Category: News

Ingram Micro floats further into the cloud

clouds3Ingram Micro is expanding its offerings in the cloud.

The distie has decided to add new clould telecoms services to its existing set of 170 services already being offered in this space.

Announcing the new moves at its Ingram Micro Cloud Summit, taking place in Phoenix, this week, the company said it would now be able to offer customers support for  voice video and data from CenturyLink and Time Warner Cable Business Class.

And its not just this service the distie is offering. In its bid to conquer cloud further its announced the hardware-as-a-service (HaaS) program, which claims to allow its channel partners resell packages of hardware, software and cloud-based services for a monthly fee without the need for a large upfront investment.

Other services it said it would be offering for customers in the future were enterprise-class business intelligence platforms from Birst as well as moving into healthcare with services specially for this sector in partnership with  Medweb and NextGen Healthcare.

Ingram Micro brings SAP enterprise mobility to market

IMIngram Micro and SAP are helping customers make the most of the enterprise mobility market, or so they say.

The dynamic duo have teamed up with Ingram Micro claiming to help leverage its value-added reseller (VAR) channel to help push SAP products into small-to-medium-sized business (SMB) market.

From April 15, 2013, Ingram Micro Mobility will provide its VAR community access to the SAP mobile platform, which includes the SAP Afaria mobile device management service.

Ingram Micro VARs will also have access to SAP’s extensive portfolio of more than 300 mobile apps that support tasks from simple productivity to complex transactions across 24 different industries, employing mobile devices using iOS, Android, Windows and BlackBerry operating systems.

Here’s their spin. Leveraging Ingram Micro’s extensive distribution infrastructure and expertise will make the SAP apps available in an on-demand fashion through the proven Ingram Micro distribution model to the VAR community and end customers, the company has boasted.

Ingram Micro and SAP expect the relationship to benefit VARs and end-users by providing a cost-effective solution for the SMB market to take advantage of enterprise-class mobile solution software applications to dramatically improve productivity.

Fujitsu UK and Microsoft continue cosy relataionship

cosyFujitsu UK and Microsoft have extended their partnership, announcing that they have created a new centre of excellence business model.

The new addition to the couple now means that Microsoft staff will work on-site at Fujitsu’s premises to generate the two companies’ first Centre of Excellence (COE), which is aimed at helping Fujitsu customers drive innovation across their businesses by ensuring the adoption of the right technology options for their organisations.

The Centre of Excellence, which has been born through an investment of £4.5 million from Fujitsu, will create an environment for both Fujitsu and Microsoft experts to combine their core strengths in delivering complex IT products. The companies said this includes enterprise desktop transformation projects and bespoke enterprise consultation services.

The cosy pair also claim to work together to engage customers early on in the technology adoption cycle.

Fujitsu will use its experience in delivering complex desktop transformation products and implementing successful end user services projects and combine this with the COE team’s  knowledge of Microsoft products and services.

The pair said this would to help address the challenges that many of their joint customers face with regards to the enterprise-wide implementation of technology products.

In addition, the companies working together will ensure that both organisations and their customers experience an increase in global delivery capabilities that will in turn ensure that projects are completed in as fast a time as possible.

Marks & Spencer kicks off mobile payments trial

marksandspencerMarks & Spencer has launched a small pilot program to test its new mobile payments service. The M&S Digital Lab app was launched in February and Marks & Spencer says it will help it explore emerging technologies and understand how they might work.

However, the new mobile payments service is not actually a part of the m-commerce app. It is merely an element of Marks & Spencer’s overall marketing and technology campaign, reports QR Press Codes. Marks & Spencer is using a third-party app to try out its new service.

The Paddle app was developed by a London based startup and it is supposed to be leaner and easier to use than competing solutions. The app sorts out transactions by scanning QR codes and developers claim it is very secure.

The information is transmitted in the cloud, the credit card information and delivery address need to be submitted only once. Only the last four digits of the card must be submitted to validate the purchase, which should speed up transactions and improve security.

Avnet partners with IBM SmartCloud

avnettsAvnet has chosen IBM SmartCloud as its platform for its Cloud Solutions programme in India.

The move is said to allow Avnet to offer small and medium business in India a selection of services in the cloud sector including storage capabilities in a utility model and customised services such as disaster recovery and managed services.

