Category: Products

Microsoft insists Surface laptop can be repaired

Microsoft campusSoftware king of the world Microsoft is in hot water after an iFixit report said that its Surface Pro was impossible to fix.

A tear-down of the product showed that since most of it was glued down it would be impossible to even change the battery without scrapping the entire computer.

The review said: “The Surface Laptop is not a laptop. It’s a glue-filled monstrosity. There is nothing about it that is upgradable or long-lasting, and it literally can’t be opened without destroying it. Show us the procedure, Microsoft, we’d love to be wrong.”

However, Microsoft has hit back, saying its Surface products are “intended to be serviced by professionals” after being criticised for making its Surface Laptop difficult to take apart for repairs.

After using a variety of tools to prise open the case, iFixit then used an “ultra-dangerous” heat gun to burn the keyboard casing off the chassis, melting several keys in the process.

“As is the case with many products, Surface is built by professionals and is intended to be serviced by professionals,” a Vole representative said.

Brother uncloisters SMB print offering

2c43014a23e409b5b0d7adaa2c8dfd58Brother UK is boosting its SMB print offering with its latest colour laser launch.

The big idea is that the new L8000 and L9000 ranges will help channel partners capitalise on a buoyant colour laser market, which has grown 28 per cent year-on-year.

The ICT services provider is introducing seven new models, which are all specifically designed to increase efficiency and improve workflow in SMBs and small corporates.

The company said that javing generated the largest sales growth last year, the L8000 and L9000 series launch cements Brother’s position as one of the leaders in the colour laser market.

Replacing the L8000 and L9000 models currently available, the five-strong L8000 range comprises two A4 printers and three multifunction devices. The L9000 series includes a higher volume A4 printer and the flagship MFC-L9570CDW, which features a fully customisable 16.5cm LCD touchscreen.

Models offer advanced paper handling, fast print speeds of up to 31 pages per minute (ppm) and scan speeds of up to 50 images per minute (ipm), as well as compatibility with mobile cloud and connectivity services such as Google Cloud print and AirPrint – all of which facilitate improvements in efficiency and workflow.

Both ranges are well suited to SMBs – as well as providing cost-effective printing, the option of added lower and tower trays means devices are scalable as businesses grow, Brother said.

Models in the L9000 series are suitable for higher volume users, with high-yield toners and print management solutions such as b-guard and PaperCut for greater control.

Hassan Masaud, Product Manager at Brother UK, said: “We’re building on our industry leading colour laser proposition with the launch of these two new ranges, helping partners to take advantage of growing revenue opportunities.

“At the moment, there’s a huge focus on the SMB market within Brother, and we’re confident these models perfectly meet the needs of small business customers.

“Businesses are increasingly looking to make workflows faster and more intuitive, to ultimately increase efficiency, and the L8000 and L9000 ranges have been designed with these priorities in mind.”

Security features are the top reason for Windows 10 upgrade

magritte-windowThe killer reason why companies are upgrading to Windows 10 is the improved security functions, according to beancounters at Gartner Group.

The analyst outfit said that it took a long time for Windows 10 to start driving PC sales but the channel has witnessed the impact of the OS upgrades triggering hardware sales since the last quarter of 2016.

Gartner noting that the adoption of Windows 10 is faster than previous OS versions and the traditional refresh cycles are shortening. Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner said: “Organisations recognize the need to move to Windows 10, and the total time to both evaluate and deploy Windows 10 has shortened from 23 months to 21 months between surveys that Gartner did during 2015 and 2016.

“Large businesses are either already engaged in Windows 10 upgrades or have delayed upgrading until 2018. This likely reflects the transition of legacy applications to Windows 10 or replacing those legacy applications before Windows 10 migration takes place”.

The analyst house has found that security improvements are the top attraction for those migrating as well as the cloud integration capabilities offered by the OS.

But there are also technical problems with some users being driven to upgrade to make sure they can use the latest desktop and server processors. Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner said: “Respondents’ device buying intentions have significantly increased as organizations saw third- and fourth-generation products optimized for Windows 10 with longer battery life, touchscreens and other Windows 10 features. The intention to purchase convertible notebooks increased as organizations shifted from the testing and pilot phases into the buying and deployment phases.”

Figures from last month from Netmarketshare revealed that Windows 10 holds a 25 percent market share, which is still lagging behind the 49 percentheld by Windows 7. The number of users still using XP and 8.1 has now dipped below 20 percent

Cylance may have over egged performance

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Anti-virus outfit Cylance appears to have been caught out trying to create false positives in clients machines as part of a sales gimmick.

