AWS offers Alexa developers free cloud credits

Developers interested in extending the capabilities of Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant have some more free tools in their arsenal, thanks to a program the company announced Wednesday.

Developers with an active Alexa skill —  a service that expands the capabilities of the virtual assistant — can apply for $ 100 in Amazon Web Services credits every month to help pay for what they’ve built. After that, they can receive up to $ 100 per month in additional credits if they incur usage charges for their skills.

The credits are meant to build on AWS’s existing Free Tier, which offers developers a small bundle of free services every month, but charges them for any usage that goes over those low caps. According to a blog post by Amazon CTO Werner Vogels, the move is supposed to make it free for developers to operate most Alexa skills.

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CIO Cloud Computing

Google offers new ‘Always Free’ cloud tier to attract users

Google is letting its customers get a taste of its cloud for free, without a time-limited trial. The company quietly launched a new “Always Free” tier on Thursday that lets people use small amounts of its public cloud services without charge, beyond the company’s limited-time trial.

The tier includes—among other things—1 f1-micro compute instance, 5 GB per month of Regional Storage and 60 minutes per month of access to the Cloud Speech API. Using the free tier requires users to provide a credit card that Google can automatically bill for any use over the limits.

In addition, the cloud provider expanded its free trial so that users get $ 300 in credits that they can use for up to 12 months. Google will halt users’ workloads if they eat up all of the credits before the end of 12 months.

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing

Google offers new ‘Always Free’ cloud tier to attract users

Google is letting its customers get a taste of its cloud for free, without a time-limited trial. The company quietly launched a new “Always Free” tier on Thursday that lets people use small amounts of its public cloud services without charge, beyond the company’s limited-time trial.

The tier includes — among other things — 1 f1-micro compute instance, 5 GB per month of Regional Storage and 60 minutes per month of access to the Cloud Speech API. Using the free tier requires users to provide a credit card that Google can automatically bill for any use over the limits.

In addition, the cloud provider expanded its free trial so that users get $ 300 in credits that they can use for up to 12 months. Google will halt users’ workloads if they eat up all of the credits before the end of 12 months.

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Network World Cloud Computing

Got big data? The Cloud Security Alliance offers up 100 best practices

Big data is best known for its volume, variety, and velocity — collectively referred to as the “3 Vs” — and all three of those traits make security an elusive goal. Targeting companies grappling with that challenge, the Cloud Security Alliance on Friday released a new report offering 100 best practices.

As its name would suggest, the CSA focuses on promoting the use of security best practices within the cloud computing world; corporate members include VMware, Microsoft, AWS, and Red Hat. In an earlier report, the CSA broke down big data security risks into a set of the top 10 major challenges. Now, for each of those, it presents 10 best practices designed to help enterprises keep their information safe.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

IBM offers advice on how to secure blockchain in the cloud

Cloud providers hosting blockchain secure transactions technology should take additional steps to protect their records, IBM says.

IBM’s new framework for securely operating blockchain networks, released Friday, recommends that network operators make it easy to audit their operating environments and use optimized accelerators for hashing — the generation of numbers from strings of text — and the creation of digital signatures to pump up CPU performance. 

Along with the security guidelines, IBM announced new cloud-based blockchain services designed to meet existing regulatory and security requirements. The company has worked with security experts to create cloud services for “tamper-resistant” blockchain networks, it said.

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Computerworld 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

Google Offers Cheaper Version of Cloud Services to Run Low Priority Jobs

Google Cloud 300x267 Google Offers Cheaper Version of Cloud Services to Run Low Priority JobsSome departments in your company do not need cloud computing resources to carry high-performance tasks, right? Because Google has just formatted a service plan for such demands. Google launched Preemptible Virtual Machine, a new cloud service that allows to use computing resources at low costs. The offer is suitable for workloads with low priority and can, therefore, be interrupted.

The search giant introduced a new cloud platform that cost 70% less than the same default setting in Compute Engine. The Preemptible Virtual Machine can do well cheap, about $ 0.01 per instance/hour. The most affordable VM charges per hour can range anywhere between $ 0.03 per hour, up to $ 0.11 per hour or more. The problem is that the VMs may stop working when you need it or face peak periods.

The company argues, however, that the offer (in beta) serves very well the various computational tasks. The company cites, for example, some critical workflows that can be distributed among multiple virtual machines. However, it would be a bad idea to adopt the approach to process analysis, modeling, and simulations that require high computing power and instant answers.

To provide the service, Google will use the free capacity in its data center. At times when there is a peak in demand and Google needs more resources, virtual machines involved in Preemptible Compute Engine VMs are recalled and interrupts the current processing. Users receive a notice period of 30 seconds, which should be enough to save your work. Google said No Preemptible VM can run for more than 24 hours straight.

According to the Google post, “all machine types are charged a minimum of 10 minutes. For example, if you run your instance for 2 minutes, you will be billed for 10 minutes of usage. After 10 minutes, instances are charged in 1 minute increments, rounded up to the nearest minute. For example, an instance that lives for 11.25 minutes will be charged for 12 minutes of usage.”

According to Google, there are many that utilize cloud scalability and pricing model to calculate relatively intensive, but short-term assignments. It includes the coding of video, reproduction of visual effects and calculations based on large amounts of information, such as in data analysis, simulation, and genomics.

The solution is quite similar to that of Spot Instances offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). The model of AWS differs in price. Google has a fixed cost while the competitor price varies according to demand.

The market leader AWS routinely cuts their cloud pricing. The company is facing tough competition with Google and Microsoft to maintain its lead in cloud computing and tries to woo more developers to come to its solutions with lower prices, more hardware offerings and more advanced technologies. Microsoft, on the other hand, progressed enough to be a serious threat to Amazon’s dominance in the market.


CloudTimes

Review: Office 2016 for Mac offers a new interface and better features

Mac users of Office who have felt left out in the cold by Microsoft (because the last version, Office 2011 for Mac, was released in October 2010) now have reason to be pleased: The final version of Office 2016 for Mac brings the suite out of the dark ages and into the modern world.

Hints of what the new Office would offer have been out for quite a while, notably the preview of Outlook, introduced in October 2014. But Mac owners had to wait until early July for the final release of the full suite, including the core applications Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

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Network World Cloud Computing