Tag Archives: Cloud

SAP PartnerEdge initiative offers free S/4HANA Cloud resources

SAP is taking a new tact to grow its public cloud offering and development resources: It’s giving them away for free.

As of July 1, qualified SAP PartnerEdge members can now test and demonstrate systems built on SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP C/4HANA free of charge. Partners need to have a valid SAP PartnerEdge status and employ three consultants who are certified in “operations capabilities for SAP applications running on S/4HANA Cloud” to get free access to test and demo systems, according to the company. Partners who have at least three consultants certified for SAP C/4HANA applications also qualify for the initiative.

SAP PartnerEdge is designed to provide SAP partners the resources they can use to develop, sell, service and manage SAP systems and applications. The program currently has more than 19,800 partners worldwide, according to SAP.

The new SAP PartnerEdge initiative appears to have positive reviews from partners, but one analyst believes the effort is a long-overdue strategic move to build out SAP applications and keep pace with other cloud providers like AWS and Microsoft.

Seeding the cloud applications

The SAP PartnerEdge initiative is an attempt to open up SAP Cloud Platform and S/4HANA to a broader range of developers and seed the market with applications built on SAP technology, according to analyst Joshua Greenbaum, principal at Enterprise Applications Consulting, based in Berkeley, Calif. This is similar to the approach long favored by the likes of Microsoft and AWS.

“They want the developers of future great products — whether they’re internal development teams, startups or professional teams — to think about SAP as their development platform,” Greenbaum said. “That’s their fundamental strategy for growing the uptake of SAP Cloud Platform and S/4HANA.”

It’s being met with enthusiasm. Alain Dubois, chief marketing and business development officer at Beyond Technologies, called the program a “great initiative.”

Beyond Technologies, a Montreal-based SAP partner that specializes in development and integration of a range of SAP products, including S/4HANA and C/4HANA. It plans to take advantage of the free cloud access the new SAP PartnerEdge program offers.

“We will use it for demos and [proofs of concept] as well as for enablement, which is crucial for us as a value-added reseller because it will help [keep down] customer acquisition costs,” he said.

Shaun Syvertsen, CEO of ConvergentIS, is also looking forward to using the program’s resources. ConvergentIS is an SAP partner based in Calgary, Alberta, that provides SAP technology development and consulting services.

The SAP PartnerEdge program will drive the long-term success of SAP technology with partners, Syvertsen said. It’s particularly valuable for partners to get a deeper understanding of public cloud SAP versions.

“In particular, you have to understand that 20 years of on-premises experience is potentially dangerous in the cloud environment, as the setup and range of flexibility is quite different from on-premises,” Syvertsen said. “So, a new cloud-centric mindset and cloud-specific experience is critical.”

Better late than never

SAP partners have been beating the drum for an initiative like this for years to help them keep pace with competitors like AWS, Microsoft and Salesforce, Enterprise Applications Consulting’s Greenbaum explained.

“The partners and would-be partners have been saying that SAP has to emulate the rest of the market for a while,” he said. “There are lots of open source tools and there’s a huge amount of love and support [for developers] from competitor platform providers, and the partners have always said that SAP has to do something similar or they’ll go somewhere else.”

SAP has to do some work to catch up to Salesforce or AWS, but it’s still a relatively new game as cloud uptake numbers are just beginning to gain momentum in the enterprise applications market, according to Greenbaum.

What could be a differentiator for SAP also is the totality of what it can offer compared to the other cloud companies.

“Underneath the hood, SAP provides access to business services — data and processes — that are potentially very valuable,” he said. “Salesforce can do that, but only within the domain of CRM, and AWS doesn’t really do that at all. So, this is a good time for SAP. It would have been a better time two years ago, but the story is hardly over at this point.”

Availability for the new SAP PartnerEdge program for qualified partners began July 1. Registration will remain open until Sept. 30, 2019, according to the company. Partners who have already bought the test and demonstration licenses will receive a migration offer from SAP Partner Licensing Services if they want to migrate their existing services to the free access, according to SAP.

