Seeking to appeal to organizations building private clouds, Lenovo added an infrastructure-as-a-service option for its servers and storage hardware.
Launched last week, Lenovo TruScale Infrastructure Services is hardware as a service for Lenovo ThinkSystem servers and Lenovo storage. TruScale spares companies the upfront capital costs of buying cloud infrastructure equipment. There also is no requirement to purchase a minimum monthly capacity.
With TruScale, Lenovo is playing catch-up with server competitors Cisco, Dell and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Those vendors license infrastructure as a service, but they require a monthly minimum capacity.
Lenovo said it customizes each deployment according to a customer’s workload requirements for compute and storage. The equipment is installed at a customer’s data center, but Lenovo retains ownership. Customers license server capacity, networking and storage as needed and pay only for capacity used. Pricing is based on the percent of utilization per individual node.
Charles King, an analyst at Pund-IT, said Lenovo TruScale customers will likely include midsize companies with rapidly growing IT needs and IT departments with highly variable compute and storage.
“I think Lenovo is the only one to offer no-money-down financing or no capital expenditure financing, [along with] no capacity requirements. It would not surprise me, if TruScale catches on, to see other vendors going this direction,” King said.
Initial Lenovo TruScale deployments
Lenovo meters TruScale usage through dedicated hardware appliances connected to Lenovo data centers in Chicago and Reston, Va.
Matthew Horne, general manager of Lenovo TruScale Infrastructure Services, said initial deployments include ThinkSystem and ThinkAgile servers and ThinkSystem storage arrays.
Lenovo storage includes the ThinkSystem DM Series and ThinkSystem DE Series all-flash and hybrid arrays. Lenovo in September signed a co-development deal to market new ThinkSystem storage systems based on the NetApp Ontap 9-powered FAS and AFF A-Series products.
The Lenovo TruScale pricing model is similar to using public clouds, but the equipment and data remain on-site.
“We designed TruScale to give you scalability and flexibility to control your workload and any associated costs,” Horne said. “You can spin an application up or spin it down and all your data stays on premises.”
Today at Microsoft Business Forward in Paris, France we connected with hundreds of global business leaders to share our vision for Microsoft Business Applications. In addition, I had the privilege to unveil new Dynamics 365 AI and mixed reality applications, and new solutions to help businesses unlock deeper insights from data across their organizations.
The new capabilities we introduce biannually in our October and April releases advance our commitment to remove barriers to innovation and operational excellence; a vision reinforced by amazing stories of companies evolving their business as usual. ExxonMobil is a great example. This week, we announced that the world’s largest publicly traded international oil and gas company has deployed Dynamics 365 to help improve operations in one of the world’s most important oil-producing regions.
ExxonMobil joins a growing roster of organizations deploying Microsoft Business Applications to help foster innovation by unlocking siloed data and enabling a holistic, 360-degree view of the business, customers and employees. Built on a unified data platform, businesses can apply intelligence across workloads, giving people the ability to reason over data wherever it resides, predict trends, and drive action. And with adaptable business applications, business professionals can build and customize solutions, allowing people and processes to stay ahead of trends and market forces.
Moving business forward with AI, mixed reality, and data insight solutions
Today’s announcements accelerate our vision and the impact we can deliver to customers, building on Dynamics 365 AI and mixed reality solutions announced in September 2018. The following new solutions are reflected in the updated April 2019 release notes available starting today.
Dynamics 365 + AI
This spring, we are continuing to invest in new and expanded data and AI services for unprecedented business intelligence, security, and insight-driven innovation and customer experiences.
Dynamics 365 Customer Insights provide anyone—from non-technical business users to analysts and data scientists—with a deeper understanding of customers, enabling intelligent insights and action that can help you personalize experiences, retain customers, and build loyalty. Tivoli, the Denmark-based operator of the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world, aims to be one of the first organizations to leverage Dynamics 365 Customer Insights. They are working to utilize artificial intelligence and the application to unify guest data siloed across databases, generate actionable insights, engage guests intelligently, and deliver personalized experiences, whether in marketing messages, loyalty offers, or during face-to-face interactions at the park. Dynamics 365 Customer Insights is now available for preview and coming to general availability in April. Visit the Dynamics 365 Customer Insights web page to learn more.
Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service empowers business users to easily create and manage AI-powered virtual agents that resolve routine problems and requests. With an initial focus on customer service, future capabilities will extend virtual agent solutions across a range of customer experience scenarios to automate problem solving. This new cloud service, launching in public preview in April, empowers those closest to the customer to create, deploy, and manage virtual agents that automate solutions to problems without the need for data science or coding expertise. This will help reduce the time and costs to deliver exceptional customer experiences.
Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection is a new cloud-based anti-fraud solution for e-commerce merchants designed to drive down fraud loss, increase bank acceptance rates to yield higher revenue, and improve the online shopping experience of its customers. Enterprises will benefit from the same technology deployed within Microsoft to dramatically reduce fraud loss rates and false positive rates while increasing bank acceptance rates, an achievement recognized by The Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS) as a finalist for the 2019 Franz Edelman Award for achievements in advanced analytics, operations research, and management science. A public preview will be made available in April 2019.
Dynamics 365 + Mixed Reality
The adoption of mixed reality solutions for Microsoft Business Applications in 2018 has been inspiring, with real-world success in sectors ranging from manufacturing, automotive, and energy, particularly with a field service workforce. Toyota’s North America Production Engineering team has been using Dynamics 365 Layout and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist on Microsoft HoloLens in their North America manufacturing centers. Dynamics 365 Layout can improve business processes in valuable ways, such as the layout of digital twins of equipment on the manufacturing floor for safety and process verification, and creating innovative AR training practices through the use of holographic equipment instead of physical equipment in space. Dynamics 365 Remote Assist is in the early phases of being used to improve safety and reduce costs through the use of remote experts for equipment verification and incident response.
Today we’re announcing that we’re extending our Dynamics 365 mixed reality applications to mobile devices, so businesses can leverage mixed reality technology on devices they already have. Customers continue to tell us that HoloLens is the best mixed reality device for business, and that it’s a breakthrough for their many areas that require heads up, hands free work. But we also know that many employees carry AR-capable phones and tablets everywhere they go. These two new solutions will further enable employees to adopt mixed reality at work, no matter what device they use.
Dynamics 365 Product Visualize (coming to iOS in preview) empowers sellers to showcase and customize products in their actual environment, helping create a shared understanding between buyer and seller to accelerate complex sales processes. In industries like manufacturing, healthcare, and automotive where products are often complex, and highly configurable or simply too cumbersome to carry around, the need for product visualization is key. It builds a buyer’s confidence early in the sales process so costly change orders are reduced, and customer satisfaction is higher.Using Product Visualize, sellers can show products to customers directly within their Dynamics 365 for Sales workflow and spatial and configuration notes are all saved directly within the associated sales opportunity. Since sales commonly requires more than just one individual, sellers can leverage session content directly in Microsoft Teams to improve internal collaboration to deliver customer-oriented solutions that are critical to accelerating the sales process.
Dynamics 365 Remote Assist for mobile devices (coming to Android in preview) extends the capabilities of Dynamics 365 Remote Assist to Android mobile devices and allows employees to work together from anywhere, empowering technicians to solve problems faster the first time. With Remote Assist, technicians can use either Microsoft HoloLens or an Android mobile device to collaborate with remote experts and troubleshoot issues in context. This latest release of Remote Assist for mobile devices and HoloLens will also include mobile annotations, group calling, deeper integration with Dynamics 365 for Field Service, and improved accessibility features for the HoloLens app.
