Tag: IBM

External storage up despite PC downturn

hdd-hugeAlthough PC sales fell off a cliff last year, makers of external disk storage seem to have had a rather good year. According to IDC’s latest disk storage report, revenue increased 4.7 percent in 2012, with a 2.3 percent year-on-year increase in Q4.

Worldwide sales totalled $24.7 billion last year, and total disk capacity shipped during the year surpassed 20 exabytes, up 27 per cent over 2011.

“FICON attached array sales and network attached storage (NAS) both helped drive the factory revenue increase during the quarter as companies invested in storage required to support mainframe environments and to deal with the continued growth in unstructured data,” said Eric Sheppard, IDC storage research director.

The open networked disk storage market grew 2.6 percent year-on-year in Q4 to hi $5.7 billion in revenues. EMC maintained its lead with a 30.7 percent revenue share in Q4, trailed by IBM and NetApp with 15 per cent and 11.6 percent respectively. HP and Hitachi tied in fourth position with market shares of 9.3 and 8.8 percent respectively. However, HP and Hitachi were the only players in the top five to lose share in Q4 2012.

In the total worldwide disk storage systems market EMC reigned supreme with a 24 percent share, followed by IBM and HP, in a statistical tie for second spot with 16.2 and 16 percent respectively. Dell and Netapp ranked fourth and fifth.

IBM expands its mobile plans

next-years-mainframe-model-comes-in-nearly-half-the-spaceBiggish Blue has revamped its mobile products for businesses by merging all its mobile tools into a portfolio dubbed MobileFirst.

The idea is to provide a package for corporations looking to turn mobile screens into revenue drivers.

IBM’s mobile strategy has been becoming more elaborate after realising that mobile enterprise could become the equivalent of its e-business, analytics and smarter planet efforts. The company has started mixing software and services together to pitch its mobile wares.

In a statement, IBM said that enterprises are leaving billions of dollars on the table by not transforming fast enough to take advantage of mobility. It plans to double its investment in mobile in 2013 compared to 2012.

IBM’s MobileFirst Platform includes its Worklight product, which is development tool, single sign-on and Rational testing tools for apps. To reassure companies about BYOD policies, MobileFirst includes a Security product which scans vulnerabilities at the app level on mobile operating systems. The security tools are designed to scan and enforce policies for internal and third party mobile apps.

There is also MobileFirst Management which is an update to EndPoint Manager to support bring your own device programs with additional security tools. This targets all screens from the desktop to the smartphone with policies by device.

Finally there is MobileFirst Analytics which is an expansion of its Tealeaf CX Mobile tools to model customer behaviour on multiple screens.

On the services side, Biggish Blue is rebranding a design unit under the MobileFirst moniker. The design and strategy services consist of workshops as well as IBM Interactive user interface expertise. IBM will offer development, network and integration services.

According to the company, its cunning plan is to target its key verticals such as retail with point-of-sale applications, healthcare and transportation.

HP is top on blades, claims HP

hpmanvegasBlades are not expensive, HP said at a briefing here in the amazingly huge Sands Expo centre today.

It has shipped over three million blade systems and vastly outsells Dell and the others, said a man from HP. HP didn’t have very much to say about ARM, so we suspect he is talking about Intel based systems.

HP also claimed at the same press conference it was ahead on the storage front, you’ll be astonished to hear. HP will extend its converged storage portfolio with a couple of new products with a channel exclusive set of stuff called HP Store System and HP Store Virtual. It is all industry standard so basically we are talking about AMD and Intel – not ARM.

Store Virtual is incredibly simple, according to HP. “Because of the power of being HP we can deliver storage with rich data services with ProLiants”.

WLAN is a huge market for HP’s partners, growing 11 percent CAGR. WLAN is worth $4.18 billion, a spokesperson said.  HP claimed to be committed to driving all wireless revenue through its channel partners.  Ninety percent of HPN portfolio goes through the channel. HP Blade systems are worth $37 billion and driven by the channel, it was pointed out.

