Tag: Cloud

Paypal dumps cloud supplier for not spying

paypal-logoGermany’s Seafile cloud suppler  claims it was forced to stop using PayPal because it refused the payment company’s illegal demands to spy on its users’ data.

Seafile is a Dropbox rival and it told its customers that they would no longer be able to pay for the service using PayPal—the only payment method that the company had in place.

CEO Silja Jackson said the outfit was looking into alternative payment services, but currently it was running a cloud service and not being paid.

Seafile was founded in 2009 by students at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and has gained enough traction in Germany to form a subsidiary there. It offers an open-source file-synchronization system that organisations can install on their own servers—for a fee, if they want enterprise features—and last October the firm decided to also start offering a paid version that’s hosted on Seafile’s German servers, for individuals and small businesses.

Jackson said PayPal contacted Seafile in early June with a questionnaire about its service, and by posting a notice on Seafile’s PayPal account to say it was violating an unspecified part of PayPal’s terms of use.

Jackson thought that PayPal classified Seafile as a service for illegal file sharing. She told them that since it did not offer free accounts and that customers needed to disclose their address when signing up.

PayPal then demanded that Seafile monitor its customers’ data traffic and files for illegal content, and send the payment firm detailed statistics about the types of files synchronised over the service.

Jackson said that would violate privacy laws as giving PayPal statistical information would violate customers’ privacy rights.”

Legal experts have confirmed that had Seafile done as it was told it would have been taken to the cleaners under EU and German privacy laws. When Jackson told PayPal that Seafile was being required to break EU privacy laws, the outfit dropped them like a hot potato.

Oracle’s whistleblower suit opens a can of worms

5707c0e99b6aa.imageThe “whistleblower” who claimed she was told to fudge cloud Oracle’s cloud accounts has done something that Larry Ellison’s PR team should have expected  – it has put a focus on the database maker’s cloud accounting policies.

The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in US District Court in San Francisco by former Oracle senior finance manager Svetlana Blackburn, also revives longstanding questions about proper accounting when software and computer services are bought on a subscription basis rather than as a single package.

Blackburn said she was required by Oracle management to “fit square data into round holes” to make Oracle’s cloud services’ results look better. She alleges that her bosses instructed her to add millions of dollars of accruals for expected business “with no concrete or foreseeable billing to support the numbers.”

Oracle is reassuring everyone that its numbers are correct, but the fact Blackburn claims she was fired by Oracle for complaining means that the allegations are not going away. Oracle is compounding the problem by threatening to sue Blackburn and claiming she was fired for poor performance.

Blackburn does not use the word “fraud” in her lawsuit, but it might be confusing for a lay person to spot the difference. It is clear Oracle’s sales force has been offered big incentives to book cloud deals. Cloud software is growing fast while traditional software sales slow, companies have an incentive to play up their ability to operate in the cloud.

By not handling Blackburn correctly and even escalating the situation, Oracle’s image is suffering and its shares fell almost  four percent the day after the lawsuit was made public.

It is highlighting a problem that software companies have in booking software sales as cloud or traditional.

The most nebulous part of cloud accounting concerns situations where the customer buys a product that can be used partly in the cloud, and partly on its own hardware.

US accounting rules state that in cases when use is mixed, companies should allocate the revenue between traditional, or licensed software; and cloud, or hosted software.

US Securities and Exchange Commission has investigated IBM over how it reports its cloud-computing revenue although this went no-where. Salesforce was also investigated which ultimately led to the company restating its 2002 and 2003 results, contributed to a delay in Salesforce’s 2004 initial public offering.

But it can get messier. In 2006, software maker Computer Associates had to restate past financial results after an internal audit found issues concerning stock options and how the company booked some subscription revenue. Its former chief executive, Sanjay Kumar, pleaded guilty to securities fraud in 2006 and was sentenced to 12 years in jail.

This was clearly something that Oracle does not want, but for some reason its legal team and PR Team did not think about this particular fall out. We predict that things are going to get a lot worse for Oracle, even if it ultimately wins.

Exclusive poaches Arrow and Computerlinks’s David Ellis

dave-ellis-arrow-formerly-computerlinks-2014-320x320French-based Exclusive Group has poached Arrow executive David Ellis to head up the distributor’s global services.

