Tag: Cloud

University asks Microsoft not to erase its cloud data

hqdefault (1)A bankrupt US trade school, the ITT Technical Institutes, is asking a court to stop Microsoft from erasing its cloud data.

The move is being seen as a true 21st century problem and one which could effect channel partners who sell cloudy products.

In a filing to the US District Bankruptcy Court of Southern Indiana, the for-profit university seek an order to bar Vole from wiping the contents of ITT’s Office 365 and webmail accounts for students, faculty, and administrators.

ITT has been under bankruptcy proceedings since September of last year, when it shut down operations and filed for bankruptcy protections.

There had been years of government probes over its ability to stay afloat, and education authorities worried aid money would be lost when ITT went under for good.

A group of trustees has overseen wrapping up ITT’s affairs and settling its outstanding debts. Among those are the bills the school owes on its Office 365 subscription with Microsoft. ITT owes $177,466.46 on an agreement that runs until May 31.

The university wants Microsoft to preserve its data, but was told such a service would cost around $2.5 million.

“The Trustee seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction prohibiting the Defendants from taking any actions that could result in the destruction, deletion, overwriting, or erasing of any of the Electronic Data or taking any other action or inaction that could affect the preservation of the Electronic Data, until such time the Trustee can determine the most cost effective method of accomplishing turnover of the Electronic Data,” the filing reads.

“Any threat of destruction, deletion, overwriting, or erasing of any of the Electronic Data or any other action or inaction that could affect the preservation of the Electronic Data jeopardizes the Trustee’s efforts to marshal, assess, and preserve estate assets, and to otherwise fulfil her duties under section 704 of the Bankruptcy Code.”

Google cloud glitch forces SQL backups

cloudGoogle’s Cloud SQL service was hit by rather a nasty glitch over the weekend and more than seven percent of clients using the service’s first-generation code were not backing up properly.

Google announced it was “forcing” backups “as short-term mitigation” and was expected to issue a patch today.

The news comes just as Google is announcing the release of its new Cloud Spanner product.

For those who came in late, Cloud Spanner is a horizontally-scalable and strongly consistent relational database, combining the company’s two other DBaaS solutions, NoSQL and RDBMS, offering a wider range of services including ACID transactions and SQL semantics. It’s targeting AWS’s RDS and Microsoft’s SQL Database in the public cloud.

Product manager, Dominic Preuss wrote in his bog that Google had carefully designed Cloud Spanner to meet customer requirements for enterprise databases — including ANSI 2011 SQL support, ACID transactions, 99.999% availability and strong consistency — without compromising latency”.

“As a combined software/hardware solution that includes atomic clocks and GPS receivers across Google’s global network, Cloud Spanner also offers additional accuracy, reliability and performance in the form of a fully-managed cloud database service.”

While traditional databases guarantee transactional consistency, while NoSQL databases offer horizontal scaling and data distribution. The aim for Cloud Spanner is to offer cloud developers both capabilities.

Cloud Spanner is available now via a trio of data integration partners, Alooma, Informatica and Xplenty.

“Cloud Spanner is one of those cloud-based technologies for which businesses have been waiting: With its horizontal scalability and ACID compliance, it’s ideal for those who seek the lower TCO of a fully managed cloud-based service without sacrificing the features of a legacy, on-premises database,” Xplenty said.

Google is offering a free trial of Cloud Spanner so companies can see how it would work for them.

Dell in the clouds again

Michael DellGrey box shifter Michael Dell talked up the importance of a ‘multi-cloud’ world and waded in to AWS, Microsoft, and Google by claiming that, for many customers, “public cloud is twice as expensive as on-premise”.

Dell said that while all styles of cloud computing have their merits and applications, customers should not relytoo heavily on any one model, – particularly public cloud.

“If you have a public cloud-first and -only strategy, you will find yourself uncompetitive in the long term. On-premise offers automation capabilities on an unprecedented scale. Many customers have already told us that the public cloud is twice as expensive as on-premise,” he said.

