Tag: Cloud

EMC cosies up to SAP

cosyEMC has announced that it is moving to help its customers move workloads of SAP services to a next gen private cloud infrastructure.

The company also claims its helping to build a foundation for private cloud computing, which it hopes will keep it cosy with SAP and VMware by integrating their respective services capabilities and helping customers accelerate full-lifecycle transformation of SAP applications to virtualized x86 environments.

According to the company the new additions could help and IT companies and operations by simplifying the design, planning and operation of on-premise cloud computing infrastructures that take advantage of the latest EMC, SAP and VMware technologies.

Through a combination of services and products EMC, together with SAP and VMware, wants to enable customers running SAP solutions to simplify IT management and focus on innovation and competitive advantage while reducing costs. It says that its services tailored for private cloud optimisation of SAP products will help customers making the transformation to on-premise cloud computing to maximise productivity of SAP application-based workloads by documented the key components of a virtual stack designed to support a virtualised private cloud environment running SAP services.

The EMC Proven Solution for automated disaster recovery of SAP solutions is also claimed to outline how to extend private cloud infrastructures for disaster recovery across heterogeneous storage infrastructure as well as how to perform non-disruptive testing of disaster recovery plans. It is said to combine EMC RecoverPoint with VMware Site Recovery Manager to help provide customers disaster recovery using VMAX and VNX series interchangeably as production and disaster recovery storage for SAP applications.

Working in collaboration with SAP and VMware, EMC is also offering services designed to quickly and safely move workloads of SAP solutions to virtualized x86 environments that are high performing, easier and less expensive to manage.

“Public Cloud First” gets round of applause

cloud 1A cloud service provider has welcomed the government’s “Public Cloud First” mandate.

Earlier this month the Cabinet Office confirmed that the cloud would be mandated as the first choice for all new IT purchases in government, as part of moves to push more departments into using commodity cloud services.

The announcement coincided with the third G-Cloud supplier framework going live, offering more than 700 suppliers and over 5,000 services to the UK public sector. Around 80 percent of all suppliers were small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), said the Cabinet Office.

A recent survey by Fasthosts found  that over two thirds of small and medium businesses in the UK have said that adoption of the cloud will be an important factor to contribute to the growth of their business in the next 12 months, with the same number claiming that the cloud was “extremely important” to their business growth strategy.

Skyscape agreed claiming that both government announcements were “excellent news for the UK public sector.”

Phil Dawson, CEO of Skyscape said that by putting the ‘Cloud First’, the Government was further demonstrating the “growing confidence” in G-Cloud, where suppliers have proven that highly secured, resilient utility services can be rapidly deployed at transparent price points, helping to drive innovation and competition.

He added the G-Cloud Programme had “quite simply started a revolution in the way that the UK public sector deployed ICT.”

“With the arrival of Giii, the Framework will continue to make this process easier, helping to broaden the market and providing a platform for SMEs, such as Skyscape, to market their services to the public sector,” he said.

Seagate’s SSD push starts to take shape in Colorado

seagate-longmontHard drive maker Seagate is planning a big push into the solid-drive market and now it seems to be making its first move. The company is hosting a job fair in Longmont later this week and it is looking to hire about 150 people, mostly engineers. 

Seagate’s 1,250-strong Colorado Design Centre is based in Longmont and it seems it will lead Seagate’s SSD push. Gary Gentry, Seagate VP and general manager of the company’s SSD business, said his client SSD team will be headquartered in Longmont. 

“We already have a substantial group and we’re expanding the technology, the product and the business development here in Longmont,” he told Timescall.com.

Seagate’s new 600-series SSDs will be marketed to consumers and OEMs alike, marking a new era in the company’s history. The drives will be available in multiple capacities up to 480GB and they will fit standard hard drive bays, which means we are probably looking at 2.5-inch 7mm units. In addition, Seagate also plans to develop a series of business oriented SSDs at Longmont.

This won’t be the first time Longmont dabbled in flash. The centre was instrumental in the development of Seagate’s hybrid drives (SSHDs) a couple of years ago. It got the job done and Seagate was the first hard drive market to successfully introduce 2.5-inch hybrids. Earlier this year it upgraded and expanded its SSHD offer.

Seagate VP and management lead for the centre Jeff Mason said his team is also developing drives specifically designed to suit the needs of large-scale cloud storage systems. He said the job fair is Seagate’s biggest recruitment in a decade and said the hiring will occur throughout the year.

Although Seagate is betting big on SSDs, it won’t leave the traditional HDD market anytime soon.

