Category: News

Oracle dumps Solaris 12 for a cloudy future

oracle_sparc_solaris_roadmapIt would appear that Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump’s favourite database maker has dumped Solaris 12 from its roadmap as part of its cloud initiatives.

Oracle published a new roadmap and Solaris 12 is absent. A new blueprint dated January 13, 2017 expunges any mention Solaris 12 in the places where Oracle had included it in the 2014 edition. There is a mention of “Solaris 11.next” as due to debut during this year or the next complete with “Cloud Deployment & Integration Enhancements”.

You can’t find any mention of “Solaris 11.next” anywhere on the worldwide wibble.

Oracle does mention SPARC Next appearing this year in 2020 SPARC Next+. It also hints of plans to launch SPARC infrastructure-as-a-service, probably under the brand “@Customer” with services in “Dedicated Metered & Non-Metered” form.

It appears that there will not be a full new version of SPARC but the existing flavour will be enhanced and will be supported for many years to come.

While it is not the end of Solaris which some have predicted, it does seem to indicate that Oracle has not much will to push through a full version.

Smartphone web sales picking up

tin-can-phoneNew reports suggests that while more orders are being placed via smartphones some retailers are dropping the ball by being too slow.

The latest IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index suggests that as mobile phone screen sizes get bigger, customers are becoming happier about buying online

Capgemini found that £133 billion was spent online with UK retailers last year, which was up by £18 billion on the previous twelve months. The expectation is that the trend will continue and the market will increase by 14 percent  this year as users become more comfortable with online ordering.

Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement design at Capgemini said that if retailers invested to improve the customer shopping experience, 2017 will be another record breaking year for online sales.

The findings about increased web sales come at a time when research from Interactive Intelligence has shown that those who respond slowly to customer queries are going to lose business.

David Paulding, regional director for Interactive Intelligence, which carried out the research, warned that dealing with customers in a timely way was essential.

“Retailers can benefit from technology such as cloud-based solutions that can far more effectively handle big data analysis across all interaction types. This will ensure timeliness and consistency across every channel which will give customers the best experience possible,” he said.

HP wants to expand into hybrid cloud platforms

cloudThe bit of HP which no longer makes expensive printer ink, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, has written a $650 million cheque for the privately held cloud software company SimpliVity.

The move is part of a cunning plan to expand its operations in the fast-growing market for hybrid cloud platforms.

For those who came in late, hybrid cloud platforms run applications that are based partly on the client’s private servers and partly on public cloud data centers. They are proving rather useful for resellers peddling cloud platforms so HPE jumping on the bandwagon will give them more sales options.

The deal is expected to add to Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s earnings in the first fiscal year after it is completed, the company said.

SimpliVity was founded in 2009 and had raised $276 million in four funding rounds.

Customers will blame companies for data breaches

affiche.Blame.51335Customers believe that outfits who hold their data are responsible for any data breaches and will not see themselves as responsible in anyway.

A new report created by digital security outfit Gemalto said that customers put any responsibility for protecting their personal data firmly at the hands of the organizations holding their data – and not themselves.

Of the 9,000 customers surveyed worldwide, 70 percent of the responsibility for protecting and securing customer data lies with companies and only 30 percent of the responsibility with themselves.

Less than a third of customers believe companies are taking protection of their personal data very seriously. This comes as customers are becoming increasingly fearful of their data being stolen, with 58 percent believing it will happen to them in the future. More than 4.8 billion data records have been exposed since 2013 with identity theft being the leading type of data breach accounting for 64 percent of all data breaches.

