Category: News

Arrow hits targets

Teen_Wolf_Season_2_Episode_11_Battlefield_Allison_Takes_AimArrow has just had the most successful year in its 83 year old history.

CEO Michael Long said that an 18 percent sales increase in the final quarter of the year propelled Arrow’s total 2017 revenue haul to $26.81 billion which is a 13 percent rise. Ignoring a $125 million hit from changes relating to US tax regulations, net income also rose from $182 million to $224 million.

Arrow’s Enterprise Computing Solutions (ECS) arm recorded a 10 percent revenues increase to $2.69 billion. Its components arm saw revenues rise 24 per cent to $4.94 billion.

Long told the assembled throngs on a conference call that this outfit delivered unprecedented growth in 2017.

“This growth validates our strategy and inspires us to push forward to 2018 and the years ahead,” he said.

Arrow thinks the storage market reached a “turning point” during Q4, with new form factors driving the growth of its storage revenues in both the Americas and EMEA.

“Last year, we thought that the storage piece would cross over in the third quarter,” Long said.

“It happened in the fourth quarter that we saw the growth… What’s exciting or what drove us down was there was a pretty good budget flush on hardware, and that changed our mix a bit. But I still read into that as good news.”

Cloud now a $1bn-a-quarter business for Arrow

The 10 percent sales rise at ECS was underpinned by “strong growth” in infrastructure software and cloud sales, Long said.

He added that the company is on target for its $1bn cloud services quarter run rate target.

“If we take out December, we exceeded the $1bn run rate,” he said. “It’s still growing at a strong rate. It’s going to be exciting. And since you asked about that, we might as well tell you that digital is well over the $1bn mark at this point, too. So both of those activities are ramping and going very strong.”


Hackers become more focused

wargames-hackerNetscout has released its 13th Annual Arbor Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report (WISR) and claims that hackers are becoming more focused and having more successful DDOS attacks.

The report covers a wide range of topics, from distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and major industry trends such as SDN/NFV and IPv6 adoption to key organisational issues such as incident response training, staffing and budgets. Its focus is on the operational challenges network operators face daily from cyberthreats and the strategies adopted to address and mitigate them.

Netscout Arbor chief technology officer Darren Anstee said that attackers focused on complexity this year, leveraging weaponisation of IoT devices while shifting away from reliance on massive attack volume to achieve their goals.

“They have been effective, and the proportion of enterprises experiencing revenue loss due to DDoS nearly doubled this year, emphasising the significance of the DDoS threat. The results of the WISR, together with our ATLAS data, demonstrate why an integrated multi-layer defence from the data centre to the cloud is required.”

More than 57 percent of enterprises and 45 percent of data centre operators saw their internet bandwidth saturated due to DDoS attacks.

There were 7.5 million DDoS attacks in 2017, according to data from NETSCOUT Arbor’s Active Threat Level Analysis System (ATLAS) infrastructure which covers approximately one-third of global internet traffic. Service provider respondents experienced more volumetric attacks while enterprises reported a 30 percent increase in stealthy application-layer attacks.

More than 59 percent of service providers and 48 percent of enterprises experienced multi-vector attacks, a 20 percent increase over last year. Multi-vector attacks combine high volume floods, application-layer attacks and TCP-state exhaustion attacks in a single sustained offensive, increasing mitigation complexity and attackers’ chances for success.

As a result, successful DDoS attacks had greater operational and financial impact. Fifty-seven percent cited reputation/brand damage as the main business impact and 48 percent with operational expenses second. Over half percent experienced a financial impact between $10,000 and $100,000, almost double the proportion from 2016 and percent of data centre operators said customer churn was a key concern following a successful attack.


CDW makes loads of money

richSuper-VAR CDW is reporting full-year revenues of $15.19 billion with sales from the UK and Canada – which it brackets together – rising by a combined 15 percent to $1.56 billion.

In its last results filed on Companies House (for 2016), CDW UK saw revenues hit £648.6 million

The NASDAQ-listed parent saw total 2017 revenues increase by 8.7 percent to $15.19 billion and net profit soar by 23.2 percent to $523 million.

CDW CEO Thomas Richards said: “As we have throughout the year, we delivered strong top-line growth with solid profitability in the fourth quarter, once again highlighting the combined power of our nimble business model, broad product portfolio and balanced customer end-markets.