Empowering people with data insights
One of the reasons Microsoft Business Applications are so powerful is the ability to integrate intelligent tools and generate insights from data sourced from every corner of the organization, including customer transactions, marketing engagement, lead generation activities, and financial and operational data. We continually add new capabilities to bring data insights to life, such as the new Microsoft Forms Pro, that will be available in public preview this spring. This enterprise survey tool makes it easy for organizations to collect feedback across customer touchpoints using surveys, quizzes, and polls, correlate the feedback with business transactions, and derive actionable insights from the combined data. Additional details are available via the Microsoft Forms Pro preview.
The momentum continues with enhancements to the Microsoft Power Platform, combining Power BI, PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, and Common Data Service into an unmatched palette of tools to extend, customize, and integrate Dynamics 365 and Office 365 into your environment. These three applications form a framework that allows users to analyze data to gain insights, act on insights to drive intelligent business processes from the apps they build, and automate tasks to lower costs while reducing errors.
Today at Microsoft Business Forward, we shared how Virgin Atlantic is leveraging the Microsoft Power Platform to speed up application development and empower non-developers to create applications and automate workflows. From customer service and gate agents to maintenance crews and operations, teams across the company can leverage PowerApps and an extensible platform to get insights from data, and share those insights across the highly mobile workforce, enabling secure use of data by employees at airports, on planes, and in offices around the world—all with different roles and information requirements.
Teams have consolidated customer data into a single source of truth, providing service agents with a 360-degree view of customer preferences, enabling a travel experience as seamless and enjoyable as possible. On the operational side, the engineering compliance team is using PowerApps to replace paper-based safety and compliance audits. See today’s post to the PowerApps blog for a detailed look at how Virgin Atlantic is reimaging the passenger experience one PowerApp at a time.
Explore the Microsoft Business Applications April 2019 release
We look forward to sharing more updates and customer stories in the weeks and months ahead, including at the Virtual Launch event on April 2nd. In the meantime, view the April 2019 release notes for details about all features releasing from April 2019 through September 2019 for Dynamics 365 and Power Platform.
Hello Windows Insiders, today we are releasing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18343 (19H1) to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring.
If you are looking for a complete look at what build is in which Insider ring – head on over to Flight Hub. You can also check out the rest of our documentation here including a complete list of new features and updates that have gone out as part of Insider flights for the current development cycle (which currently is 19H1).
In Build 18342, we announced that Windows Sandbox now supports configuration files. These files allow users to configure some aspects of the sandbox, such as vGPU, networking and shared folders. You can read about all the details here in this blog post!
We fixed the Connected Standby issue that resulted in us blocking PCs with Intel64 Family 6 Model 142 and Intel64 Family 6 Model 158 processor model. If your PC was unable to take Build 18342 from earlier this week due to having one of these processor models, you should be able to take this flight!
We fixed the issue that required an additional reboot when performing Reset this PC and selecting Keep my files on a device that has Reserved Storage enabled.
Launching games that use anti-cheat software may trigger a bugcheck (GSOD).
Creative X-Fi sound cards are not functioning properly. We are partnering with Creative to resolve this issue.
We’re continuing to investigate reported issues in the night light space.
Some Realtek SD card readers are not functioning properly. We are investigating the issue.
In Windows Sandbox, if you try to navigate to the Narrator settings, Settings app crashes.
Mouse pointer color might be incorrectly switched to white after signing out and signing back in.
We’re investigating reports of the Chinese version of multiple games not working.
If you install any of the recent builds from the Fast ring and switch to the Slow ring – optional content such as enabling developer mode will fail. You will have to remain in the Fast ring to add/install/enable optional content. This is because optional content will only install on builds approved for specific rings.
We have locked down the inbox apps in 19H1. These simplified versions of some of the inbox apps are what will ship with 19H1 when it is released. As a result, Insiders may have noticed that some features have disappeared from these apps. This was probably most noticeable with the Photos app. Insiders can get these features back by going into the settings of an inbox app like Photos and clicking the “Join preview” button.
If you haven’t had a chance to take our 2019 Windows Insider Annual Survey, we’d love to hear from you before it closes on February 28. It only takes 10-15 minutes to complete, but your feedback helps us shape the program for the rest of the year.
Take the annual survey now.
