Amazon AWS

Amazon AWS

Microsoft Azure Borrows AWS Ground Station Idea for Its Own Satellite Service


While the cloud market has numerous successful companies, it is Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) that remain in turbulent competition. That’s probably inherent with being the two leaders in the market. In the latest area the two will go head-to-head, Microsoft is looking to tap into an idea Amazon is already using.

AWS Ground Station is a project that supplies a global network of ground stations. These locations are close to Amazon’s infrastructure regions, areas the company has databases. This network is important for customers because it allows them to forgo many infrastructural costs.

For example, AWS Ground Station allows customers to ignore the need to purchase, build, or lease their own satellite ground stations. Instead, data can be taken directly from Amazon’s locations and can be processed at tat time.

It seems Microsoft has seen Amazon’s success in this area and wants to implement a similar service. A recent filing with the FCC shows the company is working on a similar project. Specifically, Microsoft wants to connect a Spanish imaging satellite to a pair of ground stations near its Azure region datacenter in Quincy, Washington.


Like AWS Ground Station, Microsoft wants to download satellite data directly to Azure Cloud, allowing customers to tap into it immediately. Of course, Microsoft is further behind in development of this technology than Amazon, but the company is gathering pace.

This month, the FCC approved Microsoft’s plans for proof-of-concept (PoC) tests of the technology. Microsoft has a six-month license that allows it to access imagery and communications data from a satellite and download it.

In the FCC application, the company points out it will gauge market interest before pressing ahead with a wider project:

“If the demonstrations result in significant market interest, Microsoft will file an application for regular earth station authority with the International Bureau (IB) to support future commercial operations, and that application will include a request for U.S. market access for DEIMOS-2.”

Source Winbuzzer

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Amazon AWS

Microsoft Announces Second-Gen Azure VMware Solution


In 2019, Microsoft teamed with Dell to roll out VMware Solutions, which provided users with access to native VMware directly in Microsoft Azure. In an update for the service, Microsoft has launched a preview of the next generation of its Azure VMware Solution.

Moving into the second generation, Microsoft says the tool is more cost-effective and can migrate on-premises workloads to the cloud more quickly. Because the platform is VMware Cloud Verified, it can support all the capabilities VMware provides.

Speaking about Azure VMware Solution, Sanjay Poonen, CEO at VMware, said the service provides organizations with a powerful tool:

“Now more than ever it is important we come together and help them create stability and efficiency for their businesses. The new Azure VMware Solution gives customers the ability to use the same VMware foundation in Azure as they use in their private data centers. It provides a consistent operating model that can increase business agility and resiliency, reduces costs, and enable a native developer experience for all types of applications.”

Some of the most popular VMware tools are integrated into the experience, including HCX, vSphere, vSAN, and NSX-T. Microsoft has also included the Azure Hybrid Benefit extension, which gives organizations more compatibility with SQL Server and Windows Server on-premises.

Furthermore, users of 2008 versions of those Microsoft platforms will get three years free Extended Security Updates.

Main Azure VMware Solution Features

  • “You can provision a full VMware Cloud Foundation environment on Azure and gain compute and storage elasticity as your business needs change.
  • Customers can maintain operational consistency as they accelerate a move to the cloud with the use of familiar VMware technology including VMWare vSphere, HCX, NSX-T, and vSAN.
  • the new Azure VMware Solution has an option to add VMware HCX Enterprise, which will enable customers to further simplify their migration efforts to Azure including support for bulk live migrations.
  • HCX also enables customers running older versions of vSphere on-premises to move to newer versions of vSphere seamlessly running on Azure VMware Solution.”

“This is an amazing milestone for Microsoft and VMware to meet our customers where they are today on their cloud journey. Azure VMware Solution is a great example of how we design Azure services to support a broad range of customer workloads,” said Jason Zander, Executive Vice President at Microsoft.

Source Winbuzzer
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Amazon AWS

Microsoft Announces Major Mixer Changes in the Works


Microsoft has announced an update for its Mixer game streaming service. This is not just some performance and bug fixing bump. Instead, Microsoft is rolling out extensive changes to the platform that is becoming an increasingly viable competitor to Switch.

Indeed, for those of use who have followed Mixer closely, the growth of the service over the last year has been surprising. Not least because it seemed Microsoft was starting to lose interest in game streaming.

