 2003! The Wolf of Wall Street was extremely triggering for me!!!
  • GitHub workers, be ready to call Saul because Microsoft “stole” some (publicly available) code to train its AI tool in Visual Studio. Like open-source nerds would, the GitHub group launched a website about the investigation, ironically biting off the Wall Street Journal illustrative style.

New stuff

  • Microsoft has brought AI-translated Teams messages in more than 100 languages to your mobile device. So, if you’re on the go and need to send a reminder about deadline to your collaborators in Inuinnaqtun, Zulu, or even in KLINGON for Dave in accounting, you can.
  • AWS has doubled the computing power of its Snowball Edge device, so, um, congrats to that thing, I guess!
  • The company has also made it easier to run batch workloads in the cloud with a new integration from AWS, which connects AWS Batch and Amazon EKS services.
  • There’s a new serverless option for Amazon Neptune and you’ll never believe it, but it’s called Amazon Neptune Serverless.
  • A new solution to the Microsoft scene is AKS Lite, a tool for running Kubernetes in resource constrained IoT and edge environments.
  • DDoS attacks, the method of choice for amateur hackers, my second favorite type of hacker after really good professional hackers, can be a thing of the past for SMBs with Azure DDoS IP Protection now in public preview.
  • Windows Dev Kit 2023, a device that lets developers build Windows apps for Arm using an AI processor and absolutely looks like something I would leave behind in an Uber, is officially on sale in select countries.

Ma’am, I’m going to have to call security

  • Trend Micro says threat actors are attempting to grab access keys from Amazon EC2 using a technique called “typosquatting,” an issue I also have until my eyeglass prescription gets updated this month.

Miscellany

  • Since AWS launched that big career training center last month, it has decided to shut down the teams behind the AWS online tutorials. Now what am I going to fall asleep to?? Maybe I’ll take a cue from my husband and drift off to that Japanese guy on YouTube who makes knives out of meat.
  • A Container Build Lens has become part of the AWS Well-Architected Framework, which is a fancy way of saying they updated a mind-numbing whitepaper that the noob in IT is going to have to read so they can be the human CliffsNotes for the CIO.
    • The noob should also earmark that AWS got a FedRAMP certification for High Authority to Operate for its cloud-based contact center service, Amazon Connect.
decorative image around a headshot of BB

11/01/2022

BB boosts 2A’s skillset with her PR panache

By Jane Dornemann

decorative image around a headshot of BB

Image by Brandon Conboy

When BB Bickel was 8 years old, she established a neighborhood newspaper called The Daily Blab—and while it was an adorable examination of items like the neighbor’s newest garden addition, it was also a discovery of her love for communicating information.

Today, BB writes marketing content from her sunny Florida home as a storyteller for 2A. Her ability to write about anything for anyone stems from a longtime career as a PR professional, which began with her position at a leading global PR agency, where she became a senior vice president.

Eventually, she left agency life to practice as a communications solopreneur, serving clients like Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Sun Microsystems.

“Every project I took on was brand new, and I’d have to learn about a lot of topics. Clients would ask, ‘Can you write about non-small cell lung carcinoma? Can you write about liquid regasification?’ Sure!” she said.

Not only does BB have a talent for learning about any topic enough to write about it, but she also helps clients consider a different approach when it makes sense. One client was interested in producing thought leadership content and had recruited BB to write whitepapers.

“But they weren’t whitepapers. So, I said, let’s publish a set of vision papers—a term I had coined—because that’s really what they were,” BB said. The client loved it, and so did the client’s audience.

BB relays her enthusiasm for storytelling to any tale, even if the topic is on the dry side. Once, she had to interview a librarian about the software that ensured a university library’s printers were full of paper.

“Boring, right?” BB said. “But this was a really exciting topic for the librarian, and for the people who were going to read it, and I was able to bring that through in my writing.”

As a discerning communications professional, BB knows a good thing when she sees it, which is why she came to 2A. While running a freelance practice was a great experience, she is happy to work with a team again and learn about the newest developments in technology.

Her personal interests are as varied as her industry knowledge. She’s a cook, an avid reader, and a coffee aficionado who drinks black coffee with every meal. And she puts as much effort into exercising as she does into her presentation.

“I have to admit, I own 76 makeup brushes,” she laughs. “In another life, I would have been a makeup artist.”

