Category: News

SMEs expected to send SOS to resellers

SOS-300x217GDPR data regulations are nearly a year away from implementation and Canalys is expecting more SMEs to turn to resellers for help prepare.

Canalys said that GDPR data regulations are going to lead to revenue for the channel particularly from the SME customer base.

Forecasts from Canalys have highlighted the security spending that is going to come across Europe as firms get themselves compliant with the data protection regulations.

The analyst house is predicting a 16 percent increase in the Western and Central Eastern European security market, reaching $11.5 billion in 2018.

Some customers are better prepared than others with the channel heartlands of the SME community needing a bit of help from resellers.

Canalys senior analyst Nushin Vaiani said large businesses are well informed on information security regulations, with resources in place to ensure compliance.

“With ransomware threats such as WannaCry causing havoc, shareholders will be more willing to accept increased data security and compliance budgets to protect their long-term investment,” Vaiani said.

“SMBs naturally have fewer resources, putting constraints on implementation. But there are potentially massive fines for non-compliance with GDPR, putting SMBs under threat of bankruptcy. Businesses must take action now to safeguard from this danger,” Vaiani added.

VMWare escapes the doldrums

doldrumsVMware has been stuck in a rut lately but now appears to have escaped by posting a strong first quarter for 2018.

The outfit has made $1.74 billion which was nine percent more than Q1 2016, and posting a GAAP net income of $232 million, up from Q1 2016’s $161 million.

VMware has adopted Dell’s financial calendar and therefore counted January 2017 as a discrete “stub”. The Q1 2018 numbers refer to February to April, while the 2016 numbers cover January to March of that year. The company had revenue of $496 million in January, a reflection of seasonal slowness.

The company also reported that R&D costs are up 18.2 percent and billings were $1.35 billion rather than an expected $1.6 billion.

Investors remain that worried that VMware is not out of the woods yet. However, the company earnings call reveal increased guidance for both the second quarter and FY 18. It now expects $1.84-$1.89 billion next quarter, and $7.61 billion for the full year.

Tech decisions move away from the IT department

moving_away_by_anahuacA new report shows the extent at which decisions on IT are being taken outside the traditional IT department.

Beancounters at CompTIA revealed that the 45 percent of the ideas were now coming from outside the IT department.

The report said that more than half of those firms that were quizzed had used business unit budget to pay for technology purchases last year.

More than a quarter of final decisions about which projects got the final sign off were now being taken without the final nod from the IT department. Some of the places that were now exerting influence were finance, marketing, sales and logistics.

The move is bad news for channel salespeople who can no longer rely on their traditional contacts but examples are starting to emerge of opportunities that have grown out of the changing buying patterns.

Some channel outfits are seeing demand for products surge in retail with non-IT buyers taking the decisions themselves to bring in protection for stores and customers.

They are having meetings where IT haven’t been present which makes for a whole new range of opportunities.

Sales teams are having to learn new techniques because they are no longer pitching to people in a technology language and are more keen to see the actual effects of the product.

Elite does well after buying Nexus Telecommunications

history-of-headphones-1895Elite Telecom has said that it has lifted its revenue to over £50 million since it bought Nexus Telecommunications.

The Nexus buy was the fifteenth since 2008 and apparently added £16m in revenue and 35 staff to the Elite business. Elite will now have 135 staff members across seven offices.

Matt Newing, CEO at Elite, said: “Nexus has a great reputation in the industry and is a perfect complement for Elite. We share a similar high-service culture, and we believe the combination of our two companies’ unified comms and IT products and services will deliver the strongest client offering in the industry.

“Nexus has some bespoke service-wrap solutions to meet individual customer requirements that Elite Telecom will offer to our wider customer base, which focus on corporate and enterprise clients. Its great customer base is backed by a strong team of people who we’re really happy to welcome to the Elite Group.”

Elite was a comms VAR before expanding more into IT, and now offers managed services around data, storage and security as well as cloud solutions.

In its most recent filing, Elite reported revenue of £22.5 million for the year ending 31 July 2016. offers ASP.NET Core 2.0 hosting, which was created to provide bullet proof hosting, is now offering an ASP.NET Core 2.0 across its entire server environment.

For those who came in very late, ASP.NET is Microsoft’s dynamic website technology, letting developers create data-driven websites using the .NET platform and the latest version is 5 with some rather natty features.

ASP.NET Core 2.0 is a lean .NET stack for building modern web apps. By building ASP.NET Core 2.0 on top of .NET Core 2.0 stuff can be built faster than NetFx or even Netstandard.

.NET Standard 2.0 has a much bigger API surface to cover the intersection between .NET Framework and Xamarin. The company said that its API surface results in 70 per cent of all NuGet packages to be API compatible with .NET Standard 2.0.

