Harvard researchers have harnessed Google’s public cloud infrastructure to replicate the performance of a supercomputer to aid their research study into heart disease treatments. This innovative use of cloud computing can act as a roadmap to assist other researchers lacking access to supercomputing power and alleviate the processing-related bottlenecks that can develop in cutting-edge research.
The study simulates a minimally invasive approach for unclogging arteries and eliminating blood clots and tumour cells in the circulatory system. The research team’s need for substantial computing power, usually found in supercomputers, exceeded their access. So the researchers collaborated with Citadel Securities and Google to replicate a supercomputer within the public cloud, eliminating access delays.
Transforming cloud infrastructure into a supercomputer requires software, networking, and hardware modifications. To achieve this feat, the team ran thousands of virtual machines on Google Cloud, employing extensively tuned code to reach 80% of the efficiency of dedicated supercomputers.
While cloud platforms like Google Cloud are not inherently designed for such tasks, they are known for their reliability and accessibility. Google Cloud’s high configurability, high-performance computing capabilities in particular simplify and scale complex workloads, accelerating research discoveries.1
And in what could become a battle between leading cloud-based customer relationship management softwares, Microsoft’s Dynamics business (which includes software for sales, marketing, and customer service) reported remarkable 16% year-over-year revenue growth, reaching $5.44 billion. This growth rate outpaced Microsoft’s overall performance and most major products and services, second only to Server Products and Cloud Services, including Azure.
Dynamics now constitutes 2.5% of Microsoft’s total revenue, up from 2.2% two years ago, according to their recent annual report to investors. Salesforce—the larger competitor in this space and held by the Fund—holds an estimated 23.8% market share, while Microsoft Dynamics has grown to 5.3% and continues to expand.
Microsoft’s AI capabilities have prompted some companies to switch from Salesforce to Dynamics, as Dynamics 365 recently introduced generative artificial intelligence assistants. Microsoft Sales Copilot, an AI tool for drafting business emails, integrates seamlessly with Dynamics and Salesforce.
Affordability is another driver for switching to Dynamics, with Microsoft offering subsidies to prospective customers committed to Salesforce and assisting with consulting service costs. This dynamic growth in Microsoft’s cloud-based Dynamics business underscores its competitiveness in the market.2
Updates on Specific Companies
In August, VMware unveiled a comprehensive suite of offerings within VMware Tanzu to empower customers to develop, deliver, and optimize applications across various cloud environments, including multi-cloud management.
The expanded Tanzu Application Platform introduces the VMware Tanzu Application Engine for enhancing customization for application teams. It also includes multi-cloud operations, a developer portal, enterprise developer experiences, and a platform engineer admin console.
VMware also introduced Tanzu Intelligence Services, which addresses the complexity of managing applications across clouds. It centralizes management, offering integrated ML/AI capabilities to optimize cost, performance, and security proactively. Innovations include VMware Tanzu with Intelligent Assist, Tanzu CloudHealth for cost savings, Tanzu Insights for troubleshooting, Tanzu Guardrails for governance, and Tanzu Transformer for app migration and modernization.
These offerings, combined with VMware Aria’s cloud management solutions, provide a robust toolkit for organizations aiming to navigate the evolving landscape of application development and cloud management.3
Microsoft and KPMG announced a substantial expansion of their global partnership, focused on transforming professional services across several key areas, including workforce modernization, secure development, and the utilization of AI solutions. As part of the deal, KPMG has committed to investing billions in Microsoft cloud and AI services over the next five years, anticipating growth exceeding $12 billion.
This expanded alliance aims to enhance KPMG’s client engagements and improve the employee experience, emphasizing responsibility and trust. Microsoft’s cloud and Azure OpenAI Service will empower KPMG’s global workforce of 265,000, enabling them to provide faster analysis and strategic advice to clients, particularly the 2,500 joint clients they share with Microsoft.
KPMG will serve as an early access partner for Microsoft 365 Copilot and Azure OpenAI Service, piloting these technologies within their organization.
In key business areas like Audit, Tax, and Advisory, KPMG plans to infuse data analytics, AI, and Azure Cognitive Services to optimize processes, improve access to data, and provide more integrated solutions. The partnership also supports businesses in pursuing their ESG agendas, leveraging Microsoft’s sustainability and data management solutions.4
Investing in Cloud Computing with DATA ETF
If you’re interested in investing in a cloud computing ETF, consider the Evolve Cloud Computing Index Fund (DATA ETF), Canada’s first cloud computing ETF. DATA ETF invests primarily in equity securities of companies located domestically or internationally that have business operations in the field of cloud computing. To learn more about DATA ETF, please click here: https://evolveetfs.com/data/.
Portfolio Strategy and Activity
For the month, Intuit Inc made the largest contribution to the Fund, followed by VMware Inc and Amazon.com Inc. The largest detractors to performance for the month were Fortinet Inc, followed by Snowflake Inc and Datadog Inc.
- Wheatley, M., “Harvard researchers clone supercomputer on Google Cloud,” SiliconANGLE, August 17, 2023; https://siliconangle.com/2023/08/17/harvard-researchers-clone-supercomputer-google-cloud/
- Novet, J., “Microsoft is touting the size and growth rate of its Salesforce rival Dynamics,” CNBC, August 3, 2023; https://www.cnbc.com/2023/08/03/microsoft-discloses-scale-of-dynamics-software-in-annual-report.html
- “VMware Expands Tanzu to Accelerate App Delivery at Enterprise Scale,” VMWare, August 22, 2023; https://news.vmware.com/releases/vmware-explore-2023-tanzu
- “KPMG and Microsoft enter landmark agreement to put AI at the forefront of professional services,” Microsoft News Center, July 11, 2023; https://news.microsoft.com/2023/07/11/kpmg-and-microsoft-enter-landmark-agreement-to-put-ai-at-the-forefront-of-professional-services/