Avnet has a strong presence in India and it hopes that the cloud offerings will allow it to make more railroads into sectors such as retail, logistics, manufacturing, banking and financial services, public sector and education.

Its partnership with IBM SmartCloud will also mean that its partners benefit offering customers   access to enterprise-level IT at affordable price points without additional investment in infrastructure, security, back-up, upgrades and maintenance.

Avnet said the partnership would help those customers garner benefits by adopting a robust cloud architecture and service model, leapfrogging the traditional investment in enterprise IT and allowing them to focus on specific needs.

HP chucks Moonshine at non-x86 SECCs P.I.E

hpmoonshineHP has announced the latest in Project Moonshine, which CEO Meg Whitman said in a web conference should be a shift in the way servers handle data. It may also be a shift away from X86.

If nothing is done to address core infrastructure problems, Whitman said, infrastructure could be something that actually holds back the development of the web instead of enabling it. “It’s not just about cellphones and tablets connected to the internet but millions of sensors collecting data,” she said, machines talking to machines, and generating not petabytes but brontobytes of data.

Project Moonshine, Whitman promised, would not be jailhouse toilet booze but a “multiyear” and “multi phased” program to shape the future of data centres – as the current path we’re on is “not sustainable from a space, energy and cost perspective”. Using years of HP Labs research, Whitman and HP Moonshine will hel create “the foundation for the next 20 billion devices”.

In a webcast, HP’s Dave Donetelli mentioned the proof of concept for Moonshine which was unveiled in 2011, and since HP roped in 50 beta customers to thoroughly develop and test its various iterations. Now, HP has given the world the second gen Moonshine servers, which it claims are based on the concept of the ‘software defined server’ – that is, specifically with internet scaled workloads in mind, and designed for the software that needs to run on it.

Donetelli said the servers address Space, Energy, Cost, and Complexity (SECC). By which he means there’s less of all of the above.

The Moonshot 1500 enclosure, Donetelli points out, can hold 45 Moonshot servers, and compared to the traditional ProLiant server, it uses up to 80 percent less energy, 80 percent less space, and is 77 percent cheaper. Customers, then, will be able to build better revenues from a smaller footprint for less cash. These servers run on the Intel Atom s1200, though partners like AMD, Applied Micro, Texas Instruments and Calxeda are all bringing in new chipsets – which HP hopes will provoke market competition and more innovation.

Targeting big data, high performance computing, gaming, financial services, facial recognition, video analysis and other stuff, Donetelli promised that the portfolio of the servers will grow – and at a quicker rate thanks to the competition between its partners as it’s not tied to an 18 to 24 month chip cycle.

Partners will be able to, and encouraged to join the Pathfinder Innovation Ecosystem, or P.I.E., including operating system developers and software vendors.

Donetelli said this announcement is not an “incremental change” but a “new class of servers designed for the data centre”.

When asked if these will replace X86 servers, an HP spokesperson said PCs were the high volume product at that time, today things that people buy in high volume are smartphones and tablets. A transition from Unix to X86 took time, and HP believes a transition from X86 to Moonshot will take time. “X86 will be here for a very long time, but Moonshot will be here for a long time,” the spokesperson said.

Analyst Patrick Moorhead said that the developments are positive because the servers of today aren’t ready for the explosion in data driven by future trends such as the all-singing all dancing totally connected internet of things.

The first Moonshot server is shipping today in US & Canada and will be available to channel partners around the world next month.

AMD launches battle against Intel over APUs

roytaylorcropAn interview with AMD last week shed light on the latest battleground between Intel and AMD which underlies future changes in computing.  In a meeting with corporate  vice president for global channel sales, Roy Taylor, he said  both AMD and Intel are investing in microprocessor architectures which give equal prominence to both serial and parallel computing. And he claimed AMD is ahead of the game.

Using both the CPU as a serial processor and the GPU as a parallel or GPGPU (General Purpose GPU) processor these new devices form a category that AMD calls the APU.  The APU will be the bedrock of a new generation of x86 based HSA or Heterogeneous System Architecture devices. Current generation APUs such as Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge and the forthcoming Haswell parts from Intel, and AMD’s Trinity and Richland parts from AMD still use separate memory configurations, with each processor  having its own defined memory block.