According to Ars Technica  the scheme was rumbled when a systems engineer at a large company was evaluating security software products when he discovered something suspicious.

Cylance had provided him with 48 malware files in an archive stored in the vendor’s Box cloud storage account. The idea was to show the company how good its Protect, a “next generation” endpoint protection system built on machine learning really was.

Protect identified all 48 of the samples as malicious, while competing products flagged most but not all of them. But when the engineer took a closer look at the malware files in question—and found that seven were not malware.

He reasoned that Cylance was using the test to close the sale by providing files that other products wouldn’t detect—that is, bogus malware only Protect would catch. Cylance claims Protect uses AI to train itself using “the DNA markers of 1 billion known bad and 1 billion known good files.”

But over the past year, competitors and testing companies have accused Cylance of using product tests that favour the company. These critics have also accused Cylance of using legal threats to block independent, competitive testing.

Cylance executives reply accuses testing companies of running tests that inaccurately represent performance.

Ars says that the Cylance appears to be “re-packing” existing malware samples and turning them into “fresh” malware mostly using packers to convert executable files into self-extracting archives or otherwise obscure their executable code.

Cylance executives said there is no foul in that, because that is exactly what hackers do – share malware and repackage that malware to evade signature-based detection. The files that only Cylance caught in the test were all repacked in some way; five of the files were processed with MPRESS and the remainder were packed with other tools, including what appears to be a custom packer.

Of the nine files in question, testing by the customer, by Ars, and by other independent researchers showed that only two actually contained malware. One of the MPRESS-packed samples appeared to contain a copy of the MPRESS packer itself. The remainder of the MPRESS files contained either “husks”—essentially empty files—or samples that had been corrupted in packing. Two others crashed on execution, after opening a bunch of Windows resources without using them.

VMware partners rub paws as the outfit buys Wavefront

vmware-partner-link-bg-w-logoIn what is being seen as good news for VMware’s partners, the outfit has decided to buy Wavefront.

For those who came in late Wavefront, makes multi-cloud monitoring and management technology on the application level.

This is seen as good news for VMware partners who can now offer a live-streaming look at all of the data from the cloud and from the applications in the cloud including user behaviour.

It can also handle a multi-cloud strategy to turn VMware into a cross-cloud management platform.

It should reassure customers about the risk of their cloud based strategy. VMware is effectively claiming to be able to monitor that entire cloud application delivery experience right down to the end-user behaviour.

VMware revealed its plan to acquire the Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup Wednesday. Wavefront, named to CRN’s 10 Coolest Big Data Startups of 2016, develops a cloud-hosted, real-time analytics platform that monitors and manages cloud applications. It provides monitoring to optimise clouds and modern applications by delivering insight using millions of data points per second in real time.

Wavefront’s metric monitoring for applications complements VMware’s vRealize Operations platform for monitoring, troubleshooting and capacity planning across virtual environments, according to VMware. Wavefront also will complement VMware’s vRealize Network Insight and vRealize Log Insight products.

Ajay Singh, senior vice president and general manager of VMware’s Cloud Management Business Unit claimed that VMware set the standard for monitoring virtual environments with VMware vRealize Operations platform, and will set the standard for cross-cloud and modern application monitoring with Wavefront.

Huawei goes after public cloud market

huawei-liveChinese smartphone maker Huawei has announced that it will compete with Amazon and Alibaba as a global provider of public cloud services.

The Shenzhen-based outfit said it will expand in cloud computing with a dedicated division that will recruit 2,000 more people this year.

President of the new unit, Zheng Yelai, said that Huawei used to focus on private cloud and did well.

“Now the purpose is to strengthen our public cloud offering.”

Consultancy Gartner expects the market for public cloud services to reach $383 billion by 2020 from $247 billion in this year.

Huawei hopes to continue developing software-based revenue at a time of slowing growth in smartphone sales and reduced spending on telecommunication infrastructure.

In China, its biggest rival is Alibaba Cloud, while the latest market entrant is conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group Co Ltd in partnership with Big Blue.

Huawei deputy chairman Eric Xu said the company’s global network of telecoms clients give the firm a unique advantage.

“I believe we can build upon our advantages accumulated over the years,” Xu said, referring to carrier partnerships in Europe and a strong presence in developing countries. Compete and coexist with AWS and Microsoft, I believe that is the trend we are going to see.” Xu said.

Xu also said Huawei would not compete for market share by offering services at extremely low prices.

“Our strategic focus will be on our telecom partners’ cloud transformation”,  Xu said.