Image of a hot air balloon with text that reads

10/20/2022

Design that’s basic with a capital B

By Jane Dornemann

Image of a hot air balloon with text that reads

Image by Evan Aeschlimann

Wheelin’ and dealin’

  • Parallel Wireless, a telecoms service provider in New Hampshire, has selected AWS, specifically Amazon EKS, to deliver cloud-native “Any G” (2G through 5G). I hope this young rapper from Belgium does not file a cease and desist!
    • Any G the rapper isn’t the only one coming for you on this one, AWS—Microsoft wants to stop eating your dust in the telco market. That’s why they’re prepping to launch commercial Azure Operator Distributed Services (AODS). They COULD really get ahead with telecoms if they produced some amazing industry case studies with 2A, but if they want to do this the hard way, they can.
    • But better act fast because AWS is co-developing a new set of computer vision AI services with SK Telecom.
  • Now that I’ve dry heaved into my office wastebasket after simply seeing a mention of Meta, you should know the company has partnered with Microsoft to bring content, Windows apps, and Teams integrations to the Metaverse—part of Zuckerberg’s $10B plan to “make it impossible for remote workers to hide from their bosses.” ::pulls wastebasket closer::
  • Obviously, anyone driving a fossil fuel-powered Benz is thinking first and foremost about sustainability even if they clearly had the budget to buy an electric car. That’s why Mercedes-Benz has partnered with Microsoft to connect passenger car plants to Microsoft cloud! Now Mercedes-Benz can produce fossil fuel cars while monitoring how much natural resources they are using to do it. Great idea, love the innovative thinking.
  • Microsoft may have landed Mercedes-Benz, but AWS has snagged BMW Group. The two will develop customizable cloud software to simplify data management and distribution among millions of connected vehicles.
  • This popped up in my recent Google search but CIO.com has 404’d it… scandalous. The since-deleted report said that IBM and AWS are working together to pursue a variety of industry-specific solutions.
  • Newly minted AWS ISV Illumio has made its Zero Trust Segmentation Platform available on AWS. Also new to the ISV club: Syte, a product discovery platform, and SysAid, a provider of IT service automation.
  • So many partners, so little time. So, I’ll be brief:
    • Red Hat unleashed its Ansible Automation Platform on Azure in Azure Marketplace, helping customers simplify hybrid cloud automation.
    • Cisco extended its SD-WAN integration with Azure by doing stuff that I don’t understand because when I was growing up “computer science class” meant playing Oregon Trail in 8-bit. Thanks, Brooklyn Public Schools.
    • MongoDB is one of several companies that makes up Microsoft’s news Intelligent Data Platform Partner Ecosystem. Developers using MongoDB Atlas can now build apps within Marketplace and Azure Portal.
    • Fivetran (which makes me think of a boy band) has added capabilities with Azure to accelerate data-driven transformations. They are ALSO part of the Intelligent Data Platform ecosystem and this club is getting less exclusive by the minute. If Microsoft keeps this pace they are going to end up like Michael Kors.

World domination

  • AWS can’t take over the world unless there’s a center for ants kids who can’t read good, which is why it’s opening a learning facility in Arlington, VA. The center is mostly to skill 29 million adults, but some unlucky classrooms will be bussed to the “interactive exhibits on the role of cloud computing.” A really cool initiative, though, is that the center will offer career support to Ukrainian refugees.
  • New data centers, yay! AWS is bringing three data centers to Loudoun County, VA, which will be too busy to notice because they are banning “sexually explicit books” like 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale. If they think 1984 is steamy, wait until they read Ezekiel 16:17, Ezekiel 23:18-21, Exodus 4:25, Genesis 19:35…you get the idea.
    • AWS also announced plans to launch an infrastructure region in Thailand, a country that has not yet regressed to banning important classic books that have shaped their literary culture.
  • AWS Graviton2 chips are huge in Japan, with two of the archipelago nation’s largest companies saying they’re consuming 72% less power than the previous chips they were using to support their 5G network.

