Tag: microsoft

EU gives its cloud to BT, IBM, Accenture and Atos

Eu-flag-vector-material2The European Commission has announced BT, IBM, Accenture and Atos will get most of the contracts to supply its new cloud services.

Contracts were broken out into three “lots,” covering a private cloud setup, public cloud setup, and platform-as-a-service, for which it will pay $38.5 million.
The whole lot will be platformed by Telecom Italia which is a bit unfortunate. That outfit is under resourced and its mobile arm TIM just adopted the iChing hexagram for “standing still” as its logo.waiting

It is unusual that Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Amazon and none of the other big cloud outfits managed to get their paws on the EU’s clouds.

The Commission said that all the systems will be physically located within the European Union, the Commission noted, “to be compliant with EU data handling requirements” basically it means that the US will not be able to steal it.

According to the announcement, the contract will “enable the Commission to follow the ceaseless pace of today’s technological race.”

The EU hopes that use of cloud services will help it come up with future improvements to how it works, such as using “Big Data.”

The private cloud service will provide computing and storage facilities through a private network link connected to the EC’s data centres, and will be hosted by a single provider. The public cloud infrastructure will be run over the public internet. And the public platform-as-a-service will include both operating systems and database services run over the cloud.

The first cloud services should appear this year.

IP PBX and unified comms market – here’s Microsoft!

maxresdefaultBeancounters at IDC claim that Microsoft has become a “head-to-head competitor” in the IP PBX and unified comms (UC) space.

Apparently Vole is taking advantage of the fact that traditional players’ have had a slow reaction to changing adoption patterns.

In the first quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of 2015, Microsoft tripled its market share from 4.8 percent to 15.5 percent in EMEA. This made it a “head-to-head competitor “with Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Cisco, Aastra and Unify which have been the kings of the space for years.

With more than 15 per cent market share, Microsoft has become the fourth-largest player, IDC said.

IDC’s report said: “This is not a random rise of a vendor/ The companies that had dominated the EMEA IP PBX and UC platform market come from equipment- and on-premise-focused backgrounds. They were too slow to react to the rapidly changing adoption patterns in the market, and Microsoft seized the opportunity.”

Microsoft changes Enterprise Agreement volume licensing deals

Microsoft campusSoftware King of the World Microsoft’s cunning plan to develop ‘one volume licence agreement to rule them’ starts with a new change to its Enterprise Agreement minimums, takes effect July 1, 2016.

The move is to try and simplify Vole’s Byzantine style licensing. According to what Vole is telling resellers, on July 1, 2016 business users who want to go the Enterprise Agreement approach will face a minimum requirement of 500 users or devices, rather than the current 250.

Those who want fewer than 500 devices/users will be steered to the Microsoft Product and Services Agreement (MPSA) and Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) programmes.

The MPSA software/services licence appeared in 2014 and CSP shortly thereafter. Microsoft currently trying to kill off its Select Plus volume license agreement.

Microsoft wants customers to be able to manage their various licensing agreements with the company so that it feels like they only have one.

Vole says that it does not want anyone to have to buy something they don’t need and it wants to have one place where customers could see all their purchases.

Microsoft’s ultimate goal is to get all customers to use MPSA and CSP for their licensing.

Microsoft has seen the composition of its business-customer licensing deals shifting. In fiscal 2015, more than half were for online services only, with no enterprise-wide coverage requirement,

Worldwide Licensing and Pricing. MPSA and CSP are more suited toward addressing these kinds of scenarios, he said.

Carmakers partner up with Microsoft

Vintage & Classic Car Salvage Yards and Wrecks (11)While hardware and software makers are fighting their way into smartcars, it appears that the software king of the world Microsoft is already on-board thanks to its pretty complex partner strategy.

Microsoft’s executive vice president of global business development at Microsoft Peggy Johnson claims that now that carmakers see their cars as technology platforms, and they are choosing Microsoft as their partner.

