, 15.00 –15.30 CET / 09.00 – 09.30 am EST

2021 Cloud Events that Mattered – or Didn’t

What happened in the Cloud Industry in 2021? What mattered, what didn’t, and why? We explore these questions in more depth in this Webinar.

Michael Nicholson

Michael Nicholson

Cloud Solution Engineer

In this #CoffeeInTheCloud webinar, Divio's Cloud Solution Engineer Michael Nicholson talks about a few of the events in the cloud space from 2021.

We can’t cover them all, but we’ve selected a clutch of noteworthy events that you may have missed, so you can start 2022 with an insight into some 2021 curiosities in the cloud.

These could be anything from hyperscalers in the news, new services that were released, or just small snippets of information that may be useful to anybody working in the cloud.

What questions are we going to address?

In this #CoffeeInTheCloud webinar, we address questions like:

  • What sectors are doing innovative things in the cloud?

  • How seriously are the hyperscalers taking their responsibility towards the climate?

  • How did cloud outages affect end users of other services?

Pour yourself a cup of coffee and join us for #CoffeeInTheCloud!

If you have any questions, think we should cover a specific event or announcement from 2021, or would like to leave a comment, please feel free to reach out on Twitter using #CoffeeInTheCloud or @divio.


[00:00:06] Mike Nicholson: Welcome to the third coffee and the cloud webinar from Divio. The latest in our series of bite-size webinars you should be able to consume during a coffee break.

[00:00:24] I'm your host, Mike Nicholson. I'm a cloud solution engineer at Divio. And today I'll be talking about a few of the trends and events in the cloud space that we saw during 2021.

[00:00:38] Now there's no particular rhyme or reason to any of the topics that I've picked out for today, other than they all caught my attention somehow. So I'm hoping you'll find this interesting. And I'll round off the webinar later with a few useful resources that I found along the way. So, even if these news stories aren't quite in your domain, you should hopefully still get something useful out of today.

[00:01:04] And we'll also publish all the links to the resources and references to new stories and various reports on our website. So you can go and check those out on the webinar page, and they will also be on the YouTube video later when we publish that. If you have any questions along the way, feel free to ask them via the panel and I will address them at the end of the webinar.

Cloud Education

[00:01:31] Mike Nicholson: So the first subject that stuck out for me was cloud education, which started to move offline a little bit more in 2021 with a few degrees in cloud computing at actual brick and mortar universities.

[00:01:45] Microsoft partnered with three universities in the UK: Nottingham Trent University, who are offering an MSc in Cloud and Enterprise Computing; the University of Lincoln, also offering a master's in Cloud Computing, and the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, who are offering bachelor's programs for both Cloud Computing and Cloud Software Development. On top of this partnership, Coventry University and the University of East London are also offering bachelor of science degrees in Cloud Computing.

[00:02:21] And of course, while courses and programs for cloud computing skills are nothing new, they've been around for a while, they've mostly been online up until recently. Brick and mortar institutions tend to play it a little bit safer when it comes to on premises courses. And I think these new offerings tumbling into the marketplace show that they're taking the cloud seriously and believe there'll be a safe market for these courses for the foreseeable future.

[00:02:50] So good news for everybody just getting into the cloud space, I think.

Hyperscalers and Climate Responsibility

[00:02:57] Mike Nicholson: The climate responsibility of cloud providers and cloud users in general has been in the news quite a lot as well, I think. And most people have heard or read about how the cloud consumes huge amounts of energy. Back in 2018 Nature reported that data centers accounted for 1% of global electricity consumption.

[00:03:23] That's obviously only gone up since then and during the first COVID-19 lockdown and in the first quarter of 2020, PC mag reported a 47% increase in the average broadband consumption. So I'm not quite sure how it's gone, how much it's gone up since then, but this is a trend that shows no signs of slowing any time soon. And while using cloud services can, of course, sometimes reduce the need for traditional services, growing energy consumption is still a concern for a lot of people.

