EMC ponders selling Documentum

emcEMC is looking to sell its Documentum software unit in a move that parallels Dell’s efforts to sell off assets ahead of the companies’ pending merger.

According to Bloomberg, EMC had agreed to a Dell plan to shop the Documentum software business to prospective private equity buyers as part of an effort to offset the cost of acquiring EMC. However it is equally possible that EMC wants the cash to buy something nice.

Few EMC partners sell Documentum. EMC partners work at the infrastructure level, rather than the application level with document management. Documentum software tracks corporate documents. EMC acquired the company in 2003 for about $1.7 billion.

Dell expects its acquisition of EMC to close between May and October. Dell has been flogging off assets to offset the cost of the transaction. The acquisition deal is worth around $60 billion. Dell intends to take on as much as $49.5 billion in debt in order to complete it.

It has flogged off Perot Systems business to NTT Data of Japan for about $3.1 billion and is trying to find a buyer for SonicWall security business and Quest software.  This should get it $4 billion.


Ingram wants more cloud

cloud 2Ingram has expanded its cloud offerings by writing a cheque for Ensim, even while it is being bought out itself.

The deal, agreed for an undisclosed sum, is expected to close in the next 30 days, and needs Ensim shareholders’ blessing.

The acquisition marks the latest in a number of investments the world’s largest distributor has made in recent years in bolstering its standing as a cloud player.

Ensim was created 18 years after a graduate research programme at Cornell University into virtualisation technology. It is headquartered in San Jose, and has offices in London and Durgapur.

On its site it calls itself a “leading provider of solutions to automate on-boarding, orchestration, provisioning, and management of users and organisations with business applications, services, and infrastructure in private, public, and hybrid clouds”.

Selling through a partner network of resellers, integrators, and services providers, Ensim claims to serve more than 5,000,000 users across 20,000 end-user customers, ranging from small businesses to large enterprises.

CEO David Wippich described the buyout as “a superb next step” for his firm.

“We expect to leverage the financial strength, brand recognition and global infrastructure of Ingram Micro to further speed the growth of our business. Our customers and employees will benefit from this union and we are excited to partner with Ingram Micro.”

Ingram is itself in the process of being bought out by the Chinese outfit Tianjin Tianhai.

Red Hat calls on partners for $5 billion boost

agent-carter-7683Linux outfit Red Hat is calling on its partners to help it become a $5 billion company in five years.

CEO Jim Whitehurst  told roughly 250 partners attending its North American Partner Conference in New Orleans that to reach $5 billion it will have to dramatically scale its business, and why the channel is important.

In his keynote address, Whitehurst told partners that Red Hat has 9,000 employees, but to make $5 billion the way it’s going now, it projects needing 20,000 in five years. With attrition, that means hiring 17,000 people.

“We would really love to have your help so we don’t necessarily have to bring that many people into the company,” he said.

If partners help alleviate the staffing dilemma, “the single largest challenge we have as a company,” they will have to generate $4 billion of the $5 billion in annual revenue.

He did not say much else which was specific. But he did say that the problems enterprise customers are having -and the capabilities they need to address those problems are “just naturally in the open-source DNA,” Whitehurst said.

He thinks that there are shedloads of opportuntities for Red Hat partners.

“Each of you has a piece of that $4 billion,” Whitehurst told attendees.

Channel partners should get into data management

hp_serversBeancounters at Veritas suggest that channel partners could make a pretty penny by getting themselves in data-management.

In a couple of reports Veritas suggests that IT organizations are on track to waste more than $3.3 trillion by 2020 on storing data they don’t need.

Veritas’ Vanson Bourne said that based on a survey of 2,550 IT executives, the vast amount of data being stored is redundant, obsolete or trivial or as “dark data” whose value is unknown and may include business-critical  data.

The number of employees using corporate networks for their personal use is growing, leading to more types of files, such as personal legal and ID documents (62 per cent), photos (60 per cent) or non-approved software (27 per cent) being stored at work. Due to this growth, 45 per cent of respondents in the U.S. say they are worried about employees being careless with how they handle company data.

All this creates an opportunity for solution providers across the channel is to provide managed services that pay for themselves by reducing the amount of data that needs to be stored and ultimately secured.

Veritas has a few suggestions for what types of files those managed service providers should be looking to outright delete or archive.


Microsoft’s Azure cloud growing

Every silver has a cloudy liningMicrosoft’s Azure cloud computing platform is growing like topsie.

Vole announced that it was signing up 120,000 new business customers and developer subscribers monthly.

Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the company’s Cloud and Enterprise group, said at a developer conference in San Francisco that more than four million developers are also registered to use Microsoft’s developer tools. In January, Microsoft claimed it had 3.8 million developers registered.