“Our 2017 results continue to prove out the success of investments we’ve made in our three-part strategy.”

Channel businesses keep customers in the dark about partners

Kept_In_The_DarkNew research from OnePoll claims that two thirds of channel businesses are looking for new companies to partner with between now and 2020.

The research, commissioned by Agilitas found that only 27 percent inform their customers that some of their services are being delivered by partner and 39 percent occasionally disclose these partnerships, depending on the nature of the partnership and customer.

Agilitas CEO Shaun Lynn said: “It may seem unusual that only a quarter of IT channel companies disclose to their customers that some of their services are outsourced, especially in an era where collaboration is financially and strategically crucial. We understand that there may be some scepticism from a business that doesn’t want to disclose that it cannot provide a secondary service in-house.

“However, it’s always best for companies to focus on developing their core skills, as trying to develop in areas where its experience is limited can prove expensive and time-consuming. Ultimately, a strong channel partnership will always prove more beneficial for the end-user customer.”

The research also revealed that nearly half of partnerships are formed for all parties to remain increasingly cost-efficient, while nearly 30 percent of channel businesses surveyed enter into partnerships to plug a lack of internal skills.

“Forming technical and training partnerships with other channel companies can prove cost-effective, while helping to overcome various challenges, such as the skills gap”, said Lynn.

“I’m confident that in the next few years, the number of collaborative partnerships will only grow as the need to meet the exacting requirements of the end user, in an increasingly customer-centric environment, becomes ever more crucial.”

The research surveyed 100 senior-level executives at IT resellers, managed service providers and independent IT channel firms.


Couchbase intros global partner programme

Inspirational-Flying-Couch-24-With-Additional-Office-Sofa-Ideas-with-Flying-Couch-321x293Couchbase has launched a global partner programme to speed up the adoption of its engagement database tech.

The outfit said it had launched PartnerEngage, to give resellers, consultants, and technology providers a leg-up in harnessing the fast-growing engagement database market.

Couchbase PartnerEngage will allow participants to join Couchbase’s growing ecosystem of more than 150 partners. Offering two levels of participation, Registered and Advanced, partners within both tiers will benefit from enhanced availability and expansion into global markets, maximising joint opportunities.

Couchbase Vice President of Business Development Matt McDonough said that PartnerEngage meant his company was committed to giving customers more integrated solutions and a robust ecosystem of highly skilled and trained partners to assist customers in their adoption of Couchbase.

“We’re committed to supporting our partners by providing them with more content, tools and training to support their revenue streams. PartnerEngage provides a comprehensive strategy to meet the increasing data needs and complexity of one of the fastest- growing segments of the multi-billion dollar database market”, he said.

PartnerEngage will offer a variety of benefits to partners, including dedicated training resources, Sales support, smooth onboarding processes and easy deal registration to speed up the sales process and allow partners to focus on their core business.

McDonough said that PartnerEngage enables solution providers to build a differentiated solution around the emerging Engagement Database market, supporting customer-facing applications and business critical data at scale and in real time. With the Couchbase Data Platform, Couchbase provides an open source enterprise software solution that combines an easy-to-manage platform with unmatched agility and scalability, giving partners a perfectly-targeted proposition to help grow their footprint among enterprise customers.

Carl Olofson, Research Vice President, IDC said that the new Couchbase PartnerEngage programme is a huge opportunity for VARs, SIs, and others in the channel to leverage any data, anywhere as a key enterprise requirement, and as such, we are excited to be a Couchbase partner.

“Integrating erwin DM NoSQL within the Couchbase Data Platform is a win-win for customers who are now able to model, govern and manage unstructured data in the public cloud, on prem, or in hybrid/multi-cloud environments like never before. Many of our enterprise customers are focused on digital transformation, and we are pleased to recommend Couchbase as a catalyst to drive those strategies forward. Finally, the Couchbase Data Platform, which helps tame data complexity and movement, will be a key source for our Data Governance EDGE portfolio.”

Softcat had a good first half

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Channel bellwether Softcat has announced that its first half turned out better than it anticipated.

The UK’s largest pure-play IT reseller said trading for the six months to 31 January 2018 had been “strong across all segments and ahead of the board’s expectations”.

Softcat said that revenues for its fiscal 2017 grew ahead of expectations to £832.5 million now it seems that gross profit and adjusted operating profit increased by 22 and 19 percent, respectively, in the first half of its fiscal 2018, “reflecting consistent performance across the period and further successful execution of strategy”.

