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HPE brings InfoSight AI to SimpliVity HCI

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has made its InfoSight predictive analytics resource management capabilities available on its HPE SimpliVity hyper-converged infrastructure platform.

InfoSight provides capacity utilization reports and forecasts, and sends alerts of possible problems before users run out of capacity. HPE acquired InfoSight when it bought Nimble Storage in March 2017, two months after it acquired early hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) startup SimpliVity. HPE ported Nimble’s InfoSight to its flagship 3 PAR arrays and it is used in its new Primera storage, as well as the ProLiant servers that SimpliVity runs on.

HPE is also connecting SimpliVity to its StoreOnce backup appliances, allowing customers to move data from SimpliVity nodes to the StoreOnce deduplication back boxes.

HPE disclosed plans to bring InfoSight to SimpliVity in June, and it is now generally available as part of the SimpliVity service agreement. StoreOnce integration with SimpliVity HCI is planned for the first half of 2020.

SimpliVity HCI trails Dell, Nutanix, Cisco

HPE has lagged its major server rivals in HCI sales, particularly Dell. IDC listed SimpliVity as fourth in branded HCI revenue in the second quarter with $83 million, only 2.3% of the market. No. 1 Dell ($533 million) and No. 2 Nutanix ($259 million) combined for nearly half of the total market share, with Cisco third at $114 million and 6.2 % share according to IDC.

HPE’s commitment to SimpliVity has also been questioned by its hedging on HCI products. HPE makes Nutanix technology available as part of its GreenLake as-a-service program, and Nutanix sells its software bundled on HPE ProLiant hardware. HPE customers can also use its servers with VMware vSAN HCI software. And HPE this year launched Nimble Storage dHCI, a disaggregated platform that is not true HCI but competes with HCI products while allowing a greater degree of independent scaling of compute and storage resources. Nimble dHCI is also generally available this week.

HCI ‘comes down to data’

Pittsburgh-based trucking company Pitt Ohio has been a SimpliVity customer since before HPE acquired the HCI pioneer. Systems engineer Justin Brooks said he was familiar with InfoSight as a previous Nimble Storage customer, so he signed up for the beta program on SimpliVity. Brooks said he has used InfoSight since June, and finds it significantly aids him in managing capacity on his 19 HCI nodes used for primary storage and disaster recovery. 

“Most of it comes down to data – how much you’re replicating, and how much data is on there versus what the hypervisor supports,” Brooks said. “The InfoSight intelligence and prediction capabilities are great for SimpliVity, because on any hyper-convergence platform it’s all about scalability. You need to know when to scale out or move things around, so you can plan accordingly. Hyper-converged is not dirt cheap either, especially when it’s all-flash. It’s important to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth out of the resources.”

Brooks said he previously employed “guesstimates and fuzzy math” to predict SimpliVity HCI growth, but InfoSight does those predictions for him now. InfoSight data growth patterns over the past 30-, 60- and 90-day periods.

“You’re always worried how big your data sets are growing, especially on the SQL Server side,” he said. “You don’t get as high efficiency with dedupe and compression on SQL data as with file data. With SimpliVity you have to dig into the CLI and get deep in there, or see what was sent over from the production side or the DR side. InfoSight shows you that data more granularly.”

Brooks said he was concerned about HPE’s plans for SimpliVity when it made the acquisition in 2017, but he’s happy with its commitment. Pitt Ohio took advantage of an HPE buyback program to convert its SimpliVity OmniCubes that used Dell hardware into ProLiant-based SimpliVity nodes. Pitt Ohio had nine SimpliVity nodes before the HPE acquisition, and is up to 19 now. Brooks estimates 98% of his applications run on SimpliVity HCI. The trucking company is a VMware shop and first got into SimpliVity HCI for virtual desktop infrastructure. It has since switched from Cisco UCS servers and a variety of storage, including Dell EMC VMAX and Data Domain and Nimble arrays.

“We had a Frankenblock infrastructure,” Brooks said. “When we needed to refresh hardware, our options were to forklift everything in the data center or get on the hyper-converged route.”

