Tag: Cloud

Trust me. I’m a cloud

Clouds in Oxford: pic Mike MageeCompanies worried about the dangers of cloud computing can set their minds at ease, if a recent survey from Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) is to be credited.

Based on questions asked of 250 senior IT business decision makers, it shows 69 percent of firms already use cloud based services.

But it’s all a bit of a mix because 86 percent of the respondents said they had a hybrid mix including cloud, servers on their premises and hosted services.

Piers Linney, CEO of Outsourcery reckons that a gradual move to the cloud happens because companies don’t want to replace their entire systems or only use cloud for some aspects of their businesses.

You won’t be surprised to learn that Outsourcery offers cloud services and no doubt Outsourcery is happy to learn that the survey shows 91 percent of those surveyed are happy with providers.

Redstor appoints new channel sales manager


rstoreblogCloud and data protection company Redstor has appointed a new channel sales manager in the UK, Richard Morecroft.

Redstor hopes Morecroft will bring about increased support and focus for existing channel partners.

He previously worked at BT, Cisco and Vodafone, as well as a consultant who lead implementations for start-ups, including work with top tier companies like IBM, HP, Dell, Fujitsu-Siems and Sony.

“Data management is growing at a very fast pace, with data management becoming increasingly valuable to every company and country,” Morecroft said. “I am keen to find new routes to market for Redstor”.

Redstor, with Morecroft’s help, is planning an expansion to its partner programme in the UK, and potentially selling in the US market.

Lenovo “at crossroads” in servers

lenovo_hqA report from Patrick Moorhead’s Moor Insights & Strategy has asserted that, although the server market is dominated by Dell, HP and IBM at present, Lenovo is well positioned to break out of the “other” category and start making a serious dent in market share.

Players like Cisco and Fujitsu, 4th and 5th in the server market respectively, could even be overtaken by Lenovo in the near future. But it has some hurdles to leap and if it is to do so, Lenovo will have to prioritise servers.

Looking at Lenovo’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT), it’s clear the company can compete on price and has a robust supply chain behind it. The company is leading in the growing China market, performing well with SMBs, and there remains a perceived tie with IBM when Big Blue sold off a chunk of its hardware.

However, Lenovo doesn’t offer cloud services or a complete product line outside of its home turf and is somewhat lacking on the ineternational enterprise stage. It has no small core direction, according to Moor Insights, a weak storage offering, and no apparent network switch or fabric offering.

Moor Insights & Strategy believes Lenovo will have the opportunity, although not without challenges, to pick up IBM’s x86 server business, which could address some of the above concerns. There is also a window for Lenovo to expand its SMB offerings within EMEA, particularly western Europe, where small to medium businesses are highly concentrated.

If Lenovo decided to buy IBM’s x86 business, Moor thinks it’s likely it’d go for the whole lot, while IBM could minimise damage to its own bottom line by maintaining blade IP, which it could then license to Lenovo. An acquisition would propel Lenovo to #3 in the server charts, way ahead of Fujitsu and Cisco, but the buy would have to be twinned with serious efforts to maintain previous IBM customers to prevent seduction over to rivals like HP or Dell.

Moor Insights suggests Lenovo focus on the cloud, where it is underrepresented, as well as building a portfolio it can extend to the large business market.  It must also underline its “message” – although it’s understood Lenovo performs well in client devices, the message is “not translating in the server market,” according to Moor. Lenovo needs to reinforce its position to potential enterprise customers.

Lenovo, the report says, is “at an interesting crossroads in the server market”. While there is ample opportunity for the company to really cement its position and overtake some of the competition, it will need to invest heavily.

“Lenovo has an opportunity to break out of its position and quickly move up in the market, as well it remains a company that could disrupt the market the way that Dell did years ago. But in order to do that, it needs to get into the market in a serious way,” the report concludes.

Rural SMEs struggle with cloud

clouds3Small to medium enterprises are increasingly looking to local cloud providers rather than monolithic tech companies that do not necessarily inspire trust in their customers.

According to local cloud provider for local people, Prism Solutions, there are hyper geographical requirements for cloud that remote providers may not be able to address, such as being aware of connection speeds or the need to support existing IT structures.

