Tag: microsoft

Westcoast’s partners sell 250,000 UK CSP seats

depositphotos_4633360-stock-photo-lots-of-wooden-chairsWestcoast has announced that its UK partners have flogged more than a 250,000 CSP seats.

Mark Davies, Westcoast’s Cloud services director, said: “Business is absolutely booming for Westcoast and its CSP partners. We’ve come a long, long way in two short years. Despite the fact we started selling cloud services after most of our competitors, we were the first distributor to pass 100,000 seats and now we’ve accelerated away to reach another big milestone ahead of anybody else in the UK.

“Our strategy of pursuing deep engagement with selected partners that are focused on properly activating and supporting their end-customers is really paying dividends.”

Davies added: “At Westcoast we believe that when it comes to cloud service provision – service delivery is everything. We work closely with our partners to make sure they fully understand how to sell services and how we add additional value around what they do.”

Angela Evans, Office Business Group lead at Microsoft UK, said it was all a product of the digital transformation made possible by advances in cloud computing, the proliferation of apps and devices, and the ability to interpret more data to make better decisions.

“It’s great to see Westcoast break through another significant milestone, reaching 250,000 cloud seats, further testimony to the unprecedented growth we are witnessing.”

Westcoast’s cloud education initiatives have helped to invigorate CSP in the channel.Now the company plans to introduce a five-star enablement programme for its partners which will give resellers an opportunity to benefit from tailored and extended support and extra levels of engagement.

 

Microsoft will shun the Surface

78e36c498415cefec2abe253e3990285Canalys CEO Steve Brazier is predicting that Microsoft will drop its Surface business by the end of 2019.

Talking to the assembled throngs at the EMEA Canalys Channels Forum event in Venice, Brazier said Vole is undergoing a “capital expenditure challenge” under CEO Satya Nadella and the Surface project will pay the price.

Brazier said that Nadella was a software and cloud guy who has already allowed Microsoft’s mobile phone business to decline. The Surface’s performance was choppy – it has had good quarters and bad quarters but overall it is not making money.

He thinks it made no sense for Microsoft to be in this business and when the capital expenditure challenge that Satya Nadella has a lot of cost cutting to do, and Surface will be the first target.

Product sales fell for Microsoft in Q2 by 1.5 percent to £9.7 billion while Surface sales dipped two per cent having previously plummeted by 26 percent in the previous quarter.

The general feeling is that Vole is making a lot of money on the cloud and enterprise and on Windows, losing cash on devices and I see no reason why they would want to continue with the Surface.

Brazier also predicted that this quarter will prove the highest growth quarter for the western European tech industry for 10 years.

The CEO forecasted that 50 percent of cloud sales will go through two-tier distribution by the end of 2019 and also claimed that channel partners will grow by five per cent per annum over the next three years. Lastly, hardware sales will account for at least 50 per cent of revenues for at least 90 percent of partners by 2020, according to Brazier.

“Hardware is not dead. Hardware will be half of your revenues through to 2020. Do not listen to your investors telling you to get out of hardware and into services. There is no evidence to support that at all”, he said.

Dell EMC will offer Azure Stack

IMG_1049Dell EMC has signed an agreement with Microsoft to provide w Azure Stack through its channel partners.

Dell EMC was announced as one of three hardware vendors launching the Azure Stack, alongside HPE e and Lenovo. Cisco has since been added. The Azure Stack is an extension of Microsoft Azure, bringing the cloud capabilities to on-premise environments. The solution started shipping earlier this month.

Dell EMC also announced a range of services and updates around backup, data protection and hyperconverged infrastructure management.

“Dell EMC values the strong collaboration we have had with Microsoft for more than 30 years, which has resulted in world-class, innovative solutions delivered to customers worldwide”,  said Armughan Ahmad, senior VP at Dell EMC. No surprises there, then.

“The innovations we’re announcing today are evidence of how our work with Microsoft has truly changed how our customers conduct their day-to-day activities, enabling them to gain greater value from their IT infrastructures and, more importantly, develop and deliver services to help achieve their ultimate business goals.”

Eamon Moore, managing director at Dell EMC and Microsoft partner EMIT, said the partnership means partners can offer a solution to customers no matter how they want their infrastructure to look.