“Strong H1 performance will support the full-year outturn, and as a result, the board expects to exceed previous expectations slightly”, the company said.

It was an interesting quarter for Softcat.  It saw itself in the courts when a Leeds newsagent complained the outfit had not paid its £840 milk bill.

The total claim was £900 once newsagent Omran Malik’s costs were factored in. Malik runs a Mace convenience shop on Carlton Parade, Leeds, around half a mile north of Softcat’s Leeds offices.

“I have supplied the defendants’ office in Leeds with deliveries of milk”, said Malik’s claim form, lodged with the county court. “I have been issuing invoices on a monthly cycle direct to Softcat PLC head office in Buckinghamshire. My final reminder was sent on the 04/10/2017 by 1st class signed for delivery to both offices.”



Ash goes to ashes

il_570xN.386643874_phvgSunderland-based Ash Distribution is being shut down by its parent company.

Iain Elliott – CEO of Ash’s parent company Canford Audio – said that “the activities of our Ash Distribution Business Unit no longer fit within the core business strategy of the company” and that it is shifting resources to the main Canford business.

The distributor has been in operation since 1997 and will close its doors on Wednesday 28 February 2018.

Elliott confirmed that Ash’s website will remain open for some time after the end of the month, to process orders in the “Ash Web-Only Closing Down Sale” until all stocks are cleared.

Existing customers will keep their account facilities and “will be transferred over to Canford’s product range, with the same credit terms that are in place”.

In addition, all existing contract and warranties with Ash Distribution will be honoured by Canford Audio.

Elliott added: “I would like to take this opportunity of thanking you for your loyal custom in the past and sincerely hope you will continue to trade with Canford for many years to come.”

AI outfit wants to increase its channel focus

button02_bigAI outfit Thoughtonomy has started a new partner programme to spruce up its channel.

The AI firm wants ‘a significant number’ of new partners as it expands its channel focus both in the UK and internationally.

The company plans to increase its business within the Channel from 45 percent of current transactions to over 90 percent over the next year.

Thoughtonomy CEO  Terry Walby said that he was running a hyper-growth company in an innovative market.

The extent of these opportunities is confirmed by analyst firms such as Forrester, which has predicted: “The RPA market will reach $2.9 billion by 2021; while large, it is only a subset of the $48.5 billion broader AI spend addressable by Thoughtonomy.”

Thoughtonomy reported year-on-year growth of over 300 percent for the last year. Thoughtonomy has a network of strategic partners which helps it ensure local representation and skilled resources in over 150 countries worldwide.

Current partners include Microsoft, Atos, Ultima, and Unite BT.



Dell confirms VMWare cunning plan

michael-dell-2Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell has confirmed that the vendor is considering floating on the New York Stock Exchange or engineering a deal that will see it acquired by VMware.

The move will mean a shake-up of its channel which is still recovering from its integration with EMC.

A filing made by VMware to the US Securities and Exchange Commission said Dell Technologies is: “evaluating potential business opportunities, including a potential public offering of Dell Technologies common stock or a potential business combination between Dell Technologies and the issuer (VMware).”

Accompanying the filing was an internal memo sent by Michael Dell to Dell Technologies employees.

In the memo, the CEO moved to assure employees that the potential restructuring of the group’s ownership was coming from a position of strength, rather than necessity.

He said: “Today, Dell Technologies has made a 13D filing that makes public that our Board of Directors is evaluating potential business opportunities, including business as usual – continue with the existing ownership structure; [a] public offering (IPO) of Dell Technologies Common Stock; [and a] business combination with VMware.”

VMware CEO (Kicking) Pat Gelsinger also released a statement, distancing the vendor from discussions occurring at its parent company.

“We are not in a position to speculate on the outcome of Dell’s evaluation of potential business opportunities. Dell has been a tremendous partner since it became our majority owner and as we’ve accelerated our growth,” he said.

“We look forward to Dell’s continued support as we work to execute our growth plans in the years ahead.”

Dell is obliged to make a statement regarding the discussions because it owns around 82 percent of VMware.

VMware’s share price has plummeted over 20 percent and is yet to recover.

Dell, his outfit’s channel partner revenue, was “up to double digits in [the] first half of FY18”.


