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The difficulty of scaling a Frankencloud



The difficulty of scaling a Frankencloud

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This article was contributed by Kelley Kirby, product marketing analyst at Uptycs

Let’s talk about the cloud (because who isn’t?).

Over the last several years, we’ve seen cloud adoption skyrocket as organizations work to find the most efficient and cost-effective way of operating their business. Whether the cloud environment be public, private, hybrid or multi-cloud, this worldwide growth has led to a steady increase in available cloud services, their providers, and configurations. 

Back in 2019, 81% of public cloud users reported using two or more providers (pre-pandemic, so you can imagine how much that number has grown), and while the benefits of cloud use far outweigh the risk, it can come with some glaring challenges as you try to grow your business.

As a small organization, running a handful of services and applications, and deploying workloads all with a single cloud provider makes cloud management seem simple. But the story is very different for a growing enterprise with assets and workloads across multiple cloud providers, complex data lakes, services hosted in various geolocations, and an array of tools that don’t offer support for every piece of your cloud estate.

This complicated cloud amalgamation (Frankencloud, if you will) is often a result of initial cost efficiency or acquisition, but whatever the case, scaling that convoluted architecture as your business evolves is hard.

Cloud scaling challenges

When your business started, the idea of cloud adoption was an easy one to wrap your head around. It’d simplify a number of your business processes, increase data accessibility, improve efficiency, and reduce overall operational costs. In theory, cloud computing would make scaling your organization as it grew much easier. And it did!

But, alas, the ease has passed since your business took off. You now have a multitude of cloud instances running services and workloads across three major providers in an attempt to cut costs and avoid vendor lock-in, acquired a small firm using a private cloud hosted in the EU with new regulations to adhere to, and have more tools to help manage it all than you can count on two hands. Simply put, it’s gotten overwhelming and now you’re trying to figure out how to scale up.

The fact of the matter is, the more complex your environment gets, the more difficult scaling is going to be. Let’s take a look at some of these challenges and what they could mean for your business.

Configuring your Frankencloud across providers

Configuration for your applications, infrastructure and workloads are not going to be the same across cloud providers. Each provider has its own way of provisioning, deploying, and managing instances, and it’s your responsibility to ensure the correct configuration of your resources.

It can be tempting to rush through the configuration process (because going through the motions multiple times takes ages and you have a million other things to do), but it’s endlessly important to make sure you’ve configured your resources correctly and are rechecking them frequently as things change to avoid compliance and security risks.

A misconfiguration could mean non-compliance associated with regulatory fines or, heaven forbid, a security breach, and scaling too quickly without keeping your configurations in check could cost you. Like, a lot.

According to IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021, the more complex your environment is and the more you’re failing compliance checks, the more likely you are to pay up to $2.3M more in the event of a breach.

This brings me to the next challenge of…

Securing your Frankencloud

With the Shared Responsibility Model largely leaving the onus on the customer to secure their own cloud environment, there’s not a whole lot that comes built in to work with. This means that hardening your environment, implementing security controls, refining privileges and identities, and identifying and remediating vulnerabilities are now consistently at the top of your cloud scaling to-do list. And since the responsibilities vary for each provider, you must figure out what’s required for each provider.

There are guidelines to help you achieve some of this on your own, like the AWS Well-Architected Framework Security Pillar or CIS Benchmarks, and a plethora of cloud security vendors ready to help you pick up the slack, but the trouble is rolling out these security measures for your entire cloud estate in a way that ensures complete coverage from end-to-end.

This is especially challenging because very few cloud security vendors offer support for multiple cloud providers, and the ones that do often have a very limited toolset designed for a particular use case. This has resulted in security teams compiling several tools between multiple security vendors in an attempt to cover all the bases (FrankenSec?), but these disconnected and siloed systems typically do not integrate and can only deliver pieces of their whole cloud security picture, leaving blind spots.

