Category: News

VMware acquires Dell EMC’s Service Assurance Suite

banner_220x220VMware has written a cheque for Dell EMC’s Service Assurance Suite as part of a cunning plan to boost its  comms provider offerings.

The business offers services across network health and performance monitoring, VMware said, and will be integrated with VMware’s Telco NFV portfolio.

Shekar Ayyar, general manager of VMware’s Telco NFV group, said: “As carriers are readying for 5G, they are increasingly virtualising edge and core networks with network functions virtualisation, or NFV.

“Service assurance is a critical need for any network.”

At VMworld 2017, VMware CEO Kicking Pat Gelsinger said that the vendor would be making a push to work with more telcos, claiming that the firm is “transforming” the telecoms infrastructure space.

VMware said this latest acquisition will enable comms providers to “maintain operational reliability in their core network, cloud and IT domains”.

It also stated that service assurance “becomes critical” as customers look to bridge the gap between 4G and 5G’s imminent arrival.

VMware claims that 50 communications service providers globally, including “many tier-one operators” are currently using the Dell EMC Service Assurance Suite.

German reseller Cancom buys OCSL

German-based reseller Cancom has written a cheque for HPE and Microsoft Azure’s top UK partners, OCSL.

Cancom said the move “represents a determined move towards a substantial UK market presence and the international growth of the business”.

Based in West Sussex, OCSL has more than 200 employees. Its parent company, The Organised Group Limited, hit pre-tax profits of £2.8 million on revenues of £85.9 million in its year to 31 March 2017.

Cancom said that both companies have moved into cloud-based and hybrid IT having started off as resellers of hardware and software.

Cancom president Thomas Volk said the aim is to expand its cloud and managed services business and this requires international structures.

“The close co-operation of both new British members of the Cancom family together with the total group, not only offers numerous opportunities in the UK, such as introducing existing and potential clients to our IT infrastructure management software AHP. It also allows us to build a UK-based hub to serve international clients even better than today and it intensifies Cancom’s transformation towards becoming an international company.”

Ironically Cancom exited the UK market in 2012, although at the time it was just an Apple dealer.

Tim Thrower, founder of OCSL said: “I am delighted that the next stage in OCSL’s evolution is to become the UK-based hub of such a large, successful and forward-thinking company as Cancom. OCSL has been on a journey to become a more services and cloud-centric business. Becoming part of the Cancom family will accelerate that future for us.

“I feel we share a good cultural fit and this bodes well for a very exciting future. I would like to thank OCSL’s employees for all playing their part in making OCSL the chosen partner for Cancom’s future growth in the UK.”


Kaspersky gets closer to Ingram Micro

Kaspersky and Ingram Micro have extended their distribution agreement to cover the entire EU and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states.

This agreement means Ingram Micro is able to offer more customers access to Kaspersky-powered cybersecurity products through its own Cloud Marketplace. In return, Kaspersky will benefit from a wider distribution of its products and services throughout the Eurozone.

MSPs will now have access to software packages through the marketplace, which include Kaspersky security suites bundled with other software products.

It means that partners can use Ingram Micro’s tight integration with Office 365 and the Kaspersky Lab portfolio that have been engineered to work closely together and protect end users.

Russ Madley, head of B2B, Channel for UK and Ireland at Kaspersky Lab said: “We have worked with Ingram Micro for years across the world and are delighted that our partnership has been extended across Europe. This will mean that an increased number of users will have easy access to our security software – which continues to be the most independently tested and awarded solution and receive multiple accolades – through Ingram Micro’s Cloud Marketplace.”

It follows news that Kaspersky has now signed up 1,000 MSPs to its specialist partner programme in less than a year, despite growing international concern about the company’s alleged ties to the Russian government.

Dell EMC starts enterprise preferred channel programme

banner_220x220Dell EMC has launched a new enterprise partner programme which it claims will deliver “more predictability in engagements, more front-end margins and more speed and simplicity around quotes and deal registration.”

Dell EMC’s channel chief Joyce Mullen, said the Enterprise Preferred Channel Programme aims to simplify its sales engagement and be more prescriptive about how its sales teams and partners work together.

“We’re looking at ways for how we can incentivise and support our partners as they engage with us on these large enterprise opportunities”, Dell EMC’s UK&I VP of sales, Sarah Shields told Microscope.

“We’re looking at closer, deeper relationships with sales teams, a more managed way of working together through strategic account planning, access to technology, additional financial reward and working more collaboratively.”

Mullen said the programme included a dedicated channel team to support sales engagement in Enterprise Preferred accounts.