“A lot of customers will have been very pro Microsoft and pro Azure but might not have been able to adapt for certain reasons”, he said. “Now companies that partner with both [Dell EMC and Microsoft] can give a solution no matter what the requirements are.

“If you look at the future of cloud, we’re seeing, for various reasons, that customers might need to go with a hybrid approach, so it fits perfectly into that. We all see that hybrid is the future, so this will give all the advantages and solutions available on Azure in a hybrid platform.

“It’s almost the missing piece to now give an overall solution to customers and not be hindered by certain assets [that need to remain on-premise] that you might have been hindered by in the past.”

Microsoft wants AI everywhere

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Software King of the World Microsoft has said that you can never have too much AI.  It has been short of ordinary intelligence for years so I guess it could do with a little injection of nous.

CEO Satya Nadella told the assorted throngs at its Ignition event in Florida that “a little bit of machine learning here and there” was not enough.

He said that AI needs to become a more integral element of IT.

“It’s no longer about deploying one AI system or doing a little bit of machine learning here and there,” he said. “It is about, in fact, changing the culture inside our organisations so that we understand very deeply what it means to create these digital feedback loops across all these outcomes.

“These new virtuous cycles between our products, their usage, their creation of data and the business model, that’s what we’ve got to get intuitively.

“In fact even for us at Microsoft, that’s the process of transformation we’re going through as we change the nature of our products, we change the nature of how we engage with you as our customers and partners.”

At Ignition, Vole  introduced a range of AI-driven updates for Dynamic 365, as well as a new set of machine-learning tools for developers working with Microsoft Azure.

 

 

NTT Com and Dell EMC build Azure lab

cloud1NTT Com has teamed up with Dell EMC to provide a Microsoft Azure application testing lab for non-production virtual workloads at limited scale.

NTT Com claims to be the only global service provider to offer a choice of on premises or hosted services in one of its 140 data centres via fully managed private cloud solutions using Microsoft Azure Stack.

The Proof of Concept to test applications on Azure Stack will run on a single node server in one of NTT Com’s data centres. The low PoC fee includes the necessary Azure Stack qualified engineering services to load and test the application, rented time on the test server and fully documented objectives and reported outcomes. With the cost of the Proof of Concept being refunded if the customer opts to take out a managed Azure Stack solution from NTT Com.

Azure Stack is designed to bring many of the features of the Azure cloud computing platform into the enterprise data center, providing hybrid cloud customers with the flexibility and innovation capabilities designed to meet the business objectives of those adopting a data transformation strategy. Azure Stack is now available to order on dedicated server hardware from Dell, however testing your application compatibility before making the move to Azure Stack is highly recommended.

Jay Snyder, Senior Vice President, Global Alliances, Dell EMC said his outfit was delighted to be collaborating with NTT Communications.

He said it would provide a powerful application testing facility focused on the Azure Stack. These capabilities will enable customers the ability to migrate existing applications efficiently as they establish their long-term strategy for hybrid cloud.

The Dell EMC hardware platform delivers an automated, Azure – consistent experience on a single hybrid cloud platform for both traditional and Cloud – native applications, which, when coupled with managed services from NTT Com, provides customers with a credible choice when seeking a viable solution partner to this new cloud product in the market.

Roger Vilà, SVP Enterprise Services at NTT Europe said: “Azure Stack is the backbone of Microsoft’s new Cloud strategy. By utilizing this PoC facility, organizations can help ensure they are harnessing all of the power offered by Microsoft cloud and unify the disparate systems that may be running across their business effectively from the onset.”

NTT Com is a  member of the Microsoft Early Adopter Initiative for Azure Stack for over eight months and is providing global managed services through NTT Com Managed Services, delivering a one-stop shop for managed hybrid cloud services. NTT Com already has numerous large customers on the managed Azure platform and is fully prepared for Microsoft Azure Stack’s release.

Microsoft moves close to Apple’s sacred London Turf

6629255509_1bcb6e1997Software King of the World Microsoft is opening a new store on London’s Regent Street area which is zoned by the Apple Cult as sacred and holy to them.

