Author: Nick Farrell

Dell EMC will offer Azure Stack

IMG_1049Dell EMC has signed an agreement with Microsoft to provide w Azure Stack through its channel partners.

Dell EMC was announced as one of three hardware vendors launching the Azure Stack, alongside HPE e and Lenovo. Cisco has since been added. The Azure Stack is an extension of Microsoft Azure, bringing the cloud capabilities to on-premise environments. The solution started shipping earlier this month.

Dell EMC also announced a range of services and updates around backup, data protection and hyperconverged infrastructure management.

“Dell EMC values the strong collaboration we have had with Microsoft for more than 30 years, which has resulted in world-class, innovative solutions delivered to customers worldwide”,  said Armughan Ahmad, senior VP at Dell EMC. No surprises there, then.

“The innovations we’re announcing today are evidence of how our work with Microsoft has truly changed how our customers conduct their day-to-day activities, enabling them to gain greater value from their IT infrastructures and, more importantly, develop and deliver services to help achieve their ultimate business goals.”

Eamon Moore, managing director at Dell EMC and Microsoft partner EMIT, said the partnership means partners can offer a solution to customers no matter how they want their infrastructure to look.

“A lot of customers will have been very pro Microsoft and pro Azure but might not have been able to adapt for certain reasons”, he said. “Now companies that partner with both [Dell EMC and Microsoft] can give a solution no matter what the requirements are.

“If you look at the future of cloud, we’re seeing, for various reasons, that customers might need to go with a hybrid approach, so it fits perfectly into that. We all see that hybrid is the future, so this will give all the advantages and solutions available on Azure in a hybrid platform.

“It’s almost the missing piece to now give an overall solution to customers and not be hindered by certain assets [that need to remain on-premise] that you might have been hindered by in the past.”

Sword buys Microsoft Gold Partner Minttulip.

damoclesSword IT Solutions has written a cheque for the Amersham-based Microsoft Gold Partner Minttulip.

The deal sees Sword bolster its capabilities around Microsoft’s workplace offerings, as it looks to expand the business through both organic growth and acquisitions over the coming years.

Dave Bruce, CEO of Sword IT Solutions, said: “This acquisition sees the coming together of two teams with a clear focus on helping businesses unlock their competitive advantage via deployment of Microsoft technologies to enable the modern digital workplace.

“We will build on their excellent relationship with Microsoft and bring our joint offering to both established Sword clients and to the diverse range of Minttulip customers.

“From a strategic standpoint, we aim to significantly increase the size of our business in the coming years and we’re sure this will prove to be a significant step on that journey. Our management team sees a real opportunity to bring our proven track record for delivering growth to a relatively young yet thriving, modern and exciting business.”

The acquisition adds to Sword’s existing bases in London, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, where it employees a total of around 200 staff.

Silobreaker teams up with Flashpoint

146254531f573f596c1c55fed91b5fb4Intelligence technology provider Silobreaker has announced a partnership with Business Risk Intelligence outfit Flashpoint.

The big idea is that Silobreaker and Flashpoint will create products which “empower” organisations to predict, detect and mitigate risk of all kinds by turning unstructured data into timely and actionable intelligence.

Silobreaker CEO Kristofer Mansson said the move was a major development for open source intelligence.

“Flashpoint is a market leader in accessing unique data in hard-to-get-to places on the web, while our emphasis is on building technology that makes sense of any kind of unstructured data. Bringing the two together creates a powerful combination that can dramatically improve an organisation’s intelligence efforts, both tactically and strategically.”

Flashpoint’s data is being ingested by Silobreaker’s platform, where it is indexed and fully integrated for use across all analytical tools, visualisations and workflow features. When correlated with Silobreaker’s open source data, this combination empowers customers to move seamlessly between the two data-sets in a single application, expanding their analyses to include both.

Flashpoint CEO and Co-Founder, Josh Lefkowitz, added: “While Silobreaker users can now benefit from access to Flashpoint’s Finished Intelligence and Deep & Dark Web datasets, we can offer our customers access to Silobreaker’s capabilities, namely hundreds of thousands of open sources, powerful analytics and a range of visualisation, reporting and alerting tools. We’re really excited to see where this partnership will take us.”

Access to Flashpoint data in Silobreaker requires licences from both companies.