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Microsoft announces investments to broaden opportunities for partners – Stories

Ahead of Microsoft Inspire, company shares how it is tuning partner investments for the cloud era, including updates to Teams, Dynamics 365, Azure

REDMOND, Wash. — July 11, 2019 — On Thursday, Microsoft Corp. announced new investments in technologies and programs designed to support its partner ecosystem. The investments are aimed at helping optimize Microsoft’s partner engagement for the cloud era.

“Customers and partners alike continue to move to the cloud and accelerate their digital transformation, leading us to new and different levels of partnership,” said Gavriella Schuster, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s One Commercial Partner group. “Our portfolio of programs, offers and resources for companies partnering with Microsoft is transforming to help them capitalize on this opportunity.”

The following are some highlights of the news announced today, with more details available here.

Investments in products and programs

  • Microsoft Teams extensions and adoption. Just two years after its launch, Teams now has 13 million daily active users and 19 million weekly active users. The company also announced new features in Microsoft Teams for every worker —including new ways to support healthcare organizations and firstline workers. Additional new partner integrations include support for contact centers, compliance recording and cloud solution providers.
  • Dynamics 365 updates. The company announced significant updates to the Dynamics 365 Nonprofit Accelerator and two new integrations for Dynamics 365 that address the automotive and financial services industries. In addition, the Business Applications ISV Connect program is generally available, with new development tools and guidance, marketplace resources, joint field engagement processes and go-to-market support.
  • Introducing Azure Lighthouse. Azure Lighthouse gives partners a single control plane to view and manage Azure at scale across all their customers. This provides a better managed Azure experience with higher automation and efficiency, resulting in greater visibility and security for customers. This marks the first time Microsoft has architected a solution at this scale, with partners and for partners.
  • Azure Migration Program. The new Azure Migration Program (AMP) helps customers accelerate their migration to Azure. AMP offers proactive advice and tools to help mitigate risks and address common issues associated with moving workloads to the cloud.

Broadening partner opportunity

Since the inception of Microsoft’s co-sell program 24 months ago, the program has seen $9.5 billion in annual contracted partner revenue. The investments announced this week are designed to build on that opportunity:

  • General availability of the Microsoft Security competency. This new competency allows partners to market their expertise and provides access to a range of benefits designed to enable business growth and profitability.
  • Five advanced specializations. These include Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Microsoft Azure, Linux and Open Source Databases Migration to Microsoft Azure, Data Warehouse Migration to Microsoft Azure, Modernization of Web Applications in Microsoft Azure, and Kubernetes on Microsoft Azure.
  • New advancements in marketplace. Additional pricing models, a rewards program and a new route to market are rolling out in July for companies that publish transactable offers in Microsoft’s expanded commercial marketplace. The pricing models include monthly and annual SaaS billing, flexible, custom-metered billing options, standard contracts, and free SaaS trials that convert to paid engagements.

About Microsoft Inspire

Microsoft Inspire provides Microsoft’s partner community with access to key marketing and business strategies, leadership, and information regarding specific customer solutions designed to help partners succeed in the marketplace. Along with informative learning opportunities covering sales, marketing, services, and technology, Microsoft Inspire is an ideal setting for partners to garner valuable knowledge from their peers and from Microsoft. More information can be found at https://partner.microsoft.com/en-us/inspire.

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

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Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications, (425) 638-7777, [email protected]

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

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As public cloud adoption grows, new drawbacks discovered

Public cloud adoption is proving to be more costly for some companies than they expected.

A recent survey conducted by U.K.-based tech research company Vanson Bourne asked 900 IT leaders if the public cloud has delivered on all of their organizations’ expected benefits. Only 32.2% of respondents said all their expectations were met, while 58.1% said some expected benefits came to fruition and 9.6% said only a few of their expected benefits were achieved. The remaining 0.1% said they saw no benefit to public cloud adoption at all.

The study, which was commissioned by enterprise storage and data management company Cohesity, also found that 88% of respondents said they were given mandates from their company’s leadership to use public cloud more. That number is further broken down into 38.3% who said they are using the public cloud efficiently and fully reaping benefits, 40.7% who said they are struggling to effectively benefit from public cloud adoption and 8.7% who are executing public cloud adoption just to appease leadership.

One of the conclusions of the study is that there is a disconnect between senior management and IT. The expectations of public cloud adoption included lowering costs, simplifying IT operations, increasing business agility and providing insight into the organization’s data.

