Tanium hits back at poor press

-1x-1The security outfit is being battered more than a Mars Bar in a Scottish chippie lately with stories that   it exposed a hospital’s network during demos and allegations of staff mistreatment.

In letter to customers, Orion Hindawi had to answer allegations that Hindawi mistreats staff, and then by a Wall Street Journal report claiming that it exposed a hospital’s network in demonstrations without its permission.

Hindawi said that that many would be “tired of waking up to the bad Tanium press stories hitting your inbox in the last week.

“I don’t think they’re painting an accurate picture of our company, so I’m reaching out directly to all of you to give our side of this,” he wrote.

Hindawi stressed that Tanium did not have access to its customers’ on-premise installations of Tanium – it is an on-premise solution – unless they have explicitly provided it to the vendor.

It cannot demonstrate customer environments with Tanium, although it could have done more to obscure and anonymise the identity of the specific hospital in question.

But viewers “didn’t connect the demo environment to that customer for years, and we do not believe we ever put our customer at risk with the data we showed”, he said.

Hindawi also addressed reports alleging that he fired workers before they could acquire shares and ridiculed staff in front of their co-workers.

“It is true that I personally can be hard-edged, and that I’ve had to apologise to people at Tanium when I’ve gotten too sharp at times,” he wrote.

“What is not true is that we have a toxic culture. Mission-oriented, hard-charging, disciplined, even intense, but not toxic. We do not belittle each other at work, and it is completely untrue that we fire people to save a few shares of stock.”

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.

Gartner warns of currency woes

Databroker_scrooge_mcduckGartner has warned that currency headwinds will cause the market some major headaches and have already reduced IT spending forecasts

Gartner’s analysis of IT spending this year has been downgraded as a result of the position of the dollar. The analyst house is still expecting things to be up on 2016 but only by 1.4 percent instead of the previously expected 2.7 percent .

There should be about $3.5 trillion spent on IT this year but billions have been shaved off the potential amount because of ongoing issues around the dollar.

John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner said that the strong US dollar has cut $67 billion out of his 2017 IT spending forecast.

“We expect these currency headwinds to be a drag on earnings of U.S.-based multinational IT vendors through 2017.”

The big US firms have already been forced to react to exchange rates with price rises and the chance of more problems will not be welcome to resellers or users.

Gartner is hoping that with the benefit of its warnings the industry can deal with the challenges and try to mitigate some of the impact.

The other headache that the analyst house has identified is the move away from physical servers towards hosted cloud services. The trend is helping the data centre market return to growth after being in a negative position in 2016, but it is hitting some of the established hardware brands.

“Enterprises are moving away from buying servers from the traditional vendors and instead renting server power in the cloud from companies such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft. This has created a reduction in spending on servers which is impacting the overall data center system segment,” said Lovelock.

Breaking down the forecast further there will be a dip in IT services, coming in at 2.3 percent in 2017, compared to 3.6 percent a year earlier.

On the hardware front the tablet demand will continue to wane but those selling Windows 10 business PCs will continue to enjoy growth as more customers invest in that technology.

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.

Curse of the dollar plagues IT spending

dollarSoothsayers at Gartner group have been examining the entrails of a fat ram and are warning that the dollar will provide a major headache for IT spending.

Gartner’s analysis of IT spending this year has been downgraded as a result of the position of the dollar. The analyst house is still expecting things to be better than 2016 but only by 1.4 percent instead of the previously expected 2.7 percent.

On the plus said that is $3.5 trillion spent on IT this year but billions have been shaved off the potential amount because of ongoing issues around the dollar.

John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner said that the  strong U.S. dollar has cut $67 billion from our 2017 IT spending forecast.

“We expect these currency headwinds to be a drag on earnings of U.S.-based multinational IT vendors through 2017.”

The big US firms have already been forced to react to exchange rates with price rises and the chance of more problems will not be welcome to resellers or users.

Gartner is hoping that with the benefit of its warnings the industry can deal with the challenges and try to mitigate some of the impact.

The move away from  physical servers towards hosted cloud services is not really helping much. The trend is helping the data centre market return to growth after being in a negative position in 2016, but it is hitting some of the established hardware brands.

“Enterprises are moving away from buying servers from the traditional vendors and instead renting server power in the cloud from companies such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft. This has created a reduction in spending on servers which is impacting the overall data center system segment,” said Lovelock.

Breaking down the forecast further there will be a dip in IT services, coming in at 2.3 percent in 2017, compared to 3.6 percent a year earlier.