Say Tata to broke Indian outsourcers

Workers are pictured beneath clocks displaying time zones in various parts of the world at an outsourcing centre in BangaloreReports from India suggest that the country’s  IT outsourcing business is turning a corner after being in a slump for a while.

This means that the UK companies can expect to find tougher competition from Indian based software companies, outsources and contract service outfits in the near future.

Analysts predict an improvement in India’s outsourcing industry, which has been gutted for many quarters by shrinking IT budgets and a slowdown in decision making by customers in the traditional markets like US and Europe.

Research firm Offshore Insights predicts that the offshore market for outsourced services is will grow by 12 percent to 15 percent this year, as more customers are expected to increase IT spending.

India’s $100 billion IT services sector seems to be recovering thanks to the acceleration in IT spending by existing customers although there have been a few new sign ups.

This week, Nielsen Holding increased the size of its contract with India’s top software services exporter, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, to $2.5 billion from $1 billion.

India’s $100 billion IT services sector has been in the doldrums for a while but it seems to be recovering thanks to the acceleration in IT spending by existing customers.

TCS has major clients including General Electric, British Airways and Sony and competes with rival Indian software providers Infosys and Wipro as well as multinational firms such as IBM and Accenture Plc for outsourcing deals.

The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) also forecasts that India’s exports of software and services will be between $84 billion to $87 billion in the Indian fiscal year from April 2013 to March 2014.

One of the problems that some business watchers believe that the Indian outsourcers will have to tackle is the fact that they are dependent on a revenue model that is largely dependent on the number of people working on a project.

This worked well when IT labour was cheap. While labour is still comparatively cheap in India, it is getting more expensive meaning that outsourcers have to woo new business with promises based on owning some natty technology and replicable processes.

They will have to shift more of their operations closer to their key markets in the US and Europe.

Dell hints at more buys in open letter

mikedellcloseupFollowing Dell’s acquisition of, er, Dell – taking the behemoth off the public market – CEO Michael Dell has penned an open letter to the company’s customers which promises “organic” and “inorganic” investment. Translation: Dell’s patent-packed Supermarket Sweep shopping spree will be ongoing.

At Dell Tech Camp, Amsterdam, last week, the company was very keen to assert the importance of acquisitions in its portfolio. Wyse, Kace, and the others were wheeled into Dell’s Software Group and it is clear from the time given to each that the company’s intended message was that it’s growing. It wants to continue to compete with HP and IBM in enterprise, and there are plenty of pre-packaged firms out there it believes it can pick up.

The letter opened by saying Dell’s agreement represents an “exciting new chapter for our company and for you, our customers”. Ultimately, more control in the paws of Michael Dell will define Dell at this transitional point in the company’s history.

“As always, our unwavering focus is on delivering a fantastic customer experience and creating value for your organisation,” the letter reads. “We believe that our proposed new ownership will provide long-term support to help Dell innovate, invest for growth and accelerate our transformation strategy. We’ll have the flexibility to continue organic and inorganic investment and drive industry leading innovation”.

Mentioning the past few years, Dell claimed that strategic execution has been “consistent”, and again mentioned that portfolio it has managed to swell. Considering the enterprise represents the overwhelming lion’s share of Dell’s products, services and technologies – will we see Mike pick Apotheker two from HP’s notebook under the latter’s short lived leadership? Some pundits guffawed when IBM dumped its consumer division, but it turned out to be for the better.

HP, meanwhile, struggles with ‘restructuring’ and was forced to write down the insanity of its Autonomy buy. We’ll say it right now: it will be Michael Dell’s hated box-shifting label for whom the Dell tolls.

Cost and pressure of uni work placements could put students off

bbc 330Work placements at degree stage help prepare  IT students for full time work, yet the cost and pressure of finding them can put many off, a work experience professional has said.

The comments follow a survey of 320 graduates from CWJobs, which found that those who had completed a placement year had been better prepared to enter the world of work when they had finished their degree.

A quarter of those asked said they had completed a placement while studying for their degrees. Of these, 81 percent said they felt the experience had helped them when it came to their IT career.

Just under half of students who had not completed a placement year admitted that they did not feel that just having a degree better placed them for the world of work.