Microsoft is focusing on business services and its Azure cloud services platform is a major competitor to Amazon.com’s AWS. Both companies have huge server banks which run services and software for customers looking for added flexibility, lower costs and reliability.

Vole has been getting its foot in the door thanks to parceling up Azure services through its channel and is doing quite well at getting its cloud to rain on Amazon’s parade.


HPE updates ProLiant Gen9 server portfolio

ML350_Gen9_rack_Bezel_FTThe outfit formally known as HP, HPE, has told its partners that it has updated its enterprise workhorse ProLiant Gen9 server portfolio.

HPE’s Gen9 ProLiant DL360 and DL380 servers will get Intel’s newest Broadwell processor as well as its new persistent memory technology, which allows the server’s memory to serve as a high-performance storage tier.

The new servers also include new management, security and storage capabilities aimed at helping customers tie on-premise data center infrastructures to the cloud for running mission-critical applications.

The refresh should help channel partners make their presence felt in the server market. Over the last six months HPE has flat out improving its visabily after being eclipsed by Cisco UCS and VCE .

The updated ProLiant DL360 and ProLiant DL380 servers are based on Intel’s new Xeon E5-2600 v4 processors and come with a significant boost in performance boost.

Persistent memory is another buzzword.  It brings together standard DRAM along with NAND flash memory and a micro controller with an integrated battery on a module that fits in a standard memory slot. This means it can deliver the performance levels you see with DRAM in storeage.

Thin clients are thin on the ground

skeleton-woman-615While thin client set ups have been touted as the “next big thing” for nearly two decades, it would appear that no-one can make cash from them.

Bean counters at IDC said that the market leaders HP and Dell suffered double-digit shipment drops last year. Apparently companies are walking away from, or cancelling their thin-client projects. Ironically mostly before the poor economic climate, thin clients were touted as a cost-saving measure.

Thin client projects are being canned or postponed in the face of the faltering economic climate and reduced public budgets, IDC said as it warned that shipments in the sector shrank last year.

According to IDC, thin and terminal-client shipments fell 6.9 per cent to 5.08 million in 2015, with market leaders Dell and HP enduring double-digit drops.

To be fair it is not all doom. Thin-clients did better than PCs which fell 10.6 per cent last year.  IDC insists that the outlook for thin clients and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) remains favourable, although people have been saying that since networking became a thing.

Jay Chou, research manager, worldwide enterprise client device trackers at IDC said that while there was a certain amount of slowdown expected as many organisations had just refreshed their systems a year or two ago, the extent of economic and currency-related issues had a definite impact in the budget and timeline of other projects which were supposed to be in the pipeline.

“Nonetheless, awareness around VDI continues to improve, and IDC does expect an improved outlook ahead, especially as companies begin to think about moving beyond Windows 7.”

While the PC market may be consolidating into the hands of fewer players, the same cannot be said of thin clients, where market leaders Dell and HP lost market share hand over fist during the year.

The US duo’s collective share of thin-client shipments fell from 55.1 to 50.6 per cent between 2014 and 2015, with Dell seeing shipments drop 13.8 per cent and HP suffering a 15 per cent fall, IDC said.

NComputing came third as its shipments rose 12.8 per cent to 518,000, IDC said.

Wintel creates new channel incentive programme

wintel_blimp_featureIntel and Microsoft have set up a point-based channel incentive programme to get Intel’s Technology Provider partners to upgrade the 600 million PCs in use today that are five years old or older to the new Skylake-Windows 10 platform.

Dubbed the Accelerate Your Business initiative, North American custom builders selling Windows 10-Skylake systems will be rewarded with the new programme, available through Intel distributors.

Under the deal, custom builders in North America can earn points when they purchase Intel sixth-generation Core i5 or Core i7 components and Windows 10 Pro.

Partners must be active Gold or Platinum Intel Technology Providers. The promotion is valid until June 30.

According to Intel, the initiative will also include training, collateral and resource kits for reseller partners to help showcase the benefits of refreshing PCs.

Intel  is expected to announce the news at its Intel Solutions Summit later this week.  It is is not clear if the programme will be rolled out to its UK partners at the same time.


IT Security budgets increase

BouncerFoxFeatureCompanies have more money to spend on IT security, according to the latest figures from the Institute of Information Security Professionals (IISP)

The outfit has released the findings from its 2016 member survey which reveals 0that for over two thirds of members, information security budgets have increased. Only 15 per cent said that they had stayed the same.

However the report suggests that over 60 percent of respondents felt that budgets were still not keeping pace with the rise in the level of threats. Only seven per cent felt their budgets were rising faster than the level of threat.