The Tame Apple Press is furious after Microsoft announced plans for its first UK retail store, just a stone’s throw from Apple’s flagship outlet.

While not revealing when the store will open, Microsoft’s UK boss Cindy Rose said in a blog post: “We couldn’t be happier to be opening a flagship store in the heart of central London at Oxford Circus, where two of the world’s most iconic shopping streets meet.

“We know our customers and fans, whether they are from London, the broader UK or just visiting, will love our bold plans for the space.

“This will be so much more than just a great place to experience all that is possible with Microsoft, but a real hub for the community where we’ll be bringing to life our passion for helping people explore their creativity through an ambitious programme of workshops and training along with moments that work to unite the community.”

This is not the first time that Apple has faced its sworn rival threatening to contaminate its sacred ground with cheaper more reliable products.  Vole has been threatening to open an inner London store close to Apple since 2012.

There are 75 Microsoft stores globally, with two flagship stores in New York and Sydney.

Microsoft larging it in Manchester

934604c61e26727fe609989426d9af77--car-parks-manchester-englandMicrosoft has opened a new office in Manchester, in a move which it says will give it a “strong base” to work with northern partners.

The office in Charlotte Street will be occupied by 100 Microsoft Voles and used as a collaboration space for partners and customers, Microsoft said.

Derrick McCourt, general manager of Microsoft’s UK customer success unit said that Manchester was  important to Microsoft.

“We have a long-standing relationship built on common values, including industry, creativity and caring about people.

“We see the region as a core part of our strategy. This office is a commitment to the area and our customers, business partners here and in the north. It’s also a commitment to the UK economy, and we are passionate about the role that technology plays in this country.”

The new office becomes Microsoft’s fourth in the UK, adding to its current bases in London, Edinburgh and its headquarters in Reading.

Veritas cuddles up to Microsoft

friends15Veritas’ Las Vegas conference showed how close the outfit has got to Microsoft Azure.

Mike Palmer, executive vice president and chief product officer at Veritas, told the assorted throngs at the firm’s Veritas Vision conference that its customers are adopting cloud at an “unprecedented pace”, but Veritas customers are finding it tricky.

“Those customers have a legacy of applications, many of which were built 20 or 30 years ago and eventually evolved. Now they are moving into the public cloud, but they are struggling with how to make that pivot”, he said.

“These struggles include how to build native applications and how to manage deploying applications in a global environment. They also continue to struggle with visibility of data, particularly around data which is regulated.”

Palmer said regulations such as GDPR are seeing companies need to form data retention policies where in the past they had data deletion policies.

“Our customers are struggling and we know that all the technology transformation that is happening is driving a lot of these concerns, but that is also driving a lot of opportunity for us and our partners”, added Palmer.

However, the conference also heard how close Veritas was getting to Microsoft. Mark Russinovich, CTO of Microsoft Azure at Microsoft, claimed the partnership with Veritas worked due to the vendors’ joint understanding of the enterprise space.

“We are working closely with Veritas around the integration of its technology with Azure so they can produce a high-performing and secure product. We have go-to-market plans together and we also have mutual channels that work together.”

Veritas has announced 360 data management expansions for Veritas and Microsoft Azure customers. These include plans for business continuity and disaster-recovery readiness, hybrid cloud scale-out storage optimisation and data visualisation across disparate sources.

 

Cloud giants headed towards per-millisecond billing

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudThe cloudy giants like Amazon, Microsoft and Google are moving towards per-millisecond billing.

Microsoft and Google already have adopted the billing method and now Amazon has gone the same way – at least for some of its services.

Amazon’s move to introduce per-second billing for some of its services forms part of a wider industry trend and could inspire similar moves by other cloud players, according to partners.

The cloud giant has announced that it will begin billing some forms of Linux instance of its EC2 and EBS services in one-second increments, bringing it into line with public cloud rivals Microsoft Azure and Google.

Amazon’s partners were happy as it seems to be part of an inexorable trend towards ‘per-millisecond’ pricing in the cloud world.

The feeling is that the world will get used to the idea and other cloud companies to follow this trend.

AWS will be able to provide sustained usage discounts, which is one remaining area where competitors claim they are cheaper.”