UK firms overloaded with old networking gear

QUETTA, PAKISTAN, NOV 14: A labor dangerously travels on his overloaded donkey-cart passes through a road which may cause of any serious accident needs the attention of concerned department in Quetta on Monday, November 14, 2011. (Arsalan Naseer/PPI Images).

Research from Ciena has discovered that a fifth of UK firms are still using hardware that is over three years old.

The research showed 27 percent of UK firms using WAN connections of up to five years old. The old kit is unlikely to meet current standards, deliver high-speeds or help those firms that are keen to unlock cost efficiencies across the organisation.

There were also signs that a number of users would invest in site-to-site fibre to make sure they could get better data speeds.

Ciena vice president and general manager Keri Gilder said: “As traffic volumes in both the data centre and in the office environment continue to surge, businesses are looking to extract maximum value from their infrastructure investments. As the study shows, investment in external WAN bandwidth and interconnects is critical, but if it’s being connected to legacy equipment, the potential benefits of better and fluid bandwidth won’t be realised.”

The Ciena research aimed to compare the situation in the UK with that in Germany and businesses here came up short when compared to their continental counterparts.

The mean average spent annually on data centre network infrastructure is £161,000 in the UK, with an additional £86,000 being spent on WAN and interconnects. In Germany, the average spent was €326,000 annually on data centre network infrastructure and €140,000 on WAN and other interconnects.

Huawei launches a mobile cloud

56f884651f7b35416b9b4ca955d350b3--pom-pom-mobile-cloud-mobileHuawei is launching its own Mobile Cloud service.

The Chinese company promises that the service will allow consumers to backup and restore their data and phone settings wirelessly, synchronise and easily transfer data across Huawei mobile devices, as well as store and access files safely using Cloud Drive. Subscribed users to the Huawei Mobile Cloud will receive 5GB of free cloud storage.

From September onwards, the Huawei Mobile Cloud update will be gradually rolled out on the Huawei P10, P10 Plus, P10 lite and Nova 2, with other models to follow in due course. All photos and videos taken with the camera, screenshots and screen recordings can be automatically backed up to Cloud. Users can simply access them from their browser at or from the Gallery App on their device.

Data can also be automatically synchronised across all Huawei mobile phones, so it’s quick and easy to access Contacts, Calendar, Wi-Fi and Notes using the Huawei ID. This data can also be managed through the Cloud Web Portal. At launch, Huawei Mobile Cloud will offer 5GB of free cloud storage and there will be the option to upgrade and purchase more storage plans from 2018 onwards.

Security conscious consumers will be safe in the knowledge that all data is stored exclusively within the EU on European servers, in compliance with EU Data Protection and Privacy Laws. All the services have been designed with user privacy in mind and the Huawei Mobile Cloud Services are certified by CSA Star.

Huawei Western Europe’s consumer business  president of Walter Ji, said: “The launch of Huawei Mobile Cloud highlights our commitment as a business to creating a more convenient mobile experience for our users, all the while assuring them that their data can easily be backed up and restored, as well as remaining secure. All files and photos stay within EU servers and we have local Legal, Security and Privacy expert teams in EU, to give users complete peace of mind.”


Google gets a per-second cloud

Ominous Clouds over Dublin CityGoogle has extended per-second billing to a range of services on its Cloud Platform, after Amazon Web Services (AWS) moved to the same system last week.

Paul Nash, group product manager of Compute Engine at Google, played down the significance of the new billing model saying that Google has offered per-second billing for its Persistent Disks storage service since 2013. He said that the difference between per-minute and per-second billing is very small anyway.

“On the other hand, changing from per-hour billing to per-minute billing makes a big difference for applications – especially websites, mobile apps and data processing jobs – that get traffic spikes. The ability to scale up and down quickly could come at a significant cost if you had to pay for those machines for the full hour when you only needed them for a few minutes.”

Google said  its per-second model will be available on a range of operating systems including Windows, which AWS said would be excluded from its own per-second offering.

Staff start exiting Tintri

42BE314500000578-4737070-image-a-47_1501179802781While Tintri has refused to say much about its company wide decimation plans, it appears that some top managers are already clearing out their desks and sticking their personal positions into old photocopy paper boxes.

The vendor said last week that it would be cutting over 10 per cent of its workforce by the end of October to “drive efficiencies” in its sales organisation. The cuts were understood to be worldwide.