Only weeks after many observers predicted Mixer would eventually be closed, Microsoft announced an exclusive deal with Ninja, the world’s most watched streamer. Several other high-profile game streamers followed and Mixer’s stock has since risen.
Looking at the updates Microsoft is planning, there’s plenty to be excited about. Perhaps the biggest change is a new homepage. Rolling out across all platforms, the homepage makes it easier for users to focus on featured content.
Elsewhere, auto-hosting is coming to everyone on Mixer after months in preview. This means users can switch to a new streamer from a list whenever they want. Previously, switches would happen when a hosted streamer went offline.
Other changes coming to the platform include improved emotes, ad breaks, and improvements to the Xbox viewing experience.

Full Changelog
“New Mixer homepage – Mixer has refreshed the Mixer homepage across all platforms to give more focus to featured content as well as provide smart, AI-powered recommendations. The most immediate change you’ll notice on your homepage is that Mixer has introduced a new layout that displays all featured creators at the same time.
Below the “Featured,” “Top Category,” and “Partner Spotlight” sections, you’ll also find brand new content rows. These rows will highlight and recommend streams from community events, cultural moments, and more tailored content as time goes on. The rows will be a mix of AI-powered personalized recommendations and editorially programmed content, ensuring you can discover and join even more communities across Mixer.
Auto-Hosting for everyone – Mixer has spent the last month testing Auto-Hosting with Mixer Partners and now Mixer is excited to share it with every streamer. With this feature, you’ll be able to create a list of specific streamers that you want to automatically host when you’re offline. Mixer has added a host of customization options as well.
You’ll be able to set your Auto-Host list to host in a priority order or to pick at random. With showcase, you’ll be able to set custom Auto-Host time durations. This means Auto-Host could switch to a new streamer from your list every hour (you determine the time) instead of when that hosted streamer goes offline.
Higher-Quality Emotes – This top community ask is no longer “Soon™”, it’s finally here! Starting today, Mixer has enhancing all emotes to 28 pixels across all platforms, introducing new prefixing requirements and completely refreshing our global emotes. New global emotes will be visible today and all partner emotes will be updated over the next few weeks.
Ad Break (Beta) – Our Mixer Partners have been testing advertising pre-roll for the last few months and now Mixer is expanding their advertising testing with an Ad-Break beta. With this, Partners can choose when they want to run ads during their stream. This was a request from the Mixer Partner community, and Mixer has excited to be testing it as part of the full package of monetization opportunities on Mixer.
Xbox Viewing Improvements – Mixer has continuing to add more features to the new Mixer viewing experience on Xbox. This new experience is built from the ground up to get you to your favorite streamers as fast as possible. With the April Xbox One system update that’s in some Insider rings now, you’ll see the additions of emotes and subscriber badging in chat.
Ember messages will also get the flair they deserve to help them stand out. Mixer has also made it easier to access stream settings for selecting chat layout or video quality. Outside of this latest Xbox One system update, Mixer also expects to have Gift Subs available in the new experience in the coming weeks.”

Source Winbuzzer

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Amazon AWS

Report: AWS Is Doubling Its Sales Team in a Big Push against Microsoft Azure


Amazon is reportedly planning to double its AWS sales team as Microsoft continues to chip away at its market share. The Information says the plans were shared with it by four people – one who had direct knowledge and three who had been briefed.

AWS apparently aims to complete the growth by the end of the year and announced the hiring spree at a sales kickoff meeting in Chicago this January. Though Amazon is still the number one cloud provider by market share, it has lost some key battles to Azure in recent times, one of them being a $10 billion Pentagon cloud contract, JEDI.

AWS’ sales staff will seemingly focus on some of the areas Microsoft excels in – artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and data analytics. It’s looking for employees with deep technical knowledge to close “large corporate deals”, answer technical questions, and generally speed up the sales process.
The tactic is nothing new, and indeed, teams at Microsoft and other software companies do the exact same thing. The problem is often providing the customer with these experts without confusing them by switching out multiple salespeople and forcing a re-explanation. Amazon reportedly has plans to mitigate this issue, but sources didn’t share exactly how it would do so.
Either way, some employees told The Information that AWS has previously struggled to keep up with demand due to insufficient sales staff that meet its customer’s needs. One says the company is shifting the burden to sales staff for adoption, rather than the previous focus of drawing in customers via new services.
Currently, though, it’s unclear if coronavirus will impact on these plans. Concerns are rising about a global pandemic, which could lead to travel restrictions, quarantine, and other issues that would impact Amazon’s plans. Whatever the case, it’ll be interesting to see if Microsoft responds with a beef-up of its own or just continues with its already successful strategy.