Despite becoming more aware of the threats posed to them online, only one in ten believe there are no apps or websites out there that pose the greatest risk to them and consumers are not changing behavior as a result:

• 80 per cent use social media, despite 59 percent believing these networks pose a great risk
• 87 per cent use online or mobile banking, with 34 percent believing they leave them vulnerable to cybercriminals
• Consumers are also more likely to shop online during busy commercial periods such as Black Friday and Christmas (2 percent increase online versus -2 per cent decrease in store), despite 21 percent admitting
the threat of cybercrime increases a lot during these periods

Nearly 60 per cent believe they will be a victim of a breach at some point, and organizations need to be prepared for the loss of business such incidents may cause. Most consumers who currently use the following, say they would stop using a retailer (60 per cent), bank (58 percent) or social media site (56 percent) if it suffered a breach, while 66 per cent say they would be unlikely to do business with an organisation that experienced a breach where their financial and sensitive information was stolen.

The lack of consumer confidence could be due to the lack of strong security measures being implemented by businesses. Within online banking, passwords are still the most common authentication methods – used by 84 per cent for online and 82 per cent for mobile banking, and more advanced transaction security the next highest for both. Solutions like two-factor authentication (43 per cent online and 42 per cent mobile) and data encryption (31 percent online and 27 percent mobile) trail behind.

Similar results can be seen in both the retail space, with only 25 percent of respondents that use online retail accounts claiming two-factor authentication is used on all their apps and websites, and in social media, with only 21 percent using the authentication for all platforms. Only 16 per cent of all respondents admitted to having a complete understanding of what data encryption is and does.

Jason Hart, CTO, Data Protection at Gemalto said that customers have clearly made the decision that they are prepared to take risks when it comes to their security, but should anything go wrong they put the blame with the business.

“The modern-day consumer is all about convenience and they expect businesses to provide this, while also keeping their data safe. With the impending threats of consumers taking legal action against companies, an education process is clearly needed to show consumers the steps they are taking to protect their data. Implementing and educating about advanced protocols like two-factor authentication and encryption solutions, should show consumers that the protection of their personal data is being taken very seriously.”

Microsoft buys Maluuba in AI push

robotsSoftware King of the World Microsoft is working out new ways to push AI enhanced products on the great unwashed.

Over the weekend, it announced that it was buying the startup Maluuba which will help Vole develop products based on natural language deep learning, especially question answering and decision making.

Harry Shum, executive vice president for Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence and Research Group, wrote in his bog that Maluuba’s expertise in deep learning and reinforcement learning for question-answering and decision-making systems will help it advance our strategy to democratize AI and to make it accessible and valuable to everyone — consumers, businesses and developers.

Vole did not disclose the terms and conditions of the acquisition, or the price. As part of the acquisition, Microsoft will also bring Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms head Yoshua Bengio on board as an advisor. Bengio was previously an advisor to Maluuba.

Maluuba was founded in 2011, has raised $11 million in equity funding. The company focuses on improving computer systems’ reading comprehension, memory and common sense reasoning abilities.

In September, Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft also formed the Artificial Intelligence and Research organisation, which the company said would double down on its AI product efforts through research.

Virtual smart home assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home have been gaining traction over the past year and will continue to do so. But the key for its partners is that Microsoft can also pave the way for other high-end artificial intelligence applications, including in the medical field.

Chinese tech exports fall as trade war predicted

eclipse-chinaThe place where most tech gadgets are made is suffering from a fall in exports for the second year in a row.

Shipments are falling in the face of persistently weak global demand and officials voicing fears of a trade war with the United States this year.

Next week China’s leaders will see if President Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump will make good on a campaign pledge to brand Beijing a currency manipulator on his first day in office, and starts to follow up on a threat to slap high tariffs on Chinese goods. This will of course hit technology goods hard with most of them being made in China and exported to the US.

The world’s largest trading nation posted gloomy data  with 2016 exports falling 7.7 percent and imports down 5.5 percent. The export drop was the second annual decline in a row and the worst since the depths of the global crisis in 2009.

China’s trade surplus with the United States was $366 billion in 2015, and Trump could seize on in a bid to bring Beijing to the negotiating table to press for concessions. A sustained trade surplus of more than $20 billion against the United States is one of three criteria used by the U.S. Treasury to designate another country as a currency manipulator.

China is likely to point out that its own data showed the surplus fell to $250.79 billion in 2016 from $260.91 billion in 2015.