New stuff

  • Microsoft unveiled three new Surface computers (tablet, laptop, desktop) available 6 days before Halloween because that’s how I measure all time once October 1st hits.
  • AWS launched The Landing Zone for Healthcare, which sounds like an indoor trampoline park but is actually a no-code solution for governing multi-account environments.
  • At Ignite this year, Azure was the diamond of the season (that was for my Bridgerton geeks), with several items/features announced for general availability—Azure Arc for SQL Server, Edge browser, and Azure Cosmos DB for PostreSQL.
    • Don’t forget Power Platform, the successful, modern cousin who everyone mentions at family gatherings, but nobody ever sees anymore because ever since he moved out to L.A. he’s just too good to come home to see his extended family in Tulsa, I guess. Anyway, Power Platform has been updated with natural language AI capabilities that have a few neat use cases, as well as some governance features. This nice-looking man, who may or may not be actively building a miniature of Mordor to scale in his basement, says Power Platform is among several offerings that will continue to be a focus of Microsoft.
  • AWS is expanding its Amazon WorkSpaces desktop-as-a-service portfolio with a new managed infrastructure-only cloud VDI offering. VDI sounds like something you get when you hook up with too many people (such a thing??) but actually, it’s “Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.”
  • Welcome Syntex (again), a low-code AI and automation product relaunched by Microsoft that automated content creation, indexing, and discovery.
  • SMBs can get in on that firewall action with Microsoft’s Azure Firewall Basic, now in public preview.

Gossip (for nerds)

  • Upon its 2018 acquisition, Microsoft promised that its subsidiary GitHub would remain cloud agnostic and perhaps that’s open to a little interpretation; GitHub has been introducing new features and products built on Azure, which work best on Azure.  “WHAT, WE’RE NOT DOING ANYTHING WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT” —Microsoft
  • New Relic yoinked a second AWS person in as many weeks. Their secret? An office kegerator.
  • A new KPMG survey of 1,000 executives showed that 67% were reevaluating cloud spending after failing to achieve a significant ROI. The cause, according to this journalist, is that fools rushed in.
  • Microsoft has more leaks than my first NYC apartment—this week it’s an internal presentation on the tech giant’s “cloud revenue” for 2022, which hit $91.2B, but without saying how much of that figure is thanks to Azure.
  • 1,000 Microsoft employees have seen better days following their layoff this week. Layoffs include the Azure division, which follow the voluntary departures of some Azure execs. Meanwhile, Amazon froze hiring for technology and corporate positions, but AWS will continue to hire new people.
  • In an attempt to compete with design app Canva, Microsoft launched—wait for the name—Designer. And it’s free with an Office software subscription. The amount of shade thrown in this article is pretty sweet…in response to the launch, Canva was like, mmm ok that’s cute. And then Microsoft was like, but Adobe is still our BFF! And Adobe was like, that’s right girl ‘cause Canva is for basics with a capital B.
    • And what better time to start using Design, which will be forced upon you like a U2 album, then after you’ve created something in DALL-E 2? It’s coming to (invited) Azure AI customers.
  • Oh look, it’s nice Mordor man again! He says that he doesn’t see organizations slowing their move to the cloud amidst economic uncertainty…and he said that 6 days before layoffs. Otherwise known as 19 days before Halloween.
  • “Silver and Gold” isn’t just everyone’s least favorite Christmas song, it’s also Microsoft’s least favorite partner strategy—that’s why the company is ditching the silver and gold competencies.

Ma’am, I’m going to have to call security

  • DataDog released its annual security report on AWS. Among the findings: more than a third of respondents had publicly exposed S3 buckets. Ouch on several levels.
hot air balloon with the title cloud cover vol. 4

10/05/2022

Is hybrid work just for lazy liars?

By Jane Dornemann

hot air balloon with the title cloud cover vol. 4

Image by Evan Aeschlimann

Wheelin’ and dealin’

  • AWS got a free pass to pahk its cah in hahvad yahd: In an alliance with Harvard, AWS is working to advance quantum networking research with a bunch of awesome nerds. The goal is to inform development of the quantum internet, which I hope involves the ability to grab real doughnuts through my computer screen, and other crucial-to-humanity innovations.
  • If you haven’t heard about this, I’d like to rent some space in that rock you’re living under, but: Adobe acquired design platform Figma for $20B. Adobe will likely bundle Figma with its Adobe Creative Suite, which includes its Creative Cloud that runs on Microsoft Azure.
  • Management consulting firm McKinsey has joined forces with Microsoft to create an integrated solution that will help companies move toward more sustainable operations.
    • Funny timing because Microsoft has announced it will help oilfield company Schlumberger make “data-driven decisions.” Chevron is also in on this partnership.
  • Our Future Health, a UK-based health research program, is going to use Azure for its initiatives around personalized disease detection and treatment.
  • Palo Alto Networks’ VM-Series Virtual Next-Gen Firewall is now available on Azure Marketplace for the infamous private 5G* network with multi-access edge compute.
  • In a historic move, Oracle has made its MySQL Heatwave database available on AWS, which sounds more like a hair crimping tool from the 80s than anything else.
  • AWS named OutSystems its software partner of the year, a “testament to the high-performance power of low-code.”