Tintri’s former senior channel manager Mark Hughes has since confirmed his departure in a LinkedIn post.

The vendor first confirmed the redundancies in a filing with the US Securities and Exchanges Commission last week, revealing that the board of directors approved the cuts on 18 September.

“The restructuring is part of an overall plan to drive efficiencies in the company’s sale organisation and other business units,” the filing stated.

Tintri’s went public earlier this year and its share price tanked by 50 percent since its first day of trading.

In its most recent quarterly filing Tintri recorded a 27 percent year-on-year revenue jump for the three months ending 31 July, up to $34.9 million. Its operating loss however doubled to $49.1 million.

Tintri shareholders are furious and several law firms have announced plans to take action against Tintri on behalf of shareholders over “possible violations of federal securities laws”.

Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz have filed a class action which alleges that Tintri made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose material information in connection with its IPO.

On September 7, 2017, Tintri announced its second quarter results, reporting revenue at the low end of analysts’ expectations and weaker than expected third quarter guidance. The Company projected revenues to increase just slightly quarter over quarter to $36-$37 million compared to expectations of $42.5 million, the lawyers said.  Following this news, Tintri’s stock price dropped over 31 percent to close at $4.55 per share on September 8, 2017, which caused investors harm.

Microsoft wants AI everywhere

Software King of the World Microsoft has said that you can never have too much AI.  It has been short of ordinary intelligence for years so I guess it could do with a little injection of nous.

CEO Satya Nadella told the assorted throngs at its Ignition event in Florida that “a little bit of machine learning here and there” was not enough.

He said that AI needs to become a more integral element of IT.

“It’s no longer about deploying one AI system or doing a little bit of machine learning here and there,” he said. “It is about, in fact, changing the culture inside our organisations so that we understand very deeply what it means to create these digital feedback loops across all these outcomes.

“These new virtuous cycles between our products, their usage, their creation of data and the business model, that’s what we’ve got to get intuitively.

“In fact even for us at Microsoft, that’s the process of transformation we’re going through as we change the nature of our products, we change the nature of how we engage with you as our customers and partners.”

At Ignition, Vole  introduced a range of AI-driven updates for Dynamic 365, as well as a new set of machine-learning tools for developers working with Microsoft Azure.



Apple sticks spanner in Toshiba sale fruity cargo cult Apple is holding up the sale of Toshiba’s memory chip business.

An agreement worth over $18 billion for Toshiba was announced last week, with the winning bidder a consortium led by Bain Capital and including Apple and Dell.

However Tosh has been telling its banks that Apple is stalling and apparently one of the failed bidders, KKR, is now trying to tempt Apple to switch sides.  Apple had previously opposed KKR’s bid because its consortium included Western Digital, which is a joint investor in TSMC’s flash memory facility.

Apple, which is the biggest consumer of the memory chips, feared that Western Digital’s involvement would consolidate the market too much and lead to less competitive pricing, Bloomberg said.

Western Digital has since pulled out of the consortium and is seeking to block Bain Capital’s bid.

If KKR is able to persuade Apple to switch sides at the last minute, it could upset a deal that had looked like it would end months of twists and turns in finding a buyer for Toshiba’s family jewels.

Tosh needs cash to shore up a balance sheet destroyed by a failed foray into the nuclear power equipment industry and is facing a deadline in March to complete a deal or be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

PCM buys a Liverpool cloud

Liverpool-X2US reseller giant PCM has written a cheque for Liverpool-based cloud service provider Stack Technology.

PCM entered the UK by starting a local operation from scratch in May, but hinted at the time that it may look to back this up with an acquisition.

Stack bills itself as a specialist in cloud, security, virtualisation, data services, unified communications and infrastructure, and has two accredited cloud datacentres.  It is worth about £2.9 million.

PCM said the acquisition will speed its efforts to pick up vendors in the UK and boost its managed services prowess.

PCM CEO Frank Khulusi said: “The acquisition of The Stack Group is a key milestone for our new UK segment to further support our clients’ needs in the services and solutions market.

“As a leading provider in North America, we continue to look for ways to accelerate market share gains and this acquisition will allow us to expand on our offerings not only to new customers in the UK and European markets, but also to our global customers based in North America. We are pleased to welcome The Stack Group team to the rest of the PCM family and look forward to jointly providing world-class services and solutions to our clients across the globe.”

