Posts tagged Waiting~

OpenStack Gets A $100M Vote Of Confidence—But Amazon Is Waiting

Only one open-source company that’s so far managed to break $1 billion in annual revenue. But that’s not stopping venture capitalists from spreading billions around in the hopes of helping create the next Red Hat.

See also: The Open-Source Cloud Takes A Step Toward Simplicity

Too bad Amazon Web Services (AWS) is out there waiting for them. 

Let The Venture Money Flow!

Over the past two years, the sums pouring into open-source enterprise software companies have been remarkable. Last year MongoDB (full disclosure: my employer) raised $150 million at a reported $1.2 billion valuation, while NoSQL peer DataStax took in another $106 million, valuing the company at $830 million.

Meanwhile in Hadoop Land, investors handed Hortonworks $100 million at a reported $1 billion valuation, after which Cloudera pulled in a monster $900 million round, most of it from Intel, at a nosebleed valuation reported to be around $4.1 billion. 

See also: Red Hat May Be Stacking The Deck Against Its OpenStack Rivals

And we’re not done yet. On Tuesday, Mirantis—which offers software and support for OpenStack, a collection of open-source tools companies can use to build their own clouds—raised $100 million from a variety of investors including Intel Capital and Ericsson. Nobody disclosed a valuation.

This kind of Oprah money has fewer companies to flow into these days. Many standalone OpenStack and open-source cloud startups have already been gobbled up by large vendors, mostly for nominal sums. Oracle scooped up Nimbulus last year. HP recently bought Eucalytpus, EMC acquired Cloudscaling and Cisco bought Metacloud.

That leaves Mirantis standing in an industry with some very big players as competitors, in a market that seems to be Amazon’s to lose. 

Mirantis, of course, is not the only open source company competing with Amazon. In a world increasingly gone cloud, every software vendor, open source or otherwise, competes with AWS.

Amazon: The New Microsoft?

There must be something in the water around Seattle, as the area keeps breeding hegemons. Microsoft dominated desktop and data center computing for decades. Now it’s Amazon’s turn.

Amazon Web Services is perhaps the fastest-growing software business in history, ramping to $1 billion and beyond at a torrid pace, as Pacific Crest Securities estimates:

Now that Amazon CTO Werner Vogels has made it clear that Amazon is in the “enterprise pain management” business, and won’t be content to merely provide infrastructure services, no area of software is safe from AWS’ deflationary grasp. Yet hard as it may be to compete against AWS with a proprietary licensing model, in some ways it’s harder with an open source model. 

Just ask MySQL, once a burgeoning developer of the popular open-source database of the same name.

At the time of its $1 billion acquisition by Sun in 2008, MySQL was doing roughly $100 million in sales. That’s not bad, but it pales in comparison to how much AWS was making on that same MySQL code, both in terms of RDS and MySQL-related EC2 revenue

While there are no official numbers from AWS on its cloud business, I’ve heard from inside sources that AWS made several hundred million in revenue at the time of the MySQL acquisition, and I would venture that its RDS + MySQL-related EC2 revenue is now approaching the $1 billion mark.

It’s not just MySQL, of course. Amazon is also the world’s largest Linux vendor, the largest Hadoop vendor and so on. Importantly, AWS has done what no open source company has ever managed to do: make money off all otherwise free open-source software. By turning open source software into managed services, AWS can turn any open-source code into cash.

A Quixotic Mirantis Counterattack

Adrian Ionel

Now Mirantis and its investors hope to stem that tide. The good news is that Amazon has no interest (so far) in selling OpenStack private cloud services. 

That’s also the bad news.

When I talked to Mirantis CEO Adrian Ionel about why VCs would pour money into an AWS competitor, he didn’t hold back:

We have seen strong customer traction and out-sized business results, and we are working with some of the best brands in the world, including Home Depot, Wells Fargo, and PayPal. Earlier this year, we closed the largest OpenStack deal in history with Ericsson (more than $30 million in software licensing revenues over five years). We are becoming known as a the breakaway independent OpenStack leader, and it’s exciting to see the momentum build.

That may be true, but it’s not yet clear that Mirantis and its 450 engineers have much chance against AWS. Ionel is quick to point out that Mirantis can hold its own against other OpenStack contenders like VMware, HP, Oracle, Red Hat and possibly Cisco-via-Metacloud: “We already have the largest OpenStack customer base of any vendor, and dominate Web/SaaS, service provider, and enterprise markets.” 

He further notes, “Customers routinely tell us that they chose Mirantis because there was no proprietary agenda, which means so that they can avoid the lock-in of traditional IT.” But those same customers are actively embracing AWS, with GE the latest poster child.

Fighting The AWS Beast

In fact, as I’ve argued before, OpenStack’s best chance at relevance is likely Red Hat, which has the broad open source portfolio to make it a potential contender against Amazon’s array of services. Ionel disagrees, saying that “The ‘benevolent dictator’ model may be past its prime,” and that “Other models can be more powerful, like an open, market-driven meritocracy combined with deep user engagement in R&D.”

This still doesn’t answer the AWS threat. To that Ionel retorted, 

OpenStack lets them fine-tune their cloud to their needs. By contrast, AWS is a much simpler “one-size-fits-all” platform which standardizes everything to the lowest possible denominator for its customers. Although this makes sense for some enterprises and workloads, it cannot make sense for all of them.