*4G, ok? It’s 4G right now. Not the creative “4G/5G” they pull in this article. You can’t be married if you’re still engaged.

Gossip (for nerds)

  • Former Microsoft Azure IoT partner Bert Van Hoof (love the name) is now president AND CEO (greedy, Bert, greedy!) of Willow, a digital twinning proptech firm. Microsoft Teams VP Bhrighu Sareen has moved to software startup Highspot.
    • Some of the Microsoft execs who are sticking around will be richly rewarded with high-stakes projects they better not blow. How do we know this? My fave gossip source: leaked documents.
  • Microsoft announced that it will not label fake news on social media as false to avoid any claims of censorship. So, you know, if you want to believe that Joe Biden is the 46th president and he’s 79 years old and 4+6+7+9=26 and 2+6=8 and it’s 2022 so 2+0+2+2 is 6 and…well well well look at that, another 6. You know what 3 sixes are? That’s right. SATAN.
  • There’s more research out of Microsoft Viva that dishes all the dirt on the workplace, such as: 85% of employers don’t believe you’re being more productive in your hybrid work setup, you lazy liars. How can companies fix it? By buying Viva with its new enhanced capabilities.
  • A communications watchdog in the UK has opened an investigation into the market domination of AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. The three own 72% of European cloud spend.
  • Security, reliability, and performance improvement company Cloudflare has AWS in its sights. Cloudflare is pulling from the AWS playbook, wooing startups by connecting them with VC firms looking to invest in Cloudflare users. Weird flex, but OK. “We’re not ‘stealing’…we’re earning it,” said the Cloudflare CEO, which is the same argument I’ve heard millionaires make about tax evasion through Panamanian bank accounts.
    • Cloud storage company Wasabi Technologies is also set to compete with AWS (psshh sure) after a $250M investment.
  • The secrets to AWS’ growth strategy? APAC/Japan expansion and telco partnerships—as reflected in its investment in India and recent partnership with Sateliot, a satellite telecoms operator, to build a cloud-native 5G service.

New stuff

  • Microsoft released a bunch of new security features for Windows 11, emphasizing Zero Trust. Their differentiator? A focus on hardware-based protection.
    • They also released some other features for Windows 11, which is growing in popularity now that support for Windows 10—which accounts for 72% of its Windows users—ends in 2025.
  • In a bid to compete with AWS’ custom Graviton systems, Microsoft has unveiled its family of Azure VMs running on Ampere Arm-based processors. Like every family, these VMs pick fights with each other when bored and “borrow” clothes without asking.
  • AWS Glue is great if you don’t sniff it, especially now that it supports a bunch of stuff that will take me 100 years to understand.
  • New Relic has some new blood after poaching some AWS and Salesforce execs.
    • To get even, AWS and Salesforce are not inviting New Relic to their strategic expansion party, which will be Buzz Lightyear-themed. An integration between Amazon SageMaker and the Salesforce platform will allow mutual customers to easily build AI models.
    • To make nice, New Relic announced support for Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) Flow Logs.
  • AWS has established a startup accelerator for sustainable cities. Smart infrastructure entrepreneurs will be “rewarded” with $10k in cloud credits, some Snickers bars, and other things that don’t actually pay the rent.
  • AWS has also created the brand new AWS Smart City competency, largely intended to help the public sector. AWS Partners can get this competency in part by sharing customer case studies.
  • AWS can’t get enough smart stuff—it has also launched AWS IoT FleetWise for general availability. Like an overly possessive boyfriend, the service collects vehicle data from built-in sensors.
  • AWS customers can now deploy Amazon EKS clusters on AWS Outposts, making AWS even more Kubernetes-friendly.