Because of the government backed drive to boost web speeds in cities across the UK, SMEs are turning toward cloud as a faster way to access their data rather than office based servers.

Prism’s MD Richard Alexander noted there are plenty of firms in small towns or rural areas which simply do not have good enough connectivity to make the most use of cloud services.

“Unfortunately, some of them seem to have figured this out only after they have attempted to make the transition into virtual computing,” Alexander said. “They are then faced with the increased costs of leased lines or bonded digital subscriber lines, which effectively eradicate any savings they thought they would make”.

While it is somewhat indicative of a company’s common sense if they try to shift to virtual computing on a 28.8k modem connection, Alexander warns that some companies are interested in getting the contract signed and don’t give two stuffs about actually advising their client’s needs.

“Many seem more fixated on the land grab opportunity of new business,” he said.

Juniper expands Partner Advantage to the cloud

JuniperJuniper Networks is expanding its Partner Advantage scheme to the cloud with Partner Advantage Cloud, which will allow affiliates to offer support infrastructure and cloud programming to customers through the company.

It will be available as a specialisation to Juniper Networks Elite partners, letting cloud infrastructure partners,systems integrators and service partners to seek new revenues by flogging Juniper products and services.

Juniper hopes its partners will take the opportunity to raise cash for themselves and the company by outlining its cloud strategy for the channel. It claims the program provides partners with the best materials to get the ball rolling with Juniper deployments.

Resources made available will include marketing, financing and reward options, as with elsewhere in Partner Advantage.

Three specific kinds of partners will be targeted with the announcement. These are cloud system integrators, cloud service partners, and cloud infrastructure partners.

Emilio Umeoka, senior veep, worldwide partners at Juniper, insisted the announcement reinforced the company’s commitment to network innovation, addressing broader technology trends, as well as supporting and delivering revenue opportunities for cloud partners.

Public cloud spending to pass $100bn in 2017

cloud (264 x 264)Public IT cloud services spending could sail past the $100 billion milestone in 2017, according to figures from IDC.

Worldwide spending will reach a chunky $47.4 billion for this year, and is expected to reach $107 billion in 2017. The analyst house expects the scale of cloud adoption to grow significantly and rapidly, especially as IT infrastructure at many companies begins to age. According to IDC, systems are becoming so complex and expensive that an alternative – cloud – will be the only way out.

IDC believes that initial hesitation towards privacy and control in cloud are now being addressed, and more competition in the segment is going to seriously lower prices and expand choice of services to potential customers.

IDC cites Google as a company experiencing rapid growth in cloud adoption. Over 5 million are estimated to be using the company’s cloud offering, Google Apps, compared to 3 million in 2009.

Senior IDC analyst Frank Gens believes with the emergence of business as a service, cloud adoption will pick up, and its value with it. “Much of the growth in cloud services is being driven by the increase in deployment options,” Gens said.

“The growing richness of these options is a clear accelerator for overall cloud services adoption,” Gens said. “The emergence of virtual private cloud offerings has helped to shift momentum from dedicated private cloud offerings toward public cloud offerings”.

Ingram Micro and Outsourcery team up for VAR cloud service

IMIngram Micro and cloud provider Outsourcery have conjured up a new cloud service designed specifically for Ingram Micro’s partners and customers.

Under the arrangement, Ingram Micro partners will sell Outsourcery’s hosted version of Microsoft Lync, with enterprise-grade services and unified functionality delivered from the cloud. Cloud computing is a relatively hot trend at the moment, but surveys reveal that almost a quarter of IT organisations are concerned about the lack of staff skills necessary to support cloud solutions. The partnership is supposed to address these concerns.

Apay Obang-Oyway, General Manager, Enterprise Software and Services at Ingram Micro commented: “We have created the Advanced Solutions Division to offer our channel partners a comprehensive approach for identifying and pursuing opportunities within advanced technology categories.

Obang-Oyway said the goal is to help partners grow and diversify while facilitating development in the channel.

“The successful model Outsourcery have already established complements these objectives so taking hosted cloud solutions to market together was the natural next step,” he concluded.