Stack will add the following vendors Cisco, Citrix, Dell EMC, Fortinet Meru, NetApp, Nutanix, Sophos, Veeam, VMware, Ubiquiti Networks and Zerto.

Fintech awareness increasing

fintech_shutterstock_502994557Fintech awareness is growing among UK businesses, according to a survey by business finance company MarketInvoice.

The survey found that 77 percent of UK businesses are aware of fintech products and services and 65 percent have adopted at least one fintech application, with 19 percent taking on four.

Those who adopt it claim to be saving more than £5,500 a year as a result of using fintech products and services and 23 percent of them are using fintech products and services for banking transactions, while 16 percent are using it for foreign exchange services.

Meanwhile, 24 percent reported using cloud-based software for their accountancy functions and 32 percent used online lenders for business loans or invoice finance.

MarketInvoice claimed the £4.6 billion saving for US businesses is based on FSB statistics which show there are 5.5 million businesses in the UK, of which 1.3 million are employing businesses. The £4.6bn is achieved by multiplying 65 percent of 1.3 million businesses by £5,500 – the average annual savings by adopting fintech services.

Anil Stocker, CEO and co-founder of MarketInvoice said that the expansion of tech-driven digital services has been remarkable over the past five years.

“We know that consumers have been adopting tech applications into all parts of their lives, but our research shows that UK businesses are now also becoming tech-savvy.”

Stocker said fintech applications are revolutionising the way business is being done, from how employees report their expenses to the way businesses report their financial performance.


NTT Com and Dell EMC build Azure lab

cloud1NTT Com has teamed up with Dell EMC to provide a Microsoft Azure application testing lab for non-production virtual workloads at limited scale.

NTT Com claims to be the only global service provider to offer a choice of on premises or hosted services in one of its 140 data centres via fully managed private cloud solutions using Microsoft Azure Stack.

The Proof of Concept to test applications on Azure Stack will run on a single node server in one of NTT Com’s data centres. The low PoC fee includes the necessary Azure Stack qualified engineering services to load and test the application, rented time on the test server and fully documented objectives and reported outcomes. With the cost of the Proof of Concept being refunded if the customer opts to take out a managed Azure Stack solution from NTT Com.

Azure Stack is designed to bring many of the features of the Azure cloud computing platform into the enterprise data center, providing hybrid cloud customers with the flexibility and innovation capabilities designed to meet the business objectives of those adopting a data transformation strategy. Azure Stack is now available to order on dedicated server hardware from Dell, however testing your application compatibility before making the move to Azure Stack is highly recommended.

Jay Snyder, Senior Vice President, Global Alliances, Dell EMC said his outfit was delighted to be collaborating with NTT Communications.

He said it would provide a powerful application testing facility focused on the Azure Stack. These capabilities will enable customers the ability to migrate existing applications efficiently as they establish their long-term strategy for hybrid cloud.

The Dell EMC hardware platform delivers an automated, Azure – consistent experience on a single hybrid cloud platform for both traditional and Cloud – native applications, which, when coupled with managed services from NTT Com, provides customers with a credible choice when seeking a viable solution partner to this new cloud product in the market.

Roger Vilà, SVP Enterprise Services at NTT Europe said: “Azure Stack is the backbone of Microsoft’s new Cloud strategy. By utilizing this PoC facility, organizations can help ensure they are harnessing all of the power offered by Microsoft cloud and unify the disparate systems that may be running across their business effectively from the onset.”

NTT Com is a  member of the Microsoft Early Adopter Initiative for Azure Stack for over eight months and is providing global managed services through NTT Com Managed Services, delivering a one-stop shop for managed hybrid cloud services. NTT Com already has numerous large customers on the managed Azure platform and is fully prepared for Microsoft Azure Stack’s release.

Brexit harms PC prices shock horror

are-we-afraid-noUK PC prices have suffered from the UK’s stand against foreigners coming over here and doing all the jobs we don’t want to do at reasonable rates.

Britain might be great again and have full employment, rule the waves etc since it stood up to Brussels, but Brexit has caused a spike in the price of various goods, ranging from computers to coffee and wine, with the channel having to pass on the bad news to customers.

According to Which? magazine,  the consumer watchdog asks questions about the impact of Brexit and details the range of price increases that have hit customers.