Ma’am, I’m going to have to call security

  • Researchers found a vulnerability that would allow malicious actors who have Microsoft file system access to steal credentials from Teams users. This impacts all Government Community Cloud Desktop Teams customers, including defense contractors and infrastructure operators.
  • The storytelling team doesn’t have to worry about a hacker “mimicking users while online” because as soon as they see that our chat is full of debates about commas and citations, they will peace out faster than you can say, “Dirimens copulatio” (look it up!).
  • Even with all this, analysts over at Seeking Alpha say Teams is overtaking Zoom in the corporate world.
  • Another security firm found ways to exploit flaws in Azure Active Directory. The good news is that one of the crypters is named DarkTortilla, which sounds like a super cool nightclub residing in a strip mall that I’d go to. Because I go to those.

World domination

  • People who are glad they weren’t on Microsoft’s M&A legal team this past year? Me. Microsoft Teams is merging with Deutsche Telekom’s mobile network, dubbed “Mobile für Microsoft Teams” and you HAVE to say it in an angry scary German accent or else it means something else.
  • More München! German open-source software company SUSE has entered into a multi-year collaboration with AWS to offer migrations acceleration programs for customers moving from SAP to AWS.
  • Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” stores are set to expand their merchandise, and new ones recently opened in Dallas-Fort Worth and DC airports. After 2A worked on the latest promo video for Just Walk Out at Lumen Field, Amazon has decided to make our very own Guy Schoonmaker their mascot. Because who doesn’t want a super nice dude greeting you on your milk-and-bread run?
  • AWS had so much fun at DarkTortilla with us that it has decided to expand its presence in Mexico starting in 2023. Aside from opening a few offices in various Mexican cities, it will construct a new Local Zone in Querétaro, considered the country’s “third most beautiful city.”
Image of a hot air balloon with the words cloud cover vol. 2

09/14/2022

Cloud cover Vol. 2

By Jane Dornemann

Image of a hot air balloon with the words cloud cover vol. 2

Image by Evan Aeschlimann

As a marketing agency focused on cloud technology, 2A stays on top of industry developments.

Every few weeks we scour the internet for the latest on AWS and Microsoft—and now we’re bringing that news to you. But in typical 2A style, we’re we’ve made it an entertaining read.


Wheelin’ and dealin

  • AWS has been going after healthcare and life sciences (HCLS) hard (2A has helped them write toward their dreams). It’s working—a KLAS survey shows that while Microsoft is still the industry’s preferred platform, AWS is nipping at its calloused heels.
    • Since we’re on the topic of hijacking your DNA to make human copies of you in a matrix-like plastic uterus that harvests organs for the rich, AWS wants you to know that 23andMe is doing ANYTHING BUT WHAT I JUST MENTIONED using AWS high-performance computing.
    • And for hospitals that want to deploy Epic EHR on AWS, Sapphire Health and Cloudticity are here to guide the way.
  • I’m rubber and you’re glue and everything I say bounces off me and sticks to you…unless you’re Bridgestone, a global leader in tires and rubber building, which has partnered with AWS to move to the cloud, launch new customer solutions, and become more sustainable (rubber factories do scream sustainability).
  • Malls are dead, which in America means one less place to find yourself in a shooting. But for AWS, it means so much more. Amazon will shift tech teams for its physical consumer stores (like Just Walk Out…or Run Out if there’s a shooting) to its cloud division. The goal is to use their experience with shootings retail to expand the company’s retail technology play.
  • Microsoft has selected Siemens to design a prototype of some semiconductor stuff, part of a Department of Defense initiative. It’s top secret except for this widely distributed press release about it.

World domination

  • A second AWS region in the Middle East is munjaz! It’s located in the UAE, so it’s made of pure gold and is encrusted in diamonds.
    • Then there are the new Edge locations in two Vietnamese cities, good luck to the employees who have to cross the street to get there, iykyk
    • Finally, should one set up a data center in the next war zone? We’ll see.
  • Read this in Taika Waititi’s voice: Auckland Transportation is moving to Microsoft Azure.