But future devices in 2014, said Taylor, will use single memory configurations, allowing both the CPU and GPU to dynamically share a single memory array and be true HSA enabled processors.  Intel’s introduction of an L4 cache to speed up the performance between its CPU and GPU is also an indication of its intentions.

In defense of his argument for APU as a new microprocessor category, Taylor showed a diagram that illustrated the increasing commitment by Intel to a larger GPU configuration in its APU generations.  These indicated, he said, the need for successful HSA architectures to be balanced.
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APUs and Open CL
The growth and success of Open CL, which is able to take advantage of APU devices by using the GPU to accelerate parallel functions, is further ammunition to the establishment of the category, said Taylor.  Popular applications such as Handbrake for transcoding, and VLC Player for watching movies, take advantage of this open standard maintained by Khronos and supported by AMD, Apple, IBM, Intel and Nvidia. Open CL received a strong endorsement last week by the announcement by Adobe that it is using Open CL to hardware accelerate its Premier Pro product.

Since HTML5 also takes advantage of GPU acceleration it seems to make sense that in the future we will see APUs used wherever there is a need for a device which can replace the traditional but separate PC configuration of having a separate CPU and GPU.  “That configuration makes sense for higher end systems’”, said Taylor. But in the meantime currently available APU performance is surprisingly strong, he said.  To this end he went on to show the performance of AMD current APUs compared to Intel’s or configurations using both Intel and a separate Nvidia GPU together.
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When asked what this meant for the channel, Taylor said that at a time of austerity, being able to build relatively high performance desktop and notebook computers at a fraction of their traditional prices could have a huge impact. He may be right but only if system builders and e-tailers recognise the value of the new category and get behind it.

A quick read of the HSA Foundation website seems to show a significant ground swell behind the use of balanced compute architectures.  With companies like Qualcomm, ARM, Imagination Technologies and Samsung also investing in HSA it does seem that we can expect to see strong developments in this area.  It will be interesting to see what Microsoft thinks of the use of APUs to power Windows and whether the software community in general gets behind the category too.

We contacted Intel in Santa Clara for comment but at the time of press had not received a response.

Canon touts compact imaging

Canon logoCanon is helping its partners make the most of the increasing demand for compact imaging products.

It has launched two new compact black-and-white multifunctional devices (MFDs) as part of its  ImageRunner Advance range, which it claims will create new revenue opportunities in the desktop capture and output market.

According to the company’s recent Office Insights report, value and cost of MFDs were found to be the most important factors in the purchasing process for 34 percent of decision makers, followed closely by reliability – 20 percent and output quality – 18 percent.

Canon said its new devices helped bridge this gap and also added to its partner’s portfolio.

The new ImageRunner Advance 400i and 500i A4 devices have output and capture capabilities in a compact design claimed to provide users with smarter ways of working.

End-users can print from any Google Cloud Print enabled web-connected device, or scan to and print from the iPad, iPhone and Android mobile devices. The Uniflow platform is said to offer configurable document workflows to larger organisations or more demanding environments.

Uniflow also provides a secure platform for users to print from any device to any networked MFD.

The ImageRunner Advance 400i and 500i devices will be available across the UK & Ireland from 1 May 2013.

Labour wades into high street debate

highstreetLabour has put its oar into the “how to fix the high street debate”.

Ed Miliband, Labour leader,  said that he wants to see payday lenders and betting shops that “engulf” people in debt, as well as take-away food chains, banned from the high street.

The Labour leader is speaking out against the way these shops are allowed to open up at the drop of a hat – sometimes next to each other – at the launch of his party’s local election campaign.

He proposes changes to planning laws, allowing councils to refuse permission for certain businesses.

He is expected to say councils should be allowed to prevent shops opening, such as payday lenders and bookmakers, which do not have a community’s backing as he believes in “local solutions to local problems”.

Miliband says that too many councils are finding that they don’t have the real power to stand up for local people. He said that if a bank or store closed down there is currently nothing that can be done to prevent a payday lender or betting shop opening up.

Last year 1,800 leisure, retail and services shops closed in England. Many were replaced by pay day loan shops, which saw a 20 percent increase in openings.

Notebook shipments in Q2 to remain weak

notebooksIncreasing demand for tablets, coupled with weak demand from China, is expected to hit notebook shipments in the second quarter.

