Author: Nick Farrell

Flogging SD-WAN could be worth loadsamoney

PF-loadsamoney_2177214kBeancounters at IDC have been adding up some numbers and decided that SD-Wan could be a money-spinner over the next five years.

Of course SD-WAN vendors have been telling resellers that it is a technology that the channel needs to get involved with as it starts to ramp up for a year or so, but it looks like now they have the backing of IDC.

IDC is expecting SD-WAN infrastructure and services revenues will see a compound annual growth rate of 69.6 percent to hit $8.05 billion by 2021.

The buzz-phrase of digital transformation is behind the move along with a rise of cloud-based SaaS business applications and a wider acceptance of SDN in general.

IDC’s vice prez of infrastructure Rohit Mehra said that “SD-WAN is not a solution in search of a problem.

“Traditional WANs were not designed for the cloud and are also poorly suited to the security requirements associated with distributed and cloud-based applications. And, while hybrid WAN emerged to meet some of these next-generation connectivity challenges, SD-WAN builds on hybrid WAN to offer a more complete solution.”

Reseller SCC does rather well

Databroker_scrooge_mcduckReseller SCC is doing rather well thanks to its expanding services business,

Posting its 2017 financial year results, SCC had £1.7 billion in turnover, up 8.7 percent across EMEA, while operating profit (EBIT) was up 39 percent to £25 millionin the region.

But the outfit did well in Blighty where it claimed record earnings before interest and tax of £17.2 million. Its UK services business was up 10 percent in turnover to £194 million.

UK datacentre services revenues were also up 29 percent to £56 million, making SCC’s services business represent more than 31 percent of UK revenues.

SCC claimed its three year plan is to grow a services business across cloud, datacentre services, managed services and managed print.

SCC chief executive James Rigby said it was an exceptional year.

“Our future is as an IT services business, delivering solutions around data, cloud and cognitive computing supported by our next-generation global delivery centres across the world. Growth through our services business will continue as this gives us recurring revenues that enable us to invest in the right areas,” he said.


Mitel buys rival and becomes super-company

1920s-telephone-advertComms vendor Mitel has acquired rival ShoreTel for $530 million to create a $1.3 billion company.

The deal, which consists of an all-cash transaction at a price of $7.50 per share, or a total equity value of around $530 million, represents a 28 percent premium on ShoreTel’s closing share price as of 26 July 2017. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.

Mitel claims the deal will make it the second largest unified communications as-a-service vendor in the market, doubling its revenues to $263 million.

The vendor also claims that the deal will make Mitel’s recurring revenue streams account for 39 percent of overall sales.

The combined entity will have around 3,200 channel partners and boast a global workforce of 4,200 employees.

Mitel CEO Rich McBee said: “This is a very natural combination that enables us to continue to consolidate the industry and take advantage of cost synergy opportunities while adding new technologies and significant cloud growth to our business. Together, Mitel and ShoreTel will be able to take customers to the cloud faster with full-featured, cloud-based communications and applications.”

Last year Mitel put in a $1.96 billion bid to buy videoconferencing vendor Polycom, but was snubbed months after when the firm was offered $2 billion by private equity firm Siris Capital.

Amazon web services growing strongly

amazonAmazon said that Amazon Web Services revenue is continuing to grow strongly and should make it $16 billion a year.

The company added that revenue growth for the public cloud giant had slowed down a bit.

AWS was critical to Amazon’s profitability in its 2017 fiscal second quarter. Operating income for the cloud business, $916 million, was up 28 percent year over year from $718 million. Meanwhile, operating income for all of Amazon was $628 million.

Amazon’s chief financial officer, Brian Olsavsky told investors during a short question and answer session that AWS’s run rate, which stood at $14 billion in the previous quarter, rose to $16 billion.

“We saw the largest quarter-over-quarter expansion in revenue for that business,” Olsavsky said.

Amazon supported that growth with a 71 percent year-on-year increase in investment to accelerate services and geographic expansion, including the opening of five new sites around the world, Olsavsky said.

In addition, the growth in the number of engineering and salespeople at AWS outpaced that of Amazon’s entire workforce, which numbers about 340,000, he said. AWS revenue for the quarter reached $4.1 billion, up 42 percent over the $2.9 billion reported for the second quarter of 2016, Amazon said.

However, that rise continues a trend of slower growth for AWS. Amazon figures show that revenue growth has slowed for the last six consecutive quarters. However, financial news site CNBC said Thursday that the growth has slowed for the last eight straight quarters, falling from a peak of 81 percent in the second quarter of 2015.