Exclusive says Ellis will use his experience in supporting new and disruptive technologies to roll out new services offerings for the cybersecurity marke, which probably means the outfit’s cloud services.

Barrie Desmond, COO of Exclusive Group, said that the company was  seeing  more global deals and our ability to support these will add even more value to our vendor and channel partners.

“Global services are a key part of our growth strategy over the next three to five years and Ellis will play a crucial role in achieving this. I’m pleased to welcome him on board and looking forward to working with him for what promises to be an exciting journey ahead.”

Ellis  was a key manager for Arrow in EMEA, responsible for vendor business development and the roll-out of new propositions. Before that, he was director of New Technology and Services at Computerlinks before its acquisition by Arrow. In his 13 years with Computerlinks he built and grew an e-Security offering before assuming responsibility for services, emerging technology and market sectors.

He said that Exclusive has built an enviable reputation for disrupting traditional value-add distribution and I’m really excited to now be part of this.

“In my time within the industry I’ve identified and brought to market a number of new technologies and services, and have seen the cybersecurity market evolve at breakneck speed. I can’t wait to start helping our vendor and channel partners achieve even more value from their relationship with Exclusive Group through new global service offerings.”

 

Companies reject cloud for fog

Fog.PNGEnterprise CIOs are starting to twig that the cloud is not all it is cracked up to be and are looking at a new buzzword – the Fog –  instead.

One of the problems with the cloud is that many of the services and apps, and data used in critical decision-making are better kept on premise or in smaller enterprise data centres. Cloud goes against the demand for mobility too as the data needs to be kept closer to the machine.

Now Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, Intel and ARM, as well as researchers at Princeton University, are betting that the future of enterprise computing will be a hybrid model where information, applications and services are split between the cloud and the fog. Cisco came up with the name “fog computing” you can probably tell.

Cloud based data centres are huge and are working ok for now. But when, and if the IoT appears on the scene things are going to get messy.

When everything from cars and drones to video cameras and home appliances are transmitting enormous amounts of data from trillions of sensors, network traffic will grow exponentially. Real-time services that require split-second response times or location-awareness for accurate decision-making will need to be deployed closer to the edge to be useful, something which would cause the cloud to break.

The only thing which will save the cloud really is increased technology,  or coming up with a hybrid approach to data. That will enable distributed fog networks in enterprise data centres, around cities, in vehicles, in homes and neighbourhoods, and even on your person via wearable devices and sensors.

If this sounds like the old “distributed computing” over “Centralised computing” debate which happened as the Internet was starting to arrive, it pretty much is. What Cisco is suggesting is incredibly complex networks.

IBM announces blockchain services for cloud

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudBig Blue has  announced new services to help companies design and develop blockchain technology in a secure environment in the cloud.

Blockchain is the tech behind bitcoin and does a shedloads of functions such as recording and verifying transactions. The big idea is that the it can create cost-efficient business networks without requiring central control.

Jerry Cuomo, vice president, Blockchain at IBM, said in a statement that the only problem with blockchain is concerns about security.

“While there is a sense of urgency to pioneer blockchain for business, most organisations need help to define the ideal cloud environment that enables blockchain networks to run securely in the cloud,” he said.

IBM said it is addressing security problems in several ways, including cloud services with the highest Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS 140-2) and Evaluation Assurance Levels (EAL) in the industry to support the use of blockchain in government, financial services and healthcare.

The technology company also announced the opening of an IBM “Garage” in New York and London. These “garages” are similar to research labs on the blockchain created by several major financial institutions over the past year. IBM’s garages are dedicated to helping clients design and develop their blockchain networks, said Cuomo.

Garages in Tokyo, London and Singapore will also open in the coming weeks to let customers talk to IBM experts on the design and implementation of blockchain for business.

Comparex sales deal looks dead in the water

charly_poseMicrosoft enterprise licensing house Comparex is having difficulty selling itself off.

The Raiffeisen Banking Group-owned reseller hired investment banker Jefferies to manage a sales process in May and by September last we heard there were two private equity firms left in the running.

An agreement was expected for the end of 2015 but the dark satanic rumour mill claims that the talks collapsed and Comparex was left without a buyer.