On the hardware front the tablet demand will continue to wane but those selling Windows 10 business PCs will continue to enjoy growth as more customers invest in that technology.

Google offers piles of won to LG

google-ICGoogle  has offered to invest at least one trillion won ($880.29 million) to help LG Display boost its output of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens for smartphones.

According to the Electronic Times Google offered the investment to secure a stable supply of flexible OLED screens for its next Pixel smartphones.

Samsung Electronics’s flagship Galaxy smartphones use the bendable displays, while Apple is expected to start using them in at least some of its next iPhones. It is thought that this will create a short supply in the industry, which Google wants to head off at the past.

The story has not been confirmed by any of the parties involved. The Pixel does not really sell well enough to cause Samsung or Apple any problems.  It is more of a reference phone designed to attract the interest of other partners, although Google has been slammed for trying to do a lot more with that concept than it should.

Still Google i

Amazon Business might be a new reseller channel

amazonsThe UK launch of Amazon Business might provide some resellers with another way to reach SMEs.

Most people don’t see Amazon as a channel, but the online bookseller’s move to step up its B2B sales might make it more useful.

Amazon Business means that sellers can sell via the etailer to businesses offering VAT pricing and invoicing and special offers and discounts.

The retailer has been running its Amazon Business operation in the US since 2015 and seen a billion dollars of sales to 400,000 customers in its first year. It also enjoyed decent levels of success with the German launch last December.

All this means that the channel could get a different route to reach SME customers that are using Amazon to buy other things and would happily add items like laptops and consumables to their shopping baskets.

Bill Burkland, Head of Amazon Business UK said that whether you are a sole trader, a buyer in a mid-size company or a Chief Procurement Officer in a large multi-national organisation, Amazon Business has the products and capabilities to serve your needs.

“Amazon Business combines more than one hundred million business products with a new set of unique business features – from reporting and analytics to spending limits and purchasing workflow approvals – making it everything you love about Amazon, now for business,” he added.

Amazon is offering free one day delivery on orders of £30 or more and will give customers the chance to use its business analytics tools to track their spending.

Fintech could poach business from bankers


Bank CrisisLarge financial institutions
across the world could lose 24 percent of their revenues to financial technology companies over the next three to five years.

Beancounters at PriceWaterhouseCoopers have added up some numbers and divided by their collective shoe size and decided that the finance industry is about to get a big kicking from FinTech outfits.

Of the more than 1300 financial industry executives polled by the professional services firm, 88 percent said they feared their business was at risk to standalone financial technology companies in areas such as payments, money transfers and personal finance, the study found.

PwC’s annual Global FinTech Report said that consumer services such as personal loans, were seen as most at risk.

The new companies take advantage of new technologies to offer better digital services to customers, in areas ranging from financial advice to life insurance.

To counter the threat, financial institutions expected to increase their collaboration with fintech companies, with 82 percent of respondents saying partnerships with tech-savvy firms would increase over the next three to five years, the PwC report found.

To improve their digital offering and remain competitive, large firms have been looking to work more closely with young technology companies through a number of initiatives such as corporate venture arms and innovation centers.

In his annual shareholder letter published on Tuesday, JPMorgan Chase & Co chief executive Jamie Dimon highlighted some of the bank’s most recent collaborations with fintech companies in areas including mortgages, small business lending and payments.

While collaboration is on the rise, entrepreneurs and executives often note that several hurdles are hindering more effective cooperation. IT security, regulatory uncertainty and differences in management and culture, were cited by respondents to PwC’s report as major challenges hindering partnerships.

While adoption of the nascent technology is not expected to happen quickly, the survey found 55 percent  of respondents planned to adopt it by next year, and 77 percent by 2020.

Intexit McAfee looks to channel for new life

mcafeeHaving escaped Intel’s clutches, security outfit McAfee is looking to its channel to provide it with a way forward.

Intel bought McAfee for $7.7 billion back in 2010 and announced last September that it had agreed to sell its stake to TPG Capital for $4.2 billion. Thoma Bravo has also become an investor through an agreement with TPG and former Intel Security general manager Christopher Young has been named McAfee CEO.

McAfee is sticking with a current partner programme that runs through until 2018 along with its existing product plans.

But the outfit is claiming that the “new” McAfee will be reacting differently to threats and creating more opportunity for its channel partners.

The firm has a well-established and loyal channel and a brand that is already well known by partners and customers.

Young indicated what could lie ahead saying that as a standalone company with a clear purpose, McAfee gains the agility to unite people, technology and organisations against our common adversaries and ensure our technology-driven future is safe.