Volvo, Nissan, Harman and IAV announced new details about their partnerships with Microsoft to enhance their connected car strategies and they joined Toyota, Ford, Qoros, Delphi, and other companies already working with Microsoft, Johnson said.

Johnson said that the big idea is to bring their cars into the mobile-first, cloud-first world. Soon apparently your car will be connected to the Internet, as well as to other cars, your mobile phone and your home computer.

At CES, Volvo showcased new concepts that integrate Microsoft Band 2 with a Windows 10 smartphone and the Volvo on Call Universal App, creating new ways for customers to interact with their vehicles. From the new Microsoft Band, a Volvo owner can press and hold the action button and say, “Volvo, start the heater of my car,” among many other options.

Harman has integrated Microsoft Office 365 productivity suite capabilities into Harman infotainment systems. Drivers will be able to access Office 365 services and interact with them through intelligent personal assistant software to schedule meetings, hear and respond to important emails, and make Skype calls when in park, or when on the road in autonomous vehicles.

IAV will use Windows 10 Continuum to stream Windows 10 via a mobile device directly to a car’s dashboard, giving drivers access to Windows 10 features and apps such as Cortana, Skype for Business, Calendar, Outlook and Groove Music while the vehicle is in autonomous driving mode or parked. This integration allows drivers to use the devices they already own. Microsoft and IAV will also demo how to use Cortana Analytics and data from a vehicle’s surroundings to improve safety by anticipating and mitigating potential vehicle and pedestrian accidents.

Nissan and Vole will announce that all Nissan LEAF and Infiniti models in Europe will have Connect Telematics Systems (CTS) powered by Microsoft Azure.

Johnson claimed Automakers are choosing Vole as their connected car partner to help them transform the consumer experience with a platform for intelligent cars that complements their own strategies and ambitions.

“With this partner focus, we’re able to leverage our cloud-based intelligence technologies, productivity services and tools, and even personal assistant technologies like Cortana in a neutral manner,” she said.

“We’re able to strike the right balance between using data to create both intelligent and personal experiences, while helping maintain privacy and security. We’re able to create more natural, human computing interfaces. And, we’re able to develop and deploy secure platforms and infrastructure to enable innovation on top of existing systems,” Johnson said.

Microsoft moves server software to per-core licensing

microsoft-in-chinaMicrosoft seems set to move its Windows Server 2016 to a per-core licensing system.

Windows Server will not arrive until the second half of next year, but Vole will probably change the way it licenses its server operating system.  Currently Microsoft uses a per socket licensing system, but now it wants to charge per core.

Windows Server 2012’s two main editions, Standard and Datacenter, had identical features, and differed only in terms of the number of virtual operating system instances they supported. Standard supported two virtual machines while the Datacenter product was unlimited. Licenses for both editions were sold in two socket units and a license was needed for each pair of sockets a system contained.

What appears to be happening with Windows Server 2016 is that this simple system is going to become more complex. There will be functional differences between Standard and Datacenter editions. Datacenter will gain additional storage replication capabilities, a new network stack with richer virtualisation options, and shielded virtual machines that protect the content of a virtual machine from the administrator of the host operating system.

More significant is that 2016 will use a two core pack, with the licence cost of each 2016 pack being 1/8th the price of the corresponding two socket pack for 2012. Each system running Windows Server 2016 must have a minimum of eight cores per processor, and a minimum of 16 cores per system.

In most cases with systems with up to four processors and up to eight cores per processor, this won’t change the overall licensing cost. But for heavier multi-processing and core use the prices will increase. Two or four processors with 10 cores per processor will cost 25 percent more to run Windows Server 2016 than they did 2012.

Those who know the black art which is Microsoft’s licensing will realise that this brings Windows Server’s licensing in line with SQL Server’s.  SQL Server has been using a per core model since 2014. BizTalk has been using the model since 2013. Azure is also licensed on the basis of virtual machine cores, rather than sockets.