Source winbuzzer

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Amazon AWS

Qualcomm Debuts Snapdragon X60, Its Third Gen 5G Chip


Qualcomm is continuing to expand the capabilities of its 5G chips. This week, the company unveiled the Snapdragon X60, it’s third generation 5G Modem-RF System. Moving to a new gen allows some significant gains to be made, including a number of new features.

For example, the Snapdragon X60 comes with a new tools called mmWave-sub6 aggregation which allows maximum throughput of 5.5Gbps.

This is an important update because mmWave is fundamental to how 5G performs. These are high-frequency bands that carry 5G because they provide optimum speed. However, they can be hampered by even tiny obstructions like a drop of water.
Then there is sub6, the other important side of the 5G equation. These are the lower frequency bands that are able to clear major obstruction such as buildings. The trade-off of sub6 is that the bands are not as fast.

Aggregating both these bands together could allow the positive aspects of both to work. Indeed, it’s part of 5G development that most companies in the sector are focused on. If aggregation works, it would allow the speed of mm Wave to be paired seamlessly with the durability of sub6.

For the Snapdragon X60, Qualcomm is aggregating mm Wave and sub6. Indeed, the company says it has doubled the sub6 speeds available from the Snapdragon X55. Qualcomm has also integrated a smaller QTM535 mm Wave antenna module.

Elsewhere, the X60 is built on a 5nm process compared to the 7nm of the X55.


One question remaining is when the Snapdragon X60 will arrive in smartphones. It is worth noting Qualcomm’s 5G chips sit alongside the usual CPU to provide 5G connectivity. For example, Apple is probably going to use the X55 on its upcoming 2020 iPhone flagship to bring 5G to the device. The 5G CPU will sit alongside Cupertino’s regular A-series processors.

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Amazon AWS

YouTube Music May Soon Adopt Google Play’s Local Library Upload


Google appears to be nearing feature parity with YouTube Music as efforts to transition users from Play Music are reportedly coming close. Sources speaking to 9to5Google say you’ll soon be able to upload local music libraries to enable cloud-based access from anywhere.

The advantage, of course, is that you don’t have to be tied into any particular music platform. All those songs you bought standalone are just hosted on Google’s cloud and can be removed at any point to just use locally again. This is of particular help if you enjoy smaller artists or even podcasts that may not be listed.

9to5Google says this feature is in internal beta testing and previously found preparations in the YouTube Music app that suggest a rollout is close. The plan has long been to transition users to the new service eventually, and this should assuage one of the biggest reasons to delay the switch.
One source says Google Play Music users will be prompted to port their libraries over within the next few months and that the older service will close entirely in the second half of 2020.
Users, for the most part, seem to be fine with the transition, the lengthy wait period probably having a lot to do with it. There are some die-hard fans, of course, but generally having multiple music services on the go at once is worse for everyone.
Personally, I’ve given YouTube Music a spin and have found it to be pretty decent. I’m still not convinced that I need the music video feature, but I’m sure some see the use in it. The bundle price of $11.99 with YouTube Premium is also attractive, though its library of original content is still very lacking.

Source Vanguard

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Amazon AWS

Microsoft Gains Key Pentagon Security Clearance, Addressing One of Amazon’s JEDI Criticisms


Microsoft has been given provisional access to host ‘secret’ Pentagon data in the cloud, striking a blow to Amazon’s AWS. According to BizJournals, the Defense Information System Agency officials confirmed the authority, which is Impact Level 6.

The temporary clearance lets Microsoft handle some ‘Secret’ level classified data – one level below the highest, ‘Top Secret’. Microsoft has six months from its award of the contract to obtain the authorization permanently, and nine months to reach Top Secret level. Undoubtedly, these require a multitude of security measures, infrastructure, and other assurances.

Currently, Amazon is the only other cloud provider able to handle such data. One of AWS’s arguments against the Microsoft win of the JEDI contract was that it’s “uniquely experienced and qualified” to provide the tech, and this change takes away one of its advantages.

“The Microsoft Azure IL6 offering provides classified processing capabilities up to the Secret level for DOD and Federal users,” DISA officials said in an email to the Washington Business Journal. “This represents a first for Microsoft in making their IaaS available to DOD communities for impact level 6 data.”