[00:03:58] In a move to try and reduce the climate impact of this and their services, AWS and Google Cloud were among the founding members of a new initiative, the Climate Neutral Data Center Pact, which aims to make data centers in Europe, climate neutral by 2030. In total 25 companies and 17 associations form this pact, described as an historic and unprecedented commitment by an industry to proactively lead the transition to a climate neutral economy.

[00:04:34] UK business climate hub has challenged its members to become net zero by 2050. And while its members aren't all necessarily directly in the cloud space, it has advised making use of the cloud to achieve this goal. So far over 2,700 UK businesses have signed up to make this commitment. And that number is still rising. So it seems positive.

The Cloud Industry <-> Telecoms

[00:05:02] Mike Nicholson: There's a number of sectors that are looking to the cloud as well for the future of their branch and just starting to move into it as well. This includes telecom companies. During 2021, Google Cloud formed three new partnerships with some of the telco giants: Nokia, Telenor and Vodafone, and these partnerships benefits or will benefit not only the telco companies as they shift some of their services and products and systems into the cloud, they'll also provide new opportunities for Google.

[00:05:39] The Nokia partnership, for example, involves developing 5G solutions that combine Nokia's radio access network with Google's edge computing platform. Meanwhile in Italy, Oracle, not always mentioned as one of the big cloud providers, but they're not too far behind the big three hyperscalers, signed an agreement with Telecom Italia to offer multi-cloud services for enterprise and public sector organizations.

[00:06:10] So this isn't just about telcos moving into the cloud. It's about cloud services, expanding and moving into the telecom space as well.

[00:06:20] In December, AWS released the AWS private 5G for enterprises, a fully managed private wireless solution based on 4G and 5G tech. And at the same AWS Reinvent Conference, Dish came out and announced that they were building the first 5G network in the cloud with AWS.

[00:06:43] These two announcements, mark, a huge shift in the way future telco services can be developed and delivered, not only by the telecom companies themselves and making it much easier for them to test and deploy new networks, but also by individual organizations and enterprise orgs to build their own networks.


[00:07:02] Mike Nicholson: And of course, though the future is certainly cloud-based there are still issues with moving to the cloud and things to think about. It's important to be aware of these things and plan accordingly. Outages is still a problem. And all three of the hyperscalers suffered from outages to a greater or lesser degree during 2021.

[00:07:26] Google's newest region in Australia was taken out shortly after it went online by a transient voltage surge. A Microsoft Azure outage took down a number of Office 365 services making access to those services spotty for quite a lot of customers. And AWS suffered three very public outages in December alone. Yeah, they've taken out services like Netflix, Disney+, Tinder, Fortnite, Twitch, PlayStation Network, Ticketmaster, just as people were trying to buy tickets for the new Adele concerts. Slack and even Rumor connectivity. So be advised cloud outages can even leave you with a dirty house. And of course outages can happen to any system.

[00:08:19] So review your high availability, failover plans for critical systems and make sure your infrastructure is robust enough to cope with cloud outage, should it happen to you.


[00:08:32] Mike Nicholson: On a similar note: security. DevSecOps is on the rise and maintaining a high level of security in the cloud is critical for most, if not all, companies. In 2021, the Cloudknox State of Cloud Entitlements Report warned about permission gaps for enterprise hybrid solutions and the Ponemon report told us cloud compromises can cost, on average, around $6.2 million annually. So poor permission management and security breaches can be a huge expense waiting to happen.

[00:09:14] And that sort of brief doesn't even have to be malicious. It doesn't have to be hackers or fishers or people actively looking for exposed keys on GitHub.

[00:09:24] Once you do add targeted attacks into the picture, the risk increases again. And ransomware, for example, is becoming a very lucrative industry for some. All three of the hyperscalers in 2021 showed that they were taking this threat very seriously. And all three of them came out with information about how to mitigate ransomware.

[00:09:49] If you've not included that kind of disaster recovery already in your planning, it might be time to review those plans. And I think all three of those articles from AWS and Google and Microsoft are worth reviewing. If you've not spent much time looking at this sort of thing. I would advise people to click those particular links and take a look at what they say. Could save you a lot of time and money.