Former Enta boss Tsai jailed for 18 months

220px-JasonTsai-BuckinghamPalaceFormer Enta boss Jason Tsai has been sentenced to 18 months porridge for breaching a passport order and hiding assets from HMRC during the liquidation of Changtel Solutions.

For those who came in late, Changtel Solutions – AKA Enta Technologies – was wound up in 2015. The taxman found that it owed him £15.5 million in VAT liabilities after conducting an illegal exporting scam for a decade. HMRC has since claimed that it is owed over £42 million.

Tsai has now been given an 18 month jail sentence at the High Court of Justice for a string of offences, including hiding various bank accounts and properties from HMRC during its investigation, and also breaching orders preventing him leaving the country. In total, Tsai was given prison sentences of various lengths for 30 of the 53 alleged breaches, all of which were ordered to run concurrently and the longest being 18 months.

Mrs Justice Rose said: “Having seen Mr Tsai give evidence and in the light of the matters I have described above, I have formed the view that Mr Tsai was a thoroughly dishonest witness and that almost all the answers he gave during his oral evidence in the witness box were deliberate lies aimed at misleading the court. I believe very little of what he said, unless it was adverse to his own interests.”

In sentencing Tsai to 18 months imprisonment, the judge said that Tsai could apply to have the sentence shortened if he complies fully with the freezing order, but not to a period shorter than 12 months.

Changtel liquidator Begbies Traynor filed proceedings against Tsai on 15 February this year, claiming he had breached sections of the Insolvency Act 1986. Following a hearing on the same day an order was granted freezing Tsai’s assets globally – totalling £27.4 million.

Begbies Traynor had access to Changtel’s computer systems and servers during its investigation and claimed that Tsai had hidden a number of assets, predominately by placing them in the name of his wife and other relatives.

Alongside this, Tsai breached a part of the freezing order banning him from leaving the country to fly to Taiwan.

Tsai was ordered to hand over all his passports and travel documents, but claimed that his Taiwanese passport was in the possession of his travel agent for the purposes of obtaining him a Chinese visa. Tsai failed to surrender this passport and travelled to Taiwan to meet his wife whom he said was undergoing medical treatment.

During this time, his wife travelled to Singapore to transfer £8.6 million from an account in Singapore to Taiwan. The judge found the evidence of Tsai’s wife’s health to be false and handed down a 15 month sentence for this breach.

The court also looked at a £2.3 million loan “made by Tsai’s sister-in-law” to Entatech UK in 2014. Entatech UK went on to be sold to Dave Stevinson’s Stevinson Capital in 2015, and the loan is still on the defunct distributor’s books.

Tsai claimed the loan had nothing to do with him and should be repaid by its April 2018 deadline. The judge however ruled that the loan had in fact come from Tsai, and handed down an additional six month prison sentence.

Tsai claimed to have been impeded by a language barrier with his native language being Taiwanese, adding that he “struggles when English is spoken at speed, softly or quietly”. He claimed to have not understood various parts of the freezing order because an interpreter had not been present. This was news to the liquidators, who claimed they had often had coherent conversations with Tsai.

Tsai claimed illness as another reason claiming a 2009 cancer battle in 2009 had left him on medication that causes symptoms including confusion, drowsiness and an inability to concentrate – all of which had directly caused him to “misunderstand several important aspects of the case”.

Mrs Justice Rose gave that argument short shrift saying that if Mr Tsai was really as ill as he claims there would be many more documents generated by GP or hospital visits.

“I find that Tsai’s supposed medical problems are a fabricated excuse and that he has no medical or hearing problems that have contributed to his conduct during these proceedings.”

Tsai also had another go claiming that he had had contemplated suicide. The letter contained a doctor’s report which stated that Tsai was suffering from “severe” levels of depressions and had “investigated over the internet methods of hanging to cause suicide whilst being detained”.

The judge said that Tsai displayed no difficulties with either short-term or long-term memory, with levels of concentration or with tiredness.

“His answers to questions were at all times pertinent and coherent, even if, as I have held, they were mostly untrue.”

Google hit by weak pound

google-ICWeaknesses in the British pound  slowed EMEA growth for tech giant Google in the second quarter.

Group revenues for the firm’s parent company Alphabet grew by 21 percent year over year for the three months ending 30 June to $26.01 billion, or 23 percent in constant currencies.