Dell EMC was giving partners “the greater front-end margin they asked for”, offering a new ‘acquisition’ deal registration with an incremental discount tied to it for eligible storage opportunities.

Acronis partners with Microsoft for Azure

Hybrid cloud data protection and storage solutions provider Acronis has announced a new strategic partnership with Vole for deeper integration of Acronis’ data protection products with Azure cloud services.

The new partnership will allow customers and service providers to even more easily store their data or clients’ data in the Azure cloud. Azure will be available as a storage destination option alongside Acronis Cloud and other public cloud vendors in future versions of Acronis products.

Service providers can choose to buy their Azure storage directly from Microsoft, or Acronis can include the Azure storage costs as part of a single invoice.

The partnership is part of Acronis’ overall strategy to support all workloads, delivering safety, security, accessibility, privacy and authenticity for data stored in local, cloud and hybrid environments.

By delivering full support of more than 20 platforms, native integration with PSA and RMM tools, and growing support of public cloud vendors, Acronis enables service providers to make the most out of their existing cloud arrangements

Acronis President John Zannis said: “A lot of products that we build deliver value to clients using Microsoft technology. With easy, reliable and efficient backup and built-in security in the form of active protection against ransomware, our clients enjoy complete protection of their data. Adding Azure as a native storage destination increases their options, making Acronis solutions even more attractive to use. For any organization that has built their strategy on Microsoft, this is great news.”

Judy Meyer, General Manager, ISV partners at Microsoft, said: “It’s great to see how Acronis is transforming the services it offers to its customers, innovating in anti-ransomware and data protection. Microsoft and Acronis have worked closely together over several years in planning the adoption of public cloud services as part of Acronis’ portfolio, and we’re delighted to see the progress that’s been made in using Azure and the Microsoft AI platform.”

Sitedesk signs partnership deal with IBM Maximo reseller

Sitedesk and SRO  have signed a partnership deal making SRO the main distributor of a solution which sprovide IBM Maximo users with powerful 3D BIM and IoT functionality.

SRO is an authorised IBM reseller and Gold-accredited IBM Maximo partner which sells and supports IBM Maximo software around the world. Sitedesk’s collaborative 3D BIM software has been integrated with IBM Maximo to provide users with a new 3D visuals  on desktop and mobile devices.

Tony Lackey, Managing Director of SRO said: “Sitedesk is the fastest and most flexible 3D tool we have come across. The integration of Sitedesk with Maximo provides users with an increasingly important visual context that is currently not available in Maximo.”

Michael McCullen, Chairman of Sitedesk added: “IBM Maximo users now have a quick and intuitive way of accessing asset data directly from a 3D building model. This will lead to improved maintenance planning and quicker impact assessment when IoT alerts are triggered. We are delighted to be working with SRO Solutions to bring this solution to market.”

Using the integrated solution, IBM Maximo users can now navigate through their buildings in 3D when analysing assets, systems and spaces. They can also respond to work orders and view alerts from Internet of Things (IoT) sensors in 3D.


Silwood signs global deal with IDERA

Silwood, which provides self-service metadata discovery software to simplify and speed up the exploitation of data in large, complex enterprise application packages, has announced a global reseller agreement with IDERA, a provider of powerful database productivity tools.

Under the plan, IDERA will market and resell Safyr to complement its ER/Studio data modeling and architecture product suite. The combined offering allows customers to bring metadata from SAP, Salesforce, Oracle and Microsoft ERP and CRM systems into ER/Studio more rapidly and effectively than using traditional discovery approaches.

Mark Berglund, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales at IDERA said: “IDERA is thrilled to offer the Safyr solution directly to our ER/Studio customers who are working with these key CRM and ERP platforms. Having access to this complex package metadata gives data professionals improved visibility into data lineage across the entire data landscape. This extends the powerful capabilities of ER/Studio even further, to serve as the focal point to manage all of their data architecture and governance initiatives.”

Roland Bullivant, Sales and Marketing Director of Silwood Technology said: “Organisations across all industries must identify new ways to innovate to compete and meet regulatory requirements. Data is increasingly recognised as a key asset in meeting these objectives and delivering compliance. Metadata is a key foundational component to this and Safyr’s ability to provision ER/Studio with relevant data models helps to accelerate the delivery of these initiatives. “We already have a number of mutual customers who are leveraging the strengths of Safyr and ER/Studio and are excited to be working more closely with IDERA on promoting the combined value of our solutions.”

As a result of this agreement, IDERA will boost its ability to support customers who have invested in ERP and CRM systems, letting them unlock even greater business value from their SAP, Oracle, Salesforce and Microsoft packages.

