Veaam doing rather well

cloud 2Veaam Software has been doing rather well since it started widening its customer base by aggressively targeting enterprises.

Veeam CEO Peter McKay told the outfit’s annual customer and partner event, the VeeamON conference, that his company added 4000 new enterprise customers each month for the last six quarters. As a result, he is getting the attention of some major channel players.

By the end of 2016, Veeam had 73 percent of the Fortune 500 and 56 percent of the Global 2000 as customers, with the number of new enterprise customers growing by 48.6 percent to 761. It has seen a 79 percent growth across its cloud business.

Veeam VP Richard Agnew said that the software is now appealing more frequently to the likes of Computacenter, SCC and other large system integrators (SIs), which certainly wouldn’t have been the case previously.

Veeam highlighted several new products targeted at enterprise customers, including the Veeam Availability Platform for the Hybrid Cloud, which it says enables its channel partners to sell a greater number of business continuity and availability services.

The firm also renewed its commitment to cloud with a host additions to its Availability Platform: the Veeam Availability Console and Veeam Agents; Veeam CDP and vCloud Director Integration for Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS); Tape as a Service, and new multi-tenancy, multi-repository and automation capabilities in Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365.

Veeam has been working closely with Microsoft, with services such as Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure.

Veeam’s has a new professional services-focused initiative, the Veeam Accredited Service Partner (VASP) programme, which features increased marketing and technical services for partners delivering professional services around Veeam’s availability portfolio.

Terra gets new blood

funny-vampireTerra Computer Limited has hired two new members of its team: senior business development manager Alicia Shepherd, and business development manager Colin Morris.

Neil Jensen, director, Terra Computer Limited said: “We are delighted that we could recruit these two highly experienced individuals to our Team and together with them bring Terra to the next level in the UK.”

Shepherd will be working with the Reseller Community and building on the UK sales team’s success.

Shepherd joins from Entatech where she was the firm’s sales director. In 2016 she won the Sales Brilliance award at the PCR Women of the Year awards, being recognised for leading the Entatech UK Sales Team to deliver agreed targets and KPIs.

Shepherd said: “The Channel only approach and commitment to quality sets TERRA apart from other brands, in a competitive landscape where volume is King it is a refreshing choice to know for TERRA it is support and quality that speaks volumes.”

Morris also joins from Entatech where he was a sales account manager, said TERRA had a great product set with some excellent service offerings that will allow the reseller community to grow their own individual businesses.

Sophos will continue to empire build

Pro-empire-enlist-today-he-needs-youSophos has been buying companies like crazy and it is starting to look like more spending is on the way.

Sophos acquired machine-learning security start-up Invincea for $100 million in February, following takeovers of Barricade IO, Mojave Networks, SurfRight and Cyberoam.

CEO Kris Hagerman, has hinted that other purchases are certain to happen.

In recent interviews Hagerman has hinted that the industry should expect more M&A activity in next few years.

He said that there was not an acquisition policy, as the outfit is committed to innovating and spends a lot on R&D.

The idea was to have a mix of organic development and every now splurge on some targeted M&A to help enhance or accelerate Sophos’ own efforts.

Sophos has acquired half a dozen companies over the last four or five years – it’s probably reasonable to expect something in a similar zip code over the next few years, he said.

O2 trails 3GPP-compliant Internet of Things connectivity tech

Shot0072O2 is the first British telco to trial 3GPP-compliant Internet of Things connectivity tech in the UK later this year.

An O2 spokesman said that the company will be performing live trials this year to gain more practical insight into the technology.

O2 did not provide many details of the trials or which of the two standards it would be trying out.

So far the UK’s IoT connectivity uses sim-card based GSM-based M2M tech and various localised deployments of LoRaWAN and Sigfox.

This means that it is likely that there will be a commercial deployment of either technology in the UK next year.

NB-IoT is strongly favoured by Vodafone, which has faced problems with rolling it out in Europe. It is popular in China and the Far East, though LTE-M has been gaining ground in terms of commercial deployments over the last year.