The new ASP.NET Core meta-package that includes all features that customer need to build an application, the company said.

“No longer do customer need to pick and choose individual ASP.NET Core features in separate packages as all features are now included in a Microsoft.AspNetCore. All package in the default templates.If there are features customer don’t need in customerr application, our new package trimming features will exclude those binaries in customerr published application output by default. A new default Web Host configuration, codifying the typical defaults of the web host with the WebHost.CreateDefaultBuilder() API,” warbled the firm hosts its servers in data centres that are located in Amsterdam, London, Paris, Frankfurt and Seattle.

Microsoft sorts the sheep from the goats

friends15Following a review of its UK channel Microsoft has appointed four distributors to handle its software.

Previously Vole had used five distributors – Exertis, Ingram Micro, Tech Data, Westcoast and Entatech. Entatech went tits up last month so the question was if any other distributor would take its place.

VIP and Ci Distribution were asked to have a crack at it along with the incumbent distributors.

Up for grabs are full packaged products (FPP); OEM Windows; OEM Server; and electronic software delivery (ESD) products.

Exertis and Westcoast were successful in three of the four segments available and Tech Data and Ingram Micro are rumoured to have got the rest.

Exertis got all three of the segments it had bid for, retaining FFP and OEM Server while adding OEM Windows to its portfolio.

Westcoast retained its place across FPP, OEM Server, and ESD, having bid for all four segments.

Scots target Microsoft and AWS with wee datacentre

cffb917de18558e64b59cacaf00f2f25Scotland’s “largest ever” datacentre is targeting tech giants AWS, Microsoft and Apple for potential customers.

Located just outside Edinburgh, the Pyramids Datacentre, will be 250,000 square feet when completed, with the choice of doubling its size.

So far, this sort of business has headed to Ireland which has offered tax concessions and had created an infrastructure that supported companies setting up shop.

Michael Hunter, associate director at Cushman & Wakefield’s datacentre group, sad that when the centre is built, Scotland will have the size and scale of infrastructure to attract Apple, AWS and Microsoft.

The new datacentre will be a Tier 3 facility with plans in place to develop on-site renewable energy sources. It will be constructed in three phases with 60,000 square feet of the site open now and ready for occupancy.

The Pyramids project aims to create a campus-style datacentre and digital hub.

The idea is to be at ground zero as the Scottish datacentre market grows, and becomes more sophisticated, it will become more and more important for Scotland-based companies to support these services locally.


Cisco adds Global Gold tier

6210139794_5b40305ba4_bNetworking gear maker Cisco has added a Global Gold tier to the top of its partner programme.

Cisco said that its Global Gold tier allows partners with different regional certifications to get the  same benefits and incentives of the Gold tier across all these areas – provided they meet certain Global Gold criteria, including £272.2 million annual revenue with Cisco.

Partners must already have in place a certain amount of Gold and Premium accreditations in each of Cisco’s territories globally  – the Americas, EMEAR, APJ and Greater China. The joint figure needed is 12 Gold accreditations globally.

Partners must also hold a Global Commercial Specialisation and hit an 80 percent services attach rate and a 70 percent renewal rate quarter to quarter.

The new tier currently has five partners: BT, Dimension Data, Ericsson, IBM, and Orange Business Services.

Cisco’s global channel vice president Marc Surplus wrote in his bog: “We’ve bridged the pieces of our existing Gold certification with today’s global business needs to provide a simpler, scalable, and profitable global experience for our partners. Global Gold partners can now showcase their ability to deliver and support solutions as a Cisco Gold certified partner from any of their worldwide locations. Global Gold increases the value exchange with our resellers by helping them expand their customer bases.

“Their sales and technical teams can now reach across borders and support their global customers more effectively than ever before, and, while this new certification is important to our global business strategy, we absolutely remain fully committed to the partners who do the equally important work of caring for customers in their local and regional markets,” Surplus said.


HPE blames Brits for poor performance

article-2521076-19FD5A3C00000578-456_634x423Hewlett Packard Enterprise has singled out the UK for its weak performance in Europe after its revenue dropped in the second quarter.

HPE reported a global revenue of $7.4 billion, down 13 percent on the same period last year.

HPE CFO Tim Stonesifer said the UK was chiefly to blame for difficulties in Europe.

“Revenue in Europe continue to be weak, driven by the UK, although strong results in Germany helped the region,” he said.

HPE suffered because of a mystery tier-one customer in its server business as a major contributor to the revenue drop, as it did when it published its first quarter results earlier this year.

CEO Meg Whitman said that if this customer is taken out of the equation, HPE would have actually reported a revenue increase of one per cent for second quarter.

Whitman said that the customer was a significant enough size to dramatically affect revenue over the coming months.