Gossip (for nerds)

  • Someone’s being a sore loser about a geospatial intelligence contract, MICROSOFT. The CIA had awarded AWS a $1 billion task order (not gonna pretend to know what that is) to do some super spy shiz. Microsoft is making several complaints, including that the agency didn’t properly justify a competition exception. Sometimes our own medicine be tasting bitter.
  • VMware employees describe “aggressive” recruiter outreach from AWS following Broadcom’s announcement that it will acquire VMware. (Imagines email titled, You WILL work for us!)
  • In the digital equivalent of paying farmers to burn crops, Microsoft told Brazilian regulators that Sony is paying developers not to add content to the Xbox Game Pass. Microsoft’s counter-strategy? Giving Xbox customers free dogs*. Because that will absolutely end well. Gamers don’t even remember to feed themselves! Or bathe.
  • Leaked document time! I love leaked documents unless they are sitting on a hideous carpet at Mar-a-Lago. In short: Microsoft is sick of all the success that AWS has had with giant government contracts, and it’s recruiting Google and Oracle to stop it. The plan? Pushing a “multi-cloud or bust” narrative.
  • It’s been a decade since Microsoft embarked on its CloudOptimal program, which aims to move Office 365 and Microsoft 365 services to Azure. Still not done. This is like when I tell my husband I’ll be ready in 5 minutes. Sure, 5 minutes. 5 minutes on Venus, maybe.

New stuff

  • WE ALL LOVE CHIME SO MUCH, especially those of us who need to restart our computers after using it so we’re not inexplicably muted on Teams all day. Now we can love Chime even more because AWS is live streaming capabilities. Which means nobody has to miss that Loverboy concert at the Jiffy Lube if they don’t want to.
  • Snowflake, don’t melt with all that hot revenue—80% of your users want to run you on AWS (then Microsoft and then…look at that, Google comes third. Maybe Google ranks first at coming third?).
  • More targeted ads, same false sense of privacy? That’s what’s coming with Bastion, a new AWS service that lets companies pool data to better target existing and potential customers.
  • Amazon is previewing AWS Wickr, a managed service that helps businesses and governments meet security requirements using data encryption. So, they get privacy but we get pooled data. Seems fair.
  • In capitalism’s never-ending strategy to manufacture scarcity, corporations can now have their own 5G networks SO GET YOUR OWN. AWS has launched a new service to help companies deploy these private 5G networks, but here is my favorite part: it’s actually only 4G LTE. It’s all in the marketing baby, just put a little asterisk next to 5G* and make the notation impossible to find and voila, you got yourself a private 5G network.
  • 2A’s animation was shown at AWS Storage Day event, where the cloud provider announced added features for Amazon Elastic Block Storage to boost data resiliency.
  • HoloLens wasn’t the massive hit Microsoft expected it to be on the consumer market, so execs were like, who spends a ton of money on crap? Oh, right, the military! Let’s tweak these for carnage, they said. So now $21.9 billion of your tax dollars are going to “high-tech combat goggles.” Phew, good thing none of that money is going to clean drinking water!
  • VMware is strengthening its collaboration with Microsoft by issuing several new updates to its Azure VMware Solution. Let’s hope the VMware staff working on this aren’t ether-ragged and bagged by AWS human resources.
  • Datadog now offers its monitoring and security platform for Microsoft SQL and Azure.
  • It’s a week for Teams news. Barclays has taken a shine to Microsoft’s messaging about how great Teams is and has deployed it as the bank’s preferred collaboration platform worldwide.
    • Also, Azure Communication Services now integrates with/supports Microsoft Teams.
  • Azure Managed Grafana is now generally available. It helps cloud users detect tech issues in their infrastructure.

Ma’am, I’m going to have to call security

  • The ease with which one can build and host a webpage on AWS has backfired, making it a popular avenue for phishing attacks, according to a report from Avanan. How they do it is quite interesting, particularly if you are preparing to be tapped by Anonymous, like myself and our editorial lead, Forsyth.
  • Those evil phisherman better watch out, though, ‘cause AWS and Splunk and some other important peeps are developing the Open Cybersecurity Schema Framework. Among other things, it’s meant to support organizations in de-complicating data management, a crucial aspect of security.
  • Microsoft rolled out Azure MFA Server Migration Utility, a tool specifically for migration security…but once you’re there, MFA may not be able to save you from Russia.
  • In addition to Russia, there’s also good ‘ole American complacency. Why have one vulnerability when you can have 121? And why patch them when you can….not patch them?  In a recent Patch Tuesday, Microsoft addressed a zero-day vulnerability dubbed “DogWalk,” a.k.a. the thing gamers won’t do with their free dogs. It was discovered like a million Tuesdays ago in 2020 but was “meh’d” and then the U.S. government had to issue a mandatory update.
  • And then Microsoft employees were like, we can play hardball Uncle Sam….catch this.