Maybe, maybe not. But I seriously doubt most enterprises today are concerned with the “one-size-fits-all” epithet and instead view it as a convenient way to get to the cloud fast. Until OpenStack can deliver a deep cloud experience as easily as AWS does, $100 million isn’t nearly enough.

Lead photo by kayugee

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Why The JavaScript World Is Still Waiting For Node.js 1.0

Software version numbers seem increasingly passé in these days of continuously updated apps and cloud services, but in some corners of the programmable world, they still matter. A lot.

Take, for instance, Node.js, the development framework that popularized the use of JavaScript-based Web apps on servers as well as browsers. Node has been on the scene for five years, during which time it’s become the go-to tool for JavaScript developers who build messaging tools, game servers, and other real-time applications that require a speedy response from servers.

Node.js project lead TJ Fontaine

While Node isn’t exactly an industry standard, several high-profile websites swear by it, including LinkedIn, eBay and Uber. 

See also: What You Need To Know About Node.js

Yet the world is still waiting for Node 1.0. That’s the somewhat arbitrary milestone that to many developers (and, perhaps more important, many IT managers) distinguishes experimental, “beta” software from a mature, ready-for-prime-time product. That’s no small thing for a software platform like Node, which aspires to be an everyday tool for big business as well as individual developers.

Which is the main reason Node project lead Timothy Fontaine, who goes by “TJ,” is in the midst of an intermittent international tour called Node on the Road. His aim: to convince the business world that even Node 0.10 is ready to handle big tasks—such as, for instance, Walmart.com’s massive traffic spike every Black Friday. (Walmart is one of the largest corporations to adopt Node.js so far.)

On The Road With Node

“That’s part of what this event is about,” Fontaine told a crowd Wednesday night at a Node on the Road event in Washington, D.C. “To highlight production use cases and to show that Node is a thing you can be using on an enterprise level.”

PayPal is one of the companies that bet big on Node as an early adopter. In a blog post late last year, engineer Jeff Harrell explained that the team slipped Node in as a prototyping platform before deciding to try it out in production. Even then, a separate team built an equivalent application in Java so the company would have something to fall back on should the Node project stumble.

Much to their surprise, the developers managed to build the Node application almost twice as quickly, and with fewer people. In tests against the Java app, Node handled twice as many requests per second and served up pages 35% faster. Node worked out for PayPal, which has since been building all its consumer-facing Web apps using Node.

See also: How Node.js Stays On Track

During the event, engineers from local DC companies like Capital One and Mapbox talked about how they got their teams to adopt Node. “When we decided on Node in 2010, there were zero Node developers or projects,” said Young Hahn of Mapbox. “But I believe you should always bet on JavaScript.”

We’re Number 1.0! Just Not Yet

Fontaine, however, can still sound a little defensive when pressed on the question of when, exactly, he expects Node to graduate to 1.0 status. 

“I could move the decimal today,” he said. “We could call it version 1.10, problem solved. But the last thing we want to have happen to the Node ecosystem is to create a Python 2, Python 3 situation.”

That’s a reference to a version-related schism involving the Python programming language. Its most recent major update, Python 3, came out in 2008, yet many developers still prefer to work in the incompatible Python 2, which dates back to 2000. Reasons for the split are still hotly debated, although two major factors seem to be the difficulty of migrating to Python 3 and the fact that the language’s overseers never wound down Python 2.

Overall, Fontaine is reluctant to announce Node 1.0 until the project is ready to “commit to a version we want to support forever.” In other words, he doesn’t want to risk breaking Node by crowning a formal production release too soon.

“1.0 is tricky,” he said. “We can’t just release something and then say, ‘Oh, we’ll just fix it up with version 2.0 next year.’ We don’t want an environment where we create Perl 5 and Perl 6 and then get zero adoption moving forward.” (That’s a reference to yet another version issue—in this case, one that helped stall growth of the scripting language Perl.)

See also: It’s Time To Bet Big On Node.js

Until version 1.0, the Node.js project can experiment freely. It’s unwilling to commit to a higher version since some people will inevitably use that version forever and will resist moving to news ones.

So before that happens, there are still a few unreliable features that still need fixing, Fontaine said. Simply pulling out those features isn’t really an option, because they’re widely used. “We have to very cautiously make those decisions because people are depending on Node to be a quality piece of software,” he said.

Instead of 1.0, Fontaine focused on Node’s next release, version 0.12, a relatively minor upgrade. “We’re very cautious when we make changes and add features that we’re adding them for the right reasons and fixing the right things,” he said.

Photo of Timothy Fontaine by Lauren Orsini for ReadWrite

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Bing Ads Intelligence: Microsoft’s Keyword Tool We’ve Been Waiting For by @Rocco_Zebra_Adv

Bing has always had a lot of room for improvement when it comes to keywords. The majority of advertisers preferred  to use Google’s keyword tool to build out campaigns in Bing because Bing’s tools were not user-friendly. This has a big disadvantage: the keyword lists were not customized to Bing’s unique search trends. Now, Bing has finally launched a solution called Bing Ads Intelligence. It is an add-on for your Excel that allows you to work on keyword researches for all of your accounts on Bing. Easy to Install Once you download and install the extension from Bing Ads, you will be able to open […]

The post Bing Ads Intelligence: Microsoft’s Keyword Tool We’ve Been Waiting For by @Rocco_Zebra_Adv appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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