Capita launches pays as you go cloud service

clouds3Capita has introduced a new UK-based service aimed at small outfits operating on a shoestring. The Capita Private Cloud is a pay-as-you-go cloud service hosted entirely on Capita’s UK data centre infrastructure.

Due to its payment model, it should be easily within grasp of even the smallest clients and it’s more flexible than most cloud services.

“Capita Private Cloud takes that uncertainty away by offering a simple, cost-effective solution that customers can have access to within minutes. The combination of public and private cloud services, with the support of a dedicated account manager and technical experts, means businesses can meet all their IT requirements in one place,” said Andy Parker, deputy chief executive at Capita. “In addition, managing all cloud platforms together in Capita’s UK data centres guarantees data security and sovereignty – a key for many public or highly regulated companies, such as banks and pension providers.”

The flexible nature of the service means customers can choose exactly what they need and only pay for what they use. In case a business experiences a sudden surge in demand for its IT services, extra capacity is always available. Furthermore, customers have access to 2,000 pre-tested cloud applications via a self service portal, allowing them to easily tailor, monitor and manage services.

Nile boxes make private cloud projects a breeze

drinks dispenserEMC has promised to release a product to suppliers which will allow them to build a private cloud which has all the advantages of a public cloud.

Project Nile will introduce machines in the first half of next year, which is much earlier than was planned.  The boxes were shown off at VNX product launch in Milan yesterday (pictured).

Jeremy Burton is Executive Vice President, Product Operations and Marketing at EMC said that the kit is based around EMC’s VIPR software and the VNX hardware.  It is designed to stop EMC and its partners losing business to public cloud products.

EMC expects Nile to be will be the first commercially-available complete, Web-scale storage infrastructure for the data centre..

It allows customers to choose storage for files, databases or the Web and receive a complete system within 48 hours.

Nile fills a gap in the mid-range market.  Currently customers will buy into a public cloud because they need flexibility and cost.  However this kit allows them to set up a private cloud operation in their own data centre much cheaper.

This is an easier sale in the EU where many companies are worried about public cloud offerings allowing their data to be stolen by US spies.  The EU has already been muttering that public cloud data should not leave the EU forcing those who want to comply into expensive private cloud structures.

Nile effectively kills off the need for medium and large corporations to need to look at public cloud offerings which typically come from Amazon or Microsoft.

It also makes it a very attractive package for EMC’s Channel partners who want to sell cloud operations in easy packages rather than lose business to Amazon or Vole..

The price of the systems, which can be customised to deal with files, objects or blocks and set up to prioritise capacity or performance, is yet to be announced.  However the figures being bandied about at the product announcement were as low as five cents a gigabyte.

Burton said the new range of products will cost customers 40 percent to 60 percent less than public cloud options, although given that the product has not hit the shops yet that could just be wishful thinking.

EMC releases next gen data centre product range

DSC_0017EMC hit the hyperbole when it released a refresh of its new mid-range data centre products.

Rich Napolitano, President, Unified Storage Division, EMC told the product launch in Milan yesterday that when people look at the history of datacentre computing they will see this particular product launch as the “day everything changed.”

To be fair the outfit has a lot to be proud of, if even half the stats for the VNX series are true.

The outfit has been the leader in the market with its VNX boxes which are for companies who want a data centre.

According to EMC President and Chief Operating Officer, David Goulden the rise of mobile data has made the data centre a vital part of any IT plan.  Huge amounts of data were flowing into the company which not only needed to be stored, but also used.

One of EMC’s customers, Enrico Parsini, from Conserve Italia, said that active use of the datacentre within his company was being seen as a way of driving down costs for the rest of the business.  This was particularly important in his company which has seen a three years of falling prices in the food industry.

VNX products are based on the idea that if you make Intel’s Sandy bridge cores more efficient and make SD cards run on special software rather than traditional HD methods you can make data centres go like the clappers for less energy and cost.

If what EMC says is true, its channel partners will be able to sell their clients a cheaper box than what they would have previously bought, and still see data centre speed improvements of about 50 per cent.

The product puts other hardware makers on the back foot.  While they have been touting the use of virtual computers, some even have hybrid systems for sale, they do not have the speed options of the EMC machines.