LTE-M was popular in the American continent although it has been tested in Europe.


University asks Microsoft not to erase its cloud data

hqdefault (1)A bankrupt US trade school, the ITT Technical Institutes, is asking a court to stop Microsoft from erasing its cloud data.

The move is being seen as a true 21st century problem and one which could effect channel partners who sell cloudy products.

In a filing to the US District Bankruptcy Court of Southern Indiana, the for-profit university seek an order to bar Vole from wiping the contents of ITT’s Office 365 and webmail accounts for students, faculty, and administrators.

ITT has been under bankruptcy proceedings since September of last year, when it shut down operations and filed for bankruptcy protections.

There had been years of government probes over its ability to stay afloat, and education authorities worried aid money would be lost when ITT went under for good.

A group of trustees has overseen wrapping up ITT’s affairs and settling its outstanding debts. Among those are the bills the school owes on its Office 365 subscription with Microsoft. ITT owes $177,466.46 on an agreement that runs until May 31.

The university wants Microsoft to preserve its data, but was told such a service would cost around $2.5 million.

“The Trustee seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction prohibiting the Defendants from taking any actions that could result in the destruction, deletion, overwriting, or erasing of any of the Electronic Data or taking any other action or inaction that could affect the preservation of the Electronic Data, until such time the Trustee can determine the most cost effective method of accomplishing turnover of the Electronic Data,” the filing reads.

“Any threat of destruction, deletion, overwriting, or erasing of any of the Electronic Data or any other action or inaction that could affect the preservation of the Electronic Data jeopardizes the Trustee’s efforts to marshal, assess, and preserve estate assets, and to otherwise fulfil her duties under section 704 of the Bankruptcy Code.”

Welsh civil servants saw off WannaCry

SiluresAs the WannaCry ransomware hit the UK NHS it seems that Welsh hospitals were saved because they did not rely on private enterprise.

In a move that flies in the face of the “private sector fixes everything better” the NHS Wales Informatics Service is public service organisation, which supplies more than 70 software services to users across NHS Wales.

Upon catching wind of the WannaCry attack, a major incident room was set up at the service’s Cardiff office – one of five in Wales – and additional monitoring was ordered across the country.

A spokeswoman from the service said: “At the NHS Wales Informatics Service we constantly provide real-time monitoring of NHS Wales’s digital services and IT systems, all of which are designed to have strong security measures.

“In addition we immediately put in extra security controls and co-ordinated the effort to protect our national and local systems, liaising closely with senior management from across NHS Wales.”

The team blocked all external emails sent to NHS Wales and applying new anti-virus definitions and patches to both national and local systems.

“Where the ransomware has been detected, immediate remedial action has been taken to prevent the spreading of the virus. This has ensured that no patient data has been compromised or lost.”

In the case of the NHS in England and Scotland, the use of connected networks – linking GP surgeries to main hospital infrastructures – meant that the virus could navigate it with relative ease. But there were no reports of the incident impacting on patient care anywhere in Wales.

But the Welsh success is making all the private sector deals in England look a bit weak.

NHS Wales was in fact attacked by the virus but monitoring software and processes identified each attack, allowing the Informatics Service to isolate and kill the virus.

In total, 37 computers were investigated as being suspected of having the virus but only seven were infected with the malware out of 55,000 computers in use across NHS Wales.

The Informatics Service are urging suppliers and partners to ensure that local systems are protected and that staff remain aware of the “on-going need” to protect the IT systems.


Kids discouraged from being IT entrepreneurs study by Nominet found that only nine percent of parents would like their children to choose a career as a tech entrepreneur, web developer or computer games developer.

Of these parents were more likely to steer boys than girls towards a technology career – 13 percent of parents said they would want their son to pursue a career as a tech entrepreneur or games developer, whereas these roles did not appear at all in the top five roles that parents suggested for girls.