“There’s not enough SSD production in the world to replace the amount of storage that magnetic storage devices provide,” said Mason.

Mason pointed out that mobile devices are not a “displacer” for mechanical storage, but rather a stimulant, as mobile devices tend to rely on cloud storage, which is still largely based on mechanical drives.

Salesforce to open UK data centre

Salesforce_Logo_2009Salesforce will be opening a European data centre, based in the UK, in collaboration with NTT Europe.

The data centre should reach completion around 2014, and it will mark Salesforce’s sixth data centre world wide. It will be used to support the company’s cloud services in the EMEA region.

CEO Marc Benioff said in a statement that Europe was the fastest growing region for the company in fiscal 2013, managing to bring in revenue growth of 38 percent. “We are doubling down on Europe,” Benioff said.

Salesforce COO Stephen Kelly praised the UK, calling it one of the world’s “greatest technology centres”. “The UK is in a strong position to support fast growing international companies such as Salesforce,” Kelly said.

At the same time, Salesforce pointed out that there has been ‘unprecedented’ growth in cloud spending throughout Europe, citing an IDC paper that predicts public cloud will grow three times faster than other IT segments for the region.

Gartner consults crystal ball about cloud

crystalAround 10 percent of IT security enterprise products will be delivered through the cloud by 2015, Gartner has said.

Gazing into its crystal ball, the analyst house has also said that these services will also drive changes in the market landscape, particularly around a number of key security technology areas, such as secure email and secure Web gateways, remote vulnerability assessment, and Identity and Access Management (IAM).

It said as a result it expected the cloud-based security services market to reach $4.2 billion by 2016.

Eric Ahlm, research director at Gartner said demand remained high from buyers looking to cloud-based security services to address a lack of staff or skills, reduce costs, or comply with security regulations quickly.

He said the shift in buying behaviour from the more traditional on-premises equipment toward cloud-based delivery models offered “good opportunities for technology and service providers with cloud delivery capabilities.”

He warned that those without such capabilities needed to act quickly to adapt to this “competitive threat.”

Gartner referenced a security survey from January which  it said showed high demand from security buyers for cloud-based security service offerings. Security buyers from the US and Europe, representing a cross section of industries and company sizes, stated that they planned to increase the consumption of several common cloud services during the next 12 months.

The highest-consumed cloud-based security service is email security services, with 74 percent of respondents rating this as the top service.

Furthermore, 27 percent of the respondents indicated they were considering deploying tokenisation as a cloud service, while another area cited for growth was security information and event management (SIEM) as a service.

Gartner is now advising value-added resellers (VARs) to supplement product implementations with cloud-based alternatives that offer large customers reduced operational cost and thereby increase the likelihood of customer retention in this market segment. VARs that fail to offer cloud-based alternatives might experience a decline in implementation revenue from customers seeking cloud-based solutions in certain market segments.
Around 10 percent of IT security enterprise products will be delivered through the cloud by 2015, Gartner has said.

Rubbing its crystal ball the analyst house has also said that these services will also drive changes in the market landscape, particularly around a number of key security technology areas, such as secure email and secure Web gateways, remote vulnerability assessment, and Identity and Access Management (IAM).

It said as a result it expected the cloud-based security services market to reach $4.2 billion by 2016.

Eric Ahlm, research director at Gartner said demand remained high from buyers looking to cloud-based security services to address a lack of staff or skills, reduce costs, or comply with security regulations quickly.

He said the shift in buying behaviour from the more traditional on-premises equipment toward cloud-based delivery models offered “good opportunities for technology and service providers with cloud delivery capabilities.”

He warned that those without such capabilities needed to act quickly to adapt to this “competitive threat.”

Gartner referenced a security survey from January which  it said showed high demand from security buyers for cloud-based security service offerings. Security buyers from the US and Europe, representing a cross section of industries and company sizes, stated that they planned to increase the consumption of several common cloud services during the next 12 months.

The highest-consumed cloud-based security service is email security services, with 74 percent of respondents rating this as the top service.

Furthermore, 27 percent of the respondents indicated they were considering deploying tokenisation as a cloud service, while another area cited for growth was security information and event management (SIEM) as a service.

Gartner is now advising value-added resellers (VARs) to supplement product implementations with cloud-based alternatives that offer large customers reduced operational cost and thereby increase the likelihood of customer retention in this market segment. VARs that fail to offer cloud-based alternatives might experience a decline in implementation revenue from customers seeking cloud-based solutions in certain market segments.