Trump’s trade policy will likely motivate US businesses to move their manufacturing facilities away from China which China might counter by moving to high end manufacturing which will cut costs.

China has a few weapons of its own. Beijing announced even higher anti-dumping duties on imports of certain animal feed from the United States than it proposed last year. It is also likely to protest to the IMF

This war of words will weaken investor confidence not only in the US and China.

China’s December exports fell by a more-than-expected 6.1 percent on-year, while imports beat forecasts slightly, growing 3.1 percent on its strong demand for commodities which has helped buoy global resources prices.

 

Microsoft’s partner boss promoted

maxresdefault (4)Microsoft’s UK partner boss Clare Barclay has been promoted to the role of UK chief operating officer.

According to a company email Barclay announced that she is “transitioning” into the role of UK COO and would report to UK CEO Cindy Rose. The reporting is unchanged she already does that in her current job of small and mid-market Solutions and Partners general manager.

Chris Perkins taking on interim leadership of the SMS&P business from 1 February until they can find a successor. He has led Microsoft’s corporate accounts business for the last four years and is a “great supporter” of selling with partners, Barclay said.

She added that she will continue to fly the flag for partners in her new role.

“I have always been and continue to be a passionate advocate for our partner community and will continue to stay connected in my new capacity. During my tenure, I’ve been supported by an incredibly strong leadership team, who remain in place to help you grow your business alongside Microsoft and you should not see any changes day to day as a result of this announcement.”

Vole announced plans to rejig its partner business last week, merging SMS&P and its Enterprise Product Group. However there were not supposed to be any management reshuffles as a result of the move.

Barclay said that it was an incredible time in the industry and one that is full of opportunity but also change.

“New year is often a time to reflect and it has been incredible to see the impact we have had together with our partners over the last couple of years, as we have helped our customers transform their businesses and have seen rapid adoption of cloud services during this time. I have had the pleasure of leading the SMS&P and partner business over this period and I wanted to thank you for the impact you have had,” he said.

MSP market is growing

growA new survey on MSPs reveals that the market is growing

Bean counters at Kaseya have added up some numbers and devided by their shoe size and reached the conclusion that the number of managed service and players continues to expand with more of the channel increasing their monthly recurring revenues that come through services.

The survey found that 26 per centof respondents now gain more than 16 percent of their revenues from monthly recurring business and there are more close to reaching that level, with 18 percent enjoying 10-15 percent of MRR.

Those leading the market were providing more services to gain a greater share of the customer wallet as well as being in a position to be a trusted supplier of a complete solution, the report found.

MSPs are currently beavering away at delivering network operations centre (NOC) expertise, infrastructure monitoring, backup and DR plus security services.

Apparently those MSPs who can see off security worries from customers by providing two factor authentications are doing better.

The Kaseya survey found that the leading players in the market were offering on average around eight discrete security services. The same was true of those excelling in networking support, with a range of options being made available to users.

Customers placed security as the major challenge for 2017, followed by concerns about the cloud, making it crucial for MSPs to deal with those worries.

Miguel Lopez, svp and general manager for MSP Solutions at Kaseya said that the report’s aim was to help all MSPs unlock their potential, and to arm them with the knowledge they need to better succeed.

“Our annual MSP pricing survey is a critical tool that helps the MSP community keep a pulse on this thriving industry. It answers important questions of ‘how’ and ‘why’ certain MSPs are succeeding, and what others can do to achieve the same level of success,” he said.

 

ThinPrint names Northamber as UK distributor

history-of-print-16th-century-printing-companyPrint management software and services outfit ThinPrint has appointed Northamber as its UK distributor.

The distributor will raise ThinPrint’s market profile and drive sales of  its print management across education and small-to-medium sized businesses.

ThinPrint and adapt to print jobs of all sizes using Advanced Adaptive Compression technology to eliminate bandwidth congestion. Its Output Gateway software replaces printer drivers across printing servers or desktops and reduces pressure on IT departments.