EMC said that many people were expecting it to just announce a refresh of the product, when it actually announced that it was going to change everything.

This is partly because the hardware is ahead of the competition and is already gearing up for its next generation.

It is the first time that we have heard of companies coming up with a use for Intel’s multicore products and making them work properly.  With Chipzilla planning more cores on its chips in coming months, EMC will have an easy upgrade path.

Part of the product’s success has been because of the involvement of Cisco and VMWare.

Satinder Sethi, Vice President, Data Centre Group, Cisco said that his company partnered with  EMC to speed its customers’ journey to the cloud.  These include allowing  custom-designed infrastructure, validated reference architectures via EMC VSPEX Proven Infrastructure, and pre-integrated converged infrastructure with VCE Vblock Systems.

Cisco kit and software integrated with offerings from EMC and VCE have generated significant momentum with customers and partners.

“Cisco and EMC have hundreds of joint channel partners and thousands of joint customers around the world.  Together, Cisco and EMC plan to accelerate this success with our mutual channel partners,” he said.

He added that EMC’s next-generation VNX technology will complement Cisco’s Unified Compute and Unified Fabric solutions, helping customers maximise their existing infrastructure and further simplify cloud deployments.



HP and VMware team up for federated networks

HPHewlett Packard and VMware have teamed up to deliver the industry’s first federated network solution, which is designed to provide customers with more automation and visibility in physical and virtual data virtual centres. Or so they say.

Companies are embracing mobile, cloud, BYOD, so manual network configuration is proving tricky and demanding. Virtualisation helps, as it offers a centralised control pane, but it still does not automate configuration and provisioning of physical devices. That’s where the new HP – VMware “solution” comes into play.

It will combine the HP Virtual Application Networks SDN Controller with VMware’s NSX network virtualisation platform to let customers automate their physical and virtual network infrastructure, all in one place. The companies say the new networking solution will provide a centralised view, unified automation, visibility and control of the complete data center network, improving agility, monitoring and troubleshooting. Or so they say.

It all revolves around man or possibly woman hours. A typical cloud data centre network may need 10,000 provisions per day, each requiring at least 20 network command line changes. These 200,000 command line changes would require 3,333 man or woman hours to complete, assuming one minute per command. The HP-VMware networking “solution” threatens to eliminate manual configuration of both the physical and virtual data centre networks through interoperable automated orchestration of policies. It also will create a single view of the network, both physical and virtual. Or so they say.

“Customers are adopting network virtualisation to gain the necessary agility needed to realise the promise of virtualised and cloud data centres. To be successful, IT organisations need solutions to deliver common management of services and operations across the physical and virtual domains,” said Stephen Mullaney, senior vice president and general manager, networking and security business unit, VMware. “By collaborating with HP on a federated networking solution, we will help our joint customers create a unified network operations model that will radically simplify IT in the software-defined data centre.” Or so they say.

The new HP-VMware networking thing will be available in the second half of 2014, along with HP’s new ConvergedControl software.

EMEA companies put IT budgets to good use

poundsResearch from CA Technologies has revealed that companies in EMEA are increasingly switching their IT budgets from dull, routine maintenance towards designing projects that enable revenue-generating services. The CA Technologies Channel Index 2013 found that EMEA partners spend 34 percent of their time helping consumers with such projects rather than maintenance. However, only 18 percent of the IT spend in Britain was devoted to new revenue-generating services.

“IT projects are being driven by the need for businesses to innovate for growth, while creating new ways to serve customers. And today’s IT director is expected to be the driver of these efforts,” said Sean McCarry, Senior Director, CA Technologies. “Our solutions and partner programmes equip partners with the tools they need to help their customers fuel innovation and drive growth. The Channel Index 2013 shows just how far IT departments and channel partners have come on this journey.”

Chris Gabriel, VP of Solutions Management at Logicalis Group, pointed out that the shift results in less operational waste, allowing IT departments to increase their participation in productive, revenue-generating fields.

“CIOs now see their role as Chief Innovation Officer, and they have recognised that their business value isn’t in managing IT infrastructure, but delivering new IT enabled business experiences,” he said.