Ingram Micro floats further into the cloud

clouds3Ingram Micro is expanding its offerings in the cloud.

The distie has decided to add new clould telecoms services to its existing set of 170 services already being offered in this space.

Announcing the new moves at its Ingram Micro Cloud Summit, taking place in Phoenix, this week, the company said it would now be able to offer customers support for  voice video and data from CenturyLink and Time Warner Cable Business Class.

And its not just this service the distie is offering. In its bid to conquer cloud further its announced the hardware-as-a-service (HaaS) program, which claims to allow its channel partners resell packages of hardware, software and cloud-based services for a monthly fee without the need for a large upfront investment.

Other services it said it would be offering for customers in the future were enterprise-class business intelligence platforms from Birst as well as moving into healthcare with services specially for this sector in partnership with  Medweb and NextGen Healthcare.

Avnet partners with IBM SmartCloud

avnettsAvnet has chosen IBM SmartCloud as its platform for its Cloud Solutions programme in India.

The move is said to allow Avnet to offer small and medium business in India a selection of services in the cloud sector including storage capabilities in a utility model and customised services such as disaster recovery and managed services.

Avnet has a strong presence in India and it hopes that the cloud offerings will allow it to make more railroads into sectors such as retail, logistics, manufacturing, banking and financial services, public sector and education.

Its partnership with IBM SmartCloud will also mean that its partners benefit offering customers   access to enterprise-level IT at affordable price points without additional investment in infrastructure, security, back-up, upgrades and maintenance.

Avnet said the partnership would help those customers garner benefits by adopting a robust cloud architecture and service model, leapfrogging the traditional investment in enterprise IT and allowing them to focus on specific needs.

VMware needs luck as it sticks its head in the clouds

cloud (264 x 264)VMware has given up trying to wait for its partners to help it become an important name in the cloud space and has decided to do it itself.

Yesterday the outfit unveiled vCloud Hybrid Service to investors. Well we say unveiled we really mean that it told the world that was intending to set up a public cloud service. But it caught everyone on the hop because it was only a couple of months ago that VMware’s Pat Gelsinger sounded so dead set against the public cloud.

Speaking at the VMware’s Partner Exchange Conference in Las Vegas, Gelsinger said that VMware needed to own the corporate workload. He said that the company would lose if they end up in commodity public clouds.

With comments like that to suddenly come out and launch your own public cloud seems a little silly. However what Gelsinger appeared to be saying was that he did not want corporate data on other people’s public clouds.

“We want to extend our franchise from the private cloud into the public cloud and uniquely enable our customers with the benefits of both. Own the corporate workload now and forever.”

But Gelsinger’s plans might be a little tricky to pull off.

When it comes to public cloud there is a lot of top notch competition including Amazon, IBM, and HP who don’t take too kindly to strangers in the market. To make matters worse VMware’s offering will not be around until at least the second quarter.

VMware has chucked a bit of money trying to get the idea of the ground. Former Savvis Cloud president, Bill Fathers, will run the vCloud and has said that the idea will get a level of investment appropriate to that priority and to capitalize on a $14 billion market opportunity.

One of the crucial differences about what VMware is offering is that it is the service “hybrid” so that enterprises should see it as part of the VMware’s packages. The software which the vCloud is based on is called Director. It uses an IaaS environment and lets workloads become managed either in the cloud or in the office in the same way.

But all this is being set up because VMware could not interest its partners in building something similar. VMware had a crack at offering similar products through its ISP partners. But these were a little spooked that vCloud implementation would commodise their products. There were mutterings from ISPs who did not want to pay VMware licensing costs when they had cheaper open source alternatives.

VMware has a job on its hands to prove to VMware Certified Professionals that the public cloud is an extension of the data centre while at the same time convincing them that there are some advantages over the “non-cloud” environments they use now.

The public cloud will be aimed at its existing customer base and sold through its existing VAR and SI channel.

However most of VMware’s channel partners don’t have the skills to help their I&O clients transition from static virtualisation to cloud. So somehow VMware is going to have to give its channel the consulting skills and hope they can bluster their way through conversations where real cloud is needed.
Either way the company has a long way to go before it can sit comfortably among other cloud players. It might just pull it off, but it will take a bit of time and a lot of luck.

Kelway buys Dixons’ Equanet

thenorthUK IT services provider Kelway is picking up the IT business, Equanet, from Dixons Retail.

Equanet, Kelway says, has an established presence in the North of England and the buy will help it expand its customer base. At first, Equanet will operate as its own brand within the larger group, though will trade on integrated systems.

