Tag: Cloud

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.

 

Amazon opens “top secret” cloud operation in UK

amazonAmazon Web Services today announced the launch of its previously “top secret” AWS Europe (London) Region.

The London Region is AWS’s third European Region, with existing regions in Ireland and Germany. Apparently the entire project has been built in secret and was only announced yesterday.

“Starting today, developers, startups, and enterprises, as well as government, education, and non-profit organisations, can leverage the AWS Cloud to run their applications and store their data on infrastructure in the UK,” AWS said.

The AWS Europe (London) Region offers two Availability Zones at launch.

“Our customers and APN Partners asked us to build an AWS Region in the UK, so they can run their mission-critical workloads and store sensitive data on AWS infrastructure locally,” said Andy Jassy, CEO, AWS. “For the past decade, we’ve had an enthusiastic base of customers in the UK choosing to build their businesses on the AWS Cloud because it has more functionality than other cloud platforms, an extensive APN Partner and customer ecosystem, as well as unmatched maturity, security, and performance. A local AWS Region will serve as the foundation for even more innovative cloud initiatives from the UK that can transform business, customer experiences, and enhance the local economy.”

Karen Bradley, UK Secretary of State of Culture Media and Sport, was clearly relieved that Amazon was expanding its operations post-Brexit and not leaving the country.

“I’m delighted to welcome the opening of the UK Amazon Web Services Region, which is a strong endorsement of our approach to the digital economy. The new AWS Region shows a clear confidence in the UK being open for business and one of the best places in the world for technology companies to invest in and grow.”

Solution providers need to change

bodenA Google executive has warned that solution providers need to invest in next-generation technologies to stay ahead of the curve.

Nan Boden, head of global technology partners at Google’s Cloud division, said solution providers need to pull their socks up and get new skills and services. She said more customers wanted to target digital transformation for their businesses and there were new consumption models and buyers who wanted a part of the lucrative cloud economy.

Talking at the NextGen Cloud event, Boden said that industry models will be based less on products and more on services.

“This is putting pressure on partners to provide services to customers. It requires a different motion and skill set that is not optional, and we’re seeing successful channel partners get ahead of that.”

She added that punters were demanding faster time-to-value, minimal up-front commitment, and increased flexibility and scalability for their businesses, requiring solution providers to move away from a sales and marketing reseller model to a more value-added services model.

This includes offering managed services and even packaged IP technology solutions to solve customer needs, she said.

“We’re seeing partners using machine learning, the cloud and analytics together in ways that are transforming industries. We believe that if you invest in innovations for your line-of-business customers, that will pay off.”

Vendors look to the channel for cloud offerings

cloudbustThe Global Technology Administration Council (GTDC) claims that vendors are increasingly relying on the channel when it comes to their cloud offerings.

The GTDC – whose associates cover Tech Data, Ingram, Avnet, Arrow, Westcon, Exclusive Networks and Scansource, claim that distributors will be dependant on the channel to bring cloud solutions to market and wrap services around cloud offerings.

“The emergence of cloud has transformed distribution along with the IT industry. Increasingly, vendors are relying on the channel to bring cloud solutions to market and that won’t change in 2017,” the report said.

Already Microsoft has indicated that it will use the channel more in 2017 to give it more opportunity as to expand its public cloud assets.

The role distribution will play in the cloud has often been questioned, with some in the industry warning distributors need to evolve or risk becoming irrelevant.

In the GTDC report Wayne Peters, senior director of Arrow Capital Solutions at Arrow highlighted financing as an important role that distributors will play in 2017.

“Cloud financing is becoming a critical component of selling cloud. In many cases, it takes what has traditionally been called non-traditional financing, but soon will become traditional financing as more solution providers get used to selling cloud and customer demand accelerates.

“We are also seeing a shift in the market with respect to the cloud ecosystem requirements and our partners selling and finance cloud.

“Some of the things we do around recurring revenue and bringing new partners into the ecosystem helps our base become broader and makes cloud easier for partners to sell,” the report said.

 

 

UK SMEs need help to come up with cloud plan

cloudUK SMEs might need channel help because they are not defining their cloud computing strategy and do not seem to have any plans to formalise anything, according to new research.

The research from Close Brothers polled 906 small businesses across the UK, found that only 29 percent could be bothered formalising their cloud strategy.

Companies in the North East and Wales were the least likely to have a properly defined cloud computing strategy, while London firms were the most likely.