David Goulden, president of Dell EMC, added that Dell’s cloud offering addresses not only generalist productivity and business applications, but also core applications that many enterprises would not typically consider suitable for the cloud arena.

“Most clouds target the millions of general-purpose applications,” he said. “Our cloud strategy targets those, but also targets performance-intensive, mission-critical applications that most customers would not [otherwise] consider running on a cloud or as-a-service basis. We, uniquely, have a hybrid cloud strategy for all your applications.”

Dell EMC is adding its 14th generation of its PowerEdge range of servers this summer and the new VMAX 950F all-flash storage array.

The vendor also boosted its VxRail suite of hyper-converged technology, including the launch of a single-processor unit which allows businesses to invest in hyper-converged infrastructure for a capital investment as low as $25,000.

Dell Financial Services is to a launch a payment offering for hyper-converged infrastructure providing customers with the option of “cloud-like consumption” of the technology.

Channel is now cloud-ready

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudIngram Micro’s UK Cloud Summit was told that the channel has understood the opportunities that cloud can deliver.

The Summit was told that while the Channel was slow most now accept that the cloud is an unstoppable force changing business and their approach to the market.

Ingram Micro’s UK Cloud Summit heard from the distributor and vendors about the trends in the market.

Ingram Micro director of cloud & software UK&I Apay Obang-Oyway said that it was  one of the first times that he had seen that the Channel has got the message and people were nodding their heads.

He cited Blockbuster, which failed to spot the streaming revolution until it was too late, as an example of the risks of not adapting to change.

“A lot of CEOs are petrified of being Blockbusted. A lot of partners can see the changes.”

He said the industry was at the start of the fourth industrial revolution and technologies including IoT, big data, social and cloud were driving those changes.

“While it is all very good and exciting it is bringing a lot of disruption, which you can look at negatively or positively. Within that there is a load of opportunity for channel partners but you have to understand this is a different reality and it is no longer business as usual, its business unusual. The opportunity is huge and represents significant numbers,” he added.

 

Red Hat shows off cloud-based automated enterprise

hat_sm_zps0a1ae16fRed Hat has been telling the world+dog about its new cloud management platform, CloudForms, and predictive analytics tool, Red Hat Insights.

Talking to the 2017 Red Hat Summit in Boston, Joe Fitzgerald, VP of Management said the new products are all part of the company’s automated enterprise vision thing.

“CloudForms is used to manage multi-cloud environments, and the key feature in that release is Ansible Inside, which is incredible open source automation technology,” Fitzgerald said.

Red Hat Insights is the company’s predictive analytics capability, which tells users what is going on within their systems, and efficiently automates getting issues fixed without having to involve actual workers.

“It’s a really powerful tool for enterprises to automate,” said Fitzgerald.

He explained that business was getting more complex, with IT environments using multi-clouds as well as new container technologies, making it hard for individuals to keep up with the management of these systems.

“Automation is premium. You see this in consumer things like self-driving cars and home automation. It has to come to enterprise IT. Otherwise, businesses are not going to be able to keep up with the demands on them,” he said.

Dell EMC cuts cloud deal with Microsoft

lightning-cloudDell EMC talked about its partnership with Microsoft under which channel partners can build on-premises Microsoft Azure clouds using Dell EMC technology.

Dubbed Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack, the she-bang is a turnkey platform for building a hybrid cloud offering with the same look, feel, and technology as the Microsoft Azure public cloud,

A Dell EMC spokesperson said the outfit was using its three years of experience with delivering hybrid clouds.

The Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack is a net-new offering from Dell EMC, particularly in how it differs from the company’s Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, or EHC.

Customers deploying the Enterprise Hybrid Cloud need to add their own domain name space automation, firewall automation, backup and recovery capabilities, and other technologies that together form a private or hybrid cloud.

The Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack is an integrated offering which is Azure-based. It does not use the Enterprise Hybrid Cloud.

The new offering is also different from the Azure Pack, which Dell started shipping in 2015. The Azure Pack is not API-compatible with the Microsoft Azure public cloud.

The Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack targets solution providers and customers who use Microsoft technology. It will be a stand-alone offering combining Dell EMC hyper-converged infrastructure technology with Azure.

The new offering scales from four nodes, which can work with up to about 100 Azure D1 virtual machines, to 12 nodes, or about 600 Azure D1 virtual machines.

Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack provides a single contract support for hybrid Azure deployments, full encryption and security capabilities including the ability to tie policies to virtual machines as they are migrated to new locations, and full data protection capabilities in single tenant and multi-tenant environments.

Amazon drops cloud prices

amazonAmazon Web Services slashed the prices on its cloud products.

The move is mostly geared to making more affordable the Reserved Instances through which customers can realize savings by booking cloud capacity for one or three years.

The long-term contracts which give AWS usage discounts are increasingly popular, delivering savings of up to 75 percent over on-demand pricing.

Jeff Barr, AWS’ chief evangelist wrote in his bog that AWS can continue reducing its prices because “we work with our suppliers to drive down costs while also finding ways to build hardware and software that is increasingly more efficient and cost-effective”.

AWS is adding the choice of buying three year reserved instances with no upfront payment for most of the virtual machine types available on its cloud. Previously, you could only defer payments on the one year contracts.

Price cuts are also being implemented across machine types for one year reserved instances and convertible reserved instances, which allow customers to change the instance type at any time as their applications evolve.

The prices customers will see depends on region and operating system, Barr said.

Amazon is also lowering the price of M4 instances running Linux by up to seven percent. M4 is AWS’ latest general purpose machines that balances compute, memory and networking.

Distributor extends existing relationship with AV player in Ireland to cover the UK market

Mid-market positive despite Brexit

Divorce Just Ahead SignCloud and data centre player Node4 has issued a market report which shows that the mid-market is feeling rather optimistic despite Brexit.

The mid-market has long been one of the number one target areas for the channel and it is believed that budgets in that segment will rise this year.

Node4 said that while Brexit is a dark cloud which is causing some concerns with business leaders worried about the impact that the process to leave the EU will have on their prospects, most mid-market firms are optimistic.

More than 77 percent of mid-market firms are expecting budgets to rise this year with 22 percent of that total looking forward to more than a 10 percent increase.

Hosted and cloud-based services are scooping up most of the cash with IaaS and security as a service the two top areas. Managed services and disaster recovery as a service are expected to follow suit.

A third of those quizzed had Brexit concerns and many thought that the channel could be doing more to support them through potentially challenging times.

Paul Bryce, business development director at Node4 said that mid-tier companies were the UK economy’s engine and so it was promising that investment was taking place in the IT infrastructure that will help to fuel further growth.

“It is no surprise that mid-market companies are embracing the cloud, which affords a huge opportunity to drive efficiency, agility, scalability, and to empower workforces,” he said.

Huawei goes after public cloud market

huawei-liveChinese smartphone maker Huawei has announced that it will compete with Amazon and Alibaba as a global provider of public cloud services.

The Shenzhen-based outfit said it will expand in cloud computing with a dedicated division that will recruit 2,000 more people this year.

President of the new unit, Zheng Yelai, said that Huawei used to focus on private cloud and did well.

“Now the purpose is to strengthen our public cloud offering.”

Consultancy Gartner expects the market for public cloud services to reach $383 billion by 2020 from $247 billion in this year.

Huawei hopes to continue developing software-based revenue at a time of slowing growth in smartphone sales and reduced spending on telecommunication infrastructure.

In China, its biggest rival is Alibaba Cloud, while the latest market entrant is conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group Co Ltd in partnership with Big Blue.

Huawei deputy chairman Eric Xu said the company’s global network of telecoms clients give the firm a unique advantage.

“I believe we can build upon our advantages accumulated over the years,” Xu said, referring to carrier partnerships in Europe and a strong presence in developing countries. Compete and coexist with AWS and Microsoft, I believe that is the trend we are going to see.” Xu said.

Xu also said Huawei would not compete for market share by offering services at extremely low prices.

“Our strategic focus will be on our telecom partners’ cloud transformation”,  Xu said.

