Tag Archives: plans

Workspot VDI key to engineering firm’s pandemic planning

Like many companies, Southland Industries is working to accelerate its virtualization plans in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The mechanical engineering firm, which is based in Garden Grove, Calif., and has seven main offices across the U.S., has been using the Workspot Workstation Cloud virtual desktop service. Combined with Microsoft Azure Cloud, Workspot’s service enables engineers to build design-intensive work at home and enables Southland to keep pace as technology advances. When COVID-19 emerged, the company was transitioning users in the mid-Atlantic states to virtual desktops.

Israel Sumano, senior director of infrastructure at Southland Industries, recently spoke about making the move to virtual desktops and the challenges posed by the current public health crisis.

How did your relationship with Workspot first begin?

Israel SumanoIsrael Sumano

Israel Sumano: We were replicating about 50 terabytes across 17 different locations in the U.S. real-time, with real-time file launches. It became unsustainable. So over the last five years, I’ve tested VDI solutions — Citrix, [VMware] Horizon, other hosted solutions, different types of hardware. We never felt the performance was there for our users.

When Workspot came to us, I liked it because we were able to deploy within a week. We tested it on on-prem hardware, we tested it on different cloud providers, but it wasn’t until we had Workspot on [Microsoft] Azure that we were comfortable with the solution.

For us to build our own GPU-enabled VDI systems [needed for computing-intensive design work], we probably would have spent about $4 million, and they would have been obsolete in about six years. By doing it with Microsoft, we were able to deploy the machines and ensure they will be there and upgradeable. If a new GPU comes out, we can upgrade to the new GPU and it won’t be much cost to us to migrate.

How has your experience in deploying Workspot been so far? What challenges have you met?

Sumano: It was a battle trying to rip the PCs from engineers’ hands. They had a lot of workstations [and] they really did not want to give them up. We did the first 125 between October 2017 and February 2018. … That pushed back the rest of the company by about a year and a half. We didn’t get started again until about October of 2019. By that time, everyone had settled in, and they all agreed it was the best thing we’ve ever done and we should push forward. That’s coming from the bottom up, so management is very comfortable now doing the rest of the company.

How did you convince workers that the virtualization service was worthwhile?

Sumano: They were convinced when they went home and were able to work, or when they were in a hotel room and they were able to work. When they were at a soccer match for their kids, and something came up that needed attention right away, they pulled out their iPads and were able … to manipulate [designs] or check something out. That’s when it kicked in.

In the past, when they went to a job site, [working] was a really bad experience. We invested a lot of money into job sites to do replication [there].

[With Workspot,] they were able to pick up their laptops, go to the job site and work just like they were at the office.

The novel coronavirus has forced companies to adopt work-at-home policies. What is Southland’s situation?

Sumano: We have offices in Union City [California], which is Marin County, and they were ordered to stay in place, so everyone was sent home there. We just got notice that Orange County will be sent home. Our Las Vegas offices have also been sent home.

Our job sites are still running, but having this solution has really changed the ability for these engineers to go home and work. Obviously, there’s nothing we can do about the shops — we need to have people on-hand at the shop, [as] we’re not fully automated at that level.

On the construction site, we need guys to install [what Southland has designed]. Those are considered critical by the county. They’re allowed to continue work at the job sites, but everybody from the offices has been set home, and they’re working from home.

We hadn’t done the transition for the mid-Atlantic division to Workspot. We were planning on finishing that in the next 10 weeks. We are now in a rush and plan on finishing it by next Friday. We’re planning on moving 100 engineers to Workspot, so they’re able to go home.

How has it been, trying to bring many workers online quickly?

Sumano: I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve implemented large virtual-desktop and large Citrix environments in the past. It’s always been a year to a year-and-a-half endeavor.

We are rushing it for the mid-Atlantic. We’d like to take about 10 weeks to do it — to consolidate servers and reduce footprint. We’re skipping all those processes right now and just enacting [virtualization] on Azure, bringing up all the systems as-is and then putting everyone onto those desktops.

Has the new remote-work situation been a strain on your company’s infrastructure?

Sumano: The amount of people using it is exactly the same. We haven’t heard any issues about internet congestion — that’s always a possibility with more and more people working from home. It’s such a small footprint, the back-and-forth chatter between Workspot and your desktop, that it shouldn’t be affected much.

What’s your level of confidence going forward, given that this may be a protracted situation?

Sumano: We’re very confident. We planned on being 100% Azure-based by December 2020. We’re well on track for doing that, except for, with what’s happening right now, there was a bit of a scramble to get people who didn’t have laptops [some] laptops. There’s a lot of boots on the ground to get people able to work from home.

Most of our data is already on Azure, so it’s a very sustainable model going forward, unless there’s a hiccup on the internet.

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

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Nvidia scoops up object storage startup SwiftStack

Nvidia plans to acquire object storage vendor SwiftStack to help its customers accelerate their artificial intelligence, high-performance computing and data analytics workloads.

The GPU vendor, based in Santa Clara, Calif., will not sell SwiftStack software but will use SwiftStack’s 1space as part of its internal artificial intelligence (AI) stack. It will also enable customers to use the SwiftStack software as part of their AI stacks, according to Nvidia’s head of enterprise computing, Manuvir Das.

SwiftStack and Nvidia disclosed the acquisition today. They did not reveal the purchase price, but they said it expects the deal to close with weeks.

Nvidia previously worked with SwiftStack

Nvidia worked with San Francisco-based SwiftStack for more than 18 months on tackling the data challenges associated with running AI applications at a massive scale. Nvidia found 1space particularly helpful. SwiftStack introduced 1space in 2018 to accelerate data access across public and private clouds through a single object namespace.

“Simply put, it’s a way of placing the right data in the right place at the right time, so that when the GPU is busy, the data can be sent to it quickly,” Das said.

Das said Nvidia customers would be able to use enterprise storage from any vendor. The SwiftStack 1space technology will form the “storage orchestration layer” that sits between the compute and the storage to properly place the data so the AI stack runs optimally, Das said.

“We are not a storage vendor. We do not intend to be a storage vendor. We’re not in the business of selling storage in any form,” Das said. “We work very closely with our storage partners. This acquisition is designed to further the integration between different storage technologies and the work we do for AI.”

We are not a storage vendor. We do not intend to be a storage vendor.
Manuvir DasHead of enterprise computing, Nvidia

Nvidia partners with storage vendors such as Pure Storage, NetApp, Dell EMC and IBM. The storage vendors integrate Nvidia GPUs into their arrays or sell the GPUs along with their storage in reference architectures.

Nvidia attracted to open source tech

Das said Nvidia found SwiftStack attractive because its software is based on open source technology. SwiftStack’s eponymous object- and file-based storage and data management software is rooted in open source OpenStack Swift. Das said Nvidia plans to continue to work with the SwiftStack team to advance and optimize the technology and make it available through open source avenues.

“The SwiftStack team is part of Nvidia now,” he said. “They’re super talented. So, the innovation will continue to happen, and all that innovation will be upstreamed into the open source SwiftStack. It will be available to anybody.”

Joe ArnoldJoe Arnold

SwiftStack laid off an undisclosed number of sales and marketing employees in late 2019, but kept the engineering and support team intact, according to president Joe Arnold. He attributed the layoffs to a shift in sales focus from classic backup and archiving to AI, machine learning and data analytics use cases.

The SwiftStack 7.0 software update that emerged late last year took aim at analytics HPC, AI and ML use cases, such as autonomous vehicle applications that feