Oct 21, 2020

Microsoft launches Azure Space cloud, partners with SpaceX

Microsoft
Cloud
space
SpaceX
William Smith
2 min
Microsoft has made its cloud platform Azure available to space organisations with its Azure Space offering
Microsoft has made its cloud platform Azure available to space organisations with its Azure Space offering...

Microsoft has made its cloud platform Azure available to space organisations with its Azure Space offering.

The initiative aims to improve access to connectivity and compute in a space context, for instance simulating space missions and processing satellite data.

The company is also partnering with SpaceX’s Starlink constellation, which is currently in the process of being built, in batches of 60 at a time. The aim is 30,000 satellites providing satellite internet access globally, with Microsoft’s partnership providing satellite broadband connectivity to its Azure Modular Datacenters (MDCs), which offer access to cloud computing in challenging areas.

In a blog post, Tom Keane - Corporate Vice President, Azure Global, said: “Our approach is to supply a multi-orbit, multi-band, multi-vendor, cloud-enabled capability to bring comprehensive satellite connectivity solutions to meet the needs of our customers.

“Resilient satellite communications, coupled with Azure’s ability to provide high performance computing, machine learning, and data analytics opens many new opportunities for both public- and private-sector organisations.”

Microsoft’s entrance into the industry is in line with its increasing accessibility thanks to the decrease in costs to orbit achieved by companies such as SpaceX. Of particular importance currently are networks of small satellites providing connectivity to remote regions, such as SpaceX’s aforementioned offering, as well as OneWeb and others.

Accordingly, Microsoft is working with other satellite operators such as SES, which is Microsoft’s official Medium Earth Orbit connectivity partner. JP Hemingway, CEO of SES Networks, said: “The alignment and integration of Azure with SES’ global satellite and terrestrial network further enables the connected intelligent edge, even more so now with the ability to provide low-latency services and backup to those whose missions will benefit from the use of MDC.”

In common with competitors such as Google and Amazon, cloud has become an ever more vital part of Microsoft’s business, with Microsoft’s Azure revenue up 62% in Q2 2020.

(Image: Microsoft)

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Jun 18, 2021

GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud

GfK
VMware
3 min
VMware has been walking GfK along its path through digital transformation to the cloud for over a decade.

GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.  

In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade. 

“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.

Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.

By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.

One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.

“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.

Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs. 

“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.

The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment. 

The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.

One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.

“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.

“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client. 

“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”

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