It appears to customers because they can reduce their TCO for workloads in cloud which in turn increases the appeal of moving new or more workloads to it.

Per-second is very helpful when running very heavy workloads, but a lot of the very large migrations to the cloud are just datacentre migrations where the private cloud providers like IBM play.  It will be less interesting to some customers.

 

Microsoft’s webmail crashes and burns

il_570xN.386643874_phvgMicrosoft Outlook and Hotmail users across Europe on Monday, with many unable to access their email accounts.

Users of Outlook and Hotmail reported not being able to send or receive emails for up to 12 hours. The technology giant confirmed it was suffering from connection problems.

Vole announced that it was aware of intermittent connectivity for some users in European countries and we’re working to resolve ASAP.

The company’s service health website carried a message which read: “We’ve identified that a subset of infrastructure was unable to process requests as expected, which caused general service availability to drop unexpectedly.

“We’ve redirected requests to alternate infrastructure to restore service, and we’re monitoring the environment while connectivity recovers. Additionally, we’re investigating an issue in which users are unable to send email messages.”

According to service monitoring site Downdetector.co.uk, the platform began experiencing issues at around 9am, with the UK among the worst affected areas.

“Intermittent connectivity is affecting customers in some European countries, which we are working to resolve as soon as possible,” a Microsoft spokeswoman said.

#Hotmail began trending on Twitter in the UK as social media users took to the site to vent their frustration. The issue was resolved by Monday evening. Outlook has more than 400 million active users, according to Microsoft figures.

Microsoft expands finds new Surface Hub distributor

surfacetabWestcon-Comstor is joining Tech Data’s Maverick as UK distributor for Surface Hub as the software king of the world has expanded the reach of its Surface Hub audiovisual (AV) display.

The delayed Surface Hub launched in the UK last year and had until recently been available only through specialist AV partners.

The product, which is available in 55″ and 84″ models, launched with just 20 partners across all of Europe, but the partner base in the UK was broadened earlier this year.

Ryan Asdourian, Microsoft’s Windows and Surface lead in the UK, said: “The addition of the Surface Hub to Westcon-Comstor’s portfolio will ensure that they are able to offer the VAR community the best possible collaboration solutions for customers throughout the UK and Ireland.

“We have been delighted with the reaction to the Surface Hub since it was first introduced to the UK market in 2016 and the addition of Westcon-Comstor as a distributor, combined with its strong portfolio of wraparound services such as Skype for Business, will ensure that even more organisations are able to transform the way their employees collaborate, share and communicate.”

The Microsoft Surface Hub partner base in the UK now includes Insight, Computacenter, Misco and SCC

Wayne Mason, EMEA unified comms general manager at Westcon-Comstor, added: “We are focused on providing organisations with the best possible collaboration tools to ensure employees are able to work together more easily and effectively.

“The Microsoft Surface Hub absolutely ticks the box both from a technology perspective and in the culture of collaboration it creates. With our ability to wrap additional services around the Surface Hub and a comprehensive portfolio of complementary solutions for Skype for Business we are creating a very strong offer for the VAR community.”

Microsoft makes more money from clouds

lightning-cloudMicrosoft is starting to make significant piles of cash from its cloud thanks to the efforts of its channel.

This year Office cloud revenues surpassed traditional licences for the first time and Richard Ellis, Microsoft Office Division lead, says much of the impetus behind the growth in the company’s cloud business has been driven by the success of its cloud solution partner (CSP) programme.

“The CSP framework is a great example of the huge opportunity for partners,” he says, “giving them the ability to bill, invoice and provide managed service and support to Office 365 customers using our infrastructure. It allows partners to set their own pricing, their own support contracts and work with ISVs to add value.”

There are 35,000 CSP partners globally and the number is growing at the rate of 6,000 a month. “CSP is enabling partners to grow their revenue share with customers,” Ellis claims, revealing that CSP partners enjoyed 10 percent year on year average revenue per user growth.

Ellis said most partners were aware of Vole’s shift to the cloud and are taking advantage of it. “It’s for every partner to assess what their own services are and what their value proposition is to their customers. That’s always been crucial and it will be crucial going forward. Partners need to be very clear what value they are adding.”