Pitt Ohio now has one SimpliVity cluster for Microsoft SQL Server, another cluster for all other production workloads and a third for QA.

Brooks said he uses SimpliVity for data protection, but is considering adding a Cohesity backup appliance. That is so he can move file data to cheaper storage, and HPE sells Cohesity software on HPE Apollo servers. “We want to get some files off of SimpliVity because I’d rather not use all that flash disk for files,” Brooks said.

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Oracle andVMware forge new IaaS cloud partnership

SAN FRANCISCO — VMware’s virtualization stack will be made available on Oracle’s IaaS, in a partnership that underscores changing currents in the public cloud market and represents a sharp strategic shift for Oracle.

Under the pact, enterprises will be able to deploy certified VMware software on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), the company’s second-generation IaaS. Oracle is now a member of the VMware Cloud Provider Program and will sell VMware’s Cloud Foundation stack for software-defined data centers, the companies said on the opening day of Oracle’s OpenWorld conference.

Oracle plans to give customers full root access to physical servers on OCI, and they can use VMware’s vCenter product to manage on-premises and OCI-based environments through a single tool.

“The VMware you’re running on-premises, you can lift and shift it to the Oracle Cloud,” executive chairman and CTO Larry Ellison said during a keynote. “You really control version management operations, upgrade time of the VMware stack, making it easy for you to migrate — if that’s what you want to do — into the cloud with virtually no change.”

The companies have also reached a mutual agreement around support, which Oracle characterized with the following statement: “[C]ustomers will have access to Oracle technical support for Oracle products running on VMware environments. … Oracle has agreed to support joint customers with active support contracts running supported versions of Oracle products in Oracle supported computing environments.”

It’s worth noting the careful language of that statement, given Oracle and VMware’s history. While Oracle has become more open to supporting its products on VMware environments, it has yet to certify any for VMware.

Moreover, many customers have found Oracle’s licensing policy for deploying its products on VMware devilishly complex. In fact, a cottage industry has emerged around advisory services meant to help customers keep compliant with Oracle and VMware.

Nothing has changed with regard to Oracle’s existing processor license policy, said Vinay Kumar, vice president of product management for OCI. But the VMware software to be made available on OCI will be through bundled, Oracle-sold SKUs that encompass software and physical infrastructure. Initially, one SKU based on X7 bare-metal instances will be available, according to Kumar.

Oracle and VMware have been working on the partnership for the past nine months, he added. The first SKU is expected to be available within the next six months. Kumar declined to provide details on pricing.

Oracle, VMware relations warm in cloudier days

“It seems like there is a thaw between Oracle and VMware,” said Gary Chen, an analyst at IDC. The companies have a huge overlap in terms of customers who use their software in tandem, and want more deployment options, he added. “Oracle customers are stuck on Oracle,” he said. “They have to make Oracle work in the cloud.”

Gary Chen, Analyst, IDCGary Chen

Meanwhile, VMware has already struck cloud-related partnerships with AWS, IBM, Microsoft and Google, leaving Oracle little choice but to follow. Oracle has also largely ceded the general-purpose IaaS market to those competitors, and has positioned OCI for more specialized tasks as well as core enterprise application workloads, which often run on VMware today.

Massive amounts of on-premises enterprise workloads run on VMware, but as companies look to port them to the cloud, they want to do it in the fastest, easiest way possible, said Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research in Cupertino, Calif.

The biggest cost of lift-and-shift deployments to the cloud involves revalidation and testing in the new environment, Mueller added.

It seems like there is a thaw between Oracle and VMware.
Gary ChenAnalyst, IDC

But at this point, many enterprises have automated test scripts in place, or even feel comfortable not retesting VMware workloads, according to Mueller. “So the leap of faith involved with deploying a VMware VM on a server in the corporate data center or in a public cloud IaaS is the same,” he said.

In the near term, most customers of the new VMware-OCI service will move Oracle database workloads over, but it will be Oracle’s job to convince them OCI is a good fit for other VMware workloads, Mueller added.

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Oracle cloud ambitions follow decades of transition

Oracle’s roots as an on-premises software company have made for a complicated and at times contradictory relationship with cloud computing over the last decade, and some say the company can’t afford to lose any more ground.