Microsoft and Adobe getting closer

dc34c48293d48b194affb44168216351Microsoft and Adobe  are joining to make their respective sales and marketing software products better at seeing off Salesforce and Oracle.

The pair said they will work together to create a a shared data format between Adobe’s marketing software suite, which the company is re-naming its Experience Cloud, and Microsoft’s sales software, called Dynamics, allowing the software systems to work together seamlessly.

“It’s going to enable to customers to go beyond the current (software) silos they have to navigate today,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the cloud and enterprise division at Microsoft.

For Adobe the partnership builds on a deal it struck with Microsoft last year to use its Azure cloud computing services.

Adobe has been pushing into business-to-business marketing software since it purchased Omniture Inc, a firm that helps website owners track their traffic, for $1.8 billion in 2009. Software that companies use to run digital marketing and advertising campaigns represented about $1.2 billion of Adobe’s $4.6 billion in revenue last year.

Microsoft has been trying to expand Dynamics, its software system for sales people. Teaming with Adobe helps it compete more strongly against Salesforce and Oracle, which both offer a combination of sales and marketing software.

 

IMImobile signs Global Framework Agreement with Telenor

cloudCloud communications software and solutions outfit IMImobile has signed a Global Framework Agreement with Telenor following a competitive tender process.

Under the deal, IMImobile will supply its cloud Digital Service Delivery Platform, VAS (Value Added Services) Virtualisation System and services for Telenor Business Units.

The platform will be deployed in a secure cloud environment, and will support Telenor’s long term vision to virtualise network capabilities and improve the efficiency of its core business.

Telenor is one of the biggest mobile operators, providing tele, data and media services for 214 million subscribers in 13 markets across Scandinavia, Central and Eastern Europe and Asia.

Nitin Gupta, Sr. Group Expert Business Applications, at Telenor Group said that IMImobile successfully demonstrated that its Digital Service Delivery Platform and VAS Virtualization products meet its criteria to enhance digital service deployments across the Group.

“The partnership will enable Telenor Group to respond to the growing demand to digitally transform and optimise our business processes, allowing for faster and more efficient service delivery.”

Jay Patel, Chief Executive Officer at IMImobile commented: “We are pleased to be working with Telenor on one of their key business transformation projects. By integrating our cloud Digital Service Delivery Platform, Telenor can drive both cost savings and faster time to market for new digital and unified customer services.”

 

Alphabet invests in Currencycloud

cloudbustAlphabet has written a cheque for a UK startup that provides technology to enable businesses to provide cross-border payments services to its customers.

Currencycloud has received more than $25 million in an investment round in Currencycloud alongside existing investors Notion Capital, Sapphire Ventures, Rakuten and venture capital firm Anthemis Group.

The cash injection, which brings the total raised by Currencycloud to $61 million, will be used to support the company’s global expansion plans, the company said.

Mike Laven, Currencycloud’s chief executive officer said his outfit had just opened in the US and required a lot more development.

Launched in 2012 Currencycloud’s platform allows companies ranging from banks to payments startups to offer international payments services without having to set up complex and costly cross-border infrastructure.

Its clients include Swedish payments business Klarna, Standard Bank Group, Travelex and startups Azimo and Revolut. Around $25 billion has been sent through the company’s infrastructure to more than 200 countries.

Laven said Google was attracted to Currencycloud because it saw it as a company that provided computer developers tools to add cross-border payment functionality to their services.

“Google looked at us as a tool that is used in globalising domestic businesses,” Laven said.

The funding round is a surprise as there had been a noted drop in venture capital investments in UK financial technology startups since Brexit.

Amazon’s cloud goes down

Amazon-Cloud-OutageAmazon’s cloud partners are tearing out their hair and stamping on their rabbits after the service went offline in the US.

Portions of Amazon Web Services, which is the world’s largest cloud computing company, went offline Tuesday afternoon, affected multiple companies across the United States but especially on the east coast.