Amazon sets up business marketplace

amazonOnline book-seller Amazon  has launched its business marketplace in Britain, selling products like office supplies, power tools, cleaning materials and lab equipment targeting an online sector worth $120.44 billion a year.

Amazon started its business marketplace in the United States in April 2015, and managed a billion dollars worth of sales in its first year, before launching in Germany four months ago.

It said Amazon Business would serve enterprises ranging in size from sole traders to multinationals, as well as universities, hospitals and charities.

Amazon Business will sell more than 100m products and is targeted at small, medium, and large firms. It includes features that are tailored for the business community including free one-day delivery on orders over £30, VAT-exclusive pricing and in-depth analytics that allow purchasing managers to track how much they are spending on their account.

The products the service will sell range from laptops to thermal imaging cameras and cleaning products.

Bill Burkland, head of Amazon Business UK, said: “Whether you are a sole trader, a buyer in a mid-size company or a chief procurement officer in a large multinational organisation, Amazon Business has the products and capabilities to serve your needs.

“Amazon Business combines more than 100m business products with a new set of unique business features – from reporting and analytics to spending limits and purchasing workflow approvals.”

Computacenter buys cloud player TeamUltra

lightning-cloudComputacenter has written a cheque for cloud player TeamUltra in a move which will strengthened its relationship with ServiceNow.

TeamUltra was a gold partner for in the ServiceNow ecosystem and now Computacenter has its 60 specialists to play with.

Computacenter has worked with TeamUltra since last year when the two firms delivered a series of projects for financial, utility and pharma customers.

Mike Norris, CEO of Computacenter, said his outfit had  announced its sales and service partnership with ServiceNow six months ago. Now it was making a strategic acquisition to enhance its commitment to the ServiceNow platform.

“The TeamUltra acquisition means that we can link ServiceNow’s cloud-based Service Management platform for ITSM, customer service management, security operations, IT operations management and more, with Computacenter’s award-winning Next Generation Service Desk (NGSD) and Digital Workplace offering, to transform the end user experience,” he added.

TeamUltra will continue to run as an independent operation and will become Computacenter’s ServiceNow delivery arm.

Mike Beale, managing director of TeamUltra, said the acquisition meant the outfit could continue its  “independent and agile” market approach with local decision making support while using its own expertise and complementary solutions portfolios.

Michael Weiss, head of group strategy and marketing at Computacenter said TeamUltra’s specialists and consultants delivering process consultancy, implementation, bespoke training, support services and integrated solutions will help sort out Computacenter’s Digital Workplace, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Security Services.

No word on how much the deal set back Computacenter.

 

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.

Oracle investigating buying Accenture

oracleThe dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn which claims that data base maker Oracle wants to write a cheque for the government outsourcer Accenture.

The database giant has hired a team of consultants to conduct due diligence to “explore the synergies that could be created if they [Oracle] bought Accenture”.

Oracle’s money men and women are weighing up the pros and cons including the potential impact on Oracle’s wider channel.

While this sort of thing happens all the time, Oracle is rather serious about it even if it is a little bit daring. Accenture has a market cap of $77.5 billion, and shareholders will expect a premium offer so it is set to cost a bomb.

It would dwarf some of Oracle’s biggest deals so far which have included a $10 billion buy of PeopleSoft, a $7.4 billion deal for Sun Microsystems, and $9.3 billion for Netsuite.

Still it would give Oracle some rather huge government-based customers to hold by their ankles and shake until the money comes out.

Cisco partners mull over its new network operating system

Cisco Kid Cisco is planning to release a new network operating system that will allow users to run its most sophisticated networking features on older and lower-cost Cisco routers and switches.

What is interesting about the tech is that it could disrupt Cisco’s networking hardware business as it will only run on Cisco switches.

Dubbed Lindt, it will enable Cisco customers to move away from switches based on proprietary high-performance Cisco chips to Cisco hardware that works with lower-cost chips.

The move is seen as part of Cisco becoming less hardware focused and some of its partners think it is rather a good time to do that.

Cisco partners have always had the problem of linking software to the hardware so that they always had to renew the software with the product.

Having the flexibility of owning the software and having more flexibility of changing the platform underneath that makes a more likely sale.

Solution providers said Cisco selling stand-alone software could make Cisco a more valuable company in the long run.

Cisco has been putting networking functions on more platforms, including virtual switches for VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V virtualized and private cloud environments.

It has been also setting up more software-defined networking technology which removes the management layer and switching technology from physical switches to move the networking functionality into the network itself.