What Microsoft appears to be doing is adapting its licencing to increased  processor core counts and a marked reduction of high socket count systems.

Some customers are going to lose money on the move, particularly those who are unfortunate enough to have Software Assurance agreements that cover systems that were licensed using 2012’s socket-based scheme.

HP Enterprise to name Microsoft’s Azure cloud partner

Cloud computing - photo Mike MageeThe former maker of expensive printer ink, HP Enterprise, has selected Microsoft’s Azure as its preferred public cloud partner.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman said HPE will officially unveil the partnership with Microsoft at the HPE Discover Conference in London next week.

She said that Vole shared HP’s view of a hybrid IT approach for enterprises, and sees an opportunity to simplify hybrid infrastructure.

“Microsoft Azure will become a preferred public cloud partner. HPE will serve as a preferred provider of Microsoft’s infrastructure and services for its hybrid cloud offerings,” she said.

HP said it will shut down its HP Helion Public Cloud offering effective January 21, 2016 and generally “doubling down” on its managed and virtual private cloud offerings in the wake of the public cloud exit. Whitman claimed this move played to HP’s strengths in private and managed cloud.

“We will continue to extend our cloud infrastructure leadership and integrate the public cloud element for our customers through a strategic, partner-based model,” she said.

Whitman did not say what this deal might have on HPE’s relationship with Amazon Web Services.

Word on the street is that HPE will provide support for AWS’ popular public cloud simply because it has to.

Microsoft spends a billion on holistic security

Holistic-Health1-590x400Software king of the world Microsoft has invested a billion dollars to come up with an integrated security approach across its software and services.

According to Dark Reading,  Microsoft has spent the cash coming up with a new “holistic” type of security which apparently does not involve crystals, spangley music or poisons diluted by lots of water.

Vole’s chief information security officer Bret Arsenault wants his company’s strategy to appear in the company’s internal network and across its Windows, Office, and cloud offerings to customers.

To do that Vole will gather threat intelligence from sensors and customers and then uses it for detection, protection, and responding to security events.

Microsoft’s $1 billion in security spending this year includes Microsoft’s “organic” investments and three security firms. These have included behavioural learning and Active Directory security firm Aorato, cloud security firm Adallom, and most recently, data and file protection firm Secure Islands.

Arsenault said that Microsoft had always done a good job in caring about writing secure code and making secure services.

“We needed to do more to protect endpoints and get intelligence from the cloud … so we’re making investments in a number of areas,” he said.

Microsoft Enterprise Cybersecurity Group (ECG), focuses on sales and services in “nothing but cyber defence,” he said. This group will work with Microsoft’s security partners and the Office 365 and Azure teams, too, for example, he said.

ECG will provide security assessments, monitoring, threat detection, and incident response to Microsoft customers.

Microsoft has also opened a state-of-the-art Cyber Defence Operations Centre (CDOC) which co-locates members of the company’s internal security team, Microsoft Security Response Centre, security experts in Azure, Windows, Office 365, security analysts, as well as its Digital Crimes Unit and other groups, for detecting and responding to threats in real-time.

The idea is to have all the different bits of the glorious Volish empire working together to  create security features in Windows 10, Office 365, Azure, and Enterprise Mobility Suite work together to prevent password-related attacks, data loss, and malware.

Microsoft rethinks Euro cloud products

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEOMicrosoft thinks it has a cure for its customers’ poor attitude to cloud security.

Vole has a problem in flogging cloud based products because many users are worried that they are effectively giving their data to the US government.

Top Vole Satya Nadella believes he has devised a formula that will hand US internet and cloud computing companies a new lease of life in Europe.

He has announced moves to build new data centres in Germany under a “trustee” model. The new facilities will house Microsoft customer information, but will be operated by a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, the German telecoms group.

What this will do is put data beyond the reach of the US government — after all the Germans can be trusted not to hand over anything to the Americans.