“The mandates may have come from people who aren’t IT, but on the business management side of things,” said Peter Linkin, senior director of enterprise marketing at Cohesity. “There’s a command to move there without fully understanding the implications.”

George Crump, founder of storage analyst firm Storage Switzerland, has seen this story play out in his consulting experience. He said companies start off by adopting the public cloud for workloads like backup and disaster recovery (DR) and successfully saving money. The problems begin when there is a long-term vision to shrink the data center or remove it entirely. These organizations are often motivated by a belief that removing the physical footprint would lower costs, free IT staff from mundane maintenance tasks or lead to other benefits. Crump said it’s not that simple.

“The cloud at scale becomes expensive and more complicated,” Crump said.

Crump said the public cloud’s No. 1 expense is egress fees, where organizations are charged to pull data back off the cloud. I/O processing fees also make up part of the costs, along with long lists of line items that cloud service providers (CSPs) might charge. Crump said modern day CSP bills are complex and hard to decipher.

Fred Moore, president of storage consultant Horison Information Strategies in Boulder, Colo., said organizations are frequently blindsided by those costs. He said there is little awareness of things like storage fees, access fees and charges for higher response times and geographic redundancy zones.

The cloud providers don’t go out of their way to help you learn these things. They don’t like to talk about their pricing models.
Fred Moore President, Horison Information Strategies

“The cloud providers don’t go out of their way to help you learn these things,” Moore said. “They don’t like to talk about their pricing models.”

Palmaz Vineyards CEO Christian Gastón Palmaz had to pull his proprietary algorithmic fermentation control system off of the cloud due to egress charges and latency issues. He initially thought public cloud adoption was going to save him more money than storing everything on premises until he received his first bill.

“To put a petabyte on the cloud is one thing, but pulling that data off the cloud was expensive,” Palmaz said.

Palmaz Vineyards currently stores most of its data on premises, including backup data. It only uses the cloud for cold storage, with 280 TB of archived data on Amazon Glacier.

“When people come back in from the cloud, that’s a real headache,” Moore said. “It could take a month to download everything back into the data center. That’s when you just want to roll up a truck full of tapes — it’s actually faster.”

Aside from egress charges, public cloud adoption can add complexity to an organization’s IT infrastructure and lead to lower productivity. In the Vanson Bourne study, 75% of respondents said they had to spend considerable time and effort integrating data center and public cloud environments for effective data management. The survey also found that 45% of respondents believe their IT teams are spending between 30% and 70% of their time managing secondary data across public clouds.

Move to the public cloud

The biggest concern with public cloud adoption was compliance risks, with 48.9% of respondents citing that. Egress charges were actually third on the list, with 42.3% of respondents saying they were concerned about them. However, Crump and Moore said they’ve seen organizations scale back their public cloud operations as a direct result of the latter.

Crump did pointed out he’s not seeing companies leaving the public cloud in droves. Even if they aren’t completely happy with their cloud journey, some companies would rather eat the costs than go through the hassle of returning to the data center. This is why it’s important for organizations to assess and truly understand what they should and shouldn’t put on cloud in order to avoid increasing their overall costs rather than lowering them.

Crump said organizations need to be smarter about differentiating which applications and data sets should go to the cloud rather than assuming the cloud is always the right choice. He said legacy applications that weren’t designed to work in cloud environments and workloads that are performance-intensive, either in terms of storage or CPU-usage, usually should likely stay on premises. Backup and DR are ideal workloads for cloud because it is data that isn’t accessed frequently.

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How to deal with the on-premises vs. cloud challenge

For some administrators, the cloud is not a novelty. It’s critical to their organization. Then, there’s you, the lone on-premises holdout.

With all the hype about cloud and Microsoft’s strong push to get IT to use Azure for services and workloads, it might seem like you are the only one in favor of remaining in the data center in the great on-premises vs. cloud debate. The truth is the cloud isn’t meant for everything. While it’s difficult to find a workload not supported by the cloud, that doesn’t mean everything needs to move there.