Forbes speculated that the customer could be one of the big public cloud providers Microsoft, Google, or Amazon Web Services.

HPE’s server revenue declined 14 percent year on year in the quarter to just under $3 billion, but taking the tier-one customer out of the equation brings the decline to just one percent.

HPE was one of a number of vendors to hike prices in the UK specifically after the EU Referendum.

The company was surprised that jacking up the price of their products harmed the bottom line so much. Who would have thought that raising prices in a time of uncertainty would not have made more money?

Because of the difficultly regarding pricing and commodities, HPE will look to make savings of between $200 million and $300 million in the second half of this year – as it integrates Nimble and SimpliVity and adjusts for life after the spin mergers of its software and services groups.

HPE said it was taking significant steps to optimise the cost structure of the future HPE. It is also looking to trim an incremental $200 million to $300 million in cost savings in just the second half of this year, HPE said.

These savings will be a combination of tight control over spending and simplifying the organisation through de-layering and spend-control actions as it becomes a smaller, more nimble company, HPE said.


Capgemini warns of cloud native uprising

Mutiny-of-1857A new report from Capgemini, which surveyed 900 business and IT professionals globally, shows the number of cloud natives is on the rise.

The report said that while uptake of modern development tools and processes is at an early stage for many organisations, it is rising quickly and set to become the ‘default’ method for deployment in future.

Nearly 15 percent of new application development projects currently under way are ‘cloud native’, and this is set to increase to 32 percent in the next three years.

In the UK, specifically, uptake will reach 40 percent by 2020, higher than the US, for example, where 11 percent of apps will be cloud native by this point.

Toby Merchant, Capgemini’s head of Digital Platforms said that most applications and new developments we will see cloud native development as the way forward.

“We don’t think that in 2020 it will be 32 percent and stay there: it will grow more and more. We have all seen technology accelerate cloud development in the past few years and we don’t see any reason that the trajectory is going to change.”

Cloud native approaches have several benefits including improvements to businesses agility and improved customer experience.

Merchant said: “Creating a better customer experience is a key reason to move to the cloud. Generally it allows clients to be more nimble, more innovative and develop their products and services in a more efficient way, based on what their customers are requiring from them.”

Merchant warns that while there are businesses which are pushing ahead with cloud native development for new applications, many are yet to begin. Not all applications are suited to this approach, and it doesn’t make sense to invest in moving certain legacy applications to the cloud, he said.

“It obviously depends on what kinds of applications you are creating. There will be some applications which it wouldn’t be appropriate to move into the cloud and we will still have legacy applications where it doesn’t make practical or financial sense to migrate those into the cloud.”

Overhauling software development practices can be a significant challenge for companies. Replacing monolithic applications and adopting new development processes tends to require organisational as well as technology changes. It is something that vendors operating in this space – such as Pivotal and Red Hat – have cottoned on to, and provide consultancy services to support businesses.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks is access to skills as finding people who have the new development skills in the new toolsets and technologies is tricky. Finding people with those skills is difficult and it is a hot market in the UK right now, he said.

Extreme will keep expanding

Extreme_(_Extreme_album_-_cover_art)Extreme Networks will continue its buying frenzy even after it completes its Avaya and Brocade deals.

The company is close to snapping up Avaya’s networking business for £77.5 million, after being named the preferred bidder in March, which triggered a stalking horse bidders process.

The acquisition is part of a trio of Extreme deals, with the vendor acquiring Zebra’s wireless LAN arm and expecting to complete a deal for Brocade’s networking business in August.

But the company said that its acquisition spree is far from over and did not rule out further additions this year.

An Extreme spokesperson said that the company was continuing to shore up its portfolio as part of a scaling process where size means everything.

The company is eying companies in the switching space and tangential capabilities to strengthen areas that its partner want to deliver.

Extreme expects Brocade and Avaya will see Extreme double its customer base and partner base.

Extreme’s partner programme is fairly lucrative and the company wants to expand that to onboard the partners because it thinks there is an opportunity to expand its  footprint.

Avaya partners should be reassured after an uncertain few months, the company spokesman said.

There is some relief that the technology is going to a networking company and there’s a feeling that the uncertainty is all over.

Avaya sells networking business to Extreme

avaya logoAvaya is flogging its networking business to Extreme Networks for $100 million.

While Extreme said that it was interested in the deal in March it took a while for the deal to go through because Avaya was asking around to see if it could get more dosh. The deal will close on 1 July.

Avaya is selling off the family silver to help it restructure debts, and wants to focus on unified communications instead.

Extreme wants to take on Cisco and HPE and has also acquired Brocade’s data centre networking so it can cover the data centre core, LAN, campus networks, WANs and security.

Extreme thinks the deal will yield annual revenues which are more than $200 million.