According to recruitment firm Experis, and IT jobs site CWJobs.com, which jointly conducted the research, employers often look for students who had completed relevant work experience.

However, they pointed out that of the 2,048 computing courses offered in the UK, only 470 offer a placement year.

According to a work experience expert,  many students who don’t have the option of a sandwich course will fail to find a placement during their time at university.

“At university level things change slightly from school age where it is down to each borough to place a 16 year old in a work experience placement”, she told ChannelEye. “At degree level, it’s no longer down to the government to place students, which in some ways, considering the tuition fee hike is unfair.

“It means that on top of their workload students are put under pressure- with probably minimal help from their tutors, to find placements to accompany their course. There may be companies who are signed up with the course but the competition is rife.”

There are financial costs involved too.

An article in the Guardian last year suggested that some universities can charge up to around £4,500 for sandwich years, while businesses are also reluctant to become a part of this scheme as they don’t have the time to supervise these students.

“Placements are very important, but for some, the time and effort associated with these put students off and, as we’ve seen from this research could prove detrimental in the future,” the work experience expert added.

Meanwhile, the Chartered Institute for IT announced that it is launching a teacher training scholarship aimed at creating the next generation of computer science teachers.

The organisation wants secondary schools to “have outstanding computer science teachers” and it hopes the scholarships will help towards achieving this.

The scheme also aims to help students receive a good grounding in computer science education so they are suitably equipped for progression into further education and a professional career.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We need to bring computational thinking into our schools. Having Computer Science in the EBacc (English Baccalaureate) will have a big impact on schools over the next decade.

“It will mean millions of children learning to write computer code so they are active creators and controllers of technology instead of just being passive users. It will be great for education, great for the economy, and will help restore the spirit of Alan Turing and make Britain a world leader again.”

Fifty scholarships per year, each worth £20,000, will be awarded for those engaged in an initial teacher training course, with the funding supplied by the Department for Education.

The scheme will also be backed by the likes of Microsoft, Google, IBM, BT, Facebook, Meta Switch Networks and Ocado.

Dell: we’re serious about enterprise

haas330Dell CEO Michael Dell, so the rumours go, notoriously hates his company being referred to as a box-shifter.

While speculation about him personally taking the company off the market to exert more control increases, European bigwigs here at Dell’s Technology Camp, Amsterdam, took to the stage promising a packed room of analysts and reporters that Dell is on an aggressive push into enterprise, but that it is very much established there already.

Dell believes it will find opportunity in a world plagued with recession, and heavy hitters such as Marius Haas, president for Dell Enterprise Solutions, are fighting the company’s corner.

Opening the presentation was Aongus Hegarty, president, Dell EMEA. He insisted that Dell’s position is as an established software company, and that its many recent acquisitions – recently herded into one umbrella group as Dell Software, are paying off. Recurring themes from all the speakers were the company’s broad intellectual property and a vast stockpile of patents, swelling with each acquisition.

Crucially, Aongus pointed out that Dell is unique to the competition. Showing a slide that presented the company in a very favourable light within the enterprise, his statement was backed up by HP veteran Marius Haas. Haas said that over the last 10 or so years, people have been mostly thinking about performance and value – but the trend has shifted onto how also to provide operational efficiency across the board.

Haas pointed out that systems can be expensive to maintain, and flagged the Itanium as an example. Although these systems can provide some operational efficiencies, costs are there because they don’t provide the full package, according to Haas. Even with cheaper Chinese vendors (naming no names), though capital costs may be at bargain prices, operational costs can be higher because there are other factors to think in – and they still must be maintained. This is where Dell differs, he said.

Scalability is another key point. Being able to deliver services from the SMBs to enterprise level means more opportunity and flexibility. Haas mentioned an initiative by the British government to store all data from every study in a digital format: this leads on to conversations from high computational requirements through to what is possible with tape storage, or the cheapest options to protect and keep that data.

Although there has been a slow down in business spending, Dell fully expects the second half of this year to pick up. We will have to wait and see. What is clear, is that Dell is serious about further entrenching its brand as an enterprise company and its execs were quite convincing. Can a further shift away from shaky consumer territory be on the cards?