ALU

Amazon

Apple Music coming to Amazon’s Alexa

Amazon’s Alexa voice-powered assistant is preparing to gain another high profile music service in the form of Apple Music. Original Link

What is AWS Firecracker for Serverless Computing?

The world has come a long way from maintaining hardware in a big room full of servers to running CPU and memory-intensive applications in just one click. One of the main purposes of this transition is to enable developers and system engineers to concentrate more on applications and programs rather than maintaining the underlying infrastructure. The shift toward serverless computing is happening rapidly, and many tools and technologies have emerged to help. AWS, for one, has been consistently releasing new features to help users move toward serverless computing and virtualization — Lambda being one such example.

The History Behind Amazon Firecracker

AWS launched Lambda to run user applications or scripts in a serverless manner. Lambda executed functions without any overhead simply and efficiently. The introduction of AWS Fargate, which runs containers, further stressed on serverless architecture. Firecracker was developed using the language Rust as a way to enhance the backend implementation of AWS Lambda and AWS Fargate. Firecracker was developed with the goal to provide high security, isolation, flexibility, and an efficient run-time environment for Lambda and Fargate services.

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Amazon’s AWS to offer clients on-premise servers

Amazon.com will let customers put servers used in the company’s cloud computing data centres into their own facilities, it said on Wednesday. Original Link

Amazon unveils own server chips for AWS

Amazon.com has taken a big step toward reducing reliance on Intel for a critical component of its cloud computing service. Original Link

Briefing: Amazon China brings special cross border Black Friday sales to China

Amazon’s Black Friday sale is likely to attract more consumers though Alibaba is still leading cross-border commerce. Original Link

Microsoft finds investor favour as stock rout punishes peers

Microsoft is faring better than its more celebrated peers as losses pile up for technology stocks. Original Link

Amazon Corretto: Another No-Cost JDK

In the blog post "A Tale of Two Oracle JDKs," I compared and contrasted the two JDKs provided by Oracle: Oracle OpenJDK and Oracle JDK (Java SE). There are numerous other JDK offerings available, most of which are based on OpenJDK. One of these is Amazon Corretto, which is the subject of this post.

Today’s "What’s New with AWS" post "Introducing Amazon Corretto (Preview)" announces Amazon Corretto as "a no-cost, multiplatform, production-ready distribution of the Open Java Development Kit (OpenJDK)." Amazon Corretto‘s main page describes what it has to offer: "Corretto comes with long-term support that will include performance enhancements and security fixes." This is significant because it advertises that Amazon will provide performance enhancements and security fixes to its JDK offerings past the six months in which Oracle has committed to making performance enhancements and security fixes to each new OpenJDK version.

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Oracle Continues Long-Term Support for Amazon Linux

On October 30, Oracle announced that both OpenJDK 8 and OpenJDK 11 will continue their long-term support for Amazon Linux until June 30, 2023.

Since the announcement that Oracle will no longer provide long-term support for the OpenJDK beginning January 2019, this has sparked a lot of interest in the Java community over support for Amazon Web Services. Oracle and Amazon wanted to reassure devs that OpenJDK 8 and OpenJDK 11 LTS will continue for Amazon Linux until mid-2023.

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This is where Amazon may build its second HQ

Amazon.com’s yearlong search for a second headquarters is nearing an end, people with knowledge of the matter said. Original Link

Tech rout deepens as Amazon, Netflix tumble

Investors hoping for a reprieve from the worst month for technology stocks in a decade were greeted with more selling on Monday. Original Link

IBM and Red Hat will be much better together – in theory

IBM just made the cloud computing war far more interesting. It’s not an easy sell, but IBM and Red Hat certainly make a more compelling cloud computing alternative. Original Link

Amazon, Alphabet growth engines sputter

The growth engines of Amazon.com and Alphabet, the world’s largest Internet companies, sputtered last quarter, and after weeks of stock market jitters, investors were in no mood to give them a pass. Original Link

Amazon to open SA cloud data centres

Just months before Microsoft is due to open two Azure data centres in South Africa, the world’s largest cloud provider, Amazon Web Services, has announced it will also open data centre facilities in the country. Original Link

IBM wants its cloud services to play nicely with rivals

IBM is pressing deeper into its strategy of making cloud services more compatible with competitors, rather than trying to force customers into its own walled garden. Original Link

Walmart working on new video-streaming service

US retail giant Walmart is looking to create an online store that would sell other companies’ video services, according to people familiar with the talks, opening up a new front in its fight with Amazon.com. Original Link

Chip hack a sign of Chinese cyber threats to US, officials say

The White House national security adviser has said Chinese cyberattacks on the US validate the Donald Trump administration’s emphasis on offensive cyber operations of its own. Original Link

Why telecoms operators are terrified of Big Tech

Telecommunications carriers have long grumbled that they spend a fortune building the world’s data networks only to watch the US technology giants reap most of the benefits. Now they fear Silicon Valley will take away their customers, too. Original Link

IS adds Amazon, Google to cloud offering

Dimension Data’s Internet Solutions has bolstered its business cloud computing offering by adding partnerships with Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud to its CloudConnect offering. Original Link

Amazon is putting Alexa in everything, from clocks to microwaves

Amazon.com has unveiled its vision for smart homes powered by the Alexa voice assistant, with a dizzying array of new gadgets and features for almost every room in the house. Original Link

Amazon going all-in on cashierless retail stores

In an aggressive and costly move, Amazon.com is considering a plan to open as many as 3 000 new AmazonGo cashierless stores in the next few years. Original Link

What Is Serverless Computing?

MicrosoftAmazon, and Google are now dedicated to branding pages for the topic “serverless,” which says something to all of us. It’s not a fad, and it’s here to stay.

Often times, all these new buzzwords will confuse us. The bottom line definition of serverless computing is “serverless computing allows you to build and run applications and services without thinking about servers."

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Trump steps up attacks on Big Tech

US President Donald Trump, stepping up his criticism of technology firms he says are favouring liberal points of view, said they may be in a “very antitrust situation” but repeatedly said he can’t comment publicly on whether they should be broken up. Original Link

Now Amazon closes in on $1-trillion market cap

Amazon.com headed for its biggest gain in four months, pulling within US$26-billion of becoming America’s second trillion-dollar company, after Morgan Stanley said sales growth remains strong. Original Link

6 Unique AWS Features – Why Amazon Web Service is Popular

In our last, AWS Tutorial, we saw Top AWS Books. Today, we will talk about AWS Features, the importance of Amazon Web service, and why AWS is so popular.