The outage appeared to have begun around 12:45 pm ET. It was cantered in AWS’ S3 storage system on the east coast. Many of the services that firms use AWS are for back-end processes, and therefore not immediately visible to consumers, though the outage could disrupt customer-facing activities like logins and payments.

Shedloads of websites crashed and burned including Airbnb, Down Detector, Freshdesk, Pinterest, SendGrid, Snapchat’s Bitmoji, Time, Buffer, Business Insider, Chef, Citrix, CNBC, Codecademy, Coursera, Cracked, Docker, Expedia, Expensify, Giphy, Heroku, Home Chef, iFixit, IFTTT, isitdownrightnow.com, Lonely Planet, Mailchimp, Medium, Microsoft’s HockeyApp, News Corp, Quora, Razer, Slack, Sprout Social, Travis CI, Trello, Twilio, Unbounce, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Zendesk.

The dashboard of Amazon Web Services, which tracks the status of the service, is unable to change colour, Amazon said. It is because the status dashboard also runs on the service that is down.

While the spectacular crash might not have effected many European companies, it does make cloud packages where data is sent across the pond look a lot less reliable.  Interest in cloud packages and SAAS is picking up, but huge outages like this make it a harder sale.

Watchdog gets companies to agree on fairer cloud

lightning-cloudThe Competition Market Authority (CMA) has got three more large cloud storage providers to agree that users should be given clear and fair terms and conditions

The watchdog has already got an agreement with Dixons Carphone, BT, Dropbox, Google and Mozy to make changes to their contract terms. Now the CMA got the key cloudy types Amazon, Apple and Microsoft to agree.

Taking the pledge means not hiking prices on a whim or making the terms and conditions too complex.

Andrea Coscelli, CMA acting chief executive was pleased that Amazon, Apple and Microsoft had joined their seven rivals and agreeing commitments to improve their terms and conditions.

“Millions of cloud storage users will benefit from fairer terms which will help them make the right choices when using cloud storage services,” he said.

The CMA started a campaign in October last year, writing an open letter to storage cloud providers, and has so far got most of the household names to sign up.

The outfit will monitor firms terms and conditions and expects firms to do the same to ensure they can keep up with the law and make sure conditions are as fair and clear as possible.

“People rely on cloud storage to keep things such as treasured family photos, music, films and important documents safe, so it is important that they are treated fairly and should not be hit by unexpected price rises or changes to storage levels,” added Coscelli.

Intel says channel has key role in cloud security

wintel_blimp_featureIntel Security which has just released its second annual cloud security report which says that the channel has a key role in reassuring customers about hosted data.

Intel Security said that there was a gut feeling among some users that keeps them worrying about data integrity and that should be a chance for a reseller to step into the breach and ease their passage to the hosted world.

It suggested that the UK is one of the most risk-averse when it comes to cloud adoption. Some of that is caused by a skills shortage making it harder for customers to move to a hosted environment, but there are also real concerns about moving sensitive data into the cloud.

Stuart Taylor, UKI regional director, channel at Intel Security said that security concerns and the skills shortage seem to be holding UK organisations back when it comes to cloud adoption.

“While our research clearly demonstrates that businesses in the UK are the least likely globally to implement a proactive cloud-first strategy, that is not preventing cloud from being adopted across the business. This often leads to shadow IT practices which make it difficult for IT to get a firm control over corporate data in the cloud,” he said.

The Intel research found that 40 per cent  of cloud services were now being commissioned without the involvement of the IT department.

Taylor said that with more data shifting across to the cloud, it was essential that the correct security controls are put in place.

“By moving towards a cloud-first strategy, organisations can encourage the adoption of cloud services to increase flexibility, reduce costs and set up proactive security operations. To this end, we work closely with our channel partners to ensure they can advise end users on the steps needed to secure cloud deployments,” he added.

Intel’s channel partners understand that taking a proactive stance was the key and can help companies go beyond initial protection by ensuring the correct technology is in place to rapidly detect threats and correct their systems when necessary. However, this focus on the threat defence lifecycle must go hand in hand with shifting the defender-attacker dynamic, he said.