The blind spots between solutions can allow threat detection signals to go unnoticed because related security events could be happening in two different systems, but the disconnected security solutions aren’t able to correlate them as suspicious. In this case, the only way to discover the events are related is to manually triage every detection across each system and discover their connection yourself. But between the volume of detections you may receive (a number of them being false positives) and the increasing problem with alert fatigue, the margin for error is quite high and you may still miss it anyway.

Observing your Frankencloud

Similarly, with securing your Frankencloud, getting full visibility of your entire cloud estate is a major challenge. You’re faced with the same difficulty of disparate solutions that leave you with an incomplete picture of your cloud environments and resources.

Without complete visibility into where your cloud data is, which applications interact with which services, and who has access to what, you could be oblivious to misconfigurations, threats, overspending and non-compliant policies.

Understanding how different resources, identities and services interact with one another helps you to prioritize configuration fixes, control privilege escalation, and perform audits, ultimately improving resource performance and reducing security risk. The larger your cloud estate gets with gaps in visibility, the harder it’s going to be to do those things effectively.

Summary: Scaling your cloud creation

Your Frankenstein cloud creation has made scaling a bit of a nightmare (pun intended), but you’re not alone. While no two cloud environments look the same, these challenges are faced by any organization operating in a complex cloud environment. You can find some comfort in knowing that it’s probably not a result of anything you’re doing inherently wrong.

To scale a complex cloud environment effectively without creating new headaches for yourself down the road, you’ll need to be able to:

  • Monitor everything that’s going on across cloud providers, including asset relationships and privilege allocation.
  • Ensure end-to-end security with no blind spots from disconnected tool sets.
  • Discover misconfigurations as you evolve to avoid compliance failures and vulnerabilities.

Having a single, unified solution that can help you address these challenges all in one place will largely reduce the amount of time, overhead and stress that accompany a complicated cloud scaling project.

Kelley Kirby is a product marketing analyst at Uptycs


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AMD CEO says 5-nm Zen 4 processors coming this fall



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Advanced Micro Devices revealed its 5-nanometer Zen 4 processor architecture today at the Computex 2022 event in Taiwan.

The new AMD Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors with Zen 4 cores will be coming this fall, said Lisa Su, CEO of AMD, in a keynote speech.

Su said the new processors with Zen 4 architecture will deliver a significant increase in performance upon their launch in the fall of 2022. Additionally, Su highlighted the strong growth and momentum for AMD in the mobile market as 70 of the more than 200 expected ultrathin, gaming and commercial notebook designs powered by Ryzen 6000 Series processors have been launched or announced to-date.

In addition, other AMD executives announced the newest addition to the Ryzen Mobile lineup, “Mendocino;” the newest AMD smart technology, SmartAccess Storage; and more details of the new AM5 platform, including support from leading motherboard manufacturers.

“At Computex 2022 we highlighted growing adoption of AMD in ultrathin, gaming, and commercial notebooks from the leading PC providers based on the leadership performance and battery life of our Ryzen 6000 series mobile processors,” said Su. “With our upcoming AMD Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors, we will bring even more leadership to the desktop market with our next-generation 5-nm Zen 4 architecture and provide an unparalleled, high-

performance computing experience for gamers and creators.”

AMD Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors

The new Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors will double the amount of L2 cache per core, feature higher clock speeds, and are projected to provide greater than 15% uplift in single-thread performance versus the prior generation, for a better desktop PC experience.

During the keynote, a pre-production Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processor was demonstrated running at 5.5 GHz clock speed throughout AAA game play. The same processor was also demonstrated performing more than 30% faster than an Intel Core i9 12900K in a Blender multi-threaded rendering workload.

In addition to new “Zen 4” compute dies, the Ryzen 7000 series features an all-new 6nm I/O die. The new I/O die includes AMD RDNA 2-based graphics engine, a new low-power architecture adopted from AMD Ryzen mobile processors, support for the latest memory and connectivity technologies like DDR5 and PCI Express 5.0, and support for up to four displays.