So, let’s start AWS Features.

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A Comparison Between Microsoft OneDrive and Amazon WorkDocs

Background

Amazon WorkDocs and OneDrive for Business are two of the most famous cloud-based file storage systems today. OneDrive was released in 2007 and is one of the oldest competitors in market. Amazon WorkDocs was released back in 2014, initially known as Amazon Zocalo. Both services offer high performance, security, durability and a wide range of features. These services can help you achieve data protection and better team collaboration. Read this for an example. 

Let’s dive into a more detailed comparison on some of the core features in both products. 

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Google is in China cloud talks with Tencent

Google wants to get back into China, and is laying the groundwork for a key part of the initiative: bringing its cloud business to the world’s second largest economy. Original Link

It’s a wonder Apple isn’t worth $2-trillion

Going just by the stock prices of its peers, the interesting thing about Apple isn’t that it’s worth $1-trillion. It’s that it’s not worth more. Not that investors are complaining. Original Link

Ghost of past giants haunts Apple as it nears $1-trillion

Apple may not have surpassed US$1-trillion in market value in the wake of this week’s solid results, but it remains the world’s biggest company – for now. Original Link

Signs of exhaustion in epic US tech bull run

For a technology sector on the verge of begetting two trillion-dollar companies in Amazon.com and Apple, the requirements are getting daunting. Original Link

Signs of exhaustion in epic US tech bull run

For a technology sector on the verge of begetting two trillion-dollar companies in Amazon.com and Apple, the requirements are getting daunting. Original Link

Amazon reports record profits

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Amazon.com reported better-than-expected earnings in the second quarter and forecast more of the same in the current period, igniting investor optimism about cloud computing, advertising and other businesses that are more profitable than its main online retail operation.

The world’s largest e-commerce company said third-quarter operating income will surge to as much as US$2.4-billion, compared to the average analyst estimate of $1.28bn, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Second-quarter profit came in at a record $2.53-billion, or $5.07/share, more than double analysts’ forecasts. The shares rose 4.1% in extended trading.

While revenue missed Wall Street expectations, the earnings show Amazon is managing to keep a lid on expenses while investing heavily in new devices and businesses like selling groceries and prescription drugs. Chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said 2017 investments in warehouse and data centre efficiency are lifting profit this year. The company also slowed hiring and is filling positions on growing teams through internal transfers, he said.

RJ Hottovy, an equity analyst at Morningstar, said Amazon profit also got a boost from more sales by independent merchants on its site, where the company gets commissions without the cost of buying inventory.

“We’re seeing a lot more third-party transactions, which is why the revenue missed but the profits are so good,” he said. “The big number is operating income in the second quarter coming in so far ahead.”

Amazon projected third-quarter sales of $54-billion to $57.5-billion, while analysts were looking for $58-billion. Second-quarter revenue was $52.9-billion, slightly missing analysts’ expectations, too.

Amazon’s stock has more than tripled in the past three years, making CEO Jeff Bezos the richest person on the planet. It’s the world’s second most valuable public company now behind Apple, making it one of the front-runners in the race to reach $1-trillion in market value.

Investors have placed tremendous faith in Amazon’s ability to find new customers and squeeze more money from existing users by offering them new products and services. It purchased online pharmacy PillPack last month, which followed its $13.7-billion acquisition of Whole Foods last year to jump-start its struggling grocery business. Olsavsky said marketing in Whole Foods is creating new members for Amazon’s Prime subscription. “It’s the fastest we’ve ever seen,” he added.

Momentum

Amazon’s momentum has been strong enough to sustain Twitter broadsides from US President Donald Trump, who has accused Amazon of freeloading off the US Postal Service and using The Washington Post as a lobbying tool against antitrust criticism. Bezos owns The Washington Post, which frequently publishes hard-hitting investigative pieces about Trump and his administration.

Revenue from Amazon Web Services, its profitable cloud computing division, jumped 49% to $6.1-billion. Growth, which Amazon reports without the impact of currency changes, was 48% in the first quarter.

Sales from other businesses — mostly advertising — surged 129% to $2.2-billion, just below the growth rate from the first quarter.

Amazon has more than 100 million Prime subscribers who pay yearly or monthly fees in exchange for fast shipping, video and music streaming and digital photo storage. Members spend more than non-members. Subscription services revenue, which is mostly from Prime, soared 55% to $3.4-billion. First-quarter growth was 56%.

Amazon will capture nearly half of all online spending in the US this year, according to EMarketer. Bezos is trying to convince investors that he can replicate that US dominance overseas. But that takes a lot of spending upfront. Second-quarter operating expenses rose 34% to $49.9-billion. That was just below Amazon’s revenue growth rate.  — Reported by Spencer Soper, (c) 2018 Bloomberg LP

Original Link

Amazon reports record profits

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Amazon.com reported better-than-expected earnings in the second quarter and forecast more of the same in the current period, igniting investor optimism about cloud computing, advertising and other businesses that are more profitable than its main online retail operation.

The world’s largest e-commerce company said third-quarter operating income will surge to as much as US$2.4-billion, compared to the average analyst estimate of $1.28bn, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Second-quarter profit came in at a record $2.53-billion, or $5.07/share, more than double analysts’ forecasts. The shares rose 4.1% in extended trading.

While revenue missed Wall Street expectations, the earnings show Amazon is managing to keep a lid on expenses while investing heavily in new devices and businesses like selling groceries and prescription drugs. Chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said 2017 investments in warehouse and data centre efficiency are lifting profit this year. The company also slowed hiring and is filling positions on growing teams through internal transfers, he said.

RJ Hottovy, an equity analyst at Morningstar, said Amazon profit also got a boost from more sales by independent merchants on its site, where the company gets commissions without the cost of buying inventory.

“We’re seeing a lot more third-party transactions, which is why the revenue missed but the profits are so good,” he said. “The big number is operating income in the second quarter coming in so far ahead.”

Amazon projected third-quarter sales of $54-billion to $57.5-billion, while analysts were looking for $58-billion. Second-quarter revenue was $52.9-billion, slightly missing analysts’ expectations, too.