Few people like change, and a move to the cloud is a big adjustment. You can’t stop your primary vendors from switching their allegiance to the cloud, so you will need to be flexible to face this new reality. Take a look around at your options as more vendors narrow their focus away from the data center and on-premises management.

Is the cloud a good fit for your organization?

The question is: Should it be done? All too often, it’s a matter of money. For example, it’s possible to take a large-capacity file server in the hundreds of terabytes and place it in Azure. Microsoft’s cloud can easily support this workload, but can your wallet?

Once you get over the sticker shock, think about it. If you’re storing frequently used data, it might make business sense to put that file server in Azure. However, if this is a traditional file server with mostly stale data, then is it really worth the price tag as opposed to using on-premises hardware?

Azure file server
When you run the numbers on what it takes to put a file server in Azure, the costs can add up.

Part of the on-premises vs. cloud dilemma is you have to weigh the financial costs, as well as the tangible benefits and drawbacks. Part of the calculation in determining what makes sense in an operational budget structure, as opposed to a capital expense, is the people factor. Too often, admins find themselves in a situation where management sees one side of this formula and wants to make that cloud leap, while the admins must look at the reality and explain both the pros and cons — the latter of which no one wants to hear.

Part of the on-premises vs. cloud dilemma is you have to weigh the financial costs, as well as the tangible benefits and drawbacks.

The cloud question also goes deeper than the Capex vs. Opex argument for the admins. With so much focus on the cloud, what happens to those environments that simply don’t or can’t move? It’s not only a question of what this means today, but also what’s in store for them tomorrow.

As vendors move on, the walls close in

With the focus for most software vendors on cloud and cloud-related technology, the move away from the data center should be a warning sign for admins that can’t move to the cloud. The applications and tools you use will change to focus on the organizations working in the cloud with less development on features that would benefit the on-premises data center.

One of the most critical aspects of this shift will be your monitoring tools. As cloud gains prominence, it will get harder to find tools that will continue to support local Windows Server installations over cloud-based ones. We already see this trend with log aggregation tools that used to be available as on-site installs that are now almost all SaaS-based offerings. This is just the start.

If a tool moves from on premises to the cloud but retains the ability to monitor data center resources, that is an important distinction to remember. That means you might have a workable option to keep production workloads on the ground and work with the cloud as needed or as your tools make that transition.

As time goes on, an evaluation process might be in order. If your familiar tools are moving to the cloud without support for on-premises workloads, the options might be limited. Should you pick up new tools and then invest the time to install and train the staff how to use them? It can be done, but do you really want to?

While not ideal, another viable option is to take no action; the install you have works, and as long as you don’t upgrade, everything will be fine. The problem with remaining static is getting left behind. The base OSes will change, and the applications will get updated. But, if your tools can no longer monitor them, what good are they? You also introduce a significant security risk when you don’t update software. Staying put isn’t a good long-term strategy.

With the cloud migration will come other choices

The same challenges you face with your tools also apply to your traditional on-premises applications. Longtime stalwarts, such as Exchange Server, still offer a local installation, but it’s clear that Microsoft’s focus for messaging and collaboration is its Office 365 suite.

The harsh reality is more software vendors will continue on the cloud path, which they see as the new profit centers. Offerings for on-premises applications will continue to dwindle. However, there is some hope. As the larger vendors move to the cloud, it opens up an opportunity in the market for third-party tools and applications that might not have been on your radar until now. These products might not be as feature-rich as an offering from the larger vendors, but they might tick most of the checkboxes for your requirements.

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For Sale – WD My Cloud 4TB NAS

WD My Cloud 4TB Personal Cloud Storage – £100

Excellent condition, boxed with power supply and Ethernet cable
Light home use only
Gigabit Ethernet connection
USB 3 expansion port
Mobile apps available
UPnP and DLNA Compatible

Price and currency: £100
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For Sale – WD My Cloud 4TB NAS

WD My Cloud 4TB Personal Cloud Storage – £100

Excellent condition, boxed with power supply and Ethernet cable
Light home use only
Gigabit Ethernet connection
USB 3 expansion port
Mobile apps available
UPnP and DLNA Compatible

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For Sale – WD My Cloud 4TB NAS

WD My Cloud 4TB Personal Cloud Storage – £100

Excellent condition, boxed with power supply and Ethernet cable
Light home use only
Gigabit Ethernet connection
USB 3 expansion port
Mobile apps available
UPnP and DLNA Compatible

Price and currency: £100
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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.

