Weekly Update: Windows vs Linux Workloads, Invisalign Brand, Spirax, UK Used Cars, SLM

In Practise Weekly Update

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1. Azure, GCP, BigQuery, Snowflake & Cloud Competition

2. Align Technology: Invisalign Competition

3. UK Used Car Market Competitive Landscape

4. Spirax-Sarco Engineering: Chromalox

5. SLM Solutions & Additive Manufacturing

Windows vs Linux Containerised Workloads

Could Microsoft Azure have an advantage in shifting the majority of existing on-premise workloads to the cloud?

I would say the biggest thing that Azure has over AWS is hybrid capabilities. Amazon's go-to market strategy and the technical architecture has always been cloud; let's do cloud native, as much as possible. Since Microsoft started its roots in Windows Server and SQL on premise, they realized that customers were still in the very early innings or stages of moving their critical systems to the cloud. They wanted to provide a path to cloud and so they have a stronger hybrid offering. I think that's a key distinction that people need to realize.

Microsoft's Windows heritage and enterprise sales force places it in prime position to transition legacy Windows customers to the cloud.

Another interesting data point from our previous interview with Former Director of Amazon's Kubernetes Service, was that nearly all of the workloads being containerised on EKS were Linux workloads.

I would say it was 98% Linux...A lot of the existing Windows applications had a higher barrier to entry to move to containers, if that makes sense. Even amongst customers who had the domain expertise running a lot of Linux containers, when they started thinking about doing Windows, I think there was a lot of hesitancy and just not a lot of best practices around because there was just more application refactoring. It wasn't as easy as just containerized lift and shift, which you could do with any Linux app effectively. I think Windows has probably made some strides. But I do wonder if we'll ever see similar levels of adoption in the Windows space, as far as containers go. In comparison to Linux, it's just a different burden. I think that skill set might not be just as prolific or distributed as it is for Linux

The open-source nature of Linux meant workloads were easier to containerise and shift than Windows. Although this has changed over the last few years, it seems that there are more legacy Windows workloads yet to move to the cloud relative to Linux.

If you looked at the percentage of the overall Linux market that's moved to containers, it's probably higher than the percentage of the overall Windows market that's moved to that. It would be interesting to know the total addressable market just out there, in the Linux space, that could be migrated versus the Windows space

AWS clearly has a strong offering to switch Windows customers to the cloud, but given Microsoft's enterprise sales force and decades of customer relationships, Azure could be better positioned to capture existing Windows workloads.

Invisalign Brand Strength Declining?

A Former Director of ALGN suggests the brand strength and pricing power of ALGN may have peaked given the onslaught of competition from cheaper clear aligner companies.

I think it’s increasingly common that patients are asking for Invisalign by name, for reasons that I think are obvious. What the conversation maybe looks more like is, yes, we offer Invisalign. We also have some alternatives to Invisalign; we have some other clear aligner options that are less effective but are going to give you the same result. I think that's an easy conversation. I don't think that's a conversation that that most orthodontists or dentists could mess up. If they're an existing patient or a patient of record, then they would be highly likely and inclined to say, yes, that's fine. I just want clear aligners in the end. I think that, at a certain point, while the Invisalign brand has really peaked in terms of brand awareness, consumer awareness, at the same time, it could very quickly go away. When now we're just talking about clear aligner treatment in general, I don't care what brand it is; I just know that I want my teeth straight. As a consumer, as a patient, I just want my teeth straight. I don't want to wear wires and brackets. I just want clear aligners.

Auto Trader & UK vs US Used Car Market Structure

The presence of Auto Trader, the leading UK used car marketplace, is a major structural difference between the US and UK used car market. The US has no company that dominates P2P used car sales like Auto Trader.

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