Amazon’s stock has more than tripled in the past three years, making CEO Jeff Bezos the richest person on the planet. It’s the world’s second most valuable public company now behind Apple, making it one of the front-runners in the race to reach $1-trillion in market value.

Investors have placed tremendous faith in Amazon’s ability to find new customers and squeeze more money from existing users by offering them new products and services. It purchased online pharmacy PillPack last month, which followed its $13.7-billion acquisition of Whole Foods last year to jump-start its struggling grocery business. Olsavsky said marketing in Whole Foods is creating new members for Amazon’s Prime subscription. “It’s the fastest we’ve ever seen,” he added.

Momentum

Amazon’s momentum has been strong enough to sustain Twitter broadsides from US President Donald Trump, who has accused Amazon of freeloading off the US Postal Service and using The Washington Post as a lobbying tool against antitrust criticism. Bezos owns The Washington Post, which frequently publishes hard-hitting investigative pieces about Trump and his administration.

Revenue from Amazon Web Services, its profitable cloud computing division, jumped 49% to $6.1-billion. Growth, which Amazon reports without the impact of currency changes, was 48% in the first quarter.

Sales from other businesses — mostly advertising — surged 129% to $2.2-billion, just below the growth rate from the first quarter.

Amazon has more than 100 million Prime subscribers who pay yearly or monthly fees in exchange for fast shipping, video and music streaming and digital photo storage. Members spend more than non-members. Subscription services revenue, which is mostly from Prime, soared 55% to $3.4-billion. First-quarter growth was 56%.

Amazon will capture nearly half of all online spending in the US this year, according to EMarketer. Bezos is trying to convince investors that he can replicate that US dominance overseas. But that takes a lot of spending upfront. Second-quarter operating expenses rose 34% to $49.9-billion. That was just below Amazon’s revenue growth rate.  — Reported by Spencer Soper, (c) 2018 Bloomberg LP

Original Link

Amazon reports record profits

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Amazon.com reported better-than-expected earnings in the second quarter and forecast more of the same in the current period, igniting investor optimism about cloud computing, advertising and other businesses that are more profitable than its main online retail operation.

The world’s largest e-commerce company said third-quarter operating income will surge to as much as US$2.4-billion, compared to the average analyst estimate of $1.28bn, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Second-quarter profit came in at a record $2.53-billion, or $5.07/share, more than double analysts’ forecasts. The shares rose 4.1% in extended trading.

While revenue missed Wall Street expectations, the earnings show Amazon is managing to keep a lid on expenses while investing heavily in new devices and businesses like selling groceries and prescription drugs. Chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said 2017 investments in warehouse and data centre efficiency are lifting profit this year. The company also slowed hiring and is filling positions on growing teams through internal transfers, he said.

RJ Hottovy, an equity analyst at Morningstar, said Amazon profit also got a boost from more sales by independent merchants on its site, where the company gets commissions without the cost of buying inventory.

“We’re seeing a lot more third-party transactions, which is why the revenue missed but the profits are so good,” he said. “The big number is operating income in the second quarter coming in so far ahead.”

Amazon projected third-quarter sales of $54-billion to $57.5-billion, while analysts were looking for $58-billion. Second-quarter revenue was $52.9-billion, slightly missing analysts’ expectations, too.

Amazon’s stock has more than tripled in the past three years, making CEO Jeff Bezos the richest person on the planet. It’s the world’s second most valuable public company now behind Apple, making it one of the front-runners in the race to reach $1-trillion in market value.

Investors have placed tremendous faith in Amazon’s ability to find new customers and squeeze more money from existing users by offering them new products and services. It purchased online pharmacy PillPack last month, which followed its $13.7-billion acquisition of Whole Foods last year to jump-start its struggling grocery business. Olsavsky said marketing in Whole Foods is creating new members for Amazon’s Prime subscription. “It’s the fastest we’ve ever seen,” he added.

Momentum

Amazon’s momentum has been strong enough to sustain Twitter broadsides from US President Donald Trump, who has accused Amazon of freeloading off the US Postal Service and using The Washington Post as a lobbying tool against antitrust criticism. Bezos owns The Washington Post, which frequently publishes hard-hitting investigative pieces about Trump and his administration.

Revenue from Amazon Web Services, its profitable cloud computing division, jumped 49% to $6.1-billion. Growth, which Amazon reports without the impact of currency changes, was 48% in the first quarter.

Sales from other businesses — mostly advertising — surged 129% to $2.2-billion, just below the growth rate from the first quarter.

Amazon has more than 100 million Prime subscribers who pay yearly or monthly fees in exchange for fast shipping, video and music streaming and digital photo storage. Members spend more than non-members. Subscription services revenue, which is mostly from Prime, soared 55% to $3.4-billion. First-quarter growth was 56%.

Amazon will capture nearly half of all online spending in the US this year, according to EMarketer. Bezos is trying to convince investors that he can replicate that US dominance overseas. But that takes a lot of spending upfront. Second-quarter operating expenses rose 34% to $49.9-billion. That was just below Amazon’s revenue growth rate.  — Reported by Spencer Soper, (c) 2018 Bloomberg LP

Original Link

Spotify tops 180 million users, but investors aren’t happy

Spotify Technology gained more subscribers than expected, but it wasn’t enough for investors who are worried about competition from Apple and Amazon.com.

Spotify boosted its customer base to 180 million in the second quarter, more than the average 178.5 million forecast from analysts. But shares still fell as much as 5.6% in early New York trading.

It marks the second quarter in a row that investors were less than thrilled by results, even as the company delivered on its own forecasts for subscriber growth. One possible concern is that growth of Spotify’s free service appears to be slowing. The company reported fewer users of the advertising-supported tier than a quarter ago, although the base grew by 23%  year over year.

“If the slowdown continues we’d miss our guidance expectations and that would be a cause for concern,” chief financial officer Barry McCarthy said in an interview with reporters.

Spotify introduced a new free service in April to make it more attractive to potential customers. The company has used the free service to attract people whom it then tries to convert into paying subscribers.

The music streaming service also took a tax hit that was bigger than it had forecast, contributing to a per-share operating loss of €2.20, it said in a statement on Thursday. Investors have been willing to forgive Spotify’s losses so long as the company keeps adding customers — the kind of approach that worked for Amazon.com and Netflix. Spotify’s sales in the quarter grew 26% from a year earlier to €1.27-billion.