Dixons will carry on operating the PC World Business service for small businesses.

Kelway says that Equanet is noted for its e commerce platform, which will now fit in with Kelway’s ServiceTrack offering for online order management. By combining both, Kelway hopes that it can offer a unique experience towards its customers.

Kelway will also offer its ServiceWorks cloud services to Equanet’s clients.

In a statement, Sebastian James, chief exec of Dixons Retail, said that the two complement each other “extremely well” and he expects the transaction will help “Equanet to flourish in the specialist B2B market”.

Microsoft: resellers coming around to cloud

clouds3Traditional resellers have been slow in embracing the cloud, with many predicting the technology was “just a hype,” a Microsoft spokesperson has told ChannelEye.

However, according to Clare Barclay, director of SMB at the company, two years later resellers are embracing market changes.

“Traditional resellers are in a competitive market with younger companies evolving far quicker,” she told ChannelEye. “Two years ago they put Cloud down to just a hype and continued with their business as it was. However, they are now changing.”

Microsoft believes cloud has changed the way resellers and the market operates, eliminating the need for cumbersome software and hardware. Savvy SMBs have also set up their business using this technology to make them appear bigger and offer their customers more services.

“Most SMBs have now realised that they need to capitalise on cloud, and offer services that put them in a position with their competitors,” said Barclay.

She also pointed out that Office 365 was enabling the company’s partners to offer more services to their customers.

“Three to four years ago customers were worried about buying into a cloud based model but now this is aggressively growing we’re seeing a number of partner engaging in monthly based subscriptions,” she said.

Microsoft said it is trying to seduce resellers into cloud confidence by offering training and events programmes to outline the benefits.

Businesses not clear on cloud responsibilities

cloud 2Uninformed or ignorant businesses believe that once data is stored on the cloud, companies lose their responsibility for it – although EU law says they are culpable.

Confusion over the cloud is not exactly surprising: currently laws differ depending on where in the world your servers are based and where your company is based. A report from Iron Mountain said this shows, with over three quarters of survey respondents claiming their service provider would likely get more flack than their own firm. But when it comes to storing sensitive data, it is probably worth doing your homework.

Although the evidence points in the other direction, the majority of respondents said their approach was “responsible” and said that they do take due dilligence when picking cloud suppliers. A fifth want cloud only storage for all their data.

Respondents were in the UK, Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Hungary. Cloud is unsurprisingly a popular option. Iron Mountain urged all companies to understand the specific ins and outs of where their data is stored, whether it could be moved, and who has access to it. They should also consider the core IT infrastructure that is being used and if the providers have a rigorous vetting process in place to check for malware. Businesses should think about just how much data they plan to store, should make back ups, and are warned to seek out multiple providers in a tiered approach, using the cloud, tape, and disk storage.

Salesforce puts customer service onto their mobiles

clouds3Salesforce has announced Salesforce Service Cloud Mobile – software that the company claims will boost customer service for any device.

The idea is to manage customers through mobile browsing on touch based devices, on the cloud. Salesforce’s logic is that mobile is not going anywhere any time soon and that engaging with customers on those platforms they will be seen as technologically progressive and able to reach more people. If companies can connect just about everything in the chain, that is, customers, employees, partners and products, Salesforce thinks firms will be able to gain a clear advantage in engagement.

This especially matters, according to Salesforce, when customers are simply expecting a better level of engagement with companies. It is no longer good enough to have an email address that will respond in five business days – a Twitter account is not optional. Salesforce goes so far as to say the days of traditional call centre servicing are “for the era of landlines” – although we suspect the many call centre workers will disagree, not to mention frustrated people customers who require talking to a person who can engage with a level of empathy rather than bound up by software restrictions.

Of course, people will have to staff these services, signalling a switch from traditional customer service to paid-for instant messaging. A question is if that, too, could eventually be mostly automated.

Salesforce’s product offers ‘service cloud mobile chat’, where customers will be able to chat in real time similar to sending an SMS. Cloud touch, meanwhile, will be a way for service staff to interact with customers from tablets and smartphones so they are “no longer tethered to a desk”.

Co-browsing should be out and ready in the second half of 2013, though there’s not a price tag set yet. Mobile Service Cloud Communities is generally available now, and so is Service Cloud mobile chat, provided you’re a Service Cloud Enterprise or Unlimited Edition customer. Service Cloud Touch is out and packaged with all Service Cloud editions.

Google starts to recruit resellers against Amazon Cloud

cloud 2Google and Amazon have been scrapping it out for dominance of the skies, but now it seems that the search engine Zeppelin may be trying to recruit resellers to help out.