According to Barclays Capital, global shipments will tumble 17 per cent from Q4 2012, traditionally the strongest quarter for notebook shipments. Notebook sales in Q2 usually grow by about 6 per cent, but Barclays believes shipments will grow only 4 per cent this year. Yang attributed the decline in demand from China to the ever increasing demand for tablets.

Barclays analyst Kirk Yang believes the weaker than expected growth also reflects delays in the introduction of new models. Both Intel and AMD are about to introduce new mobile processors and a new generation of touch enabled Ultrabooks is also on the way.

Taipei Times reports that Quanta, the world’s leading notebook ODM, is simply not receiving many orders. International brands are reluctant to place large orders, as better gear is just around the corner.

The really bad news is that things will not pick up anytime soon. Weak demand will plague the market well into the fourth quarter of 2013.

There are some technical challenges as well. Next generation hybrids and convertibles aren’t making much of an impact on the market yet. A shortage of touchscreen panels means that the production of touch enabled notebooks won’t pick up until later this year, which will roughly coincide with the rollout of new Intel mobile chips. SSDs remain prohibitively expensive for some market segments and they are still reserved for quite pricey SKUs. The same goes for high definition 1080p screens in sub 14-inch market.

In other words, consumers who don’t opt for high end devices really don’t have much of an incentive to upgrade.

DRAM is strong, NAND is sluggish

nand-chipsIndustry analysts believe the memory sector will continue to do relatively well despite a decline in NAND demand. Although NAND might not be a very hot commodity, DRAM sales are expected to surge, reports The China Post.

The price of 2GB DDR3 chips in the first quarter rose 57.8 per cent, while NAND prices rose by 19.8 per cent, according to TrendForce. Strong demand for tablets and smartphones seems to be boosting DRAM sales, and the fact that an increasing number of vendors are introducing Android devices with 2GB of RAM should also help.

However, strong demand could also result in even higher DRAM prices. TrendForce believes the price of 4-gig DDR3 DRAM modules has the potential to rise by another 30 per cent. The outfit points out that the high season for mobile device launches is drawing near, which means more demand should be expected.

Although DRAM prices will remain strong, NAND prices are expected to decline in the short term. NAND prices should remain relatively stable, due to a reduction in supply.

It might sound a bit counter intuitive, but it is worth noting that smartphone and tablet peddlers are not increasing the amount of NAND storage in their devices. Most devices still ship with 8GB or 16GB of storage, while high end gear tends to ship with 32GB, or in some cases 64GB. This is in stark contrast to market trends just a couple of years ago, when each new generation of devices tended to offer a twofold increase in storage.

On the other hand, the amount of RAM is steadily growing. Three years ago smartphones used to ship with 512MB, which was upped to 1GB for the last two generations and as of late last year we are seeing an increasing number of Android devices with 2GB of RAM.

Embotics goes Microsoft Hyper-V

Hands across the waterEmbotics has released its Embotics V-Commander for Microsoft Hyper-V.

The virtualisation and cloud management software company claims that the new platform, with a new multi-tenant cost model capability, will help deliver IT-as-a-service (ITaaS) with support for multi-hypervisor environments, as well as help customers make the right economic decisions for their virtualised data centres.

Whilst the channel has done a great job of helping their customers to virtualise their IT environments, some customers have traditionally found it difficult to cut through the tough-talking and hyperbole from Microsoft and VMware about which vendor offers the most cost-effective hypervisors.

The new cloud management platform is said to change this offering easy-to-use rapid provisioning, self-service, service catalogues, IT costing and charge back, workflow automation, resource optimisation and lifecycle management capabilities and will now also give users a cost comparison functionality.

Embotics V-Commander is also said to help users integrate Hyper-V into their data centre environment for rationalisation via reclamation, optimisation and workload migration through multi-hypervisor adoption. Apparently data centres can implement Embotics V-Commander and accelerate cloud maturity without simultaneously accelerating costs or complexity.

Embotics V-Commander return on investment (ROI) is gained later through automation and the standardising of services for the best fit.

Additionally, by examining the historical view of the environment and how it grows, Embotics V-Commander can retrofit the environment to achieve ROI. It can also identify waste and help recycle, migrate and reclaim that waste on the Microsoft Hyper-V platform.

On Monday, just a year before XP goes

framedwindowsThis coming Monday will mark just one year until Microsoft ends extended support for Windows XP. Vista was a joke – but Windows 7 is quite good, and companies are being urged to upgrade their OS before exposing themselves to unnecessary risk.