Nadella said this means that Microsoft is adopting gold-plated privacy standards, while showing a path forward for other US cloud companies including Google, Oracle and Amazon.

He said he is merely responding to the reality that the original vision of the global “public cloud” is dead. This imagined individuals and companies being able to access their data anywhere in the world from any device, but with big tech groups building the underlying infrastructure wherever they were able to most cheaply and efficiently.

Paul Miller of Forrester Research has warned that many will see the move as proof that American companies cannot be trusted to hold the most sensitive data of European customers.

“That was a mythical way to think about it. In technology, sometimes you over-emphasise the silver bullet….” he says. The cloud “will take a different shape than it has in the past. That’s what we want to shape.”

Microsoft to build Azure UK data centre

Every silver has a cloudy liningSoftware giant Microsoft is building a new UK data centre for its Azure cloud – the announcement follows something similar from AWS.

Vole wants its cloud services based in the UK beginning in 2016 and AWS will have it ready by the by the end of 2016 (or early 2017).

Vole is behind AWS in cloud services but the distance between the pair is huge.

Setting up in the UK makes a lot of sense. London’s status as a financial hub makes it attractive market for cloud vendors, and having a local region (composed of multiple data centres) mimimises latency.

Microsoft is a US corporation there may be circumstances when the US government can demand access to data. This is less likely to be possible if the data is kept in a local data centre.

If the US does succeed in getting court orders for the data stored in Europe chances are the EU would ban American companies running data centres. This would be too much of a political hot potato for the US government which is currently attempting to re-negotiate its safe-harbour status in Europe having lost it due to its spying antics.

Microsoft has the Ministry of Defence signed up as its first customer, which is probably why it has to have the data kept within the UK.

The department will be migrating to a “private instance” of Office 365, hosted partly by HP and in part by the new UK Azure region.

Microsoft teams up with Red Hat

redmondMicrosoft and Red Hat have announced a partnership that will help customers embrace hybrid cloud computing by providing greater choice and flexibility deploying Red Hat solutions on Microsoft Azure.

Vole is offering Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the preferred choice for enterprise Linux workloads on Microsoft Azure.

Redmond and Red Hat are also working together on common enterprise, ISV and developer needs for building, deploying and managing applications on Red Hat software across private and public clouds.

In the coming weeks, Microsoft Azure will become a Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider. This will enable customers to run their Red Hat Enterprise Linux applications and workloads on Microsoft Azure.

Red Hat Cloud Access subscribers will be able to bring their own virtual machine images to run in Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft Azure customers can also take advantage of the full value of Red Hat’s application platform, including Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, Red Hat JBoss Web Server, Red Hat Gluster Storage and OpenShift, Red Hat’s platform-as-a-service offering. In the coming months, Microsoft and Red Hat plan to provide Red Hat On-Demand — “pay-as-you-go” Red Hat Enterprise Linux images available in the Azure Marketplace, supported by Red Hat.

Customers will be offered cross-platform, cross-company support spanning the Microsoft and Red Hat offerings in an integrated way, unlike any previous partnership in the public cloud. By co-locating support teams on the same premises, the experience will be simple and seamless, at cloud speed.

Red Hat CloudForms will work with Microsoft Azure and Microsoft System Centre Virtual Machine Manager, offering Red Hat CloudForms customers the ability to manage Red Hat Enterprise Linux on both Hyper-V and Microsoft Azure. Support for managing Azure workloads from Red Hat CloudForms is expected to be added in the next few months, extending the existing System Center capabilities for managing Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Developers will have access to .NET technologies across Red Hat offerings, including Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, jointly backed by Microsoft and Red Hat. Red Hat Enterprise Linux will be the primary development and reference operating system for .NET Core on Linux.

Scott Guthrie, executive vice president for Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise division said the move will be a powerful win for enterprises, ISVs and developers.