The private equity buyers did not see licensing or software asset management strategy as being a good deal any more. Microsoft thinks that everyone will be using consumption-based licences through Azure and Office 365 making an Enterprise Agreement pointless.

Vole has reduced the profits licensing houses can generate from license reselling and recently confirmed that it will gradually kill off EAs in favour of Microsoft Products and Services Agreements and Cloud Solution Partner purchasing models.

Comparex resells software from 70 other vendors including Adobe, CA, IBM, Citrix and VMware but its primary vendor is Vole.

Peruni Holdings, which is a system integrator owned by Raiffeisen Bank, has owned Comparex since 2011.

Amazon sticks Jassy on Cloud

andy_jassy_amazonAmazon has promoted Andy Jassy to the job of CEO of the industry’s top public cloud infrastructure business.

He has already been doing the job, more or less, since he founded AWS in 2003 with a team of 57 people and has presided over the most dominant cloud business in the world, with more than a million customers in 190 countries.

Jassy’s promotion, which Amazon announced in a blog post comes after CEO Jeff Bezos revealed in his annual letter to shareholders earlier this week that AWS is on track to reach $10 billion in sales this fiscal year.

Bezos said in the letter that AWS is larger and growing faster than Amazon itself was after its first decade in business. He also pointed to AWS’ addition of 722 “significant” new features and services in 2015 — 40 percent more than it added in 2014 — as evidence that AWS is innovating faster than any other cloud vendor.

AWS, along with Amazon Prime and Marketplace, are examples of big bets the company has made that have paid off. Jeff Wilke, senior vice president of Amazon’s consumer business and the executive in charge of those units, has also been promoted to the title of CEO Worldwide Consumer, Bezos said.

 

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.

 

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.”

 

Microsoft’s cloud partners make a killing

cloud (264 x 264)Beancounters at IDC have been adding up some numbers and reached the conclusion that Microsoft’s cloud  partners are making a killing.

IDC and Microsoft released a report with the catchy title “The Booming Cloud Opportunity” which appears to be the first in a series. Book two will probably take place a few years after book one and feature some of the original characters.

It is based on detailed interviews with 25 partners with solid credentials, like Christopher Hertz of New Signature, Mark Seeley of Intellinet and Geeman Yip of BitTitan.

Basically it says that Microsoft’s cloud Partners have double the growth of those who are less-cloudy. IDC defines cloud partners as companies that get at least half of their revenues from the cloud. Of the 750 Microsoft partners they surveyed, about a fifth of them hit that mark. That top tier of cloud partners reported overall company revenue growth of 24 percent on average, while the rest saw growth of 12 percent.

Next it says that Cloud Partners have 1.5 the gross profit  of the less-cloudy . The figure for the cloud partner group is 41 percent gross profit, while the rest had 27 percent.

Apparently Cloud Partners have 1.8x the recurring revenue of the others. The cloud partners reported that 52 percent of their overall revenues, not just cloud revenues, came from recurring revenue sources. That compares to about 29 percent of revenues coming from recurring sources for the rest of the partners in the survey.

Other findings are that Cloud Partners sell $5.87 of their own offerings for every dollar of Microsoft Cloud Solutions. The rest of the surveyed partners sold $3.71 of their own offerings for every $1 of Microsoft cloud solutions. Importantly on this one, only a little over 400 partners answered.

The IDC report does warn that the surveys don’t always reveal causation.”There’s a lot going on inside all of these partner businesses that could account for the differences other than how much Microsoft cloud services the companies sell.

The report goes against the  popular channel opinion on cloud — that selling cloud services is a recipe for lower margins and lower profitability.

Aecom boss says that cloud is overhyped

originalA top Fortune 500 CIO says he is lukewarm about the cloud claiming that it is overhyped.

Tom Peck, chief information officer of Los Angeles-based Aecom said that Partners clinging to upfront payment models and a lack of understanding of the difference between true cloud and “as-a-service” has left him thinking the cloud is just a facade to appease Wall Street.

Speaking during the XChange Solution Provider 2016 keynote Peck said that his biggest beef with the cloud is that he sees too many product companies attempting to sell cloud like it’s on-premise hardware and demanding upfront payments.

Aecom would prefer to see cloud delivered as a subscription service with a true pay-as-you-go option, but Peck said such a model has remained elusive.

