Tag: Cloud

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.

UK Cloud warns of US privacy threat  

lightning-cloudUKCloud commerical director Nicky Stewart, has warned that the US government could start demanding emails which are stored on servers outside of the United States

A US magistrate ruled against Google and ordered it to cooperate with FBI search warrants demanding access to user emails and president Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump issued an Executive Order that weakened protections for data held in the US about foreign citizens.

She said that at the time of Trump’s recent executive order, US firms were quick to dismiss privacy concerns and the implied threat to Privacy Shield as a ‘complete over-reaction.’

With the US Department of Justice appealing the Microsoft case, the Rule 41 amendments coming into force, Trump’s initial executive order with who knows how many more to come, and now the ruling against Google, there will be fresh concerns in Brussels, and European privacy campaigners are going to be up in arms.

“The last remaining foundation for Privacy Shield was the 1974 US Privacy Act (written well before email existed, in which time Europe has rewritten its privacy rules three times). Not only is this act out of date, but it is patchy and deficient at best. It now appears under assault.

Even if we could be confident that the new administration and US courts were committed to upholding European privacy rights, and could be certain that there would be no further orders or rulings like these, what we have seen so far suggests that the US is deeply divided and there can be no certainty.”

“Public sector bodies with contracts with US cloud firms need to make an immediate Privacy Impact Assessment, and if necessary, seek expert legal advice. They may need to scope out migration options to move workloads so data privacy and sovereignty can be assured.

British Prime Minister’s new industrial strategy which actively favours UK firms for government contracts and procurement for growth in the post-Brexit world, departments are going to need to weigh up the risks (in terms of data privacy and sovereignty and currency fluctuations) of doing business with non-UK providers.”

HP wants to expand into hybrid cloud platforms

cloudThe bit of HP which no longer makes expensive printer ink, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, has written a $650 million cheque for the privately held cloud software company SimpliVity.

The move is part of a cunning plan to expand its operations in the fast-growing market for hybrid cloud platforms.

For those who came in late, hybrid cloud platforms run applications that are based partly on the client’s private servers and partly on public cloud data centers. They are proving rather useful for resellers peddling cloud platforms so HPE jumping on the bandwagon will give them more sales options.

The deal is expected to add to Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s earnings in the first fiscal year after it is completed, the company said.

SimpliVity was founded in 2009 and had raised $276 million in four funding rounds.

Government stuffs up G-Cloud figures

Epic_FailThere was a sharp intake of breath as the government announced that its  G-Cloud sales figures had fallen by half and the feeling was that Brexit was to blame.

Now government has since admitted it stuffed up the numbers and there is nothing to worry about.

The figures were important because they show the success of a scheme which was supposed to give IT contracts to smaller suppliers rather than a single large supplier which might have a powerful lobby group.

The government publishes G-Cloud figures periodically, and the most recent data up to October, published before Christmas, shows that in that month, spending through the framework was just £38 million  – down 22 per cent annually, down 45 per cent on a monthly basis, and far below the average monthly spend on the framework for 2016 (January to October) of £59.7 million.

In fact the framework’s spending has not been this low since May 2015. However it is expected that the shortfall to be made up in the coming months as departments use their budgets before they expire.

The Cabinet Office confirmed that the data for October does not reflect any Brexit-related slowdown, but was in fact an administrative error. The correct data is expected to be uploaded shortly.

Cisco gives up on the cloud

Cisco Kid Networking giant Cisco will walk away from its billion dollar investment in the public cloud by the middle of next year.

Cisco will abandon its InterCloud  and will move any InterCloud workloads to other, unnamed cloud providers. The move is being seen as a victory for Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and IBM.

HP saw the writing on the wall in 2015  and abandoned its efforts to be a public-cloud company. It shut down its much-hyped Helion cloud offering earlier this year. VMware still offers its vCloud Air hybrid-cloud service, though it has agreed to partner with AWS, which it once viewed as its rival.

Cisco said that it did not expect any material customer problems as a result of this move.

“For the last several months, we have been evolving our cloud strategy and our service provider partners are aware of this.”

Cisco launched InterCloud almost exactly two years ago. It anticipated spending $1 billion over the next two years building the offering, which it called “a network of clouds” and “a way to lower the total cost of cloud services ownership and pave the way for interoperable and highly secure public, private and hybrid clouds.” It was to be, Cisco said in March 2014, “the world’s largest global intercloud” and yet also “the first of its kind, delivering a new enterprise-class portfolio of cloud IT services.”

Cisco said it planned to build the product through partners, including Australian service provider Telstra; Canadian business communications provider Allstream; European cloud company Canopy; cloud services aggregator Ingram Micro Inc. and others. InterCloud would include platform and infrastructure as a service and Cisco’s collaboration, security and network management, and would be “architected for the Internet of Everything.”

In the end though it was sucking up resources like a Dyson in a tornado and at the same time customers were going elsewhere.

AWS’s share of the market for infrastructure and platform as a service as of June was over 30 percent, with year-over-year revenue growth of 53 percent, according to Synergy Research Group. Azure’s was over 10 percent, with revenue growth of 100 percent. IBM’s share was about 8 percent, Google Cloud’s was about 5 percent, and the remainder was collectively consumed by 12 or more companies.