OneCom buys True Telcom customer base

slave-auction-virginia-POneCom has bought the customer base of True Telecom after the VAR fell into administration at the end of last year.

The move will see True Telecom’s 3,000 customers move over to OneCom.

True Telecom cunning plan was to build a strong customer base through internal sales teams, and then sell this customer base to another telecoms firm for a multiple of the base’s gross profit margin.

The outfit operated at a “significant trading loss” with its comms services, but hoped the sales of its customer base would keep the model viable.

The company went tits up when one buyer did not make an expected payment of £1.4 million. In September last year HMRC issued a winding-up petition and administrators were subsequently called in.

Speaking of the deal, OneCom CEO Darren Ridge said: “It is our intention to support True Telecom customers to the very best of our ability in order to provide them with the value and quality of offering that have become synonymous with Onecom over the years.

“Those joining us will immediately benefit from Onecom’s award-winning customer service and unified communications expertise.”

According to the administrator’s report, True Telecom reported a turnover of just under £3 million in the full year ending September 2016, and a net loss of £275,503.

HMRC is the firm’s largest creditor and it is owed £554,516.


Forrester recognises FireMon’s Zero trust street cred

Forrester-500x330Forrester Research has recognised FireMon as a key player in its  Zero Trust eXtended (ZTX) Ecosystem.

For those who are not in the know, Zero Trust is an architectural conceptual model developed by Forrester Research that recommends how companies should redesign networks into “secure microperimeters”.

It requires security teams “adopt a least privilege strategy and strictly enforce access control”.

FireMon SVP of Engineering, Jeremy Martin, said that Zero Trust has become one of the key strategies for many CISOs who face increasing insider threats and the continued erosion of the perimeter.

“We’ve seen that the operational management of the security infrastructure becomes even more critical in a network implementing Zero Trust, and we are proud to see that Forrester has recognized us in this report, and we believe it is attributable to the work we’ve done in preparing our technology to fit at the highest platform level.”

The author of the ZTX report, Dr. Chase Cunningham said the goal of ZTX was that a user can refer to this architecture and framework to specifically and succinctly determine which technical solutions from which vendors will enable their Zero Trust strategic goals.

As Zero Trust architectures are more widely adopted, enterprises must maintain control of a more finely grained networks. FireMon’s centralised management console gives security teams one place to manage the policies and rules that govern Zero Trust across the global network. It is the only configuration auditing solution to also be listed as a Zero Trust platform in the eXtended Ecosystem report.

In addition to being named a Zero Trust platform vendor, FireMon was included in the lists of security automation and orchestration, security visibility and analytics and network segmentation vendors.

FireMon Chief Executive Satin H. Mirchandani said: “We are excited to see Forrester’s recognition of our unique platform for Zero Trust,” said. “As enterprises move toward Zero Trust, they require a platform that brings together vulnerability management, continuous compliance and security orchestration. We are delighted to be the only vendor able to deliver on all three essentials.”

Millennium Business Systems went bust owing £2.1 million

29StoreIsSclosedThe administrator looking into Millennium Business Systems’ (MBS) woes has said the company went bust owing £2.1 million to 197 unsecured creditors.

The outfit went bust after a failed attempt to refinance left it with no choice but to call in administrators.

A report, available to view on Companies House, has revealed that MBS had been close to getting the cash but a winding-up petition was filed by a supplier after a £237,508 invoice went unpaid.

As a result, the firm ceased trading on 27 November, with 30 members of staff let go immediately and four kept on helping with the administration process.

Of the 197 unsecured creditors the largest are Exertis (£408,600), Tech Data (£350,000), Midwich (£310,600) and Westcoast (£171,600). HM Revenue and Customs is also owed £114,200.

There are shedloads of resellers and distributors are owed varying amounts under £50,000.

The administrator said that there will be money left over to pay unsecured creditors once secured creditors have been paid, but stopped short of giving any guidance on how much this is likely to be.

The firm’s employees are owed £41,000 and the administrator said they are likely to be paid in full.

In the full year ending 31 December 2016 MBS reported revenue of just over £8 million and in the following year to 31 December 2017 was expecting to see year-on-year growth of 35 per cent, according to the report.

By August 2017 that this was not going to be achieved and MBS began to struggle as a result of investing in staff ahead of the anticipated growth.