“This doesn’t make us happy, because all I’m doing is paying you a markup for something branded ‘cloud,’ when, in reality, it’s on-premise. It’s just in somebody else’s premise,” Peck said.

Part of the challenge is on the buyer side, with many end users failing to understand the difference between true cloud and Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service or Software-as-a-Service offerings, he said.

While Aecom sees a benefit in being able to spin up compute cycles on demand and having someone else manage its infrastructure, Peck said the elasticity of cloud is often overstated.

“The cloud is only as elastic as you’re willing to pay, because you still need to predict hardware and compute cycles and all that stuff,” Peck said.

Salesforce does better than expected

Salesforce logoSalesforce reported higher than expected quarterly revenue and raised its full-year revenue forecasts.

In a statement the outfit said that customers were stepping up purchases of its web-based sales and marketing software despite economic uncertainty.

Salesforce is becoming a barometer for the cloud-computing sector. It has done well as companies wanted cheaper and easier cloud-software services.

Salesforce highlighted new or expanded deals with customers such as Charles Schwab, the financial-services company, and consumer-goods maker Unilever.

Chief Financial Officer Mark Hawkins on a call with analysts that while the papers seem to be full of doom Salesforce has not seen an economic impact.

Part of the reason, executives said on the call, was that Salesforce often skipped over the information technology department, an area where flat spending is expected this year, and sold to other departments.

Some technology companies that have flagged potential weakness this year sell infrastructure equipment or other products that typically fall under an IT budget.

The company raised its full-year revenue forecast to $8.08 billion-$8.12 billion, from $8.0 billon-$8.1 billion.

In the fourth quarter ended January 31, revenue from sales cloud – a suite of software that allows companies to track leads, forecast and collaborate around sales opportunities – rose 12.3 percent to $708.9 million.

The net loss narrowed to $25.5 million, or 4 cents per share, from $65.8 million, or 10 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 25.3 percent to $1.81 billion, above analysts’ estimate of $1.79 billion.

IBM to spruce up channel

ibm-officeBiggish Blue has released details of its revamped channel programme which will start in January 2017.

Apparently the men in suits want to better define the relationship a partner has with IBM and have a common terms used across its channel programmes.

Like most things IBMish this will involve lots of business speak. For example IBM is standardising on the term “competencies” and will have 44 “competencies” in place by the beginning of 2017.

IBM will have new cloud incentives that last the entire life of the renewal process and there will be a programme that specifically rewards builders of IBM embedded systems.

Some new IBM services will only be resold by channel partner. These will be aimed at midmarket customers that the IBM direct sales force does not normally bother with.

IBM wants to put more cash into its channel and give resources to partners that develop its intellectual property.

To fund those investments, IBM is also limiting the amount of money it invests in partners that focus mainly on order fulfilment.

Partners will be assigned a platinum, gold or silver designation based on the amount of revenue being generated over a specific time period, customer satisfaction with that partner and the number of competencies attained. The actual size of the partner will be less relevant in attaining those designations.

EU gives its cloud to BT, IBM, Accenture and Atos

Eu-flag-vector-material2The European Commission has announced BT, IBM, Accenture and Atos will get most of the contracts to supply its new cloud services.

Contracts were broken out into three “lots,” covering a private cloud setup, public cloud setup, and platform-as-a-service, for which it will pay $38.5 million.
The whole lot will be platformed by Telecom Italia which is a bit unfortunate. That outfit is under resourced and its mobile arm TIM just adopted the iChing hexagram for “standing still” as its logo.waiting

It is unusual that Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Amazon and none of the other big cloud outfits managed to get their paws on the EU’s clouds.

The Commission said that all the systems will be physically located within the European Union, the Commission noted, “to be compliant with EU data handling requirements” basically it means that the US will not be able to steal it.

According to the announcement, the contract will “enable the Commission to follow the ceaseless pace of today’s technological race.”

The EU hopes that use of cloud services will help it come up with future improvements to how it works, such as using “Big Data.”

The private cloud service will provide computing and storage facilities through a private network link connected to the EC’s data centres, and will be hosted by a single provider. The public cloud infrastructure will be run over the public internet. And the public platform-as-a-service will include both operating systems and database services run over the cloud.

The first cloud services should appear this year.