Bluefin teams up with Anderson Zaks

Bluefin and payment service provider Anderson Zaks have formed a partnership to sort out security on payment processing.

The idea is to provide Bluefin’s PCI-validated Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) security solution to merchants and retailers using Anderson Zaks’ RedCard Payment Processing System.

Anderson Zaks provides a global, integrated payment processing environment for retailers and merchants through the company’s RedCard Payment Gateway, which includes EPOS, Payment Page, Virtual Terminal, UPT and Cloud processing. The company serves over 15,000 sites and provides seamless integration between the merchants and Payment applications, supporting all UK and Irish acquirers as well as many from across continental Europe.

Bluefin allows PCI-validated P2PE on processing platforms and point-of-sale (EPOS) systems using their Decryptx Decryption as a Service (DaaS) product, which lets gateways, applications, and processors to connect directly to Bluefin for P2PE service, it’s claimed.

“With the continual growth in credit and debit cards and transaction volumes, criminals have become aware of the monetary gains available from stealing card details. There have been many high profile data security breaches that have resulted in damage to customer reputation, fines and large financial losses”, said Adina Ahmed, CTO, Anderson Zaks. “We believe that PCI-validated P2PE provides our merchants significant security benefits and we are thrilled to partner with Bluefin to deliver this solution to our customers.”

“Data breaches show no signs of slowing down, both in the U.S. and internationally. In fact, hackers continue to breach the systems of major retailers, enterprises and healthcare organizations to get card data because unfortunately, many organizations are still not encrypting consumers’ credit cards upon entry”, said Greg Cornwell, Head of Global Sales, Bluefin. “This is a global problem and we applaud U.K.-based Anderson Zaks for providing the security and PCI scope reduction of PCI-validated P2PE to users of the RedCard Payment Processing System.”


Extreme wants to bed in Brocade a bit better

Extreme Networks has said that it needs to make changes to its datacentre business and “bed in” the acquired Brocade’s data centre business.

The outfit has warned that it will need to make some channel changes, so presumably some will be kicked out of the bed or given additional duvets for the cold weather.

The firm released its fourth quarter numbers with an insight into how the business, which had been swelled by acquisitions of Avaya’s networking unit and Brocade’s datacentre operation, has fared over the three months to 30 June.

The headline numbers included a 56 percent  increase in revenues to $278.3 million and a GAAP net loss of $5.6 million which was a decrease of $18.8 million.

Ed Meyercord, president and CEO of Extreme Networks, said that its fiscal 2019 would include $98 million of cross-selling opportunities after closing $40 million in FY18.

But there was a note of caution, and indications that there would be some changes to the distribution strategy in the fiscal year to come.

“We are resetting expectations for our data center business, and are taking swift action to rebuild our sales pipeline after a disappointing fiscal fourth quarter, while celebrating some key wins”, said Meyercord.

“Last quarter, we completed a digital transformation initiative within our supply chain and vendor managed inventory systems, allowing us to run a much more responsive operation. We are now undertaking an initiative over the next six months to bring our portfolio together and consolidate distribution to improve channel efficiency”, he added.


Juniper Networks working with Ricoh

Ricoh has successfully implemented  Juniper Networks’ high-performing solutions to modernise and simplify the operations of its core networking and security infrastructure that supports approximately 500 locations and 34,000 users, it claims.

Ricoh has several partner companies and branches using the same network. Coupled with the increase in cloud deployments, this led to more operational complexities and a lack of scalability over time, it said. As such, a high-performance network was required to support the rising demand for increased bandwidth and to alleviate Ricoh’s existing network issues while simplifying  operations across three particular areas:

Here’s the list Ricoh rolled out:

Internet connectivity: Due to the increase in network usage, speed slowed significantly and cloud applications could not function at their optimal level. The network had to be managed and operated separately across various locations, leading to increased operational expenses.

Wide Area Network (WAN): As Ricoh’s WAN services were managed externally through multiple service providers, its customers’ requests were not processed quickly enough, leading to delays in response rates. Due to this, streamlining and maintaining consistency of network functions across the entire organization remained a challenge.

Local Area Network (LAN): With the growing demand for access to data centers and the internet, there was a drop in overall speed and connection. To mitigate, Ricoh’s service providers had to troubleshoot issues individually, resulting in management inefficiencies and added costs in coordinating multiple investigations across different locations.
To resolve these challenges, Ricoh set out to reconfigure its entire network infrastructure based on a carefully developed framework that involved the simplicity of network configuration across multiple locations, automation capabilities to reduce operational complexities and operability that aligned with industry standards. After a stringent selection process, Ricoh selected Juniper Networks to undertake the modernization of its network infrastructure.