*parody news site

image of a hot air balloon with the words cloud cover vol. 1

08/11/2022

Your Teams went from green to yellow while you read this

By Jane Dornemann

image of a hot air balloon with the words cloud cover vol. 1

Image by Evan Aeschlimann

As a marketing agency focused on cloud technology, 2A stays on top of industry developments.

Every few weeks we scour the internet for the latest on AWS and Microsoft—and now we’re bringing that news to you. But in typical 2A style, we’re we’ve made it an entertaining read.

AWS

  • Maybe flying Delta won’t feel like the eighth circle of hell now that the carrier has chosen AWS as its cloud provider. Yes—believe it—a company that spends most of its time in the clouds has not yet moved to the cloud.
  • AWS Cloud WAN is now generally available. It’s a managed service that simplifies global network operations by unifying environments and connecting on-premises data centers, colocation facilities, branch offices, and AWS cloud regions. Finally! The only reason I’m still on this spinning rock is because I refused to die until this happened.
  • As Uber Eats knows, it’s not modern if it requires effort, which is why AWS unveiled three new analytics offerings for serverless that removes a lot of configuration and management work. AWS took a note from Delta’s playbook with the “without worrying about capacity planning” part.
    • About that lack of effort: 68% of organizations plan to rely more on AWS managed services in the next year. Skills shortage is one reason. Or maybe Kim Kardashian is right, maybe “nobody wants to work these days” was the wisest thing ever to leave her chemically enhanced lips as she cattle prodded the children making SKIMS in a Bangladeshi sweatshop. But it’s unlikely.
  • In a revamp of its Security Competency program, AWS worked with security experts to create 8 categories that correspond with customers’ most in-need security capabilities.
  • Procore, which sounds more like an ab workout machine than a construction software company, is using AWS IoT TwinMaker to help customers create digital twins for buildings, factories, industrial equipment, and production lines. Waiting on my digital twin of Miles Teller from Top Gun.
  • Siemens has joined the AWS Partner Network with its MDR industrial cybersecurity solution now on Marketplace. 2A saw this one coming from miles away when we did a case study on Siemens’ role in propelling (get it?) Amazon Prime Air’s drone design.
  • Microsoft isn’t the only cloud provider moving into the world of video games—Riot Games has chosen AWS AI, ML, and deep learning to power its esports content delivery for games like League of Legends, which is played exclusively by people with severe rage management issues (source: gamer husband).
    • Perhaps taking another cue from Microsoft, a TechRepublic writer thinks AWS is shifting some weight to open-source projects. And wouldntchaknowit, they just released Cloudscape Design System as open source on GitHub.
  • Want more drama than my 9-year-old’s Pokemon card trading exploits at summer camp? Look no further than this Linkedin post, where an AWS SVP calls out Microsoft’s alleged superficial licensing practice changes to appease the European Commission. TechRadar even reported on it.
  • You know when you intro one of your besties to your other bestie and they become…besties? We feel that now that Fortinet has launched its cloud-native protection service on AWS. Fortinet will also be the launch partner for Amazon Guard Duty Malware Protection. Just don’t have a sleepover without us, OK?
  • After sending its Snowcone into space last month, AWS just can’t get enough of that star stuff—it will help Japanese space tech developer Warpspace to develop a satellite communication relay network service. (Memories of Rick Moranis ordering Ludicrous speed, for those of us over 40.)
  • President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenksyy says Slava AWS and Microsoft, handing over a peace prize to the cloud providers for their efforts in remaining on “the light side of digital.” Find out what they did here. Google got the prize in May.
  • Once again, 2A is the sole reason why Amazon’s earnings call was so hot for cloud—AWS revenue rose 33%, beyond analyst expectations.
  • Cybersecurity firm Trend Micro wants you to know that it achieved AWS Healthcare Competency status. Sorry, I left my thanks for participating prize for you at home, Trend Micro.
  • AWS continues to set its sights on startups and is investing in programs to help them scale—like SaaS Central, an “intensive five-week program.” First stop: India.
  • Boring hyper-technical stuff you may not care about unless you dream in Ruby on Rails:
    • The people want more serverless, and we shall give it to them! AWS has enhanced its Step Function with Function Workflow Collections, which allows users to create easier workflows.
    • I SAID MORE SERVERLESS: AWS has made Lambda Powertools TypeScript generally available. It helps developers follow best practices because nobody wants to work these days.
    • AWS has fixed Amazon Redshift classic resize so that clusters stay online. So, if you ever want to resize your clusters when restoring from a snapshot, well, now you can.