Alex Phillips, director of strategy at Northamber, said: “Having been known as ‘The Printer People’ in our earlier years has helped Northamber develop a strong base of customers who have a key focus on print.

“As technologies evolve and these partners are becoming more reliant on infrastructure and networked devices, ThinPrint is the perfect value-add to bring infrastructure and imaging together helping the channel to mature with technology.”

Reg Bowdrey, UK and Ireland sales manager at ThinPrint  said:“We are very impressed by the enthusiasm and pro-activity shown by Northamber about bringing our product to their channel. With their customer base in both the print and infrastructure categories, we truly believe we have found a unique partner which we can work closely with, enjoying plenty of success in 2017 and beyond.”

VR is an opportunity for the Channel

glassesIntel’s CEO claims that VR is going to bring big bucks to the Channel.

Talking to the assembled throngs at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Brian Krzanich used his platform at CES to underline the firm’s belief that virtual reality is going to be an area that will deliver growth in the future.

He claimed that the technology will extend far beyond the classic consumer electronics and extending to every experience you have today.

“I know a lot of people are questioning ‘is virtual reality going to take off?’ ‘Is VR going anywhere? We have a lot more technologies coming over the next few years and we believe Intel is leading this unprecedented change and make this vision a reality.”

One of the places where VR would have an impact in the commercial world was in jobs that had an element of danger, like pipeline inspection, where a user could take a look using the combination of VR and cameras on a drone.

“All of this we believe is one example of how work can be transformed by virtual reality. Inspections, search and resuce, dangerous work it can save lives, it can save money and it can save time and those are the solutions we believe will bring value to the end user,” he said.

 

Overall there are 261 exhibitors in the augmented and virtual reality category at CES, which is the largest number that have turned out to promote the technology.

Government stuffs up G-Cloud figures

Epic_FailThere was a sharp intake of breath as the government announced that its  G-Cloud sales figures had fallen by half and the feeling was that Brexit was to blame.

Now government has since admitted it stuffed up the numbers and there is nothing to worry about.

The figures were important because they show the success of a scheme which was supposed to give IT contracts to smaller suppliers rather than a single large supplier which might have a powerful lobby group.

The government publishes G-Cloud figures periodically, and the most recent data up to October, published before Christmas, shows that in that month, spending through the framework was just £38 million  – down 22 per cent annually, down 45 per cent on a monthly basis, and far below the average monthly spend on the framework for 2016 (January to October) of £59.7 million.

In fact the framework’s spending has not been this low since May 2015. However it is expected that the shortfall to be made up in the coming months as departments use their budgets before they expire.

The Cabinet Office confirmed that the data for October does not reflect any Brexit-related slowdown, but was in fact an administrative error. The correct data is expected to be uploaded shortly.

Dell EMC names WWT as its black knight

BlackknightDell EMC has announced WWT was a partner who would be heading to its new exclusive titanium black status.

The vendor had already revealed in October that there would be would have three main levels: titanium, platinum and gold, with something called titanium black.

Those who were platinum partners would be eligible to go for the Titanium Black level and it appears that World Wide Technology (WWT) has been given the chance to be the first.

Dell said that WWT was one of a select number of companies to be awarded Titanium Black status in the updated DellEMC partner programme.

“This new, highly exclusive status is an extension of the Titanium Tier within the Dell EMC Partner Program and will apply globally to all entities under the CDW banner.”

Needless to say, Bob Olwig, vice president of business development and innovation at WWT was chuffed.

“We established this strategic partnership to provide enterprise customers with hands-on access to Dell EMC technology for private and hybrid cloud, storage, data protection and availability, converged infrastructure, big data analytics, security and the Internet of Things,” Olwig said.

John Byrne, president, Dell EMC global channels, is hoping that the Titanium Black level was the best of the best. Partners with Titanium Black status had to place a big bet on Dell EMC.

“They’re going above and beyond. They’re investing heavily in us and we are returning the investment in them so they can continue to achieve the extraordinary,” he wrote in a pre-Christmas blog post.