A career as an engineer was the top choice of parents for boys to pursue in the future, whereas a quarter or parents hoped girls would become doctors – and only six percent hoped their daughters would become tech entrepreneurs.

Eleanor Bradley, COO of Nominet, said the UK had the potential to be a hub for tech in the future as it begins to grow its digital economy, but parents needed to encourage their children into technology roles for these efforts to succeed.

“Parents are one of the greatest influences on their children’s future decisions, much more than they perhaps give themselves credit for, and I encourage everyone to help all young people – and especially girls – to consider the possibilities the tech industry has to offer,” said Bradley.

The UK IT industry is suffering from a skills gap, and the government has tried to develop a bigger pipeline of young people with relevant skills by introducing the computing curriculum in 2014, making it compulsory for children between the ages of five and 16 to learn concepts such as computational thinking.

Many parents are beginning to understand the importance of computing skills, with 45 percent in the study thinking computing studies will give children useful skills to have after they leave school.

Only 19 percent of parents think coding skills will be important for future jobs.

Dads are often seen as less of a barrier for girls attempting to pursue a technology career than mums, and the Nominet research found dads are more likely to encourage children to attend tech-based after-school activities in general.

Google cloud glitch forces SQL backups

cloudGoogle’s Cloud SQL service was hit by rather a nasty glitch over the weekend and more than seven percent of clients using the service’s first-generation code were not backing up properly.

Google announced it was “forcing” backups “as short-term mitigation” and was expected to issue a patch today.

The news comes just as Google is announcing the release of its new Cloud Spanner product.

For those who came in late, Cloud Spanner is a horizontally-scalable and strongly consistent relational database, combining the company’s two other DBaaS solutions, NoSQL and RDBMS, offering a wider range of services including ACID transactions and SQL semantics. It’s targeting AWS’s RDS and Microsoft’s SQL Database in the public cloud.

Product manager, Dominic Preuss wrote in his bog that Google had carefully designed Cloud Spanner to meet customer requirements for enterprise databases — including ANSI 2011 SQL support, ACID transactions, 99.999% availability and strong consistency — without compromising latency”.

“As a combined software/hardware solution that includes atomic clocks and GPS receivers across Google’s global network, Cloud Spanner also offers additional accuracy, reliability and performance in the form of a fully-managed cloud database service.”

While traditional databases guarantee transactional consistency, while NoSQL databases offer horizontal scaling and data distribution. The aim for Cloud Spanner is to offer cloud developers both capabilities.

Cloud Spanner is available now via a trio of data integration partners, Alooma, Informatica and Xplenty.

“Cloud Spanner is one of those cloud-based technologies for which businesses have been waiting: With its horizontal scalability and ACID compliance, it’s ideal for those who seek the lower TCO of a fully managed cloud-based service without sacrificing the features of a legacy, on-premises database,” Xplenty said.

Google is offering a free trial of Cloud Spanner so companies can see how it would work for them.

2847 Suppliers get into G-Cloud 9

lightning-cloudThe government is expected to announce that 2847 suppliers have been awarded places on the government’s G-Cloud 9 framework which is set to go live on today.

Suppliers who have been successful should have been told ten days ago, so if the post has not arrived then chances are you have not got in.

G-Cloud 9 is split into three Lots: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Software and Cloud Support. The 2,847 suppliers on the framework compares with the 1,616 firms on G-Cloud 7, and 1,908 on G-Cloud 8.

Suppliers will no longer be able to conduct business through G-Cloud 7 and G-Cloud 8 frameworks from today.

One of the changes in the system is that contracts signed through the framework can last longer than two years for the first time.

There are two optional one-year periods, so a maximum of four years.

Microsoft’s their agreements such as the Enterprise Subscription Agreement are a three-year period so it does allow for enterprise agreements that were previously exclusively online agreements to be done through G-Cloud.

It is also expected that a lot of Microsoft business going through G-Cloud.