Spotify faces a counterattack from established technology giants. That includes Amazon, YouTube and most notably Apple, whose music service is expected to surpass Spotify in US subscribers in the coming months.  — Reported by Lucas Shaw, (c) 2018 Bloomberg LP

Original Link

Spotify tops 180 million users, but investors aren’t happy

Spotify Technology gained more subscribers than expected, but it wasn’t enough for investors who are worried about competition from Apple and Amazon.com.

Spotify boosted its customer base to 180 million in the second quarter, more than the average 178.5 million forecast from analysts. But shares still fell as much as 5.6% in early New York trading.

It marks the second quarter in a row that investors were less than thrilled by results, even as the company delivered on its own forecasts for subscriber growth. One possible concern is that growth of Spotify’s free service appears to be slowing. The company reported fewer users of the advertising-supported tier than a quarter ago, although the base grew by 23%  year over year.

“If the slowdown continues we’d miss our guidance expectations and that would be a cause for concern,” chief financial officer Barry McCarthy said in an interview with reporters.

Spotify introduced a new free service in April to make it more attractive to potential customers. The company has used the free service to attract people whom it then tries to convert into paying subscribers.

The music streaming service also took a tax hit that was bigger than it had forecast, contributing to a per-share operating loss of €2.20, it said in a statement on Thursday. Investors have been willing to forgive Spotify’s losses so long as the company keeps adding customers — the kind of approach that worked for Amazon.com and Netflix. Spotify’s sales in the quarter grew 26% from a year earlier to €1.27-billion.

Spotify faces a counterattack from established technology giants. That includes Amazon, YouTube and most notably Apple, whose music service is expected to surpass Spotify in US subscribers in the coming months.  — Reported by Lucas Shaw, (c) 2018 Bloomberg LP

Original Link

Spotify tops 180 million users, but investors aren’t happy

Spotify Technology gained more subscribers than expected, but it wasn’t enough for investors who are worried about competition from Apple and Amazon.com.

Spotify boosted its customer base to 180 million in the second quarter, more than the average 178.5 million forecast from analysts. But shares still fell as much as 5.6% in early New York trading.

It marks the second quarter in a row that investors were less than thrilled by results, even as the company delivered on its own forecasts for subscriber growth. One possible concern is that growth of Spotify’s free service appears to be slowing. The company reported fewer users of the advertising-supported tier than a quarter ago, although the base grew by 23%  year over year.

“If the slowdown continues we’d miss our guidance expectations and that would be a cause for concern,” chief financial officer Barry McCarthy said in an interview with reporters.

Spotify introduced a new free service in April to make it more attractive to potential customers. The company has used the free service to attract people whom it then tries to convert into paying subscribers.

The music streaming service also took a tax hit that was bigger than it had forecast, contributing to a per-share operating loss of €2.20, it said in a statement on Thursday. Investors have been willing to forgive Spotify’s losses so long as the company keeps adding customers — the kind of approach that worked for Amazon.com and Netflix. Spotify’s sales in the quarter grew 26% from a year earlier to €1.27-billion.

Spotify faces a counterattack from established technology giants. That includes Amazon, YouTube and most notably Apple, whose music service is expected to surpass Spotify in US subscribers in the coming months.  — Reported by Lucas Shaw, (c) 2018 Bloomberg LP

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This Week in Digital: July 20, 2018

Download this eBook to learn how to prepare your business for agile adoption, how to ensure the proper business-IT collaboration that is critical for agile development, and how to choose the right stakeholders to increase productivity and enable accelerated time-to-value.

Topics:

mobile ,gartner ,amazon ,agile ,prime day ,digital news ,tech news

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Episode 172: The smart home goes public

This week’s show takes up last week’s news of Netgear’s Arlo division and Sonos filing for initial public offerings. Kevin and I share what we see in the filings and what it means for the smart home. We also discuss Amazon’s Prime Day deals and Google’s answering sale with Walmart,  before digging into this week’s other news.  There’s a bit about building IoT networks in space and LG CNS’ plans to launch a smart city platform. Kevin also found a fun project that tackles how to make your own indoor air quality monitor.  We close our segment by answering a listener question about garage door automation.

Me installing the Alexa-enabled faucet a few weeks ago.

This week’s guest helped build the new Alexa-enabled faucet from Delta Faucet and shares the process with us. Randy Schneider is a product electrical engineer at Delta Faucet, and discusses how the company decided on Alexa, why there’s no app and why the phrasing for asking Alexa to turn on a faucet is so awkward. You’ll learn a lot from this, and may even find yourself wanting to connect your own kitchen sink. Enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Randy Schneider is a product electrical engineer at Delta Faucet
Sponsors: Afero and Avnet

  • Amazon looms large in both planned smart home IPOs
  • Google and Walmart take on Prime Day with deals for Google gear
  • Want to make a DIY air quality monitor?
  • Why Delta decided voice would be good for the kitchen sink
  • What’s Crate and Barrel got to do with this?

Original Link

Wireless speaker pioneer Sonos to list

Sonos has filed for a US initial public offering as the wireless speaker pioneer gears up to take on increasing competition from Amazon, Google and Apple.

Along with rich rivals, the company warned that an escalation of the trade war between the US and China could significantly damage its business.

The Santa Barbara, California-based company filed with an offering size of US$100-million, a placeholder amount used to calculate fees that is likely to change. It plans to list on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol SONO, according to a regulatory filing Friday.

While the wireless speakers market is booming — Sonos says its customers listen to about 70 hours of content a month — competition has increased since the company introduced its first home-audio system in 2005. Sonos, which has traditionally marketed its sleek, high-end speakers to audiophiles who prize sound quality, cited an “extremely competitive and rapidly evolving” market among risk factors in its IPO. The company named Bang & Olufsen, Bose and Samsung Electronics among its main rivals, alongside newer entrants Amazon.com, Apple and Google.

Sonos is targeting a valuation of $2.5-billion to $3-billion in the IPO, people familiar with the matter said in April. The company was founded in 2002 and has been led by Patrick Spence since January 2017.

