Earth with clouds above the African continent
Photo: NASA via Unsplash

Always cloudy on Earth Day

Protocol Enterprise

Hello and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! Today: how the Big Three cloud providers are celebrating Earth Day while racking up enormous power bills, the CNCF faces a masking quandary, and Softbank might not be ceding control of Arm just yet.

Spin up

Cybercriminals are exploiting zero-day security holes, or vulnerabilities disclosed to the public before they can be patched, more than ever before. MIT Technology Review reported that organized criminal activity was tied to one-third of attacks exploiting zero-day flaws, which used to be the domain of state-sponsored hackers.

Clouds over Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! Over the past several years, a mix of investor demand for ESG reporting and consumer advocacy has made the market for sustainability software red hot. In response, enterprise tech companies from Microsoft, SAP and Salesforce to Amazon and Google have all launched some form of sustainability tactics.

And on this Earth Day, the Big Three cloud providers want to remind you they’re on Team Earth, and that all their power-hungry data centers will keep running.

Microsoft reiterated its commitment to make its operations more sustainable by using renewable products in PCs and reducing emissions from data centers.

  • From investment-grade sustainable-development goals metrics to water management or using ocean-bound plastics in PCs, Microsoft said it is working with a mix of public and private partners to make its value chain more sustainable.
  • For its own products, Azure helps organizations calculate their energy savings from moving on-premise workloads to the cloud or measure the emissions of data centers to make them more efficient.

Amazon said it is going all-in on helping scientific organizations, helping customers mine earth observation data from the atmosphere, land and ocean.

  • AWS customers are gathering data on rainwater trends, temperature and forest cover to model the ecosystem in the cloud. They’re also building IoT devices that can transmit vehicle emissions in real time, said AWS, like a proud parent that happens to collect revenue.
  • Amazon is also collecting large data sets in AWS cloud to help scientific organizations analyze air quality, rainwater trends, forest cover and other earth observation data.

And Google is making climate change information easier to find online.

  • Google Earth’s timelapse feature will let you see the effects of climate change over long periods of time, and Google’s search engine will show information panels and visuals to make climate change information easier to digest.
  • The cloud giant also made its open-source sustainability data platform accessible to anyone — making it easier to find data on climate, health, food, emissions and more.

Cloud providers aren’t necessarily the solution to climate change, but their access to sustainability data and the compute power to use it makes them an important part of the struggle to avert a universal crisis before it is too late.

— Aisha Counts (email | twitter)


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Masks off?

In the wake of widespread demasking in the U.S. following a ruling from a Florida judge striking down the Biden administration’s attempt to extend a federal mask mandate, local and national organizations left and right have been relaxing their own guidelines. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s decision to remove, and then reimpose, its own mandate for the upcoming KubeCon Europe event in Valencia, Spain caused a stir Friday within enterprise tech.

Pulumi’s Kat Cosgrove probably summed it up best: “Dropping the mask requirement just weeks before your event, after people have spent thousands on flights and hotels, is hot garbage. This decision is not in line with our values as an inclusive community,” Cosgrove tweeted Friday, underscoring the rocky transition back to pre-COVID times that companies are trying to navigate just as a new surge in cases begins in the U.S.

CNCF Executive Director Priyanka Sharma acknowledged the feedback, and Friday afternoon the organization announced that it would “be reinstating the mask mandate at KubeCon and CloudNativeCon Europe” due to “community concern.” The event kicks off May 16th.

— Tom Krazit (email | twitter)

Around the enterprise

Softbank plans on retaining a controlling stake in Arm after its upcoming IPO,according to Bloomberg, which would raise lots of questions should it come to pass.

SAP reported an 11% increase in quarterly revenue, which beat analyst expectations despite a hit to its bottom line from its exit of the Russian software market.

Elastic CEO Ashutosh Kulkarni has a tough act to follow after taking over for founder Shay Banon earlier this year, and laid out his strategy in an interview with InfoWorld.


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Thanks for reading — see you Monday!

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