Pushing back against rising cloud costs: Hashtag Trending for Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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Pushing back against rising cloud costs – one CEO make big savings, Microsoft makes it clear that it doesn’t want Windows 11 on older hardware, Apple’s Vision Pro is showing disappointing early results and Google makes it clear that it needs to up its game.

All this and more on the “we’re not gonna take it” edition of Hashtag Trending. I’m your host, Jim Love. Let’s get into it.


We’ve covered a number of stories about cloud costs recently, but here’s a story about how one organization managed to cut their cloud costs enormously.

The new CEO of the online publishing platform Medium has found an unconventional way to cut major costs – by closely examining the company’s cloud computing budget.

When Tony Stubblebine took over as CEO of Medium in 2022, he was tasked with turning a profit at the decade-old company for the first time. Part of his strategy has involved ruthlessly scouring the platform’s spending on cloud services from providers like Amazon Web Services and Snowflake.

Stubblebine says he initially expected this cloud cost-cutting process to require outside experts and difficult decisions. But employees quickly discovered the company was simply paying for a lot of unused cloud storage and computing capacity that had piled up over the years.

As Stubblebine put it, quote: “As soon as we gave them permission to go looking, then they found a ton of stuff immediately and they could fix all of it.”

The savings have been substantial. Stubblebine reveals that Medium’s monthly AWS budget alone is “trending north of $500,000” in reductions – nearly half of what the company used to spend.

He believes cutting this so-called “cloud bloat” will account for about 25% of Medium’s path to finally becoming profitable in 2024 after burning through investor money for a decade.

The cloud optimization efforts at Medium reflect a broader industry mindset shift amid economic pressures. A recent survey found 83% of IT leaders plan to remove certain workloads from the cloud this year to reduce costs, compared to just 43% four years ago.

The message in this story is that cloud costs need to be actively managed. This is only one story of many of companies that are approaching this as a discipline. For more information on how you might bring these skills to your organization we suggest checking a finops.org – a volunteer organization devoted to developing this new discipline.

It may be worth your while.

Sources include: Business Insider and finops.org

Microsoft giveth and Microsoft taketh away. We did a story a few days back about how some Intel processors originally unable to run Windows 11 were now able to convert because of a recent fix.

But that doesn’t mean that Microsoft is in favour of running Windows 11 on older computers.

The latest insider builds of the operating system will simply refuse to boot if the installed CPU lacks support for what is referred to as the SSE4.2 instruction set.

This instruction set first arrived over 15 years ago with Intel’s Nehalem Core i5 and i7 processors and AMD’s Barcelona chips. So in some cases, quite fairly, we’re talking relatively ancient computing hardware here.

This move follows Microsoft recently blocking Windows 11 installation on CPUs without support for the POPCNT instruction as well.

For users still struggling to run Windows 11 on aging systems not technically supported, these are additional obstacles thrown in their way by Microsoft. The company’s controversial hardware compatibility list already excludes anything but fairly modern CPUs from officially running the OS.

While users can attempt workarounds, Microsoft seems determined to cut off that older unqualified hardware from Windows 11 through its ongoing updates and code changes.

The message is clear – if you want to run the latest Windows releases going forward, you’ll need relatively recent PC hardware that meets Microsoft’s stringent standards. For those who are intent on keeping older hardware alive, it may be time to look at open source alternatives like Linux that can run on older hardware with respectable performance and still may have the advantage of recent security upgrades.

Sources include: The Register

Well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reports that the company has cut its expected 2024 Vision Pro shipments from 700,000 to 800,000 units down to just 400,000 to 450,000.

This reduced forecast comes before the high-end mixed reality headset has even gone on sale internationally beyond its initial U.S. launch. Kuo says the slashed shipment numbers point to demand in the U.S. already “falling sharply beyond expectations.”

As a result, Apple is taking what some refer to as a “conservative view” when rolling out availability of the Vision Pro to additional countries.

Kuo had previously predicted Apple would release a modestly updated Vision Pro model in late 2024. But based on the lower demand signals, he no longer expects to see a new Vision Pro version next year at all.

The analyst says Apple now needs to carefully review its product roadmap for the headset line and may need to address shortcomings around a lack of key software, the premium $3,500 price tag, and comfort issues – and do this somehow without sacrificing the core user experience.

Poor initial Vision Pro sales could also dampen growth for some of the cutting-edge display technologies Apple invested in, like micro-OLED screens.

Apple made it a virtue of coming later to this market and with confidence that it would bring a hugely successful launch as it has done so many times in the past. While you can never count Apple out, killing their electric car project and now this less than stellar launch, along with a general malaise in iPhone sales may be a signal for a bit of a rethink for the company whose motto once was “think different.”

Sources include: Macrumors

A top Google executive is delivering a blunt reality check to employees – the company’s years of explosive growth and dominance may be coming to an end.

In an audio recording obtained by CNBC, Google’s search boss Prabhakar Raghavan cautioned employees that “things are not like they were 15-20 years ago” and urged them to adapt to a “new operating reality.”

Speaking at a recent all-hands meeting, Raghavan acknowledged Google has become “the envy of the world” by growing annual revenue over $100 billion in just the last three years. But he warned employees “it’s not like life is going to be hunky-dory, forever.”

Raghavan cited rising competition, a more challenging regulatory environment, changing user behavior, and slowing device growth as new headwinds facing the tech giant’s core businesses like search and digital advertising.

He told Googlers “we need to twitch faster, like the athletes twitch faster” to adjust to market shifts. Raghavan revealed he’s shortening timelines for certain projects to increase velocity.

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