The editors at Solutions Review have compiled the top news, facts, and headlines on how the major cloud providers are affected by and/or responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. This article serves as a compilation of the latest information on cloud providers announcing solutions or funding to help counteract the spread of coronavirus. We will continually update this article as new information comes out.
Coronavirus is changing the way that businesses operate, and cloud providers are no exception. The ability for cloud platforms to be operated from anywhere that has Internet access makes them the perfect solution for employees working from home or scrambling to repair global operations. During this time, it’s critical to look at what the top cloud providers are doing to protect cloud solutions from the effects of the outbreak — and to combat the virus itself.
Stories are listed by date according to vendor. This list is subject to change as new information is released.
- 3/23: The White House announces the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium, spearheaded by the White House, the U.S. Department of Energy, and IBM to “provide COVID-19 researchers worldwide with access to the world’s most powerful high performance computing resources that can significantly advance the pace of scientific discovery in the fight to stop the virus.” In addition to IBM, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and Google Cloud also volunteer to join the consortium.
- 3/27: The World Health Organization teams up with Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle (among other organizations) on a blockchain-based COVID-19 data hub.
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- 3/20: Amazon announces the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative to accelerate COVID-19 diagnostics, research, and testing. The company will commit an initial investment of $20 million through this initiative.
- 3/25: AWS details how it is helping the World Health Organization (WHO) to boost COVID-19 research and testing by supplying the organization with advanced cloud technologies and technical expertise.
- 3/27: In a partnership with Conduent, AWS helps federal, state, and local agencies track the spread of COVID-19 with Conduent’s disease surveillance and outbreak management platform Maven, powered by AWS. In the United States, Conduent is waiving the software license fee for Maven’s COVID-19 module through June 30th for qualified state and territorial public help organizations.
- 3/16: Through Bing, Microsoft launches a COVID-19 live map tracker. The tracker aggregates data from sources like WHO, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
- 3/20: Microsoft offers its Healthcare Bot service, powered by Microsoft Azure, to organizations on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response to help screen patients for infection and care.
- 3/21: Microsoft announces that if Azure faces any capacity constraints during the COVID-19 situation, it will prioritize cloud services for “first responders, health and emergency management services, critical government infrastructure organizational use, and ensuring remote workers stay up and running with the core functionality of Teams.”
- 3/28: Microsoft releases details on Microsoft Azure usage during the COVID-19 outbreak. The company notes a 775 percent increase of cloud service usage in regions that have enforced social distancing, stay-at-home orders, or lockdowns. In addition, Microsoft has seen a “very significant” spike in Teams usage; the software now has 44 million users that have generated over 900 million meeting and calling minutes daily.
- 3/2: Google announces that its Google Cloud Next ’20 event will be going virtual. The virtual event (Google Cloud Next ’20: Digital Connect) is scheduled for April 6th through April 8th.
- 3/17: Following growing concerns, Google postpones Google Cloud Next ’20: Digital Connect until further notice.
- 3/3: Google rolls out free access to advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally to provide educational tools to schools and educational facilities that have been forced to close due to COVID-19.
- 3/30: Google makes a hosted repository or public COVID-19 datasets free to access and query through its COVID-19 Public Dataset Program.
- 3/23: The White House, in collaboration with IBM, announces the HPC Consortium.
- 3/25: IBM Cloud (alongside other IBM branches) offers free access to a number of vital services to help companies adjust to supporting employees working from home en-masse.
- 3/24: Oracle communicates with the White House on lending its software to test the effectiveness of two malaria drugs in treating COVID-19.
- 3/27: Oracle Cloud Infrastructure announces that it is working with NVIDIA to provide COVID-19 researchers with NVIDIA’s Parabricks software suite to perform genome-sequencing on the virus.
- 3/30: Oracle offers free access to online learning and certifications for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and Oracle Autonomous Database until May 15th.
- 3/19: Alibaba Cloud offers its artificial intelligence-powered technologies to healthcare professionals and researchers in order to provide data insights on COVID-19 and speed up diagnosis of cases.
- 3/26: Jack Ma, former Alibaba executive chairman, announces the launch of an online platform to allow doctors and nurses from around the world to exchange ideas and lessons to fight COVID-19. The platform is a part of the Global MediXchange for Combating COVID-19 (GMCC).
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