In recent years, voice-activated speakers from Amazon and others had Sonos scrambling to catch up. The company launched the Sonos One, an Amazon Alexa-controlled smart speaker that competes with the Echo, Google Home and Apple’s HomePod; in June Sonos debuted a new voice-controlled home theatre speaker for living rooms, called the Beam.

In an effort to make its products widely popular, Sonos lets users connect to multiple voice assistants and stream music via other companies’ services. Its products are being integrated in Apple’s new AirPlay 2 wireless music-streaming system and Google’s Assistant. Sonos doesn’t offer its own music or voice-activation services.

Five billion hours

Sonos said as of 31 March, its customers had registered more than 19 million products in about seven million households around the world. In fiscal 2017, people listened to about five billion hours of audio content using Sonos products, about a third more than in the previous year, the filing says.

In preparation for its anticipated IPO, Sonos cut about 6% of its workers to help boost profitability. In fiscal 2017, the company posted a net loss of $14.2-million on revenue of $992.5-million, down from a net loss of $38.2-million on $901.3-million of revenue in the previous financial year, according to the filing.

Sonos’s largest investor is KKR & Co, which owned an almost 26% stake as of 30 June, according to the filing. Its next largest holders are Index Ventures and Sonos co-founder and CEO John MacFarlane, who each own about 13%. The filing doesn’t detail how many shares they plan to sell in the offering. KKR initially invested $100-million in Sonos in 2012.  — Reported by Elizabeth Fournier, with assistance from Matthew Monks and Mark Gurman, (c) 2018 Bloomberg LP

Original Link

Sonos is going public, but threats loom large

Sonos is going public, and Amazon looms large over the wireless speaker company’s fortunes.

Sonos built itself up as a kind of digital Switzerland, allowing customers to stream music from any major service without having to take sides in the struggle between the big tech platforms. This was a key part of Sonos’s appeal, but also relied on everyone playing nice. That proposition seems increasingly fraught as Apple, Amazon.com and Google are hawking their own speakers.

Sonos acknowledged its vulnerability as it filed the paperwork on Friday for an initial public offering, expected to value the Santa Barbara, California-company at about US$2.5-billion. “These technology partners may cease doing business with us or disable the technology they provide our products for a variety of reasons, including to promote their products over our own,” the company wrote in the filing.

Founded in 2002, Sonos spent years as the dominant player in the wireless speaker industry. According to its filing on Friday, its products are now in about seven million households worldwide, with the average customer owning about three devices and listening to 70 hours of content each month. Audiophiles were drawn to the high quality of the speakers, and it provided the novel ability to play different music in different rooms, all controlled by a single smartphone app.

But Amazon seemed to undercut Sonos just as the company expected to enter its breakout period. In late 2014, Sonos executives were telling employees and the public that it would cross $1-billion in revenue for the first time the following year. In November 2014, Amazon began selling the Echo, its voice-controlled speaker. Sonos had a disappointing holiday season that year, compounded by another one in fiscal 2015, bringing in only $843-million. It soon pivoted, firing employees in early 2016, and making concessions to partners like Spotify who wanted more control over the software. Sonos repriced stock options for its executives, lowering the price they’d pay for each share by almost 30%, according to Friday’s filing. In fiscal 2017, the company lost $14-million on sales of $992-million.

The popularity of the Echo caught Sonos by surprise, said people who worked there at the time. While it briefly considered building its own voice-controlled speaker, Sonos decided to join with Amazon instead. In 2016, the two companies announced a partnership in which Echo speakers would be able to control Sonos devices. More recently, Sonos has begun selling speakers with Alexa, Amazon’s voice control platform, built in. The companies have described this as a long-term partnership, but Sonos acknowledged in its regulatory filings that Amazon could cut it off or begin charging it with little notice.

There’s no evidence that Amazon plans to do this. Sonos also said it plans to integrate Apple and Google’s voice controls into its speakers this year. But it’s a reminder that Sonos is beholden to the cooperation of its main competitors. Apple, Amazon and Google have all identified wireless speakers as a way to pull consumers into their broader ecosystems. There are signs that even Spotify is building its own speaker.

The incentive for all of these companies is to become less cooperative as they try to reach more deeply into their users’ digital lives. Selling speakers, to them, could be a means to some other objective. “Our business model, by contrast, is dependent on the sale of our speakers,” Sonos said.  — Reported by Joshua Brustein, (c) 2018 Bloomberg LP

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Episode 171: Your smart home questions, answered!

This week Kevin and I decided to do something a bit unusual, turning our segment where we answer listener’s questions into the entire show. You guys have been sending a lot of interesting questions to the Schlage IoT Podcast Listener Hotline, and we hated to leave so many unanswered, so we combined a slow holiday news week with some Q&A. Remember, if you have a question, give us a call at 512.623.7424.

Kevin and I at CES in 2018 when we hunt for cool new stuff and ask manufacturers about your questions.

We tackle issues such as insurance discounts for smart home gear, local hubs and the best skills for Alexa in a classroom setting. We failed to find a perfect USB cable for someone, but did locate a smoke detector that will work with SmartThings for a Canadian listener. We also dug into details on several home hubs for listeners debating Home Assistant, Home Bridge, Open HAB, SmartThings and Wink. We hope you enjoy the show and keep those questions coming. Next week, we’ll be back to the usual format.

Hosts: Kevin Tofel and Stacey Higginbotham
Sponsors: Control4 and Schlage

  • When will my insurer give me a discount on my smart home?
  • A question about smart locks
  • Which home hub is best for first timers?
  • These five Alexa skills are good for education

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It’s Amazon vs Apple in race to $1-trillion

In the battle for the first company to reach and sustain US$1-trillion in stock market value, don’t count out a come-from-behind victory.

Apple has had a lock on its spot as the world’s most valuable public company by stock value for several years, and we’ve been waiting for it to crest the $1-trillion market cap milestone. The company inched within $50-billion of that mark in early June before its share price retreated a bit.

Apple’s trek to $1-trillion has been closely chronicled by news outlets and it’s a good bet there are articles and essays prepped for what seems like an inevitable moment for Apple.

Amazon, though, is coming up fast.

At the beginning of this year, Apple’s stock market value was 50% bigger than Amazon’s. Now the gap is about 10%. The spread between the two companies was about $85-billion as of Friday’s US market close. That is a big but not insurmountable gap if Amazon keeps up its torrid stock gains. In 2018 alone, the value of Amazon’s shares has climbed $260-billion. Yes, Amazon has added the equivalent of Walmart’s total market cap in just six months.