After all, in 2008, the software giant’s outspoken founder Larry Ellison mocked the very notion of the phrase, saying cloud amounted to a rebranding of existing technologies. Two years later, Ellison launched Exalogic, an application server appliance he dubbed “one big, honkin’ cloud.”

Oracle cloud beginnings and missteps

Prominent examples abound of Oracle’s efforts to lead the way in the Internet era, such as Ellison’s network computer offering from the mid- to late 1990s. It failed at the time, but foreshadowed the rise of products such as Chromebooks — stripped-down thin client computing devices that rely heavily on connections to the web.

More recently, Oracle — like IBM, Cisco and HPE — found itself outgunned in the cloud computing platform race by AWS and Microsoft. Oracle offers IaaS to customers, but has positioned it for more specialized tasks.

Last year, Ellison’s longtime head of product development, Thomas Kurian, decamped and turned up as CEO of Google Cloud. Published reports have it that Kurian left in part because Ellison was too reluctant to embrace partnerships with other cloud providers. That changed in June, when Oracle and Microsoft created a cloud interoperability pact.

Oracle struck a partnership deal with Microsoft to improve its footing in the cloud computing market.
Microsoft and Oracle struck a win-win deal to boost each company’s cloud clout.

Ellison has named no replacement for Kurian, and in fact has taken over the job at age 75. While Oracle seems to have settled on a long-term strategy for IaaS, and has had great success selling SaaS applications, Oracle’s challenge centers on PaaS — most specifically Oracle 19c, the latest version of its flagship database product.

The task at hand is to keep Oracle’s customer base wherever they want to be, whether on premises or on Oracle cloud, and to be competitive on price, as IT pros have more database options than ever before — particularly in open source.

Overall, Ellison’s tone and message to the OpenWorld conference attendees later this month will be critical.

“His last act had better be figuring the cloud out,” said John Rymer, an analyst at Forrester Research. “Cloud is that kind of moment for Oracle. If they don’t get this right, they don’t get to continue to play, and they become legacy.”

If they don’t get [cloud] right, they don’t get to continue to play, and they become legacy.
John RymerAnalyst, Forrester

Ellison, as always, is sure to use the company’s annual conference to sling arrows at competitors in an effort to boost Oracle in the cloud. The conference agenda shows that Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), Oracle’s next-generation IaaS, will play a prominent role through sessions, customer presentations and in a keynote showcasing new features.

But the star should be the Oracle database, with more than 200 OpenWorld sessions associated with it. Expect Ellison to have plenty to say about it on his own.

 In part two of this story, we look back at events of the past 20 years that brought Oracle to its present position in the cloud computing market.

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Analyst, author talks enterprise AI expectations

For years, promoters have made AI technologies sound like the all-encompassing technology answer for enterprises, a ready-to-use piece of software that could solve all of an organization’s data and workflow problems with minimal effort.

While AI can certainly automate parts of a workflow and save employees and organizations time and money, it rarely requires no work or no integration to set up, something organizations are still struggling to understand.

In this Q&A ahead of the publication of his new book, Alan Pelz-Sharpe, founder of market advisory and research firm Deep Analysis, describes enterprises’ AI expectations and helps distinguish between realistic AI goals and expectations and the AI hype.

An AI project is different from a traditional IT project, Pelz-Sharpe said, and organizations should treat it as such.

“One of the reasons so many projects fail is people do not know that,” he said.

In this Q&A, Pelz-Sharpe, who is also a part-time voice and film actor, talks about AI expectations, deploying AI, and the realities of the technology.

Have you found that business users and enterprises have an accurate description of AI?

Alan Pelz-Sharpe: No. It’s a straightforward no. I’ll give you real world examples.

Alan Pelz-Sharpe, AI ExpectationsAlan Pelz-Sharpe

A very large, very well-known financial services company brought in the biggest vendor. They spent six and a half million dollars. Four months later, they fired the vendor, because they had nothing to show for it. They talked to me and it was heartbreaking, because I wanted to say to them, ‘Why? Why did you ever engage with them?’