Hammer takes StarWind’s gear

thor-hammer-hdValue-added distributor Hammer has taken on StarWind’s simplified software-defined storage stack, hyperconverged and storage appliances to its portfolio.

The distribution agreement is tailored for the SMB, remote office/branch office (ROBO), and low- to mid-tier of the enterprise market.

Hammer is the exclusive StarWind distributor in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Benelux, Nordics and Italy so the deal is expected to be at least Europe-wide.

StarWind is a full-stack virtualisation infrastructure, providing all the solutions required for a software-defined datacentre for primary and backup purposes.

Optimised for Microsoft Hyper-V, StarWind appliances are also VMware compatible and offer an effective way to enable customers to seamlessly move away from traditional architecture to a hyperconverged system.

SMBs have the advantage of pre-integrated Veeam licences for a clearer asynchronous backup and replication. There is a cloud-out option to give customers the ability to offload ‘cold’ data to the public cloud with ease by utilising service providers such as Amazon S3; and a free-of-charge migration service.

Gerard Marlow, General Manager for OEM & Whitebox Storage at Hammer, said: “This relationship will allow us to provide additional, complementary products to our existing customers, but will also give us the ability to engage with new resellers in the SMB and ROBO hyperconverged space that our portfolio has not enabled us to reach in the past.”

“We are thrilled to be partnering with StarWind, and look forward to a mutually beneficial partnership – one which allows Hammer to make its name as a leader in delivering hyperconvergence to the SMB / ROBO segment of the market.”

Artem Berman, COO and co-founder of StarWind, said: “StarWind and Hammer stood together at the origins of virtualisation and possess necessary resources for anticipating and forming market demand.

IBM launches blockchain service

redstoneblock1Biggish Blue has launched a service that will allow businesses to build applications on its cloud using the Hyperledger Project’s blockchain code.

Developers designed IBM Blockchain for building enterprise-grade technology using Hyperledger Fabric, the first code released by the open source group.

The Fabric blockchain can process more than 1,000 transactions per second and has the necessary features for large enterprises to build their applications, IBM said.

It added it was working with technology company SecureKey Technologies and a group of Canadian banks to build a digital identity network using its new blockchain services.

The network, set for launch later this year, is aimed at making it easier for consumers to prove their identities when accessing services such as new bank accounts, driver’s licenses or utilities. Banks involved include Bank of Montreal, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, and Toronto-Dominion Bank.

Blockchain is a digital shared record of transactions that is kept by a network of computers on the internet, without the need of a centralised authority.

Big businesses, including many of the world’s largest banks, have been increasing their investment in the technology in hopes it can help them reduce the complexity and costs of some of their most difficult processes, such as the settlement of securities or international payments.

Technology companies and professional services firms have also been ramping up their investment in blockchain, as they race to capture the nascent market.

IBM is big on blockchain and has several large clients developing applications with the technology, including Northern Trust, Wal-Mart, and the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation.

IBM said it had also tested a blockchain-based asset management platform for carbon assets with Chinese company Energy-Blockchain Labs. The companies aim to release the platform, built using the new IBM Blockchain, later this year.

Oracle dumps Solaris 12 for a cloudy future

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

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

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

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

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

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

Symantec buys Lifelock for extra security

securityAnti-virus outfit Symantec is writing a $2.3 billion cheque for US identity theft protection company LifeLock.

The hope is the tech outfit can breathe new life into its Norton cybersecurity unit which has been suffering from the downturn in PC sales. Symantec’s security software often comes bundled with personal computers and while Norton remains profitable, its sales have been falling.

Symantec Chief Executive Greg Clark said that the acquisition will bring $660 million in revenue to the consumer business and returns it to longer sustainable growth.

Symantec recently bought Blue Coat Inc, which helps firms maintain security over the internet, in a $4.65 billion deal. Clark previously held the top job at Blue Coat, and made the switch after the deal closed.

LifeLock offers services such as monitoring new account openings and credit-related applications to alert consumers about unauthorised use of their identity. It also works with government agencies, merchants and creditors to remediate the impact of identity theft.

Fran Rosch, executive vice president of Norton Business Unit, said that Symantec had dabbled in identity security but had nowhere near Lifelock’s 4.4 million members.

Symantec expects to finance the transaction with cash on balance sheet and $750 million of new debt.

Microsoft demos Dynamics 365

Microsoft campusMicrosoft has been hyping its Dynamics 365 platform for months and now is finally showing it off to its channel partners.

For those who came in late, Dynamics 365  is an integrated CRM and ERP. Vole talks up the software’s machine learning skills, business intelligence and advanced data integration features.