Hybrid & Multi-cloud

[00:10:16] Mike Nicholson: On the subject of hybrid and multicloud, in June, Ensono published a new survey called, entitled A Snapshot of the Cloud in 2021, which indicated that multi-cloud strategies would most likely dominate the future of cloud services. I don't think that comes as a massive surprise to anybody, but around the same time, the Bank of England came out and warned that banks were overly reliant on cloud, citing concerns about sensitive data being in the hands of a select few tech giants, such as Amazon and Microsoft.

[00:10:54] And this warning came not long after Deutsche Bank had moved its most sensitive IT systems into Google's cloud.

[00:11:02] Earlier on in the year, Google had collaborated with IDC, International Data Corporation, to produce a white paper on how a multicloud strategy can help mitigate risks in the cloud. And this white paper makes a number of recommendations.

[00:11:20] Again, I think this was interesting reading. I would advise people take a look at this one. But one of the recommendations was the suggestion that a successful multi-cloud strategy is based on a foundation of open source and open standards, which allows organizations to minimize their dependence on third party technology providers.

[00:11:41] By, for example, choosing a combination of a hybrid and a public multicloud approach. And I think this kind of approach could certainly help to mitigate some of the concerns that were raised by the Bank of England. Now it'll certainly be interesting to see how the banking and financial sector handles these challenges going forwards.

Hyperscalers in Plain English

[00:12:04] Mike Nicholson: I think that covers most of the events in 2021 that were in the news I wanted to talk about. So now just to make sure everybody has at least a small concrete benefit from taking time out to listen to me today, I'd just like to share a few resources I came across last year that might make life easier for either anybody new to the cloud, I'm trying to make sense of what's on offer, or perhaps just new to a specific provider.

[00:12:37] So the first one is from Google and Priyanka Vedagia is a developer advocate at Google. She released a cheat sheet of all the 200 plus Google cloud platform services described in four words or less. You can find this in various formats at 4words.dev

[00:12:58] It looks a little bit like this. Probably not particularly readable here. I think that there are poster sized versions as well available, if you fancied one of them on your wall. Forwards up there will redirect you to her GitHub repository, which does contain all the formats there.

[00:13:17] A similar resource is available for AWS services. And I do particularly like this one here. This is just the top of the list but it gives you an idea of the layout. I do particularly like the should-have-been-called and the it's-like columns. I do feel that these help to demystify some of the services that perhaps have slightly more obscure names.

[00:13:44] So well, worth a look, if you're trying to work out what services you actually need to use on on AWS.

[00:13:51] Finally, of course another one for Azure services. This one is a little bit more of an interactive site. As you can see, you can change the focus on this. This allows you to drill down, filter services according to need. But for anyone wondering what is available on Azure and what it might be called there, I think this is a really good starting point.

[00:14:15] The site can also give you detailed information about Azure's SLAs, current status, regions, and a few more things. There's even a quiz to test you on your Azure knowledge, if you fancy that kind of thing.

Hacked AWS account leads to $45K in charges

[00:14:28] Mike Nicholson: And just to round up one story that did catch my eye, towards the end of the year. And I was watching this unfold on Twitter as it happened. So I thought I saw this first tweet come out. Poor Johnny here got a rather unexpected bill for $45,000 from AWS for an old service that he'd had lying around for a few years that had been hacked by a crypto miner. Whether this hack was down to leaked keys or something else is a little unclear, I think.

[00:14:58] But I, I include this as a reminder, both of how quickly costs can escalate if you're not careful. And to make sure that all your accounts are locked down and secure. If you're not sure or have any doubt at all about any of this, then check your access keys, rotate them if you need to, change any security secrets that might be associated with a project, just to be on the safe side.

[00:15:23] And just to reassure you, it did all end happily for Johnny in the end. AWS canceled the charges. And his comment there that the 45,000 dollars of server time that he paid for, or should have paid for, bought $800 of Monero for the crypto scammer. So not a great trade off.