AMD Socket AM5 Platform

The new AMD Socket AM5 platform provides advanced connectivity for our most demanding enthusiasts. This new socket features a 1718-pin LGA design with support for up to 170W TDP processors, dual-channel DDR5 memory, and new SVI3 power infrastructure for leading all-core performance with our Ryzen 7000 Series processors. AMD Socket AM5 features the most PCIe 5.0 lanes in the industry with up to 24 lanes, making it our fastest, largest, and most expansive desktop platform with support for the next-generation and beyond class of storage and graphics cards.

And AMD said the “Mendocino” processors will offer great everyday performance and are expected to be priced from $400 to $700.

Featuring “Zen 2” cores and RDNA 2 architecture-based graphics, the processors are designed to deliver the best battery life and performance in the price band so users can get the most out of their laptop at an attractive price.

The first systems featuring the new “Mendocino” processors will be available from computer partners in Q4 2022.

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AMD’s Ryzen 7000 desktop chips are coming this fall with 5nm Zen 4 cores



AMD’s Ryzen 7000 desktop chips are coming this fall with 5nm Zen 4 cores

AMD’s upcoming Ryzen 7000 chips will mark another major milestone for the company: they’ll be the first desktop processors running 5 nanometer cores. During her Computex keynote presentation today, AMD CEO Lisa Su confirmed that Ryzen 7000 chips will launch this fall. Under the hood, they’ll feature dual 5nm Zen 4 cores, as well as a redesigned 6nm I/O core (which includes RDNA2 graphics, DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 controllers and a low-power architecture). Earlier this month, the company teased its plans for high-end “Dragon Range” Ryzen 7000 laptop chips, which are expected to launch in 2023.

Since this is just a Computex glimpse, AMD isn’t giving us many other details about the Ryzen 7000 yet. The company says it will offer a 15 percent performance jump in Cinebench’s single-threaded benchmark compared to the Ryzen 5950X. Still, it’d be more interesting to hear about multi-threaded performance, especially given the progress Intel has made with its 12th-gen CPUs. You can expect 1MB of L2 cache per core, as well as maximum boost speeds beyond 5GHz and better hardware acceleration for AI tasks.

AMD is also debuting Socket AM5 motherboards alongside its new flagship processor. The company is moving towards a 1718-pin LGA socket, but it will still support AM4 coolers. That’s a big deal if you’ve already invested a ton into your cooling setup. The new motherboards will offer up to 24 channels of PCIe 5.0 split across storage and graphics, up to 14 USB SuperSpeed ports running at 20 Gbps, and up to 4 HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 2 ports. You’ll find them in three different flavors: B650 for mainstream systems, X650 for enthusiasts who want PCIe 5.0 for storage and graphics and X650 Extreme for the most demanding folks.

Given that Intel still won’t have a 7nm desktop chip until next year (barring any additional delays), AMD seems poised to once again take the performance lead for another generation. But given just how well Intel’s hybrid process for its 12th-gen chips has worked out, it’ll be interesting to see how it plans to respond. If anything, it sure is nice to see genuine competition in the CPU space again.

While Ryzen 7000 will be AMD’s main focus for the rest of the year, the company is also throwing a bone to mainstream laptops in the fourth quarter with its upcoming 6nm “Mendocino” CPUs. They’ll sport four 6nm Zen 2 cores, as well as RDNA 2 graphics, making them ideal for systems priced between $399 and $699. Sure, that’s not much to get excited about, but even basic machines like Lenovo’s Ideapad 1 deserve decent performance. And for many office drones, it could mean having work-issued machines that finally don’t stink.

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Disney’s Disney+ ad pitch reflects how streaming ad prices set to rise in this year’s upfront



Disney’s Disney+ ad pitch reflects how streaming ad prices set to rise in this year’s upfront

With Disney+, Disney is looking to set a new high-water mark for ad prices among the major ad-supported streamers. The pricey pitch is representative of a broader rising tide in streaming ad pricing in this year’s TV advertising upfront market, as Disney-owned Hulu, Amazon and even Fox’s Tubi are looking to press upfront advertisers to pay up.