The most recent G-Cloud figures on the CCS website show total spending through the framework to date to be just under £1.7bn as of November 2016, 77 per cent of which was spent by central government and the remaining 23 per cent by the wider public sector.

“G-Cloud frameworks are refreshed every six to eight months.

Last year the government announced that the ninth iteration G-Cloud would be built from scratch, but drew criticism from suppliers for not spending enough time researching how the framework should be improved.

Westcon-Comstor finishes back-office overhaul

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAQJAAAAJDNiMGVhY2RiLTZhNzAtNGQ3YS1hYTFiLWQyMjI2MzM1MGUzMwDistributor Westcon-Comstor has said that it has completed its back-office overhaul with outsourcing specialist Genpact.

The scheme, which has seen roles covering 52 countries outsourced to the business process outsourcing (BPO) specialist, started two years ago. Various posts were shifted to Romania in a move which affected almost one in six of its then 1,900 staff in the region.

In 2016 the outsourcing initiative took effect across Westcon-Comstor’s Asia-Pacific operations, with the programme expanded into North America this year. The distributor has not announced how many staff globally were impacted by the process.

At the same time there was a roll-out of a new SAP ERP platform. The software, which took three years to deploy, went live in Europe six months ago. Problems with the roll-out hurt the company badly with a 30 per cent sales decline in Europe.

CEO Dolph Westerbos predicted that the investments in its back-office foundations will serve the company well in the years to come.

What is looming on the horizon for the company is some more uncertainty, as current owner Datatec has been in discussions to sell the distributor since early this year.

Having initially published several stock market updates alluding a deal concerning one part of its business, Datatec revealed a month ago that the talks related to a potential $800m sale of Westcon-Comstor. Suitors including Synnex, Arrow, and have all been linked to a potential buyout, but a transaction is still yet to be agreed.

Comodo hit by billing database woes

komodo-dragonDigital certificate firm Comodo suffered a nasty database problem that affected its billing systems.

As part of its repair work Comodo had to  restore to a nine day old database.  According to an email sent by the company:

”Comodo’s CA licence database is having to be being restored. The initial restore has already taken place and all orders placed before 03-May-2017 12:19:52 UTC are being correctly managed.

“Some orders placed after 03-May-2017 12:19:52 UTC may not be obtainable. We are now working on resolving this. We do understand your situation. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.”

The problems kicked off on Thursday when a digital certificate reseller noted an “unscheduled outage” of of Comodo’s CA (certificate authority) billing service because of database problems.

Comodo has a good track record of minimising unscheduled maintenance but it had problems with its billing systems that are yet to be fully resolved. There were no problems issuing certificates.

What happened was that a database that deals with Comodo’s orders and billing for the certificates and some related services spat out multiple errors and corrupted the database.

The certificates themselves are present in multiple systems, so were not lost. But the company’s ordering and billing system was unavailable for about 20 hours.

Comdo are backfilling the missing data over the next 24 hours, and some customers were unable to self-manage the lifecycle of some recently issued certificates.

AI Eptica gets in on Gartner’s magic roundabout

magic-roundaboutEptica has been included in Gartner “Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center (CEC)” for the fourth year running.

This is the fourth consecutive year that Eptica has appeared in this Magic Quadrant.

Olivier Njamfa, CEO and co-founder of Eptica said that the digital customer experience market is changing rapidly, driven by the rise of artificial intelligence and increasing consumer demands, and is becoming ever-more central to business success.

“I am therefore very proud that Eptica has retained its position in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center,” Njamfa said.

According to Gartner, this Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center examines the global market for customer service and support applications designed to enable customer service and support agents to engage customers through their preferred communication channel.

The functionalities evaluated in this Magic Quadrant include those for knowledge-enabled service resolution, social media/community management and offer management.

Also evaluated are interaction assistance tools and service analytics dashboards. Ideally, the applications should have tools for both agents and customers, and the vendors should have a clear point of view on how to escalate customer support from self-service to human agents and back again, while retaining the context of the interaction for reporting and future customer engagements.