Microsoft has itself advised companies to upgrade to 7 or 8, but according to a report from 1E, under a quarter of surveyed companies had migration in place. Just under half said they were in the process of upgrading – meaning headaches for IT departments if they do not get their upgrades guaranteed in time. 1E warns that with just a year left to complete that migration, it won’t be long before budgets are complicated by costly extended IT support.

In a statement, Sumir Karayi, CEO of 1E, said businesses will be under threat of security risk unless they upgrade their IT systems in time – and the migration should be done with as little disruption to the business as possible.

“Organisations that are not yet off the starting blocks or only a little way down the track are highly unlikely to complete before the Microsoft deadline,” Karayi said. “Whether the delay is because they misunderstood the sheer scale of the project, or that they are coming across technical hurdles, it means they cannot confidently predict when they will finish or how much it will cost them”. The prospects, Karayi warns, are a little grim – “few IT teams will have ever experienced such a complex migration,” he said.

Karayi said 1E leans toward fully automating the process on as many as machines as possible instead of partiallyautomating the process for every machine, because it can lead to 80 to 90 percent less desk visits. Using a totally automated approach “means organisations can deploy literally thousands of machines per day,” which is the “only way to get migrated within the available time”.

Camwood, a migration services company ‘s CEO Adrian Foxall said IT knows full well that the end of Windows XP is around the corner, but business isn’t paying as much attention.

“In these tough economic times, it is not surprising that business leaders do not want to invest a substantial amount of money in something that essentially isn’t broken, as is the case with Windows XP today,” Foxall said. “But with an estimated 40 percent of business desktops still running Windows XP and with the clock ticking, IT and the board need to join forces and work together to migrate to a new OS that will support their organisation now and into the future”.

If they don’t, companies will be putting themselves “in jeopardy”.

HMV to be aquired by Hilco

hmv-administrationTroubled HMV has grabbed a lifeline from Hilco buying it out.

The store, which went into administration earlier this year, putting thousands of jobs at risk, has been rescued by specialist restructuring firm Hilco in what is believed to be a £50 million deal.

Hilco now has 132 HMV stores, and nine branches of the Fopp chain. It is expected up to 2,500 jobs could be saved.

The chain is expected to be run by a combination of HMV and newly-appointed Hilco executives, while suppliers are also rumoured to have gone running back to the company offering new terms and given a positive nod to the deal.

HMV could be in safer hands with Hilco already having experience with the brand in Canada, which it bought two years ago.

The purchase rumours emerged a after Jessops was saved by Peter Jones.

Ingram Micro strengthens UC position, Avnet bows out

IMIngram Micro is continuing its investment into the unified communications (UC) market announcing that it has partnered with Sangoma.

The distie has said the new partnership will add Sangoma’s NetBorder Lync Express, which it claims is the only All-In-One Lync Server appliance with built-in Gateway/ SIP Connectivity,  to its growing portfolio of products and services in support of Microsoft LyncTM.

It has now developed a bundle around Lync Express including an on-boarding tool for new resellers wishing to learn about deploying Lync, with training and professional services options.

In addition to Lync Express, Ingram Micro will also bring Sangoma’s VoIP Media Gateway and Session Border Controllers in to the rapidly growing SIP Market.

Jon Bunyard, Director of the Advanced Solutions UK Division at Ingram Micro said the  addition of Sangoma to the company’s lineup, combined with proposition being developed through  partnerships with ShoreTel, Microsoft LyncTM, Cisco, OAISYS and Jabra, leant “significant weight to [the company’s] value proposition in the Unified Communications space.

“We consider UC a growing market and will be showcasing our existing vendor ecosystem at this month’s Convergence Summit North in Manchester where we look forward to talking to resellers about the opportunities these partnerships represent in the voice space,” he added.

The disties further moves into the UC market are a contrast to its rival Avnet, which last month announced that it had decided to shut up shop in the this sector.

At the time it said it would cease taking orders for these products in the UK by the end of March, shunning resellers such as Avaya, Lifesize and Audiocodes who it had worked with to bring these items to market.

Avnet decided to make the moves claiming that UC technology was not core to its overall strategy. However, it promised that it would be working with its partners and suppliers to ensure the transition runs smoothly.