For Sale – WD My Cloud 4TB NAS

WD My Cloud 4TB Personal Cloud Storage – £100

Excellent condition, boxed with power supply and Ethernet cable
Light home use only
Gigabit Ethernet connection
USB 3 expansion port
Mobile apps available
UPnP and DLNA Compatible

Price and currency: £100
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Bank transfer
Location: Gloucester
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Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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The new business imperative: A unified cloud security strategy

As more businesses begin to explore the benefits of moving on-premises data and applications to the cloud, they’re having to rethink their traditional approaches to data security. Not only are cybercriminals developing more sophisticated attacks, but the number of employees and users who can access, edit, and share data has increased the risk of breaches. In fact, Gartner indicates* that “through 2022, 95 percent of cloud security incidents failures will be the customer’s fault. CIOs can combat this by implementing and enforcing policies on cloud ownership, responsibility and risk acceptance. They should also be sure to follow a life cycle approach to cloud governance and put in place central management and monitoring planes to cover the inherent complexity of multicloud use.”

Instead of relying on a patchwork of third-party security solutions that don’t always speak to each other, potentially leaving systems vulnerable to attack, companies are now adopting a unified, end-to-end cloud security defense. This typically involves choosing a cloud provider that can integrate security controls right into existing corporate systems and processes. When these controls span the entire IT infrastructure, they make it easier to protect data and maintain user trust by offering increased compatibility, better performance, and more flexibility.

Protection that’s always compatible

A holistic, cloud-supported threat warning and detection system can be designed to work seamlessly across every asset of an IT environment. For instance, built-in security management solutions can give IT teams the ability to constantly monitor the entire system from a centralized location, rather than manually evaluating different machines. This allows them to sense threats early, provide identity monitoring, and more—all without any compatibility issues.

Container shipping company Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has gone this route. As in many businesses, MSC’s IT environment is spread across a variety of locations, networks, and technologies, such as container ships, trucking networks, and offices. Its previous security strategy employed a mixture of third-party solutions that often ran into compatibility issues between different components, giving attackers a large surface area to probe. This made MSC vulnerable to threats such as fileless attacks, phishing, and ransomware. However, after transitioning to a unified cloud security solution, it has been able to guard against attacks using protection that integrates effortlessly into its existing environment.

Reliable performance, more efficiently

The more complex an IT environment gets, the more time employees spend testing, maintaining, and repairing third-party security solutions. A unified cloud security approach improves performance by not only providing a consistent, layered defense strategy, but by also automating it across the entire IT infrastructure. At MSC, software and security updates are now done automatically and deployed without delay across the cloud. Information about possible threats and breaches can quickly be shared across devices and identities, speeding up response and recovery times so that employees can focus on other issues.

Security with flexibility to grow

Scalability is another factor driving adoption. A cloud environment can easily scale to accommodate spikes in traffic, additional users, or data-intensive applications. A patchwork of third-party security solutions tends not to be so nimble. At MSC, security controls are integrated into multiple levels of the existing IT infrastructure—from the operating system to the application layer—and can be dynamically sized to meet new business needs. For example, continuous compliance controls can be established to monitor regulatory activities and detect vulnerabilities as they grow.

A unified security approach: becoming the standard

The best security solutions perform quietly in the background, protecting users without them noticing. Unified cloud security does this while also reducing the resources required to keep things running smoothly. “Once you have true defense in depth, there’s less chance of having to single out a user and impact their productivity because you have to reimage an infected machine,” said Aaron Shvarts, chief security officer at MSC Technology North America.

After moving its workloads to Azure and upgrading its previous third-party security solutions to the native protection of Windows Defender, MSC now has a defense strategy that suits the complexity of its business. Learn more about Azure security solutions and how Microsoft can help you implement unified security across your cloud.

To stay up to date on the latest news about Microsoft’s work in the cloud, bookmark this blog and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

*Gartner, Smarter with Gartner, Is the Cloud Secure?, 27 March 2018, https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/is-the-cloud-secure/