Ivanti and CrowdStrike team up on security

1 LWqefiDRBv0oHApuZX9f-gIvanti and CrowdStrike have announced a strategic alliance that brings together next-antivirus and endpoint detection and response (EDR) with Ivanti’s multi-layered endpoint security.

The pair says it wants to converge endpoint management and endpoint security for companies that possess limited resources combat cyber threats efficiently and in real time.

The CrowdStrike Falcon platform “seamlessly” integrates next-generation AV, EDR, managed threat hunting, threat intelligence and IT hygiene – powered through the cloud via a single lightweight agent.

The idea is that customers can prevent and detect never before seen threats and tailor security responses based on the severity of the malicious behaviour. CrowdStrike’s next-generation AV module, Falcon Prevent, kills malware and malware-free intrusions, filling the gap left by legacy antivirus solutions that primarily focus on malware.

Uniting the next-gen Falcon platform from CrowdStrike with security solutions from Ivanti is an appropriate response to today’s cyberattack trends. Ivanti delivers industry-leading solutions, integrating endpoint security controls that global experts agree to create the highest barriers to real-world attacks (discovery, patch and privilege management, whitelisting, and secure configuration). With IT teams spending too much time managing security device sprawl, and Security teams suffering a well-documented labour shortage, Ivanti simplifies security with tools that target the biggest attack vectors with lauded prevention, detection, and response techniques.

Ivanti VP of Product Management and Marketing Duane Newman said that with more surface area to cover, more mission-critical assets to protect, and more sophisticated threats to defend against, IT Operations and Security teams must find a way to work together better to identify and protect vulnerable IT systems.

“Together, with CrowdStrike, we are helping our mutual customers reduce the attack surface and respond more quickly should a threat get through.”

CrowdStrike VP of Worldwide Business Development and Channels Matthew Polly said the partnership between CrowdStrike and Ivanti would help his outfit’s customers pinpoint and remediate threats while improving both management and automation, so security teams can work more efficiently and effectively.

Price rises are helping reseller revenues

131010125011-pc-sales-1024x576Beancounters at Context have added up some numbers and worked out that revenues from sales of business-targeted PCs through Western Europe’s most significant distributors were up in Q4 2017 despite a drop in volume.

The thought is that this was only possible because distributors had to jack up their prices a bit. Revenue growth was driven by a continuous year on year rise in distributors’ average sale prices (ASPs), which offset the effects of lower volume. The ASP of commercial PCs in the quarter was €646, 12 percent higher than in the previous year.

PC ASPs have been on the rise since the end of 2016 as a result of exchange-rate fluctuations, changes in component costs and a beneficial increase in demand for higher priced products, claimed Context.

In Q4 2017, as in earlier quarters of the year, there was a significant contribution from demand for higher priced products as commercial customers continued to focus on improved quality, performance and mobility.

Most volume growth in the segment came from the high end of the market. There was a 10 percent increase in sales of ultra-slim portables and a nine percent rise in those of notebook workstations.

Context senior analyst Marie-Christine Pygott said that PC pricing and revenues in the commercial segment are expected to continue to benefit from the shift in demand to higher-end products as users maintain their focus on high quality, high performance and, often, high portability.

The year on year revenue growth for business-targeted PCs in the UK was 13.2 percent, the region being beaten in Europe only by Poland with 13.9 percent.

As for other major European economies, Germany grew by 9.8 percent, France by 5.1 percent, and Italy dropped by 2.2 percent.

Firstnet Solutions rumoured to be heading to administration

first netThe dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn that Firstnet Solutions is set to enter administration and FRP Advisory has been signed up to handle the case.

The Leeds-based VAR has told several suppliers that it is heading into administration, while staff have been told there are doubts over wages they are owed. However so far there has been no official confirmation. FRP Advisory, which is supposed to have been appointed as the alledged administrator has also so far refused to confirm that FRP has been officially named.

There had been portents of doom around for a while. In January there was a  £48,777 county court judgment (CCJ) on Firstnet. At the time Firstnet played that down, saying it was all a terrible mistake and had been overlooked due to the Christmas break.

Last March Firstnet opened its first datacentre – a 400-rack facility which was previously an NHS datacentre. The data centre was supposed to give Firstnet its cloud, colocation and disaster recovery services, with the firm earlier outsourcing these capabilities to third parties. At the time it claimed it would make £50 million in revenue in five years’ time and employ another 100 staff.