Piers Wilson, Director at IISP said that in times of financial pressure or instability as we have seen in recent years, security is often seen as a supporting function or an overhead.

“Security budgets are hard won because they are about protection against future issues, so are a good indication of the state of risk awareness in the wider business community. While it is good news that businesses are increasing investment, it is clear that spending on security is still not at a level that matches the changing threat landscape.”

The survey also found that when it comes to recruitment, there is still a skills shortage but the problem doesn’t just lie in the number of people. Respondents point to a shortfall in the level of skills and experience, making staff training, development and retention crucial to the future of the industry.

The survey shows that there are growing challenges from more types of attack, more sources of threats, greater reliance on increasingly complex IT systems, shortage of effective security staff and a regulatory environment that is both fluid and challenging. However, the heightened awareness of security risks and the impacts of a breach are driving an increase in investment, skills, experience, education and professionalism.

“While there is clearly much more to be done, the results of the IISP Member survey are encouraging,” concludes Piers Wilson.

Dell sells consulting division to Japan’s NTT Data Corp

Michael DellDell is set to announce an agreement to sell its non-core information technology consulting division to Japan’s NTT Data Corp for $3.5 billion.

The move will allow Dell to trim some of the $43 billion in debt it is taking on to fund its pending cash-and-stock acquisition of data storage provider EMC, which is worth close to $60 billion.

NTT Data will have a bigger foothold in the United States, where it is looking to expand in healthcare IT, insurance and financial services consulting.

Announcement of any agreement is subject to NTT Data’s board approving the deal when it meets in Tokyo. Neither side is saying anything, although the deal had been rumoured for a couple of weeks.

Formerly known as Perot Systems, Dell’s IT services division is a major provider of technology consulting to hospitals and government departments. It was founded in 1988 by former US presidential candidate Ross Perot and was acquired by Dell in 2009 for $3.9 billion.

Dell has since divested some of the unit’s operations and integrated some others, which it is not including in the sale. Basically these are the same bits of the company which are redundant if Dell gets its paws on EMC.

Dell has also been speaking to private equity firms about selling Quest Software, which helps with information technology management, as well as SonicWall, an e-mail encryption and data security provider, Reuters has previously reported. Together, Quest and SonicWall could be worth up to $4 billion.



Big business still controls government SME contracts

John-ManzoniWhile the UK government policy is to encourage more SMEs to bid for government contracts it seems that big corporations still have their foot on the throats of the system.

Cabinet Office boss John Manzoni admitted to the Public Accounts Committee that more than 60 per cent of the government’s overall spending with SMEs is subcontracted through larger firms first.

Nigel Mills, Conservative MP for Amber Valley in Derbyshire and PAC member was not particularly impressed and said that when the government promised that we would give a lot more work to small and medium-sized businesses, I have a feeling that people probably thought that we meant that we would give it directly to them so that they would be contracting with the government.

“Whereas in actual fact, most of this work – probably something like 60 per cent of it – is through a prime contractor that feeds the work on. I sense that a lot of small businesses aren’t happy that some of the public sector pay for the work they do is creamed off by a prime contractor that then inflicts some other rather unfair terms on them. Do you actually think that it is a success when 60 per cent of the work that we give to SMEs is through somebody else first?”

However Manzoni said he thinks the figure is “fine” although he thought that the government had a lot more to do.

“We did business with 26,000 small and medium-sized enterprises last year, and we have worked with 85,000 different companies since we started counting in 2011, and I don’t think it is feasible for central government to interact individually with that number at that level – there are 5.5 million of them in this country.”

He said that there was a natural supply chain, and the government has to encourage its supply chain not to hold cash and pay at the last minute, and all those sorts of things.

“We have to work very hard on that, but I don’t think that a picture where we contract directly with all those small and medium-sized enterprises is a reasonable picture to paint.”


Google expands its cloud offerings worldwide

Google's Eric "Google Glass" SchmidtSearch Engine Google is expanding its data centre operations worldwide, announcing more than 10 new Google Cloud Platform regions to take on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The first two new regions are set for Oregon in the United States and Tokyo in Japan, and are expected to be up and running by the end of 2016. The rest will follow in 2017.

Varun Sakalkar, Google Cloud’s product manager said that the outfit was opening these new regions to help Cloud Platform customers deploy services and applications nearer to their own customers, for lower latency and greater responsiveness.

“With these new regions, even more applications become candidates to run on Cloud Platform, and get the benefits of Google-level scale and industry leading price/performance,” he said.

The cloud business is getting more cutthroat with AWS, Google, and Microsoft engaged in a bitter price war in recent years, attempting to undercut each other in order to attract customers.