In its initial pitch to advertisers and their agencies, Disney is seeking CPMs for Disney+ around $50, according to agency executives. That price point applies to broad-based targeting dubbed “P2+,” which refers to an audience of any viewer who is two years old or older (though Disney has told agency executives that programming aimed at viewers seven years old and younger will be excluded from carrying ads). In other words, more narrowly targeted ads are expected to cost more based on the level of targeting. A Disney spokesperson declined to comment.

At a $50 CPM, Disney+ is surpassing the prices that NBCUniversal’s Peacock  and Warner Bros. Discovery’s HBO Max sought in last year’s upfront market and that gave ad buyers sticker shock. The former sought CPMs in the $30 to $40 range, while the latter sought $40+ CPMs. By comparison, other major ad-supported streamers like Hulu, Discovery+ and Paramount+ were charging low-to-mid $20 CPMs that major ad-supported streamers charge. As a result, Peacock’s and HBO Max’s asks ended up being price prohibitive, with some advertisers limiting the amount of money they spent with the streamers because of their higher rates.

Unsurprisingly, agency executives are balking at Disney+’s price point. “They’re citing pricing that no longer exists, meaning Peacock and HBO Max recognized they came out too high and they’re reducing it. Disney+ is using earmuffs to pretend that second part didn’t happen,” said one agency executive.

However, Disney+ isn’t the only streamer seeking to raise the rates that ad buyers are accustomed to paying. Hulu is also seeking to increase its prices in this year’s upfront, with P2+ pricing going from a $20-$25 CPM average to averaging in the $25-$30 CPM range, according to agency executives. And during a call with reporters on May 16, Fox advertising sales president Marianne Gambelli said that the company will seek higher prices for its free, ad-supported streaming TV service Tubi in this year’s upfront market. It’s unclear what Tubi’s current rates are, but FAST services’ CPMS are typically in the low to mid teens, said the agency executives.

“We have to get the value for Tubi. Tubi has grown to a point — it’s doubled, tripled in size over the past couple of years. So we are going to obviously make that a priority and look for not only more volume but price,” Gambelli said.

Meanwhile, in pitching its Thursday Night Football package that will be streamed on Amazon Prime Video and Twitch, Amazon has been pressing for a premium on what Fox charged advertisers last year, according to agency executives. The e-commerce giant will be handling the games’ ad placements like traditional TV, meaning that it will run the same ad in each ad slot for every viewer as opposed to dynamically inserting targeted ads. “It’s streaming broadcast,” said a second agency executive.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on pricing but did provide a general statement. “Thursday Night Football on Prime Video and Twitch is a purely digital broadcast, and we’re excited to bring fans a new viewing experience. There are 80MM active Prime Video households in the U.S. and, in a survey of our 2021 TNF audience, 38% reported they don’t have a pay-TV service – meaning TNF on Prime Video and Twitch enables brands to connect with cord-cutters and cord-nevers. Brands can also reach these viewers beyond TNF. Our first-party insights enable them to reengage TNF audiences across Amazon, such as in Freevee content.”

One of the agency executives that Digiday spoke to said the latest ask is for a plus-10% increase on Fox’s rates, though what Fox’s rates were are unclear and other agency executives said the premium that Amazon is asking for varies. Ad Age reported in February that Amazon was seeking up to 20% higher prices than Fox’s rates. “I don’t know if it is consistently plus-10, but it is definitely more. Which is crazy because Fox couldn’t make money on it, which is why they gave it up for this fall,” said a second agency executive.

“Someone was eating way too many gummies before they put the pricing together,” said a second agency executive of Amazon’s Thursday Night Football pitch.

Ad-supported streaming service owners also see an opportunity to push for higher prices as advertisers to adopt more advanced targeting with their streaming campaigns, such as by using the media companies’ and/or advertisers’ first-party data to aim their ads on the streamers. 

Said one TV network executive, “You’ll see premiums, especially as it relates to advertisers that really want to hook into [their company’s streaming service] and buy those targeted audiences across the platform and either use [the TV network’s] first-party data or bring their own data to the table. That’s the biggest business we’re in, and that’s where we see great growth from a pricing standpoint.”


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