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Telco 2.0 News Review: iCloud, Amazon Web Services & More…

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[Ed: We’ll be publishing more on iCloud in the next few days, plus we’re looking at the range of entertainment services at Best Practice Live! on 28-29 June and in our forward research agenda.]

Apple made its digital locker/online backup/content streaming play this week with the iCloud - Ars Technica has a detailed sceptical discussion, arguing that Apple doesn’t have a great track record with virtual/online products as against hardware or even software. As a friend of ours said, it’s hard to give a cloud bevelled corners. They contrast Google, which excels at creating massively scalable online services but struggles with hardware and user interface design, and argue that Apple has a culture dominated by the figure of the designer - always an individual - compared to Google’s, dominated by programmers who work in groups.

Technical analysis is at High Scalability, which argues that it’s a hybrid of a content-streaming system like Spotify and an online-backup system. Apple will, unlike Amazon, be de-duplicating media content. However, not all the data will be in the cloud, and there’s a rather restrictive limit of 5GB of data and 1,000 photos. Like all such services that aren’t purely online-sync backup, of course, at least some of it will stop working when the bus goes under a bridge and it’s all heavily reliant on those painfully slow home ADSL uplinks.

Steve Jobs’ presentation at the WWDC also touched on the infrastructure behind all this - that enormous data centre they’ve been building. The equipment seems to come from HP and Teradata and both the hot and cold aisles are fully contained. Data Center Knowledge has details.

DCN also has a side trip to the competition, reporting on a talk given by Amazon Distinguished Engineer James Hamilton on Amazon Web Services’ infrastructure. For the first time, Amazon acknowledges it’s using modular data centres, and boasts that they are adding the equivalent capacity of the first five years of Amazon.com every day. Hamilton estimates that an 8 megawatt DC costs them $88 million.

Meanwhile, there’s more on the lessons of Cloudfail here.

Some people are moving back from the cloud. eHarmony, the huge dating website, has brought its infrastructure back in-house and is using servers based on large (512 per rack!) numbers of Intel’s Atom low-power chips, more commonly found in netbooks.

A senior Googler has left the company, saying that their software infrastructure is getting out of date and that famous Google achievements like MapReduce have been overtaken by their open-source clones. And here’s a a new extension to TCP for data centre networks.

So what’s going to be in the data centre? Horace Dediu has an interesting take on the growth rates of various platforms. Hint: it looks good for Apple iOS and Android, not so good for RIM. Further, Android developers do more apps but don’t look after them.

It was World IPv6 Day last week, so it’s probably the right moment to share the IPv6 Matrix Project’s results, at the link. The big day passed off without anything too weird happening and with a successful test of the new protocol on a range of huge Web sites.

KPN Mobile’s plans to charge per-application have ended up with the Dutch parliament passing a net neutrality measure.

In Australia, NBN Co. has issued a video to demonstrate some use cases for the project.

Renesys discusses how the Syrian regime cut the Internet off, or rather, turned off all the access networks and left the backbone and a few key organisations running. It appears that Tata Communications is the Syrian government’s preferred provider. And then they…turned it back on. There’s also an interesting timeline of the Egyptian dictator’s attempts to disrupt the revolutionaries’ communications, here, as prepared by the revolutionaries.

In related news, politicians in Wisconsin are trying to force the University of Wisconsin to shut down the state’s Research & Education Network, return its federal broadband stimulus money, and to never participate in any other NREN again. And some people just steal cable.

There was a Skype outage last week, as Phil Wolff’s Skype Journal reports. There’s a tongue in cheek list of possible reasons for the breakdown here, but one at least is deadly serious. Skype really does have a problem with IPv4-IPv6 transition - and Avaya really did announce an IPO this week. The enterprise voice specialist is preparing to sell $1bn worth of shares.

Telus has become the latest carrier to sign up for a strategic partnership with Skype. Notably, this one includes integration between Telus’ billing and Skype’s accounts - so you can pay for Skype credit from your phone bill, and presumably use Skype Access to pay for access to WLAN hotspots in the same way.

Vivox, meanwhile, snags a deal to provide voice calls inside Facebook. Like Jajah, Skype, and probably some more besides.

At Nokia, meanwhile, CTO Rich Green has resigned, supposedly because he was one of the biggest supporters of MeeGo within the top management. Distinguished research fellow Henry Tirri moves over from Nokia Research to replace him. Tomi Ahonen thinks the company is basically doomed unless the whole turn to Microsoft is abandoned and Elop fired. And their credit rating has been cut, probably because orders through the supply chain are drying up.

Meanwhile, it looks like the top developer platform beyond Apple and Android is the web.

Rob Conway leaves the GSMA, while the GSMA MMU blog reviews a new mobile money service in Vietnam.

Computer Weekly reviews the latest INQ device and likes it. They also take a look at some 3D cameras. You’ve seen augmented reality apps- now check out an app for creating AR on a mobile. Has the NYT paywall failed?

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