Microsoft

  • Canada welcomes its first cloud-only bank, Equitable Bank, thanks to a “strategic acceleration” using Microsoft Azure. Sounds like something I’d say to get out of a speeding ticket.
  • Microsoft will expand its relationship with space companies via its Azure Space Partner Community. There’s also this puff piece on Azure Space. How many martinis did Microsoft PR buy this reporter over lunch? Probably several. And that’s OK because martinis make us more pleasant people sometimes.
  • Keeping its eyes on the skies, Microsoft has launched Project AirSim, a new platform running on Azure that builds, trains, and tests autonomous aircraft using simulation.
  • “BUT WAIT!” someone at Microsoft said—we can’t conquer sky and space until we conquer the Earth, and we can do that with a Cloud for Sovereignty because governance is all the rage these days.
  • Less dazzling news from Inspire 2022: the preview of the upcoming update to Azure Stack HCI 22H2I as well as Azure Remote Support and Marketplace.
  • While the Microsoft/Activision deal is likely to go through in the U.S. (and Microsoft’s lawyers try and fail to wash those sweat stains out of their clothes), it still has to fight the final boss: The United Kingdom.
  • If AWS can’t give me a digital twin of Miles Teller, I bet Microsoft can—but only after it joins its digital twin platform with Cosmo Tech’s to help cloud customers monitor their emissions in real time, which is the plan.
  • For a few precious hours, Teams users around the world didn’t have to worry about that green dot turning to yellow just because they looked away for two whole seconds. It was because of a software update. Someone buy that developer some martinis!
  • Microsoft reported double-digit quarterly revenue growth, and Azure revenues are up 40% from last year. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’ve been doing more work for them and then its stock goes up. I know this because I had to take macroeconomics twice in high school—once during junior year, and again in summer school after I failed the final. So, trust me, I KNOW.
  • Network infrastructure provider Commscope has deployed a solution with Azure to help factories adopt agile practices. Pretty sure Kim Kardashian knows a factory that might want it.
  • Microsoft Azure has joined Intel’s Foundry Services Cloud Alliance as an inaugural member. Good timing with the House having recently passed a billed to rev up U.S. semiconductor manufacturing.
  • AWS went heavy on the gas with contact center tools, and Microsoft got on that like white on rice with its new Digital Contact Center Platform.
  • Anyone who has binge-watched a show on Netflix will understand that sometimes we need somebody to save us from ourselves—and that somebody is Microsoft. The cloud provider will power Netflix’s first ad-supported subscription offering. I am not going to begin my fifth consecutive hour of Ozarks if I have to watch another Tide commercial, so this is a good thing.
  • But not everybody agrees. This dude says Microsoft isn’t saving me from insufficient sleep but rather saving Netflix from certain doom—and that Microsoft may have plans for an eventual buyout.
  • Microsoft is joining the Zero Trust love pile, with Windows 11 forcing its trust issues on user hardware.
  • Oracle and Microsoft announced the general availability of Oracle Database Service for Microsoft Azure.
  • The public preview of the updated Management Center is out.
  • What do SMBs really want? Microsoft will tell you. It’s also expanded its partnership with Sage, which sells operational software to SMBs, and will integrate products.
  • Microsoft fixed 32 vulnerabilities in the Azure Site Recovery Suite, 30 of which allowed privilege escalation.
  • Telstra, one of Australia’s leading telecom and tech companies, has entered a five-year deal with Microsoft, one of the largest telecom partnerships to date for the cloud provider. This is great for anyone who had plans to ring a Kangaroo in the outback.
    • Microsoft must love it down unda’ following another Aussie deal. Leading Australian agribusiness Elders has selected Microsoft Dynamics 365 to…grow corn…and stuff. I dunno, TLDR.