Amazon’s position among the stock market’s elite would have been tough to predict a few years ago. In the summer of 2011, when Apple (briefly) topped Exxon Mobil for the first time as the most valuable company in the world by market cap, Amazon was barely in the top 50.

Amazon only found its groove starting in 2015, and since then it has been on a tear as investors started to believe in Amazon’s strategy to spend like crazy to try to become ingrained into every aspect of people’s lives — in the home, at work, at play, during meal times, in sickness and in health.

As Amazon’s ambitions have increased with each passing day, investors have grown more excited about the size of the company’s financial opportunity. The company’s two main business lines, retailing and information technology, represent $20-trillion and $2-trillion of annual spending, respectively. Amazon captures a tiny share of each category, and if it manages to grab bigger chunks, then it is sitting on a gold mine. And that’s before addressing Amazon’s potential to crack additional lucrative areas such as health care and advertising.

When?

But the Wall Street analysts who track Apple, Amazon and other technology superpowers aren’t necessarily predicting any of them will hit $1-trillion soon. Using their average 12-month stock price targets for the largest US technology companies, analysts peg Apple’s target market value at about $974-billion, with Amazon and Microsoft behind it.

A lot can go wrong for Amazon in the march to $1-trillion. Investors are willing to pay a higher price for each dollar of Amazon’s expected future profits than they are for any other technology giant. Amazon is trading is trading at more than 46 times its cash from operations over the last 12 months. Apple is valued at about 11 times on the same basis. If Amazon stumbles or if there’s a return of doubts about Amazon’s business strategy, its high valuation could become an anchor that drags down its market value.

The $1-trillion market cap is a vanity milestone, of course. It doesn’t truly matter, except in bragging rights. But the fact that Amazon is even in the conversation shows how much has changed quickly in investors’ faith in Amazon’s strategy and its ability to worm its way into more nooks of commerce.  — Reported by Shira Ovide, (c) 2018 Bloomberg LP

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Creating a Positive Developer Experience for Container-Based Applications: From Soup to Nuts

This article is featured in the new DZone Guide to Containers: Development and Management. Get your free copy for more insightful articles, industry statistics, and more!

Nearly every engineering team that is working on a web-based application realizes that they would benefit from a deployment and runtime platform — and ideally, some kind of self-service platform (much like a PaaS) — but as the joke goes, the only requirement is that “it has to be built by them.” Open-source and commercial PaaS-es are now coming of age, particularly with the emergence of Kubernetes as the de facto abstraction layer over low-level compute and network fabric. Commercially packaged versions of the Cloud Foundry Foundation’s Cloud Foundry distribution (such as that by Pivotal), alongside Red Hat’s OpenShift, are growing in popularity across the industry. However, not every team wants to work with such fully featured PaaSes, and now, you can also find a variety of pluggable components that remove much of the pain of assembling your own bespoke platform. However, one topic that often gets overlooked when assembling your own platform is the associated developer workflow and developer experience (DevEx) that should drive the selection of tooling. This article explores this topic in more detail.

Infrastructure, Platform and Workflow

In a previous TheNewStack article, Kubernetes and PaaS: The Force of Developer Experience and Workflow, I introduced how the Datawire team often talks with customers about three high-level foundational concepts of modern software delivery — infrastructure, platform, and workflow — and how this impacts both technical platform decisions and the delivery of value to stakeholders.

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If Kubernetes Is the Platform, What’s the Workflow?

One of the many advantages with deploying systems using Kubernetes is that it provides just enough platform features to abstract away most of the infrastructure — at least to the development team. Ideally, you will have a dedicated platform team to manage the infrastructure and Kubernetes cluster, or perhaps use a fully managed offering like Google Container Engine (GKE), Azure Container Service (AKS), or the soon-to-be-released Amazon Elastic Container Service (EKS). Developers will still benefit from learning about the underlying infrastructure and how the platform interfaces with this (cultivating “mechanical sympathy”), but fundamentally, their interaction with the platform should largely be driven by self-service dashboards, tooling, and SDKs.

Self-service is not only about reducing the development friction between an idea to delivered (deployed and observed) value. It’s also about allowing different parts of the organization to pick and choose their workflow and tooling, and ultimately make an informed trade-off against velocity and stability (or increase both velocity and stability). There are several key areas of the software delivery life cycle where this applies:

  • Structuring code and automating (container) build and deployment.

  • Local development, potentially against a remote cluster, due to local resource constraints or the need to interface with remote services.

  • Post-production testing and validation, such as shadowing traffic and canary testing (and the associated creation of metrics to support hypothesis testing).

Several tools and frameworks are emerging within this space, and they each offer various opinions and present trade-offs that you must consider.

Emerging Developer Workflow Frameworks

There is a lot of activity in the space of Kubernetes developer workflow tooling. Shahidh K. Muhammed recently wrote an excellent Medium post, Draft vs. Gitkube vs. Helm vs. Ksonnet vs. Metaparticle vs. Skaffold, which offered a comparison of tools that help developers build and deploy their apps on Kubernetes (although he did miss Forge!). Matt Farina has also written a very useful blog post for engineers looking to understand application artifacts, package management, and deployment options within this space: and Kubernetes: Where Helm and Related Tools Sit.

Learning from these sources is essential, but it is also often worth looking a little bit deeper into your development process itself, and then selecting appropriate tooling. Some questions to explore include:

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  • Do you have an opinion on code repository structure?

    • Using a monorepo can bring many benefits and challenges. Coordination of integration and testing across services is generally easier, and so is service dependency management. For example, developer workflow tooling such as Forge can automatically re-deploy dependent services when a code change is made to another related service. However, one of the challenges associated with using a monorepo is developing the workflow discipline to avoid code “merge hell” across service boundaries.

    • The multi-repo VCS option also has pros and cons. There can be clearer ownership, and it is often easier to initialize and orchestrate services for local running and debugging. However, ensuring code-level standardization (and understandability) across repos can be challenging, as can managing integration and coordinating deployment to environments. Consumer-driven contract tooling such as Pact and Spring Cloud Contract provide options for testing integration at the interface level, and frameworks like Helm (and Draft for a slicker developer experience) and Ksonnet can be used to manage service dependencies across your system.