Vole announced that Dynamics 365 will be released next month, giving customers a cloud-based customer relationship and business management solution that delivers predictive insights by using artificial intelligence.

Microsoft thinks the software will create opportunities for partners to drive business transformations.

Dynamics 365 is fully integrated with Office 365 and the Cortana Intelligence Suite, and works with Microsoft’s productivity tools, email and business intelligence solutions.

The product, accessible through a mobile app, leverages machine learning algorithms to help sales, service, and marketing agents gain insights into their professional relationships.

CRM rival Salesforce has a similar product which it calls Einstein, an artificial intelligence technology infused into its sales, service and marketing apps.

 

 

HPE unveils new channel scheme

HPE The former maker of expensive printer ink, HPE has taken the covers off its new channel programme.

The outfit’s new Flexible Capacity model for Microsoft Azure allows partners to bridge private and public cloud with a single pay-as-you-go unified billing consumption model.

HPE unveiled the Flexible Capacity option as part of the launch of a new HPE Microsoft Azure Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) stack for HPE’s DL380 hyperconverged system.

The HPE Microsoft Azure stack should be ready to go in mid-2017 and HPE Consulting for Azure Hybrid Cloud services are available now.

The stack provides customers with Flexible Capacity single pay-as-you-go bill for both on-premise HPE private cloud and Microsoft Azure public cloud.

HPE said the DL380 Azure stack, which will sit in the customer’s data center, can be deployed with HPE SecureData software – protecting data in both public and private clouds and HPE Operations Bridge analytics software.

Kaspersky ends reseller contract with Quadsys

40153923-1-kaspersky1Russian security outfit Kaspersky Lab has told security reseller Quadsys to go forth and multiply after its company bosses admitted hacking rivals.

Quadsys owner Paul Streeter, MD Paul Cox, director Alistair Barnard, account manager Steve Davis and security consultant Jon Townsend pleaded guilty to securing unauthorised access to computer material, contrary to section 1 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

The five were charged in summer 2015 with hacking into a rival’s database to plunder customer information and pricing details. Sentencing is set for 9 September.

Quadsys, which was accredited as a Kaspersky Gold partner, the vendor’s top tier certification has moved to distance itself from the troubled outfit and has ended its business relationship with the company.

Others are expected to follow, but still have not gone on record.  Sophos had actually promoted Quadsys to its platinum certification on 1 August, just nine days after the Quadsys Five pleaded guilty at Oxford Crown Court.

Ingram Micro goes very very quiet

ingram-mico-hqIngram Micro UK & Ireland has signed up to be the newest distributor for Quiet’s power supplies, PC cases and cooling solutions.

Ingram said the addition of Quiet’s products to its portfolio will allow resellers to offer customers a wider range of peripherals, while developing their own new and innovative product ranges promote growth.

Taj Pandya, head of commercial management at Ingram Micro, UK and Ireland said:“We are extremely excited to be able to deliver new technologies and opportunities to our channel partners and we are thrilled that be quiet! has trusted us with the distribution of their premium products that embrace an exceptional level of precision and quality.”

“We hope the inclusion of this new vendor will appeal to our customer base and will permit Ingram’s further expansion into new categories.”

Ingram Micro was one of the first to sign up for Microsoft’s Surface as a Service programme, which will allow new services and hardware to its customers based around Redmond’s Surface Tablet.

 

Ingram Micro launches Surface as a Service product

surface-pro-2Ingram Micro has signed up for Microsoft’s Surface as a service programme and launching its own version.

Under the deal, the distributor will be able to offer resellers in the UK the chance to provide Surface and the Microsoft suite along with the chance to take advantage of leasing options that should make it an easier decision for users.

Brian Windsor, senior business manager for Microsoft at Ingram Micro, said that it would be able to lean on its knowledge of the vendor’s software and hardware products.

“This offering will permit our resellers to assist their customer’s transformation to digital with ease. What’s more, we have strived to build our leasing options with recurring business in mind in order to maintain longevity of customer investment for our resellers,” he said.

Microsoft launched the programme last month.  The big idea was to expand the number of partners that would be offering the same managed services approach. It is open to Cloud Solution Providers who are authorised Surface distributors and provides a managed service offering that can be taken out through resellers to users.

At the time Vole said that the Surface was having a real impact in the business market and Surface business has grown from generating $1bn in revenue in a year to $1bn in revenue per quarter.

“With our growing portfolio, we are creating not just great devices, but breakthrough categories that open up a world of new opportunities for partners to build capabilities in new areas, and to create solutions and services for customers. This year, we are investing in programs that increase partner revenue and profitability,” he added.