Cost calculators

[00:15:48] Mike Nicholson: And on the subject of runaway charges and cost control, just as a followup to that little Twitter drama, just like to remind everybody there are calculators available to help you get some kind of idea what a client deployment will cost you before you go ahead and do it. Rapidly escalating costs aren't necessarily connected to being hacked.

[00:16:07] Unexpected usage spikes can also put a strain on your finances, if you're not careful. So use the calculators, put spending caps on what you can and just keep an eye on things, if you have any concerns about any of this.

Q & A

[00:16:22] Mike Nicholson: And that's it for today. Let me see if I've got any questions. Yes. "What is a transient voltage surge, and how come there isn't some kind of protection for this? Are there no giant surge protector power strips? Will this always be an issue?" I would hope Google have learned something from that. I'm not sure exactly what caused that transient voltage surge.

[00:16:49] Yes, there are protections for this, but I assume this triggered something that knocked a few things out for them. Hopefully they learned in the setup from that one and will avoid that happening again in future.

[00:17:01] I worked a few years back for a company that got knocked out by a power surge from a lightning strike and they had surge protection.

[00:17:11] They paid a lot of money for it, but they hadn't got around to connecting anything to it yet. So when the lightning struck, all of their systems got knocked out. So yes, you can have the surge protection, but you have to make use of it as well.

[00:17:29] One more question. "How likely are the hyperscalers to reach their commitment to becoming climate neutral by 2030?"

[00:17:37] Hard to say. And obviously time will tell. There is enormous pressure from a lot of people. To make progress here, I think and, even if I was being cynical and considered this new climate neutral pact to be a greenwashing initiative on the part of the the big cloud providers. I think that would only take them a short distance anyway. They do need to act in a positive way to stay in the game or they'll lose some of their advantages to new companies that come in and, have this kind of focus. So I think the green initiative is going to be an important part of your business and marketing plans going forward. So whether the people in charge take it seriously is far less important, I think, than whether everybody else that wants to use the services do.

[00:18:32] So, I remain positive on that one. But yes, let's see what, let's see what happens there.

[00:18:39] As I mentioned before links for all the references and resources that I've mentioned---there there were a number of references on each of the slides there. They should all be available on the webinar page.

[00:18:51] They will also be available on YouTube once we upload the video. So feel free to check on it at those places for them. Thank you to everyone for joining today. Stay tuned for future webinars. And if there's any particular topic you'd like us to cover, please just drop us a line or tag us on Twitter, where we are @Divio.

[00:19:13] Thank you. And until next time, goodbye.



  1. Microsoft partnership with 3 universities for cloud degrees

  2. Coventry University cloud computing degree

  3. East London BSc


  1. AWS & Google part of new pact to make data centers climate-neutral

  2. Data centres accounted for 1+% of global emissions back in 2018

  3. Data usage increased by 47% during first Covid-19 lockdown

  4. UK business climate hub challenge to become net-zero by 2050


  1. Google Cloud and Nokia partnership

  2. Google Cloud and Telenor partnership

  3. Google Cloud and Vodafone partnership

  4. Oracle and Telecom Italia parntership

  5. AWS releases AWS Private 5G

  6. DISH announces the first 5G network in the cloud with AWS


  1. Google’s newest region in Australia taken out by transient voltage

  2. MS Azure outage affected Office 365 services

  3. AWS outages

  4. More AWS outages


  1. CloudKnox warns of permissions gap for enterprise hybrid

  2. Cloud compromises cost $4.5M annually

  3. GCP on mitigating ransomware attacks

  4. AWS on mitigating ransomware attacks

  5. Azure on mitigating ransomware attacks


  1. Bank of England warns that banks are overly reliant on cloud

  2. Ensono’s “Snapshot of the cloud in 2021”

  3. Google/IDC: “How a multi-cloud strategy can help regulated organizations mitigate risks in cloud”