And thank you to everyone who has already taken the survey for helping us plan what’s next for the Windows Insider Program!
No downtime for Hustle-As-A-Service,Dona
Launching an RPA initiative to improve business processes requires balancing a lot of moving pieces, getting buy-in from users, and some planning to be effective, said executives at the IBM Think Conference in San Francisco.
Executives from TTI, Suncor, and Keppel discussed their experience deploying bots with technology from IBM and RPA vendor Automation Anywhere. One key point: It’s important to get a few quick, easy wins when implementing RPA. A good way to start is to bring business leaders together to discuss how the technology works and to identify low-hanging fruit for automation.
For example, TTI, an electronics manufacturing business in Fort Worth, Texas, launched its RPA program by holding an internal workshop. Susan Sumners, senior vice president of IT at TTI, said the workshop group decided to focus first on creating bots for corporate departments first like finance, products, and sales, where they identified a few key processes that could benefit from automation.
Another early project targeted TTI’s offshore operations, where employees do mainly manual work. Although the labor costs are cheaper, sales and product staff in the U.S. must wait a day to get results back. “My focus is to eliminate that [delay] and get efficiency to employees as quickly as possible,” Sumners said.
Once these early opportunities were identified, Sumners said implementing RPA was straightforward. Over the course of the summer, one young intern was able to deploy the first couple of bots with some guidance from, BP3, TTI’s implementation partner. TTI now has 10 bots in production that have already saved the company about $600,000, eliminated many mundane processes, and eliminated the need to hire about 18 employees, she said.
Going forward, Sumners said she plans to develop an RPA center of excellence with the goal of increasing revenue per employee. They plan to launch about 30 bots in the next six months.
Making sense of complex processes
Keppel Infrastructure Holdings in Singapore, which provides consulting services to the energy industry in Singapore, has been working with IBM and Dimension Data to help streamline processes that crossed multiple departments. Andrew Sim, head of cyber technology information at Keppel, looked at bots when he was pressured by business groups to find a way to speed up these processes. His team had its first proof of concept up in three days.
The early benefit was in improving customer experience by reducing the time required to onboard customers, which could stretch out two weeks owing to various credit checks and vetting processes. Customer acquisition speed increased by about 50%. Keppel started with two bots, and the business leaders at Keppel began running workshops for the other departments, which led to the creation of 10 bots.
Another benefit was codifying and improving subprocesses that were known only by the employees who completed them. “We are starting to put in a process that is mostly in everyone’s head into a digital form,” Sim said. This gives them an opportunity to identify how they might build a better process.
Suncor starts with business managers
At Suncor Energy, an energy giant based in Calgary, Alta., the RPA implementation was led by business managers rather than IT, said Brad Thompson, general manager of supply chain operations at the company. Managers did proofs of concepts for both the finance and supply chain groups, and ultimately selected an RPA solution from Automation Anywhere, working with IBM as the implementation partner. The company has successfully implemented 11 bots across different groups in Suncor in areas, including HR, supply chain, maintenance and reliability.
Thompson’s favorite bot is called Tardy, which sends emails to suppliers about overdue supplies, because it drove consistency to the process. Prior to the bot, employees in his department had different approaches to updating delayed POs. Tardy brought a new level of discipline to dealing with suppliers. It went into production last year and has already reduced the number of overdue materials to 2,500 from 5,000.
Selecting the best use case
Thompson said that at Suncor it was important to select a use case that was easy to implement and would bring value in order to get additional business units to buy into RPA. Since many people weren’t familiar with RPA, business buy-in also required educating managers on the technology and criteria for best use cases.
Suncor’s RPA working group decided to start with accounts payable processes. “The primary reason was it was a pretty self-contained lower risk area,” Thompson said.
When TTI held its internal RPA workshop, it came to light that one woman who was retiring had been solely responsible for a pricing update process that required 27 manual steps. No one else knew how to do it. “We agreed that was the best process to automate,” Sumners said.