Operating income meanwhile fell by 30.8 percent to $4.12 billion, largely due to Google incurring a record €2.42 billion fine from the European Commission for allegedly breaching antitrust rules to push its own shopping comparison service. As a consequence, operating margins fell from 28 percent posted in the Q2 of 2016, to 16 per cent this year.

Excluding the EU fine, operating incomes from Google came in at $7.8 billion, up from $6.99 billion reported in the same quarter last year. Alphabet’s “other bets” segment – which includes emerging technologies such as smart homes, Google’s venture capital arm and self-driving car technology –   dragged group operating income down after posting a $772 million loss.

Speaking to analysts on an earnings call,  Alphabet’s CFO Ruth Porat claimed that while all geographical regions grew on an annual basis, EMEA’s growth was slowed down by weaknesses in the British pound and the euro.

EMEA revenues hit $8.5 billion, up 14 percent annually, while the US saw 23 percent growth to $12.3 billion. APAC hit $3.7 billion, up 28 percent year over year while the America’s – which include Canada and Latin America, reached $1.4 billion, up 31 percent annually.

Google also lauded its progress within its cloud business, which is lumped in with its hardware and Android app sales under “other revenues”. This segment grew 42.3 percent annually to $3.09 billion.

The US giant also increased its headcount by 9,031 employees to 75,606 staff compared with the end of Q2 2016, with CEO Sundar Pichai claiming that the firm has driven up recruitment in its cloud business.

“In terms of product areas the most sizable headcount additions were once again made in cloud for both technical and sales roles consistent with the priority we place on this business,” he said on the same earnings call.

“Google Cloud Platform (GCP) continues to experience impressive growth across products, sectors and geographies and increasingly with large enterprise customers in regulated sectors. To be more specific about our momentum with big customers, in Q2 the number of new deals we closed worth more than $0.5 million is three times what it was last year.”

He added: “We also continue to build out our partnerships, in Q2 we announced an expansion of our partnership at SAP and a new partnership with Nutanix to integrate their products with GCP. So customers can run workloads in hybrid environments, on-prem and in the cloud.”

Currys told off for cloud exaggeration

345307Currys PC World has been told off for exaggerating the capability of its Knowhow Cloud backup.

A misleading advert on was banned by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority after it ruled that “the impression created by the ad was not that the product was singularly for cloud storage, but that it provided some sort of additional security”.

“This”, continued the ASA, “was suggested by the claim ‘Complete Security … All your data is protected and backed up in our military grade encrypted UK based data centres’.”

The advertising regulator said this meant consumers “would understand this claim to mean the product would provide additional security benefits beyond those of a standard cloud storage service”.

But a Knowhow Cloud customer tried to use the service to restore his backups after a ransomware attack. However he found that his data could only be restored if files “were individually recovered through a time-consuming manual process”.

Currys claimed its cloudy backup service was “not intended to cover files that were virus infected, which created a rather complex situation for restoration”. It blamed the customer, suggesting that getting caught in a ransomware attack was his own fault for having “inadequate virus protection” the ASA said.

Cennox completes take over of 3SI Security Systems’ European Division

shark_attack_painting-t2 (1)Cennox has completed the successful acquisition of 3SI Security Systems’ European Division.

The deal, which was signed on 25 July 2017, enables Cennox to further support its European clients. This acquisition follows almost two years of their “hugely successful” exclusive 3SI Distributor agreement, covering the UK & Ireland, that started in October 2015.

Cennox has been incredibly active in the security arena, supporting many banks around the world deploying a wide portfolio of security solutions, some supplied by 3SI and others designed and manufactured in-house, by Cennox. A prominent presence at many industry conferences and exhibitions, Cennox has carved a leading position in delivering an incredible array of security solutions, especially those around the ATM. This new acquisition goes a long way to strengthening its foot print in Europe, linking customers to a wider variety of Banking and Retail services.

Cennox CEO Clive Nation said that Cennox has enjoyed an excellent working relationship with 3SI and its acquisition of the European Division of 3SI Security Systems, is  great news for the company’s new colleagues and customers across Europe already accessing these products.

The acquisition will see all 3SI European staff join the Cennox Group. The deal also includes their Brussels Head Offices and supporting infrastructure coming under the care of Cennox. This will ensure a speedy and seamless transition with no interruption of service and enable the teams at 3SI Security Europe to continue the fantastic work they have been doing.

Todd Leggett, CEO, 3SI Security Systems said: “We are very excited about working in the future with the Cennox Group in the Europe markets.”