When asked to rate the importance of having a cloud computing strategy, only nine percent of businesses said it was ‘very important’, while 24 percent thought it was ‘important’.
said Ian McVicar, CEO, Close Brothers said the cloud was one of the key digital developments of the last few years and it was important that businesses don’t get left behind because it can be used as a competitive advantage.

“The results of the survey are quite sobering and make it clear that there is some way to go before business owners fully appreciate the importance of the cloud. Fundamentally, cloud computing means companies can avoid, for example, purchasing and hosting servers, along with other infrastructure costs. This is not only a cost saving, but means companies can focus on their core business instead of spending both time and resource on establishing and maintaining an IT infrastructure,” he said.

All this means that the channel can have a foot in the door with SMEs by helping to provide them with cloudy advice. It is apparently likely that an SME is going to approach a potential cloud partner to ask for help, or to work out how their business can be improved by moving to the cloud.

Cloudy Netsuite delivers final results  

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudSome Netsuite shareholders might be relieved that the outfit could be bought by Oracle – the outfit’s last financial results were not that great.

The Cloud-based ERP outfit announced its last quarter results before it joins Ellison’s team and while it has continued to grow it is also showing increased operating overheads and losses. In other-words if it had not been bought out it could be in for some serious restructuring if it is going to continue.

NetSuite reported a third quarter loss of $34.1 million compared to $37.7 million a year earlier, on revenue of $243.9, up 26 percent. Costs increased to $50.2 million compared to $44.3 million.

The $9.3 million buyout needs to be approved by shareholders on 4 November. Surprisingly, shareholders don’t like it and the meeting could be contentious.  The feeling is that Ellison and the Netsuite board have  undervalued the company. We would have thought that they only have to look at the numbers to see that it is probably a good idea.

The Netsuite board seems to think the shareholders will go for it. They have said that this is the last time that the company would be making the figures public.  After all it is going to be part of Ellison’s empire if the vote goes ahead.

Wipro to buy Appirio

overview-2xIndian outsourcing giant Wipro is going to write a cheque for half a billion dollars to buy cloud services powerhouse Appirio.

The $500 million all-cash acquisition is expected to close by the end of the year.

Wipro said that bringing Indianapolis-based Appirio’s 1,250 global employees on board will create one of the world’s largest cloud transformation companies. This would make it the partner of choice for clients looking to modernise their processes and platforms on next-generation cloud applications.

Chris Barbin, Appirio’s CEO, said in a statement that if you combine Wipro’s global scale and deep digital focus with Appirio’s transformative worker and customer experience expertise, and best in class team, brand and partners, you create a formidable force in the industry.

“Our aim is to dominate the market and claim the top spots in industry Net Promoter Score, market share, and best places to work.”

Wipro’s existing Salesforce and Workday cloud applications practices will be consolidated under the Appirio brand and structure. Barbin will lead the expanded business,.

Appirio is a close chum of Google and created the Topcode marketplace that connects more than a million designers, developers and data scientists around the world with customers. It works with leading brands such as Coca-Cola, eBay, Facebook, Home Depot, Stryker, Johnson Controls, Cardinal Health and Sony PlayStation.

Appirio was founded in 2006 and incubated inside Salesforce’s San Francisco headquarters. The company today has offices in Indianapolis, San Francisco, Dublin, London, Tokyo and Jaipur, India.

The systems integrator has seen its revenue grow from $137 million in 2013 to $178 million in 2014 to $196 million in 2015, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

 

Google buys Apigee for $625 million in cloud plan

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudGoogle is buying software development toolmaker Apigee for $625 million, to improve its cloud-based businesses offerings.

Alphabet’s Google has agreed to pay a 6.5 percent premium to Apigee’s shareholders and the deal will be completed by the end of the year.

For those who came in late, Apigee sells a platform that aids companies manage APIs to help developers build software that talks to each other and shares information without revealing the underlying code. APIs have become an integral part of cloud software development, allowing one application to pull data and use services from multiple other programmes.

Diane Greene, senior vice president of Google’s cloud business wrote in her bog: “The addition of Apigee’s API solutions to Google cloud will accelerate our customers’ move to supporting their businesses with high quality digital interactions.”

Apigee has customers which include Walgreens Boots Alliance, AT&T, Live Nation Entertainment Inc. and Burberry Group. Green said that Walgreens uses Apigee to offer APIs and analyse how the tools are being used.