It wasn’t because they were bad people engaged in this, but because they had very specific sets of circumstances and really, really specific requirements. I said to them, ‘You’re never going to buy this off the shelf, it doesn’t exist. You’re going to have to develop this yourself.’ Now, that’s what they’re doing, and they’re spending a lot less money and having a lot more success.

AI is being so overhyped; your heart goes out to buyers, because they don’t know who to believe. In some cases, they could save a fortune, go to some small startup [that] could, frankly, give them the product and get the job done. They don’t know that.

Are these cases of enterprises’ having the wrong AI expectations and not knowing what they want, or they are cases of a vendor misleading a buyer?

It’s absolutely both. Vendors have overhyped and oversold. Then the perception is I buy this tool, I plug it in, and it does its magic. It just isn’t like that ever. It’s never like that. That’s nonsense. So, the vendors are definitely guilty of that, but when haven’t they been?

From the buyer’s perspective, I think there are two things really. One, they don’t know. They don’t understand, they haven’t been told that they have to run this project very differently from an IT project. It’s not a traditional IT project in which you scope it out, decide what you’re going to use, test it and then it goes live. AI isn’t like that. It’s a lifetime investment. You’re never going to completely leave it alone, you’re always going to be involved with it.

Technically, there’s a perception that bigger and more powerful is better. Well, is it? If you’re trying to automatically classify statements versus purchases versus invoices, the usual back office paper stuff, why do you need the most powerful product? Why not, instead, just buy something simple, something that’s designed to do exactly that?

Often, buyers get themselves into deep waters. They buy a big Mack Truck to do what a small tricycle could do. That’s actually really common. Most real-world business use cases are surprisingly narrow and targeted.

Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for clarity and conciseness.

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How gamers with disabilities helped design the new Xbox Adaptive Controller’s elegantly accessible packaging

Romney said the experience has made him think about packaging differently.

“We have customers in our store every single day who buy product. I look at our laptop boxes and how they have to be opened. How many steps, how much packaging and how much of a barrier do each of those pieces become to someone with a mobility limitation?”

Romney thinks the Xbox Adaptive Controller packaging has the potential to set a new standard.

“I think it’s going to change how we look at things in the industry, in terms of how we make boxes. And I think it has to,” he said. “I think as a case study of inclusive design, the Xbox Adaptive Controller is going to make a brilliant example of how you do it, and how you include your audience and design with a population, rather than for a population.”

For Marshall and Weiser, the packaging project was challenging, time-consuming — and ultimately rewarding.

“It was a really powerful experience,” Marshall said. “I don’t think you realize, until you’re required to think differently, what you take for granted. As a designer, when you see things through a completely different lens, it’s paradigm-shifting.”

Said Weiser: “We put in a lot of extra time on it, but it was a pleasure to be able to work on this type of project. It’s great that we’re focused on this as a company.”

Discussions are underway about how Microsoft might use the learnings from the Xbox Adaptive Controller packaging. Marshall hopes the deceptively simple-looking box can serve as a springboard for future efforts.

“It’s certainly changing how we’re looking at packaging. We’re excited about moving forward from this point with a new lens and looking at what we can do,” he said.

“We’re really excited to take this journey on.”

GCP Marketplace beats AWS, Azure to Kubernetes app store

Google Cloud Platform has made the first foray into a new frontier of Kubernetes ease of use with a cloud app store that includes apps preconfigured to run smoothly on the notoriously persnickety container orchestration platform.

As Kubernetes becomes the de facto container orchestration standard for enterprise DevOps shops, helping customers tame the notoriously complex management of the platform has become de rigueur for software vendors and public cloud service providers. Google stepped further into that territory with GCP Marketplace, a Kubernetes app store with application packages that can automatically be deployed onto container clusters with one click and then billed through Google Cloud Platform as a service.

A search of the AWS Marketplace for “Kubernetes” turned up Kubernetes infrastructure packages by Rancher, Bitnami and CoreOS, but not prepackaged apps from vendors such as Nginx and Elastic ready to be deployed on Kubernetes clusters, which is what GCP Marketplace offers. Another search of the Azure Marketplace returned similar results.