  • Do you want to implement “guide rails” for your development teams?

    • Larger teams and enterprises often want to provide comprehensive guide rails for development teams; these constrain the workflow and toolset being used. Doing this has many advantages, such as the reduction of friction when moving engineers across projects, and the creation of integrated debug tooling and auditing is easier. The key trade-off is the limited flexibility associated with the establishment of workflows required for exceptional circumstances, such as when a project requires a custom build and deployment or differing test tooling. Red Hat’s OpenShift and Pivotal Cloud Foundry offer PaaS-es that are popular within many enterprise organizations.

    • Startups and small/medium enterprises (SMEs) may instead value team independence, where each team chooses the most appropriate workflow and developer tooling for them. My colleague, Rafael Schloming, has spoken about the associated benefits and challenges at QCon San Francisco: Patterns for Microservice Developer Workflows and Deployment. Teams embracing this approach often operate a Kubernetes cluster via a cloud vendor, such as Google’s GKE or Azure’s AKS, and utilize a combination of vendor services and open-source tooling.

    • A hybrid approach, such as that espoused by Netflix, is to provide a centralized platform team and approved/managed tooling, but allow any service team the freedom to implement their own workflow and associated tooling that they will also have the responsibility for managing. My summary of Yunong Xiao’s QCon New York talk provides more insight to the ideas: The “Paved Road” PaaS for Microservices at Netflix. This hybrid approach is the style we favor at Datawire, and we are building open-source tooling to support this.

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Conclusions

This article has provided several questions that you and your team must ask when adopting Kubernetes as your platform of choice. Kubernetes and container technology offer fantastic opportunity, but to fully take advantage of this, you will most likely need to change your workflow. Every software development organization needs a platform and associated workflow and developer experience, but the key question is: How much of this do you want to build yourself? Any technical leader will benefit from understanding the value proposition of PaaS and the trade-offs and benefits of assembling key components of a platform yourself.

This article is featured in the new DZone Guide to Containers: Development and Management. Get your free copy for more insightful articles, industry statistics, and more!

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Episode 170: Smart stents, surveillance tech and Alexa-powered faucets

This week’s episode begins on a grim note, as Kevin and I discuss the New York Times’ story about how smart home gadgets can become another point of control in abusive relationships. From there we touch on the new Wi-Fi WPA3 security standard and Tesla’s new plan to charge users for data and what it means for IoT. Kevin shares the new Alexa for iOS feature and explains why it’s useful, while I talk about a startup that wants to detect pollution at granular levels. We share news of a smart stent, smart park benches and my experience with an Alexa-enabled faucet. We then answer a question from a reader who wants to buy Abode’s security system but wonders what gadgets will work with it.

This smart stent is one long antenna with a pressure sensor. Image courtesy of the University of British Columbia.

For the guest segment, I visit with Cyrus Farivar, who is a reporter at Ars Technica and wrote a book on surveillance tech called “Habeas Data”. We discuss the current legal underpinnings of privacy law in the US and how it has evolved. Our conversation covers the recently decided Carpenter case, the 1967 case that established the concept of a “reasonable expectation of privacy,” and how the government could use our connected devices against us. You’ll learn a lot, but you may want to unplug your Echo.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Cyrus Farivar author of “Habeas Data
Sponsor: Control4

  • How to reset connected devices and be a decent human being
  • Y’all had some great ideas on connected cameras
  • Alexa, ask Delta to turn on faucet
  • Where the expectation of privacy came from
  • What to ask device makers about government snooping

Original Link

Tech’s big 4 lose $70-billion in value in market bloodletting

Amazon’s headquarters in downtown Seattle

It’s been a hallmark of the tech bull run. If you want to play, be prepared for some awful days. That proved true again on Monday as the group’s highest flyers led the way down in the market’s worst day since April.

Bloodletting was rampant in the “Fang” bloc of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google’s parent Alphabet. The quartet, whose gains through last week had outpaced the market by 14 times this year, tumbled 3.8%, wiping out more than US$70-billion in market value.

Darlings quickly turned to losers as tech stocks fell in proportion to their 2018 gains. That is: the better they performed, the faster they fell. Among Nasdaq 100 stocks, the top quarter ranked by year-to-date returns plunged 2.6% on Monday, compared to a decline of 1.4% in the worst.

It’s a danger that Wall Street strategists from Morgan Stanley to Bank of America have been warning about. Tech stocks led the market’s selloff in February and again in March. Yet before this week, investors had been unfazed.

More than $1-billion of fresh money has been added to exchanged-traded funds that focus on tech stocks this month, more than any other groups, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In the futures market, large speculators last week boosted their net positions in Nasdaq 100 minis contracts to the highest level since January, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed.  — Reported by Lu Wang, (c) 2018 Bloomberg LP

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Episode 169: Alexa gets a hotel gig

This week in IoT news, Kevin and I talk about AT&T’s plans to launch an NB-IoT network. Then we talk about the pros and cons of Marriott putting Alexa into hotel rooms. We also talk about a new voice assistant for the enterprise, HP Enterprises’ $4 billion investment in IoT, and digital rights management in smart fridges. We touch on a few more stories including an accelerator for the smart kitchen, leaked location data, a router that acts as a smart hub, and a clarification on the Thread news from last week. We then answer a question on how to view content from video doorbells and cameras on Alexa-enabled screens.

Amazon created a special version of Alexa for hotels. Image courtesy of Amazon.

This week’s guest is Gabriel Halimi, CEO and co-founder of Flo Technologies who discusses his leak detection technology as well as the insurance market. We talk about why consumers will end up sharing their data with an insurance firm, what you can learn from water flow data, and Halimi poses a somewhat scary future where your insurance firm will know if you actually set your alarm that they offer a discount for. Enjoy the show.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Gabriel Halimi, CEO and co-founder of Flo Technologies
Sponsors: Praetorian and Control4

  • AT&T joins Verizon and T-Mobile with anew NB-IoT network
  • Here’s why Alexa is everywhere
  • Wait, this fridge comes with DRM?
  • With insurance and IoT, if you can’t join ’em, beat ’em.
  • You can learn a lot from water data

Original Link

Amazon Web Services sets up SA points of presence

The world’s largest cloud computing provider, Amazon Web Services (AWS), has opened its first physical point of presence (PoP) in South Africa.