Microsoft buys a new Cycle

7e319356549d95d0190f09ecdfee237eMicrosoft has written a cheque for the cloud firm Cycle Computing in the hope that it will make it easier for its customers to use high-performance computing in the cloud.

Formed in 2012, Cycle Computing uses cloud resources to make big computing possible in the cloud on a large scale.

Its software works with Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform.

Writing in his bog, Azure corporate vice president Jason Zander said: “Combining the most specialised big compute infrastructure available in the public cloud with Cycle Computing’s technology and years of experience with the world’s largest supercomputers, we open up many new possibilities.

As customers continue to look for faster, more efficient ways to run their workloads, Cycle Computing’s depth and expertise is centred on massively scalable applications make them a great fit to join Vole, he said.

Cycle Computing known to be an influential AWS partner so nicking them is a bit of coup in Vole’s greater war with the other providers.

Microsoft strikes back on Surface claims

fightSoftware King of the World, Microsoft, has hit back at Consumer Report claims that its Surface tablets are so badly made that they cannot last longer than a couple of years.

Consumer report said that it refuses to endorse any of Microsoft’s laptops due to ‘two-year breakage rates of 25 percent’.

Consumer Reports said in an article that it was removing its ‘recommended’ status from four of Microsoft’s Surface devices – Surface Laptop (128GB and 256GB) and Surface Book (128GB and 256GB) – after its research found that 25 percent of owners will experience problems in the first two years.

It said it would not be recommending any of Microsoft’s Surface devices because the estimated breakage rate for its laptops and tablets was higher than most other brands.

“The differences were statistically significant, which is why Microsoft doesn’t meet CR’s standards for recommended products.”

Consumer Reports tested and scored the devices on a range of factors including display quality, battery life, speed and ergonomics. The data came from the assessment of over 90,000 devices purchased between 2014 and the beginning of 2017.

It also applies to the Surface Pro, although Consumer Reports did praise the gear for its performance.

Microsoft was cross and claimed that the products’ fail rates are far lower than CR’s estimates.

Writing in his bog, the Volish corporate vice president of devices Panos Panay said: “While we respect Consumer Reports, we disagree with their findings. Surface has had quite a journey over the last few years, and we have learned a lot.

“In the Surface team we track quality constantly, using metrics that include failure and return rates. Both our predicted one-to-two-year failure and actual return rates for Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book are significantly lower than 25 percent.

“Additionally, we track other indicators of quality such as incidents per unit, which have improved from generation to generation and are now at record lows of well below one percent.”

The Surface family hit the headlines in June when Greenpeace and iFixit scored both Microsoft’s Surface Book and Surface Pro 5 one out of 10 for reparability mostly because it was glued together and impossible to fix without destroying.

Death spiral of the tablet continues

iTomb-design-offers-mourners-touchscreen-tributes-from-the-grave-Macworld-AustraliaThe death spiral of the “game changing” tablet is continuing and soon there will be very few people wanting to buy one anywhere and resellers would be more likely to successfully flog used bog-roll tubes.

According to IDC, the tablet market continued its “downward spiral” in Q2 this year with worldwide shipments falling 3.4 percent.

The year-on-year decline was caused by tight consumer spending, IDC said. There was even a decline in shipments of detachables in Q2, as consumers wait for flagship launches from Apple and Microsoft.

Detachables had previously been a shining light for the tablet market, which has now been in a state of decline for 11 consecutive quarters.

IDC research director Linn Huang said that the tablet market has essentially become a race to see if the burgeoning detachables category can grow fast enough to offset the long-term erosion of the slate market.

However he has not given up hope yet as new product launches from Microsoft and Apple are generally accompanied by subsequent quarters of inflated shipments.

“The reintroduction of Windows to the ARM platform could help remedy the aforementioned hollowing of the middle of the market, and we expect a proliferation of Chrome OS-based detachables in time for the holidays.”

Despite the market decline, three of the top five tablet vendors saw their quarterly shipments increase year on year.

First-placed Apple, third-placed Huawei and fourth-placed Amazon all saw growth, while second-placed Samsung saw flat growth and Lenovo saw a decline.