Just because Google is first to market with this Kubernetes app store doesn’t mean that what the company has done is magic.

“These marketplaces are based on Kubernetes template technologies such as Helm charts, so they’re widely available to everyone,” said Gary Chen, an analyst at IDC in Framingham, Mass. “I’m sure if [AWS and Azure] don’t have it, they are already working on something like this.”

Google executives said Helm charts factored into some of the app packages it created with partners, but in some cases it created GCP Marketplace offerings by way of its work with independent software vendors.

“Our approach gives vendors flexibility to use Helm or other packaging mechanisms, given that there isn’t a clear standard today,” the company said through a spokesperson.

GCP Marketplace Kubernetes apps
A screenshot of Kubernetes apps in the revamped GCP Marketplace.

Initially, GCP Marketplace apps offer click-to-deploy support onto Kubernetes clusters that run in Google Kubernetes Engine, and GKE does telemetry monitoring and logging on those apps in addition to offering billing support.

But there’s nothing that precludes these packages to eventually run on premises or even in other public cloud providers’ infrastructures, said Jennifer Lin, product director for Google Cloud.

“It’s always within the realm of possibility, but not something we’re announcing today,” she said.

There is precedent for GCP products with third-party cloud management capabilities — the Google Stackdriver cloud monitoring tool, for example, can be used with AWS and Azure resources.

Initial app partners include the usual suspects among open source cloud-native infrastructure and middleware projects such as GitLab, Couchbase, CloudBees, Cassandra, InfluxDB, Elasticsearch, Prometheus, Nginx, RabbitMQ and Apache Spark. Commonly used web apps such as WordPress and a container security utility from Aqua Security Software will also be available in the initial release of GCP Marketplace.

Mainstream enterprise customers will look for more traditional apps such as MySQL, SQL Server and Oracle databases, as well as back-office and productivity apps. Lin said Google plans more mainstream app support, but she declined to specify which apps are on the GCP Marketplace roadmap.

Stolen digital certificates used in Plead malware spread

Stolen digital certificates at the center of a new malware campaign made the malicious software appear safe before it stole user passwords.

An espionage group used stolen digital certificates to sign Plead backdoor malware and a password stealer component used in attacks in East Asia, according to Anton Cherepanov, senior malware researcher at ESET. The password stealer targeted Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers, as well as Microsoft Outlook.

Cherepanov determined the certificates were likely stolen because the malware code was signed with the “exact same certificate … used to sign non-malicious D-Link software.”

“Recently, the JPCERT published a thorough analysis of the Plead backdoor, which, according to Trend Micro, is used by the cyberespionage group BlackTech,” Cherepanov wrote in a blog post. “Along with the Plead samples signed with the D-Link certificate, ESET researchers have also identified samples signed using a certificate belonging to a Taiwanese security company named Changing Information Technology Inc. Despite the fact that the Changing Information Technology Inc. certificate was revoked on July ‎4, ‎2017, the BlackTech group is still using it to sign their malicious tools.”

ESET researchers contacted D-Link about the stolen digital certificates, and D-Link revoked the compromised certificate on July 3.

Cherepanov said this case was different from recent issues with compromised SSL certificates because the stolen digital certificates were used to sign malicious files, and “unlike SSL certificates, the code signing certificates can’t be obtained for free.”

“Misusing digital certificates is one of the many ways cybercriminals try to mask their malicious intentions — as the stolen certificates let malware appear like legitimate applications, the malware has a greater chance of sneaking past security measures without raising suspicion,” Cherepanov wrote via email. “This technique also helps attackers to circumvent native/built-in protective measures of the OS based on the validity of these certificates. Also noteworthy, certificates from a Taiwan-based company were stolen and misused by Stuxnet.”

Kevin Bocek, vice president of security strategy and threat intelligence at Venafi, said “there’s no doubt we’re going to see a lot more of these attacks in the future,” where machine identities and stolen digital certificates are being abused by malicious actors.

“Code signing certificates are a method to ensure the identity of the code developer. Ideally, they verify that the software has been published by a trusted company. They also double-check the software to ensure that it hasn’t degraded, become corrupted, or been tampered with,” Bocek wrote via email. “Because of the power of these certificates, if they fall into the wrong hands they can be the ultimate ‘keys to the kingdom’. Any attacker or developer with malicious intent can obtain a private key for code signing if they really want to. What deters most of them is that they have to register with the [certificate authority] to obtain one, which makes it much easier to identity them if they distribute malicious code. This is why there is a thriving black market for stolen code-signing certificates.”

Jump In With Two New Xbox One Bundles

Games play best on Xbox One, but for those of you that haven’t already made the jump, we have two new bundles joining the Xbox One family today: the Xbox One X PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Bundle and the Xbox One S Minecraft Bundle. More details below:

Xbox One X PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Bundle

With over 8 million players on Xbox One, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has been one of the most popular games on the platform since its release as a console launch exclusive in the Xbox Game Preview program. Today, you can join the Battle Royale phenomenon with the Xbox One X PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Bundle, which comes with the following:

  • Xbox One X with a 1TB hard drive
  • Xbox Wireless Controller
  • Full-game download of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds enhanced for Xbox One X
  • 1-month Xbox Game Pass trial
  • 1-month Xbox Live Gold trial

The Xbox One X PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Bundle is available later this week for $499 USD at most major retailers worldwide.

Xbox One S Minecraft Bundle

If the Xbox One S is more your style, we’ve also got the Xbox One S Minecraft Bundle. Beat the summer heat with the cool new Update Aquatic and explore new ocean biomes, shipwrecks, ruins and more. Infinite worlds and ways to play can be found in this bundle, as well as the option to play with your friends on nearly any other platform thanks to Xbox Live! Join millions of players in the Minecraft community on Xbox, Windows, Nintendo Switch and mobile devices with this new bundle, which comes with the following:

⦁ Full-game download of Minecraft featuring the exciting Update Aquatic plus the Explorer’s Pack
⦁ Season one of Minecraft: Story Mode – The Complete Adventure
⦁ 1-month Xbox Game Pass trial
⦁ 14-day Xbox Live Gold trial

The Xbox One S Minecraft Bundle starts shipping today and will be available soon for $299 USD at select retailers in select regions. In the U.S., the bundle is exclusively available at Microsoft Store and Walmart.

Xbox One is the only console system that plays the best games of the past, present and future with more than 1,300 games available today – including over 200 exclusives and over 400 Xbox classics. If you’re on Xbox One S or Xbox One X, you can also enjoy the ultimate 4K entertainment experience with a built-in 4K UHD Blu-ray player, premium audio with Dolby Atmos support and the fastest, most reliable gaming network with Xbox Live.

For more information on Xbox One, visit xbox.com or Microsoft Store, near you or online.

Hyper-converged infrastructure solutions: Scale, Nutanix tap channel

Scale Computing and Nutanix both made channel partner moves this week in the hyper-converged infrastructure solutions market.

Scale Computing launched a managed service provider (MSP) program with an updated pricing model. The new Opex subscription is based on price per node, per month. The company said the MSP pricing model aims to boost partner profitability and reduce Capex.

The MSP program also provides features that Scale Computing said enables partners to sell disaster recovery as a service, infrastructure services, and remote management as a service. The company said the new channel initiative follows increased demand for Scale Computing’s HC3 platform in the hyper-converged infrastructure solutions space.

MSPs can purchase HC3 appliances based on Scale Computing and Lenovo hardware or as an “on-premises data center in a box,” according to the company.

Nutanix, meanwhile, has teamed up with Lenovo to launch the Velocity partner program for selling Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS software in the midmarket space.

The program features incentives, marketing support, accelerated selling processes and product bundles based on Lenovo’s HX hyper-converged appliance, Nutanix said. Nutanix and Lenovo will also release a new hyper-converged product, Lenovo ThinkAgile HX Certified Nodes, targeting enterprise customers.

Other hyper-convergence vendors are targeting MSPs and resellers in their channel partnership strategy plans. Pivot3 earlier this year reported a more than 65% sales increase from the first half of 2017 to the second half of that year.