Arrow snaps up Worksmart

Archer-Shooting-a-Goose-Arrow--59097Arrow Business Communications has written a cheque for the London-based Worksmart Technology.

Arrow’s recently appointed managing director John Harber said the acquisition was made for as all the normal reasons such as getting new customer relationships. However now Arrow had its own hosted Mitel platform in our its  data-centre.

This means that it can flog hosted telephony to punters and will be in complete control of the proposition from start to finish.

Workspace will join the Arrow group of companies with a revenue of £4.7 million, adding to the £24.6 million that Arrow filed for 2015.

Harber said that Arrow’s acquisition strategy is not yet complete – with the VAR still on the hunt for additions that will complement the firm from geographic and product perspectives – but remained tight-lipped on when the next deal will happen.

Harber started at Arrow earlier this month, after leaving his role as UK general manager at Lenovo. He held the same role at Sony earlier in his career.


Rackspace offers Pivotal Cloud Foundry managed services

get-medievalRackspace has announced that it will offer managed services for Pivotal Cloud Foundry.

Rackspace will be adding support for the company’s PaaS offering to its stable of cloud platforms, which includes OpenStack, Google Cloud Platform, VMWare, Microsoft Azure and AWS.

Rackspace’s vice president of applications and platforms, Brannon Lacey said: “Managed Pivotal Cloud Foundry is Rackspace’s first step into the managed platform space, as we move up the stack to solutions that customers want our help. It is a solution that helps customers get up and running on Pivotal Cloud Foundry quickly and stay up and running, with operational support and proactive monitoring. This way, in-house teams can focus on innovation and getting out to market quickly while Rackspace handles the backend.”

Rackspace’s Managed Pivotal Cloud Foundry service will also include multi-cloud support, as well as management for updates, feature releases and troubleshooting.

Pivotal president and COO Bill Cook said that the collaboration between Pivotal and Rackspace would “provide customers the option to manage their cloud environment, so they can focus on rapidly shipping code.”

Civica swallowed by Global private equity outfit

Finding-Nemo-Shark-Wallpaper-HDPublic sector software giant Civica Group has just been bought by private equity outfit Partners Group in a deal worth about a billion dollars.

The firm provides business critical software and outsourcing services, and will be handed over by OMERS Private Equity which acquired it in 2013.

Civica Services, the volume licensing arm of Civica, was an important VAR resellerwith a revenue of £27.8 million.

The company hires 3,700 people with 75 percent based in the UK. Partners Group claimed it will support the existing Civica management team and its ongoing strategy.

Bilge Ogut, managing director, private equity Europe at Partners Group said his outfit was impressed with Civica’s long-term growth record.  It wanted to back a high-quality market leader in a sector with evolving customer needs and the potential to increase scale through select acquisitions.

Wayne Story, chief executive of Civica, claimed that the acquisition is a “very positive development” to support its ongoing strategy.

“Under the ownership of Partners Group, it will be an enhanced version of business as normal led by the existing management team, and we remain committed to our strategy and to the long-term development of Civica”,  added Story.


IT customs systems will fall apart like chocolate orange

terry's2-large_trans_NvBQzQNjv4Bq4cHFBfxHqfroyKoKkNhhsIOb6wYDoBFLKDEGDsm5ADgThe  new IT for the UK’s customs is so unready for Brexit it will fall apart like a chocolate orange, the National Audit Office has warned.

It has said that the Government’s post-Brexit IT system for customs is heading for a “horror show” that could risk £34 billion of public income.

In a scathing assessment, the National Audit Office said the computer system might not be ready by the time Britain leaves the EU, potentially plunging the UK’s ports into chaos.

The £157 million system is due to be completed just two months before Brexit in March 2019, but the NAO says delays common to new IT would cause massive disruption.

In unusually tough language, auditor general Sir Amyas Morse said ministers were only beginning to understand the momentous task of Brexit and that without further resources would find that “at the first tap, this falls apart like a chocolate orange”.

Publishing his report on the Customs Declaration Service, Sir Amyas said the IT system to record declarations on imports and exports threatened to become “a horror show”.

He said that the system is “well regarded”, but not considered flexible enough to cope with new rules after Brexit.

He went on: “At the moment it’s due to deliver just two months before the EU deadline … Our view in this report is that there is very little flexibility, should the programme overrun or unexpected problems occur. There are plenty of such problems that could occur.