Keep IT in the loop
Although RPA can enable business managers to create and customize their own bots, it’s still important to keep IT in the loop, Thompson said. IT can help work out some of the security issues. In addition, the IT department can provide guidance on building a sustainable RPA program to ensure processes can be reused or continue to work as IT infrastructure is changed.
The IT department can also identify problems business users might not be familiar with. For example, many servers automatically shut down after a period of inactivity or outside of normal business hours. In the RPA world, part of the benefit is that the bots don’t have to sleep, but they don’t work if the server clocks out. “It is important your server does not clock out or you won’t get the value,” Thompson said.
Automate the bad processes too
There is some debate around whether businesses should automate bad processes or streamline them first. All three executives suggested it’s better to automate a bad process, and then figure out how to make it better down the road. And in the short run, it can still save humans time, TTI’s Sumners said.
In addition, the exercise of putting an existing manual process into a digital form helps managers to make sense of long processes. It can be hard to figure out how some processes can be improved, particularly ones that span multiple departments. For example, Keppel’s onboarding process for enterprise customs required multiple levels of validation, checks and changes.
“I do feel it is a bad process, but we still want to bring immediate value to teams by automating it,” Keppel’s Sim said. After automation, he said they will investigate the process and find ways to make it better or change steps with a greater understanding of why each step is required.
Thompson said that his team at Suncor found that bringing existing processes into a digital flow eliminated many steps. For example, Suncor used to require a human to stamp the data and time on sheets before scanning documents. RPA allowed these timestamps to be added automatically.
Who pays for the bots?
Every IT department needs to devise its own accounting scheme for funding a bot program. TTI and Suncor simply fund their bot programs at the corporate level, which makes it easier to streamline processes that cross departments.
Keppel’s bot rollout is funded by each business group that creates the bots. John Sneh, worldwide growth executive for digital business automation at IBM, said one of IBM’s customers in Latin America has gone so far as to create a bot catalog. The catalog includes bots for processes like accounts payable and inventory, complete with cost and an implementation timeline. Line-of-business managers pay for these bots out of department funds, and then the IT department writes scripts to customize these bots for a specific process. The revenue from the bot store is reported back to the CFO as IT revenue.
Plan to strip this down. Would like to sell as complete system first.
Price: 1,100 GBP
Case: Phanteks Enthoo Primo (includes PWM fan controller)
Price and currency: 1,100 GBP Delivery: Delivery cost is not included Payment method: BT Location: Bristol / North Somerset Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected
______________________________________________________ This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads. By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here. Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:
Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
Name and address including postcode
Valid e-mail address
DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.
Microsoft’s latest efforts to modernize its technology stack across its cloud services will require administrators who use — or plan to use — Exchange Online to be aware of the approaching changes and adapt if necessary.
Microsoft’s rapid development pace, particularly with its various cloud services, means for every new feature, there are some that will fall by the wayside. These changes affect the administrators and third-party vendors that have developed applications that integrate with Exchange, especially when key components disappear.
Microsoft removed Unified Messaging from its latest Exchange Server release. Now, organizations that require Exchange Web Services in the cloud-based Exchange Online must adjust to the imminent removal of that functionality.
The only constant for Exchange admins is change
It’s been a particularly challenging last few years for Exchange administrators. In July 2017, Microsoft announced it would end support for the session border controllers that connected third-party, on-premises private branch exchanges (PBX) to Exchange Online Unified Messaging. This forced many administrators to rush and re-evaluate their existing PBX systems to see if they were compatible with the new APIs.
Customer feedback prompted Microsoft to change the end-of-support date from July 2018 to December 2019. Then, in July 2018, Microsoft dropped Unified Messaging out of Exchange Server 2019 to steer users to Azure Voicemail.
Now there’s another significant change on the horizon for Exchange admins that affects the way third-party applications interact with Exchange Online. In July 2018, Microsoft announced it will no longer develop new enhancements for or feature updates to Exchange Web Services.
