Amazon’s Alexa gains support for Outlook calendars

Users of Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant can now ask it questions about the contents of their Microsoft-hosted calendars. On Wednesday, the assistant gained the ability to interact with calendars from Outlook.com and Office 365, similar to how it works with Google Calendar.

Amazon didn’t make an announcement for the new feature. When asked about the change, a company spokesperson said that it was designed to only work with personal calendars.

That said, it was possible for me to connect my Office 365 calendar, which is provided through an enterprise subscription. When asked about what’s on my schedule, Alexa answered with the contents of my work calendar. It’s unclear if Amazon plans to continue supporting that functionality, and it may break at any time.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

AWS roundup: Hybrid deployments with Amazon’s cloud get a boost

You would think that Amazon Web Services would have chilled out in the month before its big Re:Invent conference. After all, that show, which takes place at the end of November, is when the cloud provider typically shows off a bonanza of new products and features.

But Christmas has come early in October, at least for people who are looking to run hybrid cloud deployments with AWS. Here’s the rundown of important news you may have missed. 

VMware and Amazon team up

The big bombshell for the month was a partnership between AWS and VMware. The latter company is going to launch a managed service that will make it easy for users to migrate workloads from on-premises hardware to the public cloud and back again, using VMware’s vSphere management software.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

AWS October roundup: Hybrid deployments with Amazon’s cloud get a boost

You might think Amazon Web Services would have chilled out in the month before its big Re:Invent conference. After all, that show, which takes place at the end of November, is when the cloud provider typically shows off a bonanza of new products and features.

But Christmas has come early in October, at least for people who are looking to run hybrid cloud deployments with AWS. Here’s the rundown of important news you may have missed. 

VMware and Amazon team up

The big bombshell for the month was a partnership between AWS and VMware. The latter company is going to launch a managed service that will make it easy for people to migrate workloads from on-premises hardware to the public cloud and back again, using VMware’s vSphere management software.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

CIO Cloud Computing

What’s better: Amazon’s Availability Zones vs. Microsoft Azure’s regions

Although they both offer core IaaS features like virtual machines, storage and databases the leading public cloud providers, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, take very different approaches in offering cloud services, including at the most basic level of how their data centers are constructed and positioned around the world.

+MORE FROM NETWORK WORLD: What’s behind the Amazon, Microsoft and Google’s aggressive cloud expansions? (With an interactive map!) +

Both companies’ clouds are made up of regions: AWS has 14 and Microsoft has 30. But those numbers aren’t quite an apples-to-apples comparison.

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Network World Cloud Computing

Amazon’s cloud business continues its upward march

Amazon reported another surge in revenue for its cloud business last quarter, though the growth is slowing as the division gets bigger.

Amazon Web Services revenue for the second quarter was $ 2.87 billion, up 58 percent from the same period in 2015, Amazon announced Thursday. Operating profit was $ 863 million, up from $ 391 million a year earlier.

It’s another positive sign for AWS, which is still the leader in public cloud services, even as IBM, Microsoft and Google step up their efforts to complete.

The growth at AWS is slowing, however, which is typical for a company as its business gets bigger. The gain was 64 percent in the first quarter, and 69 percent the quarter before that.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

Amazon’s cloud SLA has a Zombie Apocalypse opt-out

Network World Cloud Computing

Look for Amazon’s new homegrown chips in data centers, not Fire devices

Amazon’s jump into the chip business won’t change what’s in Fire devices — for now — but it’ll help the retailer drive more media delivery, file storage and cloud systems in homes and data centers.

Annapurna Labs, an Amazon subsidiary, said it would start selling a line of ARM-based chips for hardware that handles 4K video delivery, storage, IoT, cloud, and networking. The chips will be sold to makers of products for homes and data centers.

The announcement surprised many, since selling chips is a radical shift from Amazon’s bread-and-butter retail business. But the company has jumped outside its comfort zone before, dabbling in new businesses such as Web hosting with AWS (Amazon Web Services), which has become a runaway success.

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing

AWS offers a lift to Amazon’s Q3 profitability

Much of Amazon’s sunny Thursday earnings report for the third quarter of 2015 can be traced back to its Web Services cloud division.

AWS brought in $ 2.09 billion in sales in the quarter ended Sept. 30, representing a jump of 78 percent over the same period last year. With an operating profit of $ 521 million — up from just $ 98 million a year earlier — the unit’s operating profit margin was 25 percent for the quarter, up from 21 percent in Q2 and 17 percent in Q1.

Overall, Amazon beat analyst expectations with $ 25.4 billion in net sales and a profit of $ 79 million, or 17 cents cents per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting a loss of 13 cents per share on sales of $ 24.91 billion.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing