Fair warning: This is going to be a big, Sunday-newspaper-size issue because it was a very busy week (five big conferences) and I gotten taken down by a bug (the microbiological kind) that resulted in me not publishing yesterday. Here we go!
Nvidia jacks up the performance
The V100, especially, will probably help cement Nvidia’s status in the machine learning and artificial intelligence space for a while longer as more workloads come online and big GPU buyers like Facebook refresh their gear. But as I’ve been saying for a while, and others are now pointing out
, there’s lots of competition from Intel (although this “editorial”
is, as the kids say, a little thirsty), cloud providers and startups alike. Fear not: we’re still in for a wild ride.
Microsoft and the movement toward cloud parity
I assume most readers have already gotten their fill of news from Microsoft Build, but let me recap some of the highlights just in case:
If you want an omnibus blog post highlighting more of the cloud- and data-center-focused announcements, check out this one
from Azure boss Scott Guthrie.
If there’s a high-level takeaway from what Microsoft announced, it’s that there probably will be no killer app among the big three cloud providers: all will eventually offer very similar core services around compute, storage, databases, AI, IoT, etc. Decisions on which cloud to go with will be made around the edges, which makes business decisions around things like price, security, risk-acceptance and target market much more important.
That being said, I do think Cosmos DB is pretty important because well, databases are still a very big deal (as you’ll see if you read the links below) and it serves as a reminder from Microsoft that it’s more than just “the cloud provider that knows the enterprise.” The company is also an innovation factory and has been building webscale systems for a long time.
So while very few companies today are going to choose their cloud provider solely because of a somewhat futuristic database service (or any other single service)—whether that’s Cosmos DB, Google’s Cloud Spanner or whatever globally distributed service AWS is no doubt working on—they will take note. In a fight for mindshare, , especially developer mindshare, against Google and Amazon, Microsoft cannot afford to look like a technological laggard.
Open source: It’s big in China
Five years ago, I spent a couple weeks in Beijing speaking with startups and some investors, and was surprised to hear how hundreds or even thousands of people would show up for low-profile around projects like Hadoop or OpenStack. Chinese web companies, including Baidu, are some of the biggest users of technologies such as Spark and Mesos—we’re talking massive clusters, in some instances—even if they don’t get a lot of attention in the United States.
I don’t know that trying to capitalize on the Chinese opportunity is necessarily worth the risk for, say, American open source startups looking to boost revenue, but it’s certainly a topic worth paying more attention to for the open source community at large.