“With this partnership, we are expanding our commitment to offering unmatched choice and flexibility in the cloud today, meeting customers where they are so they can do more with their hybrid cloud deployments — all while fulfilling the rigorous security and scalability requirements that enterprises demand.”

 

 

 

HP gets off of its public cloud

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudThe maker of expensive printer ink, HP is calling it quits on its public cloud offering.

The Helion Public Cloud will be abandoned next year as the vendor is more interested in private cloud products and rather scared of its chums Microsoft and Amazon.

HP has been denying that it will close Helion for six months, but the signs were there. In April, HP executive Bill Hilf said that HP no longer saw public cloud as a priority and that it made “no sense” for HP to go head to head with the likes of Amazon, Google and Microsoft.

He backtracked on this statement and said that HP would continue running Helion which operates  one of the largest OpenStack-based public clouds. Writing in his bog, Hilf confirmed what he denied six months ago and that Helion Public Cloud is doomed.

Hilf said HP has made the decision to “double down on our private and managed cloud capabilities” and confirmed that HP will “sunset” Helion Public Cloud on 31 January 2016.

Public cloud remains relevant to HP as part of its hybrid cloud strategy, but the vendor will now work with multiple partners such as Amazon to satisfy its customers’ public cloud needs.

“In order to deliver on this demand with best-of-breed public cloud offerings, we will move to a strategic, multiple partner-based model for public cloud capabilities, as a component of how we deliver these hybrid cloud solutions to enterprise customers,” Hilf said.

“Therefore, we will sunset our HP Helion Public Cloud offering on 31 January 2016.”

HP has been getting closer to Amazon of late as part of its hybrid delivery with HP Helion Eucalyptus. It has also worked with Microsoft to support Office 365 and Azure, he added.

“We also support our PaaS customers wherever they want to run our Cloud Foundry platform – in their own private clouds, in our managed cloud, or in a large-scale public cloud such as AWS or Azure,” Hilf said.

HP invested more than $1bn in its cloud business over two years when it unveiled its Helion range of OpenStack-based cloud products and services last May so it looks half that money was lost.

Microsoft thinks it knows what businesses really really want

surface-rtSoftware king of the world Microsoft has been asking its enterprise customers how it can improve the adoption of Surface tablets and Windows 10.

Writing in its Bog, Vole said that it had been chatting to customers who made large global footprints and discovered that the service, management and support options were pinching.

“Many told us they wanted to buy Surface from one partner, in one transaction, and have devices deployed all over the world with a single support and warranty SLA,” the blog says.

This is apparently the reason why Vole announced that Dell and HP will now resell Surface tablets and bring their enterprise-grade support offerings to the devices.

Microsoft has added two new additions to the Surface Enterprise Initiative to speed the adoption of Surface tablets and Windows 10.

Starting at the beginning of 2016, Vole will bring in a new “Microsoft Complete for Enterprise” warranty. This has four elements that the firm says its larger enterprise customers have asked for including the ability to pool warranty claims by company versus individual devices.

Microsoft will allow warranty claims against non-bootable devices. It will bring in rapid replace processing and an on-boarding centre to ensure a premium within the first 30 days.

Vole will assist IT staff to get setup with warranty and support processes as well as provide online training for their employees to get productive as fast as possible.

In addition to this there is the Business Device Trade-In Program.

“Many customers have told us that they want to upgrade to Surface and Windows 10, but have invested in devices and need to maximise the value they receive from those assets,” the blog said.

“With the Business Device Trade-in Program we make it simple. This is different from other trade-in offers in that it is a permanent program for business customers, rather than a limited time promotion.”

With 24 hour quotes, prepaid shipping labels and secure data wipe, business customers can trade their used business laptops, tablets, and phones for credit towards the purchase of new Surface devices.

This offer will be available in the coming weeks to business customers in the US, Canada, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Soon it will be rolled out to Australia, France, Germany and the UK.