According to GigaomGoogle has signed up its first reseller, a company called RightScale, which is offering a “cloud management platform”.

It helps an enterprise automate routine tasks, monitor usage and monthly costs, and control security options.

As a reseller RightScale works with other major providers of Internet-delivered computing power and storage, including Amazon, RackSpace, HP Cloud, and Windows Azure. But its products have always worked with Compute Engine since Google launched the cloud service in June.

What this means is that Google has finally woken up and realised that its enterprise customers not only need someone to sell them the products, but also hold their hands if something goes tits up.
One of the difficulties that Google has had is that the company is so big, that getting information on its products, particularly when something goes wrong, is difficult.

But there are some elements of self-protection here. This partnership announcement comes a week after Amazon launched a new service called OpsWorks, which competes with RightScale. This means that by having resellers Google and the reseller can protect each other from the Amazon juggernaut.

In the long term Google will probably do better than Amazon. It has a lot more experience running Apps on the Cloud, and soon its products will be faster and cheaper but this announcement is a reminder that even super-companies like Google need resellers to get their products out there.
Google is also the new kid on the block and many corporate customers will not be aware that it is out there yet. Having a reseller pushing product is one way of raising the profile.

Phoenix raises Manheim from ashes to cloud

mythical_phoenixUK hosting, cloud, business continuity and managed IT services outfit Phoenix has signed a multi-million pound deal to give automotive specialist Manheim’s IT systems a make-over.

Manheim is one of the world’s largest automotive firms and spends a fortune on IT for its business-to-business products and services.
Phoenix is going to consolidate Manheim’s IT infrastructure, multi-site hosting, backup and replication, management, monitoring and remote and onsite support for its European operations.

In addition Phoenix will provide deskside support, hardware support and warranty management as part of an on-going service.

Under the plan, a dedicated virtual platform will consolidate servers and services at a number of sites throughout the UK into the Phoenix data centre environment.

Jeremy Lewis, CIO from Manheim, said Phoenix had been used as a hosting partner since 1999.
He said that rather than continue with a disjointed approach using multiple sites and providers, Manheim thought it would be better to refreshing its IT environment and transferring it to the Phoenix data centre.

Lewis claimed that the one stop shop cloud approach would be the most cost-effective and efficient route. Since the project has been switched on, the company has found it a lot easier to manage.
Manheim said that the project allowed for 11 of its desktop support staff to transfer to Phoenix.

Nick Dean, Managed Services & Hosting Director at Phoenix said there were lots of companies like Manheim, which were outsourcing their IT infrastructure.

“It provides them with a cost-effective, secure and reliable platform, allowing total freedom while reducing complexity and risk. It allows customers to concentrate on what they do best, leaving us to do what we do best,” he said.

Microsoft woos channel with Office 365

cloud 1Businesses and consumers have reached a “tipping point” in the market, leading to a huge appetite for the cloud, a Microsoft’s director of partner and strategy programmes has claimed to ChannelEye.

The company, which, over the past year has brought out a range of new products for both consumers and business, is now trying to win over resellers in the lead up to the launch of Office 365 for the commercial space.

“Last July we called the upcoming year a new wave for Microsoft,” Janet Gibbons, director of partner strategy and programme, told ChannelEye. “Not only was this because of the range of products, including Windows 8, that were launched but also the migration to the cloud.”

She said Office 365 had spearheaded this message with the home version for the first time offering a household licence for up to five devices, including Macs and tablets.

“This was a new way of consuming software,” Ms Gibbons added. “It shows how we’re going to be taking products to market.”

Microsoft says it is doing as much as it can to ensure its partners are ready for the commercial launch of Office 365, on the 27 of this month.

It has also changed the way its resellers can bill clients for the product, meaning that from 1 March resellers will be able to bill customers directly.

The current model for reselling Office 365 sees partners receive kick-back payments for what they sell, with Microsoft controlling billing. However, now resellers will be able to set their own margins and bill customers themselves.

“From a channel perspective we have advised our partners ahead of the launch so they in turn can help their customers,” Gibbons told ChannelEye. “We’re scaling this through distribution channels to target 7,500 partners, offering training and face to face meetings.”

The company has also embarked on licensing training  through December to Feb, putting on a two day event targeting 1,700 partners.

This covers other products relevant to resellers including Sharepoint and Link.

“We’re aiming to catch the market when the market is ready for new changes,” Ms Gibbons said. “From what our resellers tell us, their clients are ready.”