Juniper’s MX480 5G Universal Routing Platform, SRX5800 Services Gateway, EX9214 Ethernet Switch and the data center fabric switch QFX5100 were deployed to address the various network issues while significantly improving operability, stability and security across the Ricoh Group’s network.

At the core, the MX480 provides “agile infrastructure, pervasive security components and adaptive disaggregated software” that offers the strong programmability required by the solution, whatever that means. Investment protection is also secured with the newly-released Juniper Penta silicon-powered MPC-10E line cards, which provides high-interface density at 1/10/100GbE, enabling 1.5 Tbps throughput per slot and inline data-plane security, eliminating complexity without any performance penalties.

Alongside the implementation of the SRX5800 firewall, Ricoh was able to streamline its network connectivity and secure its network infrastructure through advanced threat detection and prevention. The organization also deployed Junos OS to further automate and simplify its network operations.

To optimise LAN connectivity in approximately 500 locations, Ricoh centralized the group’s network operations across its large-scale branches by utilizing the QFX and EX series switches leveraging Virtual Chassis technology, cutting its infrastructure footprint by 50 percent and energy consumption by 33 percent.

Additionally, with Junos OS being a common operating system, Ricoh was able to reduce its operational workloads through the unified configuration of network devices.

In the next phase of deployment, Ricoh aims to further implement the SRX series to unify, enhance and automate its security strategy through Juniper’s Software-Defined Secure Network (SDSN) framework. All sounds fine, if Ricoh’s claims are to be credited.

Epson signs up Network Group’s reseller network

Epson is extending its reseller numbers to deliver its pay-as-you-go ink replenishment service.

The first partnership agreement for its ReadyInk programme that provides customers with a reseller-fulfilled pay-as-you-go ink replenishment programme has been signed with Network Group.

Network Group will be offering a 360ink programme through the groups’ 71 resellers across the UK.

ReadyInk works with Epson monitoring registered customers and then shares that information with the Network Group. Most of the vendor’s printers released after 2013 come with support for the replenishment service already built in.

The programme is pitched as an alternative to monthly payment systems with the focus being on pay-as-you-go. There can also be some promotions that resellers can pass on to customers.

Mauro Bartoletti, European head of retail, Epson said: “Giving users what they want and need is at the heart of everything we do – and by working with Network Group to deliver this programme, we are also helping resellers strengthen customer retention and grow sales in an increasingly challenging market.”


Nutanix launches new channel charter

Enterprise cloud outfit Nutanix has launched its new channel charter.

Dubbed “Power to the Partner”, the charter, it claims, stands out from traditional channel programmes by looking at partner investments in Nutanix rather than solely on revenue targets.

The charter focuses on giving partners the tools they need to support their customers in adopting next-generation data centre technologies. As a result, partners will gain further avenues to grow their businesses with Nutanix and will be enabled to achieve ongoing, predictable success, said the firm.

The charter has tiered status with partner status based on number of deals closed and depth of Nutanix skills rather than revenue targets. This new structure enables partners of all sizes to achieve the highest partner category.

Tim Jeans, Datacenter & Cloud Practice Manager, Softcat said: “We have seen a fantastic return on investment in our Nutanix resources and activity to date, due to the continually increasing demand by our clients for Nutanix based solutions. We welcome this new channel charter as another sign that Nutanix is investing in committed partners such as ourselves, and look forward to additional growth and success together.”

Rodney Foreman, Vice President of Global Channel Sales, Nutanix said: “We’re thrilled to launch Nutanix’s very first channel charter that was created directly with our partners in mind. As Nutanix’s presence has grown, we see this charter as the stepping stone in our vision to empower our partners with the support and resources they need to reach their maximum potential alongside Nutanix. When our partners are successful, our customers’ businesses can better benefit from simplified and harmonised data centres for all of their cloud needs today and in the future.”

MSPs get more annual contracts

Half of European MSPs are now servicing over 100 clients on annual contracts – up 23 percent on last year.

Datto recently surveyed 400 European MSPs, for its 2018 European State of the MSP Report, which highlights  the challenges facing the global channel and which business goals are of most importance to MSPs.

It found that half of European MSPs are now servicing more than 100 clients on annual contracts – up 23 percent on last year’s report findings, which indicates that savvy CIOs are recognising the benefits of channel partners when prioritising their business’ digitalisation and employee/customer experience strategies.