“We’re not telling you this is a badly run project but, to be frank, looking at IT projects with still considerable technical challenges not yet resolved in them, we kind of know that it’s normal for there to be some drift in time.

“What’s unique about these circumstances is there can’t be a drift in timescale. Normally if you have this project and it took another six months to be a working project you’d say this is a pretty successful project. But this is not like that.”

Among risks outlined in the NAO’s report is the possibility that Britain’s final deal with the EU might require features in the IT system not yet anticipated by its designers – requiring last minute changes and causing more delays.

The Government wants to migrate from the old customs computer system starting in August 2018 and finish in January 2019. Under Article 50 the UK will leave the EU automatically just eight weeks later.

Planetek gets mapping contract

Hereford_Mappa_Mundi_1300Planetek has signed a framework contract with the European Union Satellite Centre (EU SatCen), for the provision of Earth Observation based Very High Resolution Reference Mapping products in support to FRONTEX, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.

Planetek will support the EU Satellite Centre in the provision of Earth Observation mapping products to FRONTEX

The information products to be provided will “enhance” border surveillance, a current challenge for the European Union as regards migration and security. The Reference Mapping Service aims at providing a background of geographical context including relevant information on hydrography, topography, land cover, infrastructure and population. The Service will support the monitoring of border areas and the improvement of decision-making and response capabilities of the authorities responsible for controlling and monitoring European borders.

Planetek Italia and Planetek Hellas CEO Giovanni Sylos Labini said being the only SMEs within this group of large companies that have signed the same framework contract is certainly a challenge.

“We are thankful to SatCen for the trust that has been shown to Planetek Group and we are committed to provide the best possible services to this highly esteemed EU Entrusted Entity.”

Dell EMC enhances its channel

i_love_enhancements_tshirtDell EMC has released a set of “enhancements” for its channel partners.

As you might expect, cloud computing featured heavily in the programme revisions. Dell EMC is keen to encourage its partners in the area, which is making it a bomb.

The Dell EMC Networking X-series will also become the vendor’s first distributor-exclusive product line. The X-Series is a family of web-managed 1GbE and 10GbE switches, designed for SMBs.

The outfit has expanded its client incumbency programme for the commercial segment, claiming that it will protect partners’ relationships with historical look-back for revenue and deal registration.

Virtustream has added its enterprise cloud solution platform to the partner programme. The idea is that it will provide “customers with public cloud consumption with private cloud performance”.

Dell EMC has been talking up its “flexible consumption models” through the channel with Cloud Flex, storage offering Flex on Demand and PC-as-a-service packages on certain product portfolios.

It expanded 2017’s Cloud Service Provider and Strategic Outsourcer track, alongside offering rebates based on sell-in revenues.

Michael Collins, senior vice president, channel at Dell EMC EMEA said that the developments underline Dell EMC’s strategy to position its partners as strategic advisers that enterprises can trust.

“We want our customers to know that Dell EMC’s partner ecosystem is steadfastly committed to understanding their immediate and future business IT needs.

“We believe that our latest updates to the Dell EMC Partner Programme make us the leading long-term technology provider of choice to help channel partners satisfy their customers and guide them along their IT infrastructure transformation journey”, added Collins.

iManage’s cloud is in the hands of lawyers

billboard_dogsiManage announced that a big firm of European patent and trademark attorneys has selected iManage Cloud for its operations.

Potter Clarkson LLP chose iManage Cloud to move from paper-based files and an existing in-house document management system to a modernised and efficient cloud-based solution.

iManage Cloud will improve workflows and cross-firm collaboration. Future integration with Potter Clarkson’s planned business process application will allow the firm to pull together its different data sources including client, matter and operational information to help achieve business insight and value from their data.

Potter Clarkson Practice Manager Philip Morris said that iManage Cloud will significantly improve efficiency throughout its business, enhancing its  Microsoft Office 365 investment and providing the capability to work securely with matter and client files from anywhere on just about any device.

“The mobility, collaboration and resilience delivered by the product is incredibly important to us, while iManage’s UK-based data centres ensure the integrity and security of our data.”

iManage partner Phoenix Business Solutions is assisting Potter Clarkson with the implementation. The firm plans to roll out the solution by the beginning of November 2017, with an expected 160 users throughout the organisation.

iManage EMEA General Manager Geoff Hornsby said deploying iManage Cloud, Potter Clarkson will provide its patent attorneys with tools that enable them to deliver more responsive service to their clients without compromising security.