The company, which is owned by online retail giant Amazon.com, said on Monday that it has launched two new Edge locations, one in Johannesburg and the other in Bangalore in India.

The Edge location in Johannesburg is Amazon CloudFront’s first PoP on the African continent. The addition of these two locations brings CloudFront’s global network to 119 PoPs in 58 cities, across 26 countries, it said.

Amazon has long had an association with South Africa, having operated a development centre in Cape Town since 2004.

“Since then, AWS has expanded its presence in South Africa by launching Direct Connect in December 2017 and today adds its first CloudFront Edge location in Johannesburg,” it said in a statement.

“Amazon CloudFront’s expansion into South Africa further improves availability and performance of content delivery to viewers in the region.”

It said customers who use CloudFront to reach viewers in South Africa will enjoy performance improvements of as much as 75% from a reduction in latency (network round-trip times) for content delivery.

Cape Town will also get a CloudFront PoP in the coming weeks, Amazon said.

In addition to reducing latency, the Edge locations will offer services such as Lambda@Edge, Field Level Encryption and Amazon S3 Transfer Acceleration. It will offer integration with other AWS services such AWS Certificate Manager (ACM), AWS Shield, AWS WAF, AWS Simple Storage Service (S3) and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

The launch of the South African PoPs come as Microsoft prepares to unveil two Azure data centres in South Africa — one in Johannesburg and the other Cape Town. These data centres are expected to be launched later this year.  — © 2018 NewsCentral Media

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Episode 168: How GE’s Current curtailed dreams to meet reality

This week Kevin and I spend a bit of time on industrial IoT news with Rockwell Automation’s $1 billion investment in PTC and also ARM’s buy of a Stream Technologies. On the consumer side, we debate Wi-Fi subscription plans and Nest’s price drop and Ring’s new security system. We also talk about Thread’s milestone in industrial IoT, Verizon’s new CEO, and whether or not Google Home can now handle three consecutive commands. I review the Wyze Pan Cam and we answer a question about the Qolsys’ IQ Panel 2.

Ring’s security system lands on July 4 for $199.

This week’s guest comes from GE’s Current lighting business. Garret Miller, the chief digital officer at Current by GE explains why the division is for sale, why GE has to offer lighting as a service, and how reality forced a shift in thinking for Current. When Current launched, it had grand plans to deliver electricity as a service but realized that it was several steps ahead of the market, so it now offers lighting as a platform. It’s a good interview about how to reassess the market when needed.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Garret Miller, chief digital officer at Current by GE
Sponsors: Praetorian and Control4

  • Why ARM bought Stream Technologies
  • Ring and Nest gear up for home security fight
  • I like the Wyze Pan Cam
  • Why GE had to change the way it sells lights
  • Why Current changed business models and what it says about IoT

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EKS vs. ECS: Orchestrating Containers on AWS

AWS announced Kubernetes-as-a-Service at re:Invent in November 2017: Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (EKS). Since yesterday, EKS is generally available. I discussed ECS vs. Kubernetes before EKS was a thing. Therefore, I’d like to take a second attempt and compare EKS with ECS.

Before comparing the differences, let us start with what EKS and ECS have in common. Both solutions are managing containers distributed among a fleet of virtual machines. Managing containers includes:

  • Monitoring and replacing failed containers.
  • Deploying new versions of your containers.
  • Scaling the number of containers based on load.

What are the differences between EKS and ECS?

Load Balancing

Usually, a load balancer is the entry point into your AWS infrastructure. Both EKS and ECS offer integrations with Elastic Load Balancing (ELB).

On the one hand, Kubernetes — and therefore EKS — offers an integration with the Classic Load Balancer. When creating a service Kubernetes does also create or configure a Classic Load Balancer for you.

  1. The client sends a request to ELB.
  2. ELB distributes the request to one of the nodes also known as EC2 instances.
  3. A proxy running on the node is forwarding the request to one of the pods providing the service.

On the other hand, ECS provides an integration with the Application Load Balancer (ALB). The flow for each incoming request needs only two instead of three steps.

  1. The client sends a request to the ALB.
  2. ALB forwards request to one of the tasks providing the service.

The following figure illustrates the difference.

The proxy running on each node is distributing requests randomly or based on the round robin algorithm among all pods running in the cluster. Doing so increases the network traffic between EC2 instances and between AZs which consumes network capacity and adds latency.

In contrast, the tight integration between ECS and ALB does not require a third routing step and is, therefore, more efficient.

VPC and ENI

Being able to integrate containers running on EKS or ECS into your VPC is excellent. Both EKS and ECS allow attaching an Elastic Network Interface (ENI) to containers. However, there is a slight difference between VPC mode with EKS and ECS.

As shown in the following figure EKS is attaching multiple ENIs per instance. Multiple private IP addresses are assigned to each ENI. EKS assigns each pod — a group of containers — a private IP address. However, some pods are sharing network interfaces with each other. That is different with ECS as each task – a group of containers – is assigned to a separate ENI.

The number of ENIs per instance is limited from 2 to 15 depending on the instance type. As EKS is sharing ENIs between pods, you can place up to 750 pods per instance. Much more than the maximum of 15 tasks you can place per instance with ECS.

But sharing ENIs between instances comes with a limitation as well. You are not able to restrict traffic with a security group per pod, as the ENI and therefore the security group is shared with multiple pods.

IAM

ECS supports IAM Roles for Tasks which is great to grant containers access to AWS resources. For example, to allow containers to access S3, DynamoDB, SQS, or SES at runtime. Unfortunately, EKS does not support IAM for pods out-of-the-box at the moment.

Pricing

Each EKS cluster costs you $0.20 USD per hour, which is about $144.00 USD per month. ECS is free. For both, EKS and ECS you have to pay for the underlying EC2 instances and related resources.

Compatibility

EKS offers Kubernetes-as-a-Service for AWS. However, Kubernetes is an option at other cloud providers, on-premises, or even on your developer machine. To put it in other words: Kubernetes offers you a layer of abstraction allowing you to deploy your applications on top of any infrastructure whereas ECS is only available on AWS.

Summary

As for now, ECS offers a much deeper integration into the AWS infrastructure than EKS. A strong argument for EKS is the possibility to use the same technology at other cloud providers or on-premises.

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