AWS officials haven’t commented on Microsoft’s authorization, and it’s unlikely they will. The online shopper turned cloud giant received its certification back in 2013 when it won the CIA’s $600 million C2S contract.

Its lawsuit contests that not only is AWS best suited to the contract but alleges that President Donald Trump personally interfered. A book published earlier this year by the president’s former defense communicator says Trump told Mattis to screw Amazon out of the contract.

It’ll likely be a while until we hear the outcome of that complaint. In the meantime, the DoD has agreed to halt any work aside from initial preparations. Assumedly, granting such clearance falls under those activities.

source – Windbuzzer

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Amazon AWS

Microsoft Search Faces Enterprise Challenge from Amazon Kendra


When we think of Microsoft and search, it’s usually with the knowledge of the company’s struggles to make Bing compete with Google Search in the consumer market. In enterprise, the company has more success. Microsoft Search is a tool the company uses to tie its various business services together.

However, Amazon is now arriving in enterprise search as a major competitor. This week, the company announced Kendra, a new business search tool that will meet Microsoft Search head on.

If you are unfamiliar with Microsoft Search, it is a search tool that functions across Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, Office, OneDrive, Yammer, Windows, and Bing. Announced at Build 2018 and developed in preview, Search because generally available at Build 2019.

Microsoft Search leverages Microsoft Graph and Bing’s AI integrations to surface results stored by organizations. It also integrates with third-party services such as Google Drive, SAP, Salesforce, and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

While Microsoft can arguably protect Search on its own services, its on these third parties where Amazon’s Kendra poses a threat. Not least on the company’s own AWS, the largest cloud provider in the world.

Like Microsoft Search, Amazon’s tool allows users to search with natural language. It also supports connectors to other services, among them OneDrive and Salesforce.

Main Abilities of Kendra

  • Kendra actively retrains deep learning models built for your data set and employee usage patterns to improve search accuracy. As end-users interact with search results, Kendra fine tunes its results. This means that if you click on a result or give it a ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’, Kendra will learn which results are more relevant and surface those first.
  • Kendra gives you the option to manually tune relevance; you can boost certain fields in your index like document freshness, view counts, or specific data sources. For example, you could boost documents that are not only viewed more often but that are also more recent, like trending news or updates.
  • Use natural language questions instead of just simple keywords to get the answers you’re looking for. Kendra will connect the dots within your files to return answers, whether that is a text snippet, FAQ, or document. Instead of sifting through long lists of documents to find specific answers, Kendra can provide a suggested answer upfront.
  • source- windbuzzer
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Amazon AWS

AWS Announces Amazon Braket, Taking on Microsoft in Cloud-Based Quantum Computing


AWS is joining the commercial Quantum computing market with Amazon Bracket. Announced on Monday, the fully managed service draws many parallels to Microsoft’s Azure Quantum, both being fully managed services that let researchers and scientists experiment with the budding tech.

“This new service is designed to let you get some hands-on experience with qubits and quantum circuits,” said AWS vice president Jeff Barr. “You can build and test your circuits in a simulated environment and then run them on an actual quantum computer. Amazon Braket is a fully managed AWS service, with security & encryption baked in at each level.”

Like Microsoft, Bracket provides Quantum hardware from a number of partners. They share a partner in IonQ, but AWS is opting for D-Wave and Rigetti over Azure’s Honeywell and QCI.

Early Adoption

Quantum computing depends on the creation of qubits, a version of the classic computer bit that can exist in a state of 1 and 0 at the same time. It’s proven difficult to craft qubits that are stable and noise-free, so current computers are still quite experimental.

However, services like Amazon Bracket and Azure Quantum will give researchers an early look at what these machines are capable of, and developers the chance to build for them.

With Quantum computing requiring such expensive, specific conditions, it’s likely they’ll never make it into the home. As a result, they’re a perfect market for cloud providers to capitalize on, and early offerings like this will help Amazon and Microsoft both gauge demand over time and build out their infrastructure.

As well as Bracket, Amazon has announced its AWS Center for Computing next to the Caltech campus. Like Microsoft’s Quantum Lab in Sydney, the idea is to accelerate research and technological development. Finally, its Quantum Solutions Lab will let interested parties consult with experts and learn about the technology.

source- windbuzzer

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