Google has been improving enterprise-focused products, having lagged behind Amazon.  and Microsoft in flogging public cloud computing software.

The Apigee acquisition will also help support Google’s own set of APIs, which include ones that allow developers to pull information from YouTube as well as the Translate and Maps software to imbed in their own apps.

IT managers think the cloud is more secure

PAY-Lion-King-cloud-MAINHalf of IT managers think they will be more secure on the cloud than having their own data centres

According to a SADA Systems study which asked 200 enterprise IT professionals regarding their use of cloud services, 51 percent of the respondents said data security is better in the cloud, while 58 percent cited the cloud as “the most secure, flexible and cost-effective solution for their organizations,” according to SADA Systems.

Tony Safoian, president and CEO at SADA Systems, said this was a reversal of enterprise sentiments since the cloud’s early days when security was a significant adoption obstacle.

The supplier no longer has to prove to customers that the cloud was cost effective, not a passing fad and secure.

Instead, the cloud discussions now revolve around what workloads will move to the cloud, on which platforms will they reside and who will help get them there, Safoian noted.

As for the latter problem, 43 percent of the IT managers SADA Systems surveyed said they have and will continue to use third-party consultants to manage public cloud infrastructure.

In addition, enterprises are asking about what business advantages they can obtain in moving to the cloud, Safoian added.

In other SADA Systems findings, half of survey respondents said they are likely to increase public cloud use by at least a quarter over the next two to three years. Another quarter of the IT professionals polled said they would increase their public cloud use by 50 percent during the same time span. More than 84 percent of respondents said they are using public cloud infrastructure today, and 45 percent of the companies surveyed said their cloud migrations took three to six months. Another 23 percent said the migration took less than three months.

Rackspace rumoured to be up for grabs

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudThe dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn claiming that the cloudy hosting provider Rackspace is going to be acquired.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Thursday that a deal with a private equity firm was imminent. Friday, a Reuters story said Apollo Global Management was working on a deal with the San Antonio-based company that could be worth more than $3.5 billion.  Needless to say it has not happened yet.

The outfit has had a few problems expanding and had been looking to bring in private equity, regroup or restructure.  There have been rumours for ages that they were ripe for the picking with a telecom provider thinking of buying them at one point.

But it seems that the company, despite having good offerings, is having a job saying anything relevant .

In May 2014, Rackspace informed the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had hired Morgan Stanley to formally explore a merger or acquisition. That September, Bloomberg News reported CenturyLink was looking to buy the company.

Speculation about potential suitors fizzled after Rackspace removed itself from the market and was unhappy with the offers it had received.

Amazon and Microsoft are the cloud kings

PAY-Lion-King-cloud-MAINAmazon Web Services and Microsoft are the rulers of the public cloud, according to beancounters at Gartner.

The research firm’s “Magic Quadrant” annual report surveys the amount and type of cloud computing services offered for rent by big companies. However this year it appears to be a two horse race between Amazon and Vole. Amazon is coming first, probably because it was first out of the gate,  while Microsoft continues a strong push at second.

Google, IBM, VirtuStream (part of EMC), CenturyLink, Rackspace and VMware all have a horse running but are a long way down the field.

Amazon’s poured shedload of cash into its $10 billion a year business. AWS “has the largest share of compute capacity in use by paying customers — many times the aggregate size of all other providers in the market,” according Big G.

Last year, AWS ran more than 10 times the cloud compute capacity as the next 14 cloud players combined. Asked whether that means Amazon’s dominance has held steady, grown, or decreased year over year, Gartner IT managing vice president Rakesh Kumar said that the research firm does not have the exact comparable figure, but that it is “reasonable to assume” that AWS has maintained the same lead this year.

Last week, Gartner released another report showing Amazon dominating the cloud storage market as well.

Google has been trying hard to win market share from the other two powers and to prove that it is serious about the public cloud market. Google remains the third largest player by Gartner’s measures, but it has slipped a bit relative to the top.

Google’s strengths lie in its big data analytics and machine learning technologies that it has used internally and is now offering to the public at large. Even AWS supporters love to use Google BigQuery and Bigtable, to parse and explore big amounts of data, for example.

Google has also made some strides entrenching its view of container management, as embodied in Kubernetes, to outside players. Containers, are a modern way to combine all the services needed for a software application into a portable unit that can, in theory, run on a company’s internal servers, on Google, or some other public cloud.