Hyper-converged infrastructure solutions, meanwhile, have become an important technology for MSPs and other channel partners. The benefits of hyper-converged offerings have expanded beyond initial use cases such as virtual desktop infrastructure to other applications such as virtual machine clustering and production-side deployments. In addition, channel partner executives identified hyper-converged infrastructure solutions as among the technologies setting the pace this year in the storage market.

Chart showing hyper-converged benefits, challenges and use cases
Channel partners are seeing increased demand as more CIOs adopt hyper-converged infrastructure solutions.

Commvault: Changes ahead for channel strategy

Data management vendor Commvault has established a three-year plan to revamp its channel program and strategy.   

The changes come after Commvault’s appointment of Scott Strubel, vice president of worldwide channels, in late April of this year. Strubel joined Commvault from NetApp, where he served as vice president of the Americas partner organization. According to Strubel, Commvault’s long-term channel refresh will focus on four pillars — predictability, consistency and profitability, combined with simplicity — with several updates rolling out in the coming months.

“We will soon be making announcements on what our partners are going to see in the new partner program,” Strubel said.

Commvault partners can expect to see significant changes to the pricing and packaging of products, he noted. Changes include plans to decrease the number of SKUs, as well as parts required to build solutions. Additionally, Commvault will introduce new sales and technical enablement resources. “We will make multiple system-based and people-based venues available to our partners to get better enabled on selling the newly simplified Commvault solutions and taking them to market,” he said.

Strubel also revealed plans for more investments in demand generation, bringing “more leads to our partners in the coming year than we have brought in any year prior.”

Lifesize retools partner program

Lifesize, a video collaboration vendor based in Austin, Texas, has revamped its channel partnership strategy in an effort to boost partner margins.

The Lifesize partner program now offers a two-tiered incentive structure. The first tier rewards distributors for finding net new resellers for Lifesize, while the second tier rewards distributors as their existing resellers move up in the Lifesize program, from Silver to Gold status, for example.

“It’s not enough to just find new partners. We need all partners to grow their Lifesize business,” said Tim Maloney, senior vice president of worldwide channels at Lifesize. The company currently has more than 1,500 partners.

Maloney said partners will play a central role in launching Lifesize Dash, a recently announced software-based collaboration offering for small meeting spaces. The product, priced at less than $1,000, will be available in the third quarter of 2018.

Other news

  • Ensono, a hybrid IT services provider, closed on its purchase of Wipro Ltd.’s hosted data center services business in the U.S., Europe and Singapore. Acquisition activity among cloud services and hosting providers has intensified in recent months.
  • Twilio, a cloud communications platform company, launched Twilio Build, a channel program that offers go-to-market support, training and certification, and a partner success team. Twilio said the program has two partner tiers — Registered and Gold — as well as a marketplace where partners can showcase their Twilio offerings.
  • SolarWinds MSP, an IT service management solution provider, unveiled MSP Pulse, a benchmarking tool for MSPs. The tool was developed in partnership with The 2112 Group.
  • JASK, a security operations center platform vendor, said it has raised $25 million in Series B funding. The company said the funding round, led by Kleiner Perkins, will let the company “expand global sales channels,” increase hiring and focus on platform development. JASK launched a channel partnership strategy and program earlier this year.
  • CloudJumper, a workspace-as-a-service platform vendor, is partnering with Synoptek, an MSP. Synoptek will private label CloudJumper’s cloud workspace platform and streaming app services.
  • Tech Data signed a distributor agreement with Omnicharge, a power-source vendor, to provide its multiport power bank and power station products. Omnicharge said it products come with one-year limited warranty and lifetime customer support.
  • Atmosera, a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider, appointed Ellie Soleymani as director of marketing and Mark Lipscomb as director of customer success.

For Sale – Surface book 2 15″, Not even 1 week old!

Looking to sell this. After buying it it made me realise that I want something a bit more powerful.
The specs are good but I want a 1070.
Bought from John Lewis so has just under 2 years warranty left+That includes accidental care.

The SB2 is:
15″
16GB Ram
512GB SSD
GTX 1060 6GB
I7-8650U

Looking for £2600 but open to offers especially if Local.

Price and currency: £2600
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Bank Transfer
Location: Hornchurch
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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