The index revealed that 83 percent of surveyed partners in EMEA expect to see increased spending on enterprise mobility over the next year and almost all recognise that the rapid adoption of mobility creates opportunities to help grow their business. Among UK partners, this figure rose to 95 percent.

Cloud computing was identified by CA Technologies partners as the second priority for their customers’ IT investments. Nearly two thirds of the partners surveyed predicted an increase in cloud computing spending over the next year. In the UK, a significant 81 percent of partners expected increases.

Microsoft partners get cloud headache

cloud (264 x 264)Over the next six to 12 months Microsoft’s cloud partners are going to have a major headache keeping up with the sweeping changes that Microsoft is planning.

Microsoft Australia partner business and development director, Dean Swan has warned resellers down under that there is going to be a sudden rush of new products and ideas coming in the next six months to a year.

Swan told ARNnet normally they only had to cope with a major new technology release would occur every three to four years.

Resellers needed to work out how to keep sales, pre-sales, and technical teams trained and up to speed with what is happening in the Redmond cloud.

He warned that if a business model was  100 percent service delivery, companies will have to consider what it would look like if 20 percent was managed services delivery that is Cloud-oriented.

Swan also cautioned that companies should not concentrate on the hype but show ways to build a profitable business around the Cloud.

Partners will need to work out the time it will take to achieve the appropriate business model and what form of training is necessary.

Swan said to have a look at what customers are asking for, what they expect from a Cloud vendor and what are they looking for when they move to the Cloud.

Partners must commit to understanding what the Microsoft technology can do and effectively present its capabilities as being powered by the Cloud.

SAP wants VARs to cash in on big data

sapbeerSAP is telling its partners that it is time to cash in on big data. The company estimates that its global partner base will earn up to $220 billion by selling its big data and analytics products.

So it sees a huge opportunity for partners and resellers, who could provide more services and products in addition to SAP software.

A recent IDC report revealed that SAP partners could be in for a lot of growth over the next five years. IDC’s Worldwide Ecosystem Analytics and Big Data: Growth Opportunities for SAP Partners found that EMEA partners could earn $70 billion by 2018, dabbling in big data and analytics. Asia Pacific and Japan should climb to $40 billion, while North America will lead the way with $102 billion.

One of the more curious factoids from the report claims that the digital landscape will grow more than 30 thousand percent between 2005 and 2020, from 130 exabytes to 40,000 exabytes. It’s not called big data for nothing.

“SAP and its partners make a significant impact on the global economy,” said Darren Bibby, vice president for IDC Channels and Alliances Research. “SAP does an excellent job delivering great products for partners to work with, as well as effective sales, marketing and training resources. The result is that the SAP ecosystem is well-positioned for the future and customers will benefit from these additional skills and resources.”

Interestingly, the IDC report concluded that 68 percent of the companies don’t have a business intelligence or analytics strategy, while a whopping 63 percent don’t even know what big data is. However, 69 percent said they are looking for staff who can handle analytics.

As it grows, the industry will change. IDC believes 90 percent of industry growth will come through third-platform technology, cloud, mobile and social.

Alvea updates Cloud offering

cloud1Managed security and cloud company Alvea has bolted on some updates to the Alvea Cloud Attached Storage service.

It aims to address demands in enterprise mobility and bring your own device, by helping businesses protect corruption of business data with centralised cloud based storage, and off site data protection and recovery.

Alvea’s service will now include file sharing and syncing, mobile security, and cloud storage SLA capabilities, with a focus on using mobility for collaborative data, across different devices and in the cloud.

Customers now have access to team collaboration, mobile security policy – or remote file deletion and sandboxing synced iOS and Android files – and improved offline seeding. There is now Microsoft Hyper-V and Sharepoint backup, and active delivery integration, plus Kerberos authentication.

Alvea’s Neil Gardner said enterprise mobility and BYOD have become top priorities for businesses.

“The enhanced features of Alvea Cloud Attached Storage backed by support and expert advice from our partners means businesses can have peace of mind that their data is secure, synchronised and easily accessible in the cloud,” Gardner said.