“Titanium Black provides a rare and distinctive opportunity far and above what partners have experienced anywhere in the industry Together, through the Dell EMC Partner Program, Dell EMC and our partners will attack the market—with our Titanium Black partners leading the way. We’ll deliver incredible transformation for our customers. We’ll be the channel to watch,” Byrne said.

Logicalis UK has operating loss

LossLogicalis is reporting that its UK operation took a hit.

For the 12 months ending 29 February 2016, the UK arm of the Cisco, HP and IBM partner saw revenue drop from £169.8 million in the previous year to £153.9 million, while operating profit swung from £6 million to a loss of £2.1 million.

For the year ending 29 February 2016 the Logicalis Group saw revenue drop from $1.51 billion to $1.4 billion while operating profit fell from $68.1 million to $52 million.
Logicalis parent company Datatec reported its half-year figures on the London Stock Exchange in October, showing a revenue decline of 7.6 per cent year on year to $3.13 billion for the six months ending 31 August 2016.

The company is vendor dependant on the likes of IBM, Cisco and HP and if any one of the principal vendors to the company terminates, fails to renew or materially adversely changes its agreement or arrangements with the company, it could materially reduce the company’s revenue and operating profit and thereby seriously harm the company’s financial condition and results of operations, the company said.

The Logicalis UK claimed that the IT industry continues to be a “rapidly changing environment“and management recognises the need for the company to continually adapt and grow.

“The directors remain optimistic about the company’s future prospects, and are executing a transformation programme which will ensure that it is best suited to deliver its customers in the long term.”

 

UK government ignores start-up tech outfits

are-we-afraid-noCES organiser Gary Shapiro, of the Consumer Technology Association, said that the UK government is pants when it comes to encouraging start-up technology firms.

Shapiro said that Blighty has been slow to the game and while he has some minister from the UK coming to the show there is not a lot of activity that we’ve seen at CES.

“I think it’s a source of embarrassment,” said Shapiro.

Other countries do things much better. The French give lots of support to tech firms but the UK’s attitude of the UK government was short-sighted.

About five times as many French companies are attending the year’s biggest consumer technology trade fair as compared to British firms. Canada, China, Taiwan and South Korea are well ahead of the UK.

The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) said that such a statement was jolly unfair as it was providing “targeted support” to such firms. In other words, rather than support a large number of start-ups it is providing only a small number of start-ups.  It saves money and you don’t have to give money to any riff-raff who asks you for it.

According to BBC, earlier a UK Trade and Investment stand used to be present at CES, but this year there will be no stand. While British electronics retailers will be at the show, but are less likely to find anything that is created in the UK.

Dell-EMC to slash distributors

emcDell EMC is planning on slashing its distie numbers any day now.

Michael Collins, senior vice president of EMEA channels at Dell EMC said that partners from EMC and Dell vendor programmes will be migrated onto the Dell EMC Partner Programme based on the status they obtain through the firm’s annual audit at the end of this year.

We already knew that Dell EMC was planning a  tier system dubbed the Dell EMC Partner Programme with the programme’s entry-level tier being be Gold, followed by Platinum, Titanium and an “invite only” tier named Titanium Black.

Collins said that Dell’s EMEA partners will shortly receive notification concerning their status in the new programme with regards to how they are performing against revenue and certification criteria.

He said that once thresholds were announced, partners from both sides of the business will have until the firm’s next annual audit – held at the end of next year – to meet programme criteria.  EMC partners will gain an extra month to meet criteria requirements.

Dell had made it clear as early as last year that it was feeling a bit over-distributed, and it will look to reduce its number of distributors by December this year. So far it has not made any changes but Collins said that cuts will be made “very early next year”. The channel boss said that he has issued a request for information with all of the firm’s distributors across the EMEA region, asking them to underline their “strategy going forward”, the extent of their geographical scope and details regarding their “business plan” and commitment to Dell.

He said that he will look at the disties based on their business portfolio. The important areas will be: where are they planning to grow, are they selling across the Dell EMC portfolio, and how much MDF will they be expecting from Dell.”