Tech 10: Must-See Solutions Driving Innovation In The Cloud
The cloud is a vast and fertile breeding ground for innovative products from industry giants and startups alike. New offerings are driving adoption of cutting-edge technologies like machine learning and application containers, are making it easier for workers to collaborate on projects, and are helping enterprises extend and expand their IT infrastructure in cost-effective ways.
But no new product, no matter how successful in seizing a market, is safe in this brave new environment. As a seemingly limitless canvas offering the capabilities and flexibility vendors need to rapidly develop innovative tools, services and monetization models, the cloud has also accelerated the product disruption cycle in ways never seen before in the industry.
Here are 10 new innovative offerings worth checking out.
Google likes to innovate with new offerings for common use cases. Coldline, released as part of an overhaul of the hyper-scale cloud provider's storage portfolio, rejigs the traditional billing model to offer cost and latency characteristics never before associated with archival storage. Coldline allows Google Cloud customers to store archival data inexpensively while maintaining the ability to recover the data as rapidly as they would from any other storage system.
Under threat from the container-tech revolution spurred by Docker, VMware released a cloud-building platform focused on delivering application container technologies. The virtualization leader's Photon Platform offers an Infrastructure-as-a-Service implementation geared for developers looking to employ modern methods and tools on private clouds. Photon delivers Kubernetes, a container orchestration technology open-sourced by Google, as a cloud-based service.
Salesforce introduced its long-awaited, artificially intelligent CRM at its Dreamforce conference after years of development. Einstein delivers to partners multiple ways to leverage machine intelligence to enhance their clients' abilities to engage their customers—a platform for developing artificially intelligent applications integrated with the Salesforce portfolio, as well as capabilities infused across all Salesforce apps such as the Sales, Service and Marketing clouds.
AWS P2 Instances
The latest Amazon Web Services virtual machines were designed to power a new generation of resource-hungry, artificially intelligent applications. The P2 instance type leverages banks of Nvidia graphics processors to ramp compute power along with advanced memory features to keep those cores humming. The instances are running AWS-specific versions of Intel's Broadwell processors.
InsideSales, a Utah-based software developer partly owned by Salesforce and Microsoft, has been a pioneer in developing artificially intelligent sales tools. The company revamped its solution with the release of Playbooks, a next-generation platform for delivering predictive insight to sales agents gleaned from machine-learning algorithms and troves of contextual data. Playbooks streamlined and modernized the InsideSales user interface, added functionality around strategic contact strategies and integrations with communications features.
Businesses don't leave the lights on after employees leave the office, but many don't think twice about running the Amazon Web Services meter during the hours when they're not consuming public cloud resources. ParkMyCloud seeks to curtail such common and wasteful spending. The startup offers a Software-as-a-Service tool designed to enable cloud users to optimize costs by scheduling on and off times on their AWS accounts.
Microsoft Office 365 Planner
Microsoft's collaboration and project management platform offers Office 365 users online tools for creating plans, sharing tasks, chatting and fostering teamwork around projects. Planner implements a system of shared boards, cards and buckets by which users can organize projects, with work created on its platform integrating across applications in the Office 365 suite, including Word, Outlook and OneNote.
CloudPhysics Partner Edition
Channel partners had been using CloudPhysics platform for years to manage and assess their customers' virtualized IT environments, but that wasn't the intended use case of the analytics platform. After recognizing that partners were doing more with its product than reselling it to end users, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based startup introduced Partner Edition, designed to not only help consultants and managed service providers optimize and oversee virtualized customer data centers, but also to nurture their relationships with those customers.
Google Cloud Launcher
Google's next-generation cloud marketplace makes it easier for ISVs to distribute software to their customers while keeping their products up to date, secure, and fully supported after the initial provisioning. The enhanced Google Cloud Launcher empowers Google Cloud Platform developers to help customers struggling with "dead software" -- a phenomena where unsupported software based on static images becomes dated and ultimately useless.
Oracle Bare Metal Cloud Services
Oracle's making a major play to jump into the top tier of cloud providers. With Bare Metal Cloud Services, the software giant is looking to differentiate its Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering by emulating on-premise data centers in the cloud. The bare-metal servers deliver Database-as-a-Service, block and object storage and VPN connectivity on a software-defined network that extends on-premise networks to enable hybrid infrastructure.