HP backs AMD to the hilt

AMD in BarcelonaDespite rumours of private equity money, and takeovers by people as diverse as Microsoft and even HP, it appears that AMD is still getting the kind of support it needs from partners in its egosystem (sic).

Here at the Canalys Channel Forum (CCF) conference in Barcelona, HP went out of its way to give AMD express backing and even exclusivity in the way of product launches.

Of course, there is nothing particularly new about this. I am staying at the Princesa Sofia hotel in Barcelona and it was here, now more than 20 years ago, that Compaq CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer lit out at Intel for messing with its customers’ minds. Wasn’t this also the venue for ex CEO Jerry Sanders III to declare that “with Microsoft and Intel we make the Holy Trinity?”  I think it was.

Compaq was eventually swallowed up by the HP body corporate in the shape of Winsome Carly Fiorina but it has always given AMD a fair crack of the product whip.

AMD showed off two devices that will be sold into the channel worldwide – a highly dense little jobbie that seems to have more specs than you can shake a fist at and will hang on the back of your HD monitor – and a rather light notebook that is also highly specced and soon to be released as part of the Elite family.

Of course, getting the spinners or the suits to talk about acquisitions and the like is like trying to get a spider out of its web. But, nevertheless, it seems clear that quite a few AMD suits now appear to be HP people out of Grenoble.

An HP source, who declined to be named, suggested to Channel Eye that Intel doesn’t mind these kind of exclusive deals because it will be in deep hot water if it has to go it alone.

More, if it transpires.

Microsoft delivers Surface through Dell

surface-pro-2Software giant Microsoft has unveiled a partnership to allow businesses to buy  Surface Pro tablets and Surface accessories through Dell’s enterprise sales division.

Starting next month, it is part of a cunning plan, which will involve Microsoft working with other companies like HP and Accenture on promoting its tablets for business use. In fact the idea seems similar to the one drafted up between Apple and IBM, only it is more likely to work as Microsoft and the others have more experience in the business market.

Dell will also make Microsoft’s tablets available through its online enterprise sales website later this year. Companies that purchase Surface Pro tablets through this partnership can also purchase Dell services, such as up to four years of a hardware warranty, ProSupport with Accidental Damage Service, and Configuration and Deployment Services.

HP will also be selling Microsoft’s tablet through its enterprise sales force, and will be offering a set of Care Packs to help companies plan, configure, deploy and manage a Surface Pro 3 rollout. In addition, the company plans to release “mobility workflow transformation tools and services” next year.

Businesses already buy services and support from Dell for other computers and servers and it means that Dell and HP will sell Microsoft tablets alongside their own tablets and 2-in-1 convertible PCs.

Microsoft has dubbed all this the Surface Enterprise Initiative. The programme could improve adoption from enterprises that want to purchase their technology products from a partner that can also provide service and support for deploying devices.

Microsoft updates volume licensing use rights

Microsoft campusSoftware giant Microsoft has changed the way companies will have to update volume licensing use documents.

In the past, business consumers of Microsoft’s products and services have needed a Product List and the Product Use Rights. These determined the purchasing requirements and licencing rules applicable to those products and services. Both documents were incorporated into Microsoft’s volume licensing agreements and were updated periodically by Redmond on its website.

Now Microsoft has combined the Product List and the Product Use Rights into a unified document with the catchy title “Product Terms.” Users of Microsoft’s subscription-based Online Services like Office 365 still will need to use the Online Services Terms, which define service-specific use rights.

Product Terms come into effect when a volume licensing agreement is signed typically will remain in effect during the term of that agreement.

Upgrades to new product releases during the term will result in the incorporation of the then-current Product Terms for those products. Microsoft’s channel partners and resellers will have to point out the changes made to the incorporated terms to their customers, or there is going to be a pile of legal mess later.

Some changes in the new document already have been the cause of some confusion and concern. So fair most of the problems are about the General Licensing Terms for Developer Tools like Visual Studio.