Apple MacBooks, which in some cases have increased by just shy of 20 percent, along with Microsoft Surface models that have gone up between 11-15 percent. But those are not the only two vendors that have been forced to increase retail prices. Ever since the referendum result slightly more than a year ago there have been movements in the prices of goods because of the slump in sterling.

Which? tech expert Jack Turner reckoned that some vendors had been quicker than others to pass the price rises on but exchange rates had caused a huge impact across the sector.

Nearly all of the major hardware vendors have been forced to bow to currency pressure and put up prices. So far since the Brexit vote the likes of HP, Dell, Lenovo along with Apple and Microsoft have raised hardware prices between 10-15 percent and software prices by 20 percent.

Context, which monitors the ASPs being offered through distribution, has seen rises over the course of the last year, which have continued into Q3.

Distributor ASPs for PCs were up 17 percent year-on-year across Western Europe, from €486 in July and August 2016 to €567 in early Q3 this year.

Currency fluctuations have been driving PC ASP increases since Q3 2016 but Context has also noted a move towards more high end gaming systems in the consumer segment, which has had an influence on prices.

Still at least the lot of the common man is better since Brexit… oh

HPE to decimate staff again

legionnaires Hewlett Packard Enterprise is planning to cut 5,000 jobs or 10 percent of its workforce, as part of its HPE Next restructuring initiative.

HPE has already begun notifying executives impacted by the restructuring, with the company announcing this week the new management teams within each of the 11 regions.

HPE is officially not saying anything about the moves. The company has been restructuring for years no and it is surprising that there are still staff to decimate.

The HPE Next initiative is aimed at rearchitecting and simplifying the structure of the company with as much as $200 million to $300 million in cost savings in the current fiscal year. HPE is aiming for $1.5 billion in cost savings over a three-year period.

HPE CEO Meg Whitman told her unfortunate employees that the news of the restructuring was just media reports speculating about employee reductions.

“As you know, we have been aggressively moving forward with our HPE Next program, which is focused on positioning the company for the future. And, I can assure you that our employees are the heart of that strategy. We are looking at a variety of options as we think about the cost structure of the company, and they include both reductions and investments,” Whitman said in the memo.

However, Whitman said it is critical for the company to put “the right resources behind areas that will drive our profitable growth, while rebalancing our cost structure in others”.

Whitman said HPE is committed to “transparency” and will communicate decisions as soon as they are made.

As part of the next restructuring, HPE has already announced that it is flattening its channel organization eliminating layers of management by combining its channels and alliances groups under a single organization headed by Global Channel Chief Denzil Samuels.

The restructuring also includes a new North America management team led by North America Sales Chief Dan Belanger, CRN reported Friday.

Among the top channel executives leaving HPE as a result of the restructuring are Scott Dunsire, an 11-year HPE veteran widely credited with making broad channel improvements and improving co-selling engagement between partners and the HPE direct sales force and Mike Parrottino, a 30-year HPE veteran who was a passionate advocate for partners and the SMB route to market.
Both Dunsire and Parrottino dramatically increased the percentage of sales going through the channel, initiating a mandate to drive 100 percent of SMB sales through partners.

Microsoft moves close to Apple’s sacred London Turf

6629255509_1bcb6e1997Software King of the World Microsoft is opening a new store on London’s Regent Street area which is zoned by the Apple Cult as sacred and holy to them.

The Tame Apple Press is furious after Microsoft announced plans for its first UK retail store, just a stone’s throw from Apple’s flagship outlet.

While not revealing when the store will open, Microsoft’s UK boss Cindy Rose said in a blog post: “We couldn’t be happier to be opening a flagship store in the heart of central London at Oxford Circus, where two of the world’s most iconic shopping streets meet.

“We know our customers and fans, whether they are from London, the broader UK or just visiting, will love our bold plans for the space.

“This will be so much more than just a great place to experience all that is possible with Microsoft, but a real hub for the community where we’ll be bringing to life our passion for helping people explore their creativity through an ambitious programme of workshops and training along with moments that work to unite the community.”

This is not the first time that Apple has faced its sworn rival threatening to contaminate its sacred ground with cheaper more reliable products.  Vole has been threatening to open an inner London store close to Apple since 2012.

There are 75 Microsoft stores globally, with two flagship stores in New York and Sydney.