A blog post from Microsoft said the company wants to move developers from the less-secure basic authentication in Exchange Web Services to the more secure OAuth 2.0 used in Microsoft Graph. Microsoft said users of on-premises Exchange can continue to use the API.
How the Exchange Web Services API change might affect you
Microsoft introduced Exchange Web Services as part of Exchange 2007. Exchange Web Services is a Simple Object Access Protocol-based API that provides access to data within Exchange Online and on-premises Exchange Server.
In-house developers and third-party programmers use Exchange Web Services for read and write permission to Exchange. The API allows applications to integrate and interact with Exchange and its objects and functions, such as tasks, calendars, email and contacts.
As many organizations move to Office 365 and Exchange Online, companies that used Exchange Web Services in the on-premises Exchange system welcomed its availability in Exchange Online. But Microsoft’s change means any customized integration used by in-house and third-party apps will be lost.
How Microsoft Graph differs from the Exchange Web Services API
Microsoft wants coders to interact with not only Exchange Online, but all the other workloads in the Office 365 stack and a number of its other offerings. As the name indicates, Exchange Web Services is limited to Exchange.
Microsoft Graph provides developers with a unified programmability model to access data across a number of products, including Office 365 services, Enterprise Mobility + Security, Windows 10 and Azure Active Directory.
While Microsoft Graph significantly expands the possibilities for developers who need integration capabilities with Exchange in the newer API model, the decision might require Exchange administrators to re-evaluate some of the third-party products they use with Office 365.
Depending on a cloud service means pros and cons
Microsoft set an Oct. 13, 2020, deadline for those administrators with third-party tools that rely on Exchange Web Services for Office 365 integration to switch to Microsoft Graph.
Moving to a cloud service like Office 365 offers a few management perks for IT, but one of the challenges is losing the ability to stay with a particular version. Administrators who are using Exchange Online or who plan to move to the Microsoft-hosted email service now have to identify the presence of Exchange Web Services in their customized apps and third-party add-ons.
Exchange administrators will need to gather an inventory of affected integrations that rely on Exchange Web Services for data connectivity. If the organization wants to carry those add-ons over to Exchange Online, then Exchange administrators need to determine if the vendor plans to deliver an upgrade that implements Microsoft Graph.
A cmdlet helps detect Exchange Web Services usage
The PowerShell cmdlet Search-AdminAuditLog can help determine which products use Exchange Web Services. Administrators can set parameters, such as end users and date range, to narrow the results. The resulting log shows the list of events, such as mailbox access by users or services, which can include Exchange Web Services. Administrators can also review the event logs in the EWS folder — ExchangeInstallationFolderV15LoggingEWS — which capture all the requests performed against EWS with details on where the calls originated.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is undeniably transforming the way we work. Gartner estimates that in 2021, AI augmentation will generate $2.9 trillion in business value and recover 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity. To take a closer look at the mission critical benefits of AI for knowledge workers and to help organizations harness the full potential of Everyday AI in Microsoft 365, Microsoft recently commissioned studies with Forbes Insights and Forrester Consulting.
Forbes Insights surveyed over 350 U.S. executives, 80 percent of whom recognized that their organizations need to begin mastering the art of human/machine collaboration. The executives highlighted how placing powerful AI-fueled applications in the hands of knowledge workers was critical to productivity and performance.
Findings from the Forbes Insights study: Everyday AI: Harnessing Artificial Intelligence to Empower the Knowledge Worker.
“Seventy-nine percent agree that AI is already having a transformational impact on workflows and tools for knowledge workers, but only5 percent of executives consider their companies to be industry-leading in terms of taking advantage of AI-powered processes.” —From the Forbes Insights study: Everyday AI: Harnessing Artificial Intelligence to Empower the Knowledge Worker
Read the Forbes Insights research report to learn more about the transformational impact of AI on knowledge workers and identify ways to create an AI-ready culture.
Forrester Consulting surveyed over 250 global executives and 1,000 knowledge workers, 59 percent of whom reported struggles to find the sources of information they need. The research revealed how knowledge workers can use AI, enabled by a broad graph, to drive efficiency, productivity, and overall business benefits.