Google has made moves this year to boost its cloud infrastructure strategy and is thinking of buying a number of cloud companies for acquisition, endeavouring to diversify its software and infrastructure offerings to match those of Microsoft Azure and AWS.

Interestingly, AWS has 12 regions globally, the same number Google today announced it was targetting. IBM will soon have 15 major data centres around the world.

Google has just four cloud regions, but with that sphere of influence set to quadruple into new markets across the globe, international customers are about to have a much tougher choice when it comes to choosing a public cloud provider.


Lenovo loses cloudy focus

lenovo2While everyone else wants focus on the cloud game, Lenovo has shut down its dedicated cloud division and spread out its work through various other parts of the Group.

The vendor’s Ecosystem and Cloud Services (ECS) business are being disbanded and cloud services will now be moved into the relevant product division. Lenovo claims to have made because it believes it “must continue to differentiate through a ‘device and cloud’ strategy”.

Replacing the ECS division is a Capital and Incubator Group which has been created to develop new, innovative technologies through Lenovo spinoffs or investments in standalone startups, while continuing to develop Lenovo’s overall cloud and big data platform”. George He has been named as the new unit’s head.

Lenovo’s PC Group will be re-named the PC & Smart Device Business Group. In addition to PCs, tablets, and two-in-ones, the unit will also encompass phablets, gaming products and smart-home wares. Gianfranco Lanci will be in charge of this group.

The vendor’s Enterprise Business is to be renamed the Data Centre Group (DCG), which will operate “as an end-to-end business within Lenovo”. The business will be run by Gerry Smith.

According to Lenovo all these changes will make the DCG a nimble and disruptive competitor, accelerating its open, partnership-focused approach with traditional, hyperscale and hyper converged customers.

Lenvo’s Mobile Business Group will reshuffle its management deck. Lenovo north America head Aymar de Lencquesaing teaming up with Xudong Chen, a veteran of the company’s Chinese business, to serve as co-presidents. Meanwhile, former Motorola president Rick Osterloh is leaving.

Yang Yuanqinq said: “In the last year, Lenovo has delivered solid results, the fast integration of Motorola and System x businesses, and a series of innovative product launches across our portfolio. Now we must further accelerate our transformation into a customer-centric company. The changes announced today will build on our successes, rapidly deliver this transformation and ultimately drive Lenovo into a new phase of growth.”


Small business confidence low

1-pike-schermer-quits-30sweb1Small businesses confidence has fallen to its lowest level in three years.

According to the small business index compiled by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) which measures firms’ prospects for the next three months gave a reading of 8.6 for the first quarter, down from 21.7 in the fourth quarter and its lowest level since the first quarter of 2013.

Small firms also saw the first decline in job creation nationwide since the second quarter of 2013, .

The FSB said the fall in confidence was partly due to fears over the strength of the UK and global economy while Government policies such as the national living wage and pensions auto-enrolment had also contributed.

It pointed out that the last time confidence was lower at the start of 2013 was “a time when there were still huge doubts over the strength of the UK economy and many were discussing the prospect of a ‘triple dip’ recession”.

FSB vice-chairman Sandra Dexter said: “Small business confidence has clearly faltered, which is why the welcome small business focus in the Budget is so important.

“We need a renewed push for growth and productivity – with policy makers delivering a sustained package of support for ambitious small firms.”

Blackstone to buy HPE’s Indian outsourcing business

India_flagPrivate equity outfit Blackstone is close to a deal to buying Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s controlling stake in Indian IT outsourcing services provider MphasiS.

The deal is worth about $940 million. HPE owns roughly 60.5 percent stake in MphasiS, and now wants out from the Indian outfit to shore up its capital.

Bids for MphasiS were submitted earlier this month and Blackstone is the front-runner for taking majority ownership of the mid-sized Indian IT services exporter.

Financial details of the possible deal were not immediately known. Based on MphasiS’ stock price on Thursday, the HPE stake in the Bengaluru-headquartered company is valued at about $940 million. The company’s total market value is about $1.6 billion.

MphasiS is a rival for Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys but is not likely to command a very high valuation as a major part of its business depends on subcontracting by HPE.

MphasiS used to generate half of its cash by providing services to HPE’s clients. This is now only 24 percent of the firm’s total revenue.

The MphasiS deal, if closed, will be one of the biggest M&A transactions in India’s $150 billion outsourcing sector and indicates that the outsourcing market may still have life in it.

MphasiS was formed in 2000 and six years later Electronics Data Systems Corp acquired a majority holding in the company. In 2008, EDS was acquired by Hewlett Packard, which resulted in the transfer of the shareholding to the computer maker.