Storage Made Easy gets onto the government’s cloud

cloudStorage Made Easy which has the confusing (SME) acronym has been reselected for the fifth time by the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) on its G-Cloud 9 G-Cloud initiative.

G-Cloud, launched in 2012, brings increased flexibility and cost reduction that the Cloud gives to private companies and makes it available for public sector organisations. However, getting onto the list is no done deal, particularly this year when the government made a few key changes to the selection process.

The SME Enterprise File Fabric is available on the Digital Marketplace in an exclusive package using UK Cloud’s Primary Storage in the Cloud and Computing-as-a-Service infrastructure, delivering an Enterprise-grade file collaboration solution. The agreement is fully EU compliant, saving customers the time and money associated with conducting their own procurement exercise.

Simon Hansford, CEO at UKCloud said that his outfit had cemented its position as the leading UK public sector cloud specialist, with unique industry knowledge and expertise.

“Our highly secure, award winning UKCloud platform has driven unprecedented success, and our partners play a fundamental role in this. Together we will continue to grow our business within the G-Cloud framework, and with our extensive shared capabilities we will work together to transform public sector services that benefit all UK citizens and tax payers via G-Cloud 9″ he said.

For those who came in late, SMEs product brings a secure file sharing and collaboration solution with data compliance features, ransomware protection and the forthcoming GDPR initiative for organisations across the UK public sector including central government, local government, health, education, devolved administrations, emergency services, defence and not-for-profit organisations.

The product can unify different data sources, such as FTP, WebDav, SharePoint, and up to 50 others, into a single interface that is securely accessible from any mobile device or desktop.

Jim Liddle, Storage Made Easy CEO said: “By the nature of what we provide we are unable to reference some of the governmental customers who are already using the solution within the G-Cloud framework but we see this as a strong market for us and we are happy to announce our selection for G-Cloud 9.”

Palo Alto Networks expects improvement in sales


blog-banner-paloaltonetworksAfter announcing a sales force reorganisation last quarter, Palo Alto Networks said it is “on track” with the changes and starting to see improvement.

CEO Mark McLaughlin said on the company’s third quarter earnings call that the company was making solid progress in these efforts and is on track with its project plans.

“While we have much more to do and it will take time to realize changes, early feedback from customers, partners and our sales team has been good,” he said.

Palo Alto Networks had a disappointing performance in the second quarter and announced it had changed its sales strategy and reorganised its account coverage model.

The company also said it was making changes to its sales and marketing resources and updating its second half revenue expectations.

CFO Steffan Tomlinson said the company’s third quarter numbers showed “early positive indicators of the changes in the go to market strategy”. Palo Alto Networks reported sales for the quarter, which ended April 30, of $431.8 million, up 25 percent year-over-year. Of those sales, $164.2 million were product sales and $267.6 million were subscription and support.

Palo Alto Networks reported a net loss in the quarter of $60.9 million, compared to a loss of $64.1 million in the same quarter last year.

McLaughlin said Palo Alto Networks still has some work to do on its sales strategy and was taking a four-step approach to updating its sales strategy.

It was designing what needs to be done differently, communicating those changes, re-do account mapping strategies, putting the right people in the right places to run those accounts, and then executing on that strategy. He said the company has finished the design, communication, and account mapping over the past quarter and now will look to finish making sure the right people are in place and executing on the strategy in the quarters to come.

“We will be continuing that through the fourth quarter for us and hopefully you will see positive impacts for that through fiscal 2018,” McLaughlin said.

Claranet buys up EU companies

Cat-Plying-Clarinet-Funny-Musicians-PictureManaged service provider Claranet has written a cheque for firms in the UK, France and Portugal as part of its cunning plan to become a European player.

Claranet has gone through refinancing, which provides it with an acquisition facility of £80 million.

It has written a cheque for Leeds-based Sec-1, which is a security outfit with a turnover of £6 million and comes with 60 staff. The firm’s founders Matt Hawnt and Gary O’Leary-Steele will remain with Claranet.

In France, it bought Oxalide which is a DevOps and cloud specialist with a turnover of £15 million.

It bought ITEN Solutions in Portugal with revenues of £69 million and 360 staff. The firm had itself been created by merging two of the largest players in that market and now makes Claranet one of the main operators in the country.

Charles Nasser, founder and CEO of the Claranet Group said that the growth, combined with acquisitions made the company a significant operation in the managed IT services market in Europe.

“These latest acquisitions represent a significant step forward for Claranet, confirming our market-leading position in France and Portugal and boosting our Group-wide security and application management capabilities for the benefit of our customers,” he added.

Nasser expects to see a continued consolidation of the European managed services market over the next 24-months and we are on a strong footing in all major markets in Western Europe.