Tag: Cloud

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.

Oracle predicts explosion of born-in-the-cloud partners

oracleOracle has claimed that the launch of its new Cloud Programme will see an “explosion” of born-in-the-cloud partners coming to the firm.

Dubbed the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN), the programme has launched yesterday and is Oracle’s first cloud-focused partner scheme.

There are four accreditations: Cloud Standard, Cloud Select, Cloud Premier and Cloud Elite.

Cloud Standard requires partners to have a certain cloud specialisation and the benefits are focused on moving these partners to the next level, Cloud Select.

Cloud Select has a $2m cloud-revenue requirement and partners have to designate sales and marketing resources. The benefits of this level include MDF funds, Oracle’s cloud discounts and more visibility at Oracle cloud events.

The Cloud Premier level has a $6m cloud-revenue requirement and partners must have hired number of certified cloud specialists. The benefits include dedicated account managers, sales training and enhanced partner visibility.

The Cloud Elite has a $20m cloud-revenue requirement and for the Global Cloud Elite level this rises to $40m. The benefits include increased go-to-market support with free cloud environments for development tests and demos.

Oracle hopes the programme would help migrate existing partners and attract new types of channel players. It thinks that it opens the partner programme up to the regional “born-in-the-cloud digital natives” that have ruled out Oracle because it did not really fit into their structure.

These cloud resellers are often focused on the mid-market which is not an area Oracle has been involved. Oracle’s not having a cloud programme. But with the OPN programme, and Oracle’s drive into the mid-market, he expects to see a flurry of this new type of partner coming to the vendor.
Oracle has more than 800 UK partners and when asked how many more resellers it wants to recruit more with its new OPN programme.

Cisco releases new tool in cloudy push

Cisco Kid Desperate to provide a better cloud package, Cisco has released a new monitoring tool.

On the face of it Cloud Consumption as a Service, which monitors how employees use third-party software is a bit of a yawn, however it could make Cisco a little more useful to its partners who can flog it on the basis that it will solve a lot of complicated regulations around the privacy of data.

It  helps companies manage software employees might download and use independently, for example email programs like Google’s Gmail or file-storage services like Dropbox.

While the services, which IT professionals dub “shadow IT,” provide convenience for employees, they can create headaches if they expose vulnerability to malware attacks, eat up bandwidth, or fail to comply with laws.

Shadow IT is creating a growing corporate challenge. Most companies with over 5,000 employees estimate around 90 such services are deployed around their computer infrastructure, but the actual number is typically over 1,200, according to Cisco executive Bob Dimicco.

Of those, more than 40 fall in the high-risk category.

Cisco plans to bill monthly at a cost of $1-$2 per employee, will help Cisco expand its offerings in the fast-growing business area of cloud services.

Cisco  has been trying to beef up its offerings catering to the increasingly Internet-based technology culture at many companies. It has introduced products like Cisco Meraki, which controls routing and security over the Internet, and Cisco WebEx, which offers Internet-based video conferencing and similar products.

Many companies, including Cloudability, Netskope and Skyhigh, offer services similar to Cisco’s cloud consumption service, but Cisco says its product goes beyond the others because it offers more details on usage and about each individual third-party app provider, such as if it complies with relevant regulations.

 

 

Oracle user groups back licensing policy

oracleWhile Oracle has been blasted by the Campaign for Clear Licensing for its Byzantine approach, two Oracle user groups have backed it.

Earlier this week CCL called for the supplier to make its software licensing more cloud friendly and slammed Oracle’s approach to measuring successful software licence sales.

John Matelski,  president of the Independent Oracle Users Group, noted in a blog: “I was extremely surprised and dismayed to learn that there are still those in the customer community that would suggest their relationship with Oracle is predominantly hostile and filled with deep-rooted mistrust – particularly when it comes to licensing and audits.

“Oracle is not just a solutions provider, but rather they are a partner in helping promote the success (or failure) of every organisation they do business with – for me, failure is not an option!”

Debra Lilley, a member advocate and board member of the UKOUG, wrote in a blog post: “Users are very passionate when they feel wronged and immediately after an audit there can be a lot of shouting, and we hear of audits that happen in the last quarter and are then seen as revenue generating.

“The discussions need to be outside actual audits, with less emotion. Oracle License Management Services (LMS) are trying to engage more with customers. Mark Hurd recently talked about employing 10x more staff whose only role is to improve relationships with customers. This is something user groups have asked for repeatedly, so let’s give them the chance to demonstrate the payback to customers.”

 

2016 could be the year of the public cloud

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudA battery of reports suggests that more companies are going to push data onto the public cloud this year.

Public cloud setups are being suggested as a good idea for resellers to push on startups and software test and development, but now they are making its way into the corporate data centre and enterprise.

A recent IDC study reveals that spending on public cloud IT infrastructure will increase by nearly 30 percent to $20.5 billion in 2015 and now a Dimensional Research survey, released by Cloud Cruiser, a provider of software solutions for hybrid cloud analytics, finds that more companies are committing to public clouds for enterprise applications.

They are particularly interested in ERP and CRM all of which means good business for cloud services providers.

One of the stranger findings is that all this is taking place with very little information available about cloud costs and consumption.

It is looking like channel players need to provide “solutions” that help customers gain greater usage visibility and cost transparency into their public cloud investments and, if they pull it off, they could be laughing all the way to the bank.

Adobe’s cloudy subscription flowers

Cloud computing - photo Mike MageeAdobe’s cloud-based subscription model is doing wonders for its bottom line.

The outfit reported a profit that topped market expectations for the ninth straight quarter on strong subscriber growth for its Creative Cloud package of software tools, which includes Photoshop.

More than 833,000 subscribers signed up for Creative Cloud in the fourth quarter ended Nov. 27, more than the 678,200 additions analysts were expecting.

Creative Cloud includes graphic design tool Photoshop, web design software Dreamweaver and web video building application Flash, among other software.

Adobe, which has seen strong growth from Creative Cloud, has been nimble enough to attract users other than enterprises and professionals to the software suite.

More than half of its customers subscribe to the highest-priced full Creative Cloud while the rest subscribe to individual products. Photoshop Lightroom was the fastest growing.

Apparently this is because it is attracting new users from hobbyists and consumers and people that would never buy the Creative products before.

San Jose-based Adobe has been switching to web-based subscriptions from traditional licensed software to enjoy a more predictable recurring revenue stream.

Revenue from its digital media business, which houses Creative Cloud, jumped 35 percent to $875.3 million.

Revenue from its digital marketing business, which offers tools for businesses to analyze customer interactions and manage social media content, rose 2.3 percent to $382.7 million.

Total revenue rose to $1.31 billion.

Despite the 21.7 percent increase in fourth-quarter revenue only matching analysts’ estimates, a much lower 3.4 percent bump in total operating costs also helped Adobe’s profit beat estimates.

Adobe’s net income soared to $222.7 million, or 44 cents per share, in the quarter, from $88.1 million, or 17 cents per share, a year earlier.