Selling backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solutions as a challenge has dropped from 18 percent in 2017 to just eight percent this year,  proving that thanks to ransomware and cyber security issues over the past year, BDR is no longer such a hard sell for MSPs, as businesses and end users are becoming smarter about the need to backup and mitigate against issues before they arise

MSPs that specialise stand more chance of monetising as they differentiate themselves in an often-overcrowded market. The report highlighted the majority of MSPs already recognise this need for specialisation services. In 2017, professional services was the top vertical targeted by MSPs, followed by manufacturing and construction then healthcare. But now 55 percent of MSPs offer specialised services for manufacturing companies, with financial (49 percent), legal (42 percent), non-profit (37 percent), education (34 percent) and healthcare (33 percent) specialised services were also target industries.

Reddit is the go-to forum of choice for the channel, the same as in 2017.  So CIOs and end users that are socially active are likely to already be in touch with a wealth of MSP players and advisors.

Datto’s Mark Banfield said that the European managed service provider (MSP) channel is continuing its strong upward climb, as shown by its report’s findings. It’s clear that recurring revenue is the way forward with half of MSPs servicing more than 100 clients on annual contracts, he indicated. As a result of this strong growth, MSPs are seeing significant revenue returns with 37 percent turning over $1 to $5 million on an annual basis and 12 percent reporting revenues of $5 million or more every year.

Despite market growth, MSPs are still facing an enormous challenge with marketing and sales efforts, with 47 percent citing this as their biggest struggle – above staffing/training (37 percent) and ransomware/cyber security (33 percent). MSPs looking to continue to improve their business growth will need to dedicate time to recruit the right staff to run their sales and marketing efforts, so that they can concentrate on their customers.

Marketing pain points include lead generation, followed by hiring sales talent, cold calling and market differentiation. To mitigate this, MSPs should partner with a vendor who understands their need for sales and marketing support.

MSPs that specialise stand more chance of monetising as they differentiate themselves in an often overcrowded market. While offering a generic service may seem like the sensible way to attract a wider pool of potential customers, focusing business efforts for a specific vertical, or verticals, is far more likely to make MSPs stand out. The majority of MSPs already recognise this and 55 per cent of them now offer specialised services for manufacturing companies, while specialised services in the financial (49 percent), legal (42 percent), non-profit (37 percent), education (34 percent) and healthcare (33 percent) sectors were also target industries for MSPs.


The channel is synonymous with long-term relationships and MSPs are becoming more social, with 90 percent using social networks, including Facebook (65 percent), LinkedIn (56 percent) and Twitter (29 percent) on a daily basis. Only 10 percent of MSPs do not use any form of social media and, when it comes to socialising with industry peers, Reddit is the go-to forum of choice for the channel.


CDW sees best ever second quarter

CDW has reported its best ever second quarter with the business unit holding its UK arm seeing revenue almost triple.

CDW saw global sales increase 7.6 percent to $4.9 billion and its net income rose 22.8 percent to $173 million.

Its UK division, which is part of its Canadan operation (presumably because it has the same Queen), saw revenue rocket 34 percent to $487 million.

CDW chief revenue officer Christine Leahy said: “Once again, UK results came in above expectations. UK had excellent results across both transactions and solutions.

“Despite looming Brexit decisions, the team continues to execute well in market.

“They are also doing a great job leveraging our international capabilities to grow outside the UK, both with UK-based customers and US-based customers. US referral to the UK increased over 30 percent in the quarter compared with the prior year.”




DDN saves Tintri after outfit crashes

DDN has announced that it would acquire the failed Tintri on the day its bankruptcy filing was set to close.

Tintri filed for bankruptcy and laying off the vast majority of its staff a few months ago, customers will continue to be supported thanks to a new reseller agreement with big data storage provider DataDirect Networks (DDN).

This means DDN will provide Tintri customers with products, services and system expansion for their Tintri platforms, ensuring  their data and infrastructure will remain secure.

Alex Bouzari, DDN CEO and co-founder said: “We are delighted to be able to provide immediate support to Tintri customers worldwide,” said A “DDN’s 20-year track record of stellar customer satisfaction plus Tintri’s outstanding technology for virtual environments is the perfect match. Tintri end users, resellers, VARs and distributors worldwide can now fully rely on DDN to support their business and mission-critical enterprise environments.”

Tintri disposed of 200 members of its staff back in June, after it was forced to file for bankruptcy.  DDN announced its plans to buy the company in mid-July, just hours before Tintri officially went into bankruptcy, potentially saving its customers from having to transfer all their resources to an alternative provider.

“DDN is working with Tintri’s co-founders, team members, advisors and creditors to develop a winning plan designed to provide Tintri’s customers with continuity in support of their installed base as well as a winning roadmap for their long-term requirements”, Bouzari said.