Findings from the Forrester Consulting study commissioned by Microsoft: Extending the Value of AI to Knowledge Workers.
“Knowledge workers depend on the free flow of information. When they can’t find the information they need, knowledge workers often make subpar decisions that affect the business as a whole. When graph information is properly analyzed and contextualized, it can help knowledge workers find the information needed to make decisions faster, find relevant expertise more easily, and make decisions more confidently.” —From the Forrester Consulting study commissioned by Microsoft: Extending the Value of AI to Knowledge Workers
Read the Forrester Consulting research to learn more about how graph-powered AI is fueling knowledge worker productivity through improved discovery functionality and automatic task completion.
Additionally, in a companion study that involved interviews with IT leaders at seven global organizations leveraging AI capabilities in Microsoft 365, Forrester Consulting projected the direct financial impact of these technologies for a composite global organization with 8,500 knowledge workers. The quantifiable productivity and efficiency gains were estimated over four years to be $36.6 million.
Findings from the Forrester study commissioned by Microsoft: The Total Economic Impact™ Of Microsoft 365 AI For Knowledge Workers.
“[This technology] means we’re going to be able to get back to our clients more quickly, potentially close sales deals more quickly, and ultimately this will translate to more revenue.” —Senior director of IT operations and security, global IT services company interviewed for the TEI of Microsoft 365 AI study
Additional tools for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure will let users quickly provision packaged software onto Oracle’s online app marketplace — and, the company hopes, help close the competitive gap with AWS, Microsoft and Google.
Click-to-launch capabilities added to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure let customers select software products from Oracle partners and Oracle itself through an online marketplace and launch them directly from the OCI management console. This eliminates deployment steps to import into a running instance and then create custom images, according to thecompany.
These tools for the Oracle Cloud Marketplace provide a preinstalled app inside a host OS and are meant to run on a single server instance. However, it’s not meant for customers to quickly deploy apps in production, but rather make it easier to run pilots using Oracle partners’ software, said Bruce Burns, senior director of product management at Oracle.
Still to come is Stack Marketplace, which is set for release in the next few months. It will deliver rapid provisioning capabilities for reference implementations and use a combination of compute, network, storage and databases. Oracle will use HashiCorp’s Terraform infrastructure-as-code software under the hood for this.
Notably, Oracle does not take a cut of software license sales partners make through the site; its goal is to grow the amount of OCI workloads and make money on infrastructure charges alone.
Customers also must negotiate all software license pricing directly with the third-party vendor involved.
“We make the connection between the partner and the customer to bring that enterprise sales model to the cloud,” Burns said. Partners will get a portal that provides dashboards and other information about activity on their product listings.
Oracle has uphill climb with cloud marketplace
Oracle offered app provisioning capabilities for its first-generation IaaS, which was based on OpenStack. But that saw little market traction, and the more advanced Oracle Cloud Infrastructure arrived in 2016.
There is nothing especially novel about the OCI marketplace or the rapid provisioning capabilities, given the long-standing presence of services like Salesforce’s AppExchange. But Oracle needs both to be credible and competitive in today’s cloud market.
More than 3,500 applications are available through the marketplace today. But, initially, only 16 images will take advantage of the new provisioning tools.
Oracle’s model also blurs the line somewhat between the traditional way enterprises buy software — an evaluation process with multiple vendors, proofs of concept and a final selection — and how it’s done in the cloud era, said William Fellows, vice president and co-founder of 451 Research.
SaaS, on-demand and consumption-based plans and marketplaces will ultimately usurp the perpetual license model.
“Paying maintenance three years into a license term makes no sense in the world of subscriptions, SaaS and CI/CD [continuous integration/continuous delivery],” he said. “[Nevertheless] plenty of enterprises still purchase software and services on a term basis, with upfront costs that support traditional accounting and budgeting controls rather than the risk of runaway costs with consumption-based models.”