Gartner evaluated vendors on their completeness of vision and ability to pull it off.

Eptica has been pouring cash in to Natural Language Processing (NLP) and linguistics.

“Coupled with our strong, self-learning knowledge management capabilities, this means we are ideally positioned to help brands deliver digital CX across email, chat, social media and self-service, through a single, cloud-based platform, ” Njamfa said.

Windows Server shrinks its footprint  

giantfootprintSoftware King of the World, Microsoft, has shrunk Windows Server’s footprint when you run it in Azure.

The slimmed down version of Windows Server is destined for use in Azure’s Managed Disks. This is a storage option that allows the creation of disks without first creating a storage account and without the need to manually assign a universal resource indicator.

Microsoft offers Managed Disks at 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 512GB and a terabyte, with the two smallest sizes a recent addition. But it looks like users had trouble squeezing Windows into the little ones, because Microsoft’s now announced it has “added a second set of Windows Server offerings with 30GB OS disks for Windows Server 2008R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012R2 and Windows Server 2016”.

Microsoft channel partners can now put it into 32GB Managed Disks and save customers “US$2.18 per VM if you choose to deploy with 32GB Standard Managed OS disk vs. 127GB”.

Windows Server 2012 could be installed onto a 32 GB partition that was an absolute minimum value needed for successful installation. It was providing a  Windows Server Core with IIS and no GUI, which was not very useful.

The new Azure version, though, makes it fit rather well into the tighter partition which makes it an easier sale.

HPE channel boss spills the beans

C--zInpVYAAfVBaThe recently appointed global channel chief at HPE said that he is working out a cunning plan to ensure partners navigate through an era of “digital transformation”.

Denzil Samuels joined HPE from GE Digital. He said that “digital transformation” is an industrial revolution there are lots of technology shifts going on at the edge.

Samuels thinks that HPE has the best plan, portfolio and partner programme to take advantage of the change that is going on in the world.

However, he now wants to take the plan to the next level which means announcing pay at net, which lets HPE partners get the highest level of back-end rebates in the industry. It is also announcing the inclusion and development of competencies.

HPE already has product certifications but now Samuels wants to introduce “competencies”, because knowing how to use the  product portfolio and putting it into an outcome for the customer is the way “to drive success”.

To do that you need to have the competencies, the industrial or vertical know how and the horizontal know how, Samuels said.

HPE had a partner programme which encourages different types of partner categories, different geographies and countries, different verticals, different horizontal solutions and different business models.

Samuels said that one size does not fit all but embraces the dynamic nature of the market but taking the very complicated but making it simple.

HPE is planning a new “solution” to do all that already but it is still on the drawing board. The plan is to do a cautioned roll out of some of it over the next year to 18 months.

He said that HPE did not want to disrupt what is already 70 percent of its business, which comes from the channel.

TechUK and FSB give election candidates their wish-lists

pinocchio-17Lobby group TechUK has brought forward its requests to those hoping to be elected.

It is calling for more of a proactive stance by the next government on digital technology.

TechUK CEO Julian David said that the pace of global digitisation will not slow down and the UK had a choice about whether we want to shape the digital future or be shaped by it.

“The course of the next parliament will see significant technological developments in the way we work and live. It’s crucial that all political parties avoid broad brush and reactionary policy solutions to the complex challenges of the digital age. Politicians must do all they can to cultivate a world-leading tech sector, where a new wave of tech talent can start and scale the next generation of world leading tech companies,” he said.

Resellers want tougher steps to tackle late payers and to make supply chain bullying illegal. Federation of Small Businesses Chairman Mike Cherry has also asked future governments to step up and do something.

He said that there are a series of decisions required by new Government Ministers in their first 100 days in office.

These include export support to tackling our late payments crisis, to co-funding apprenticeships and a new consensus on the future of business rates, to the survival of small businesses.

“Our manifesto sets out what small businesses want to see from all major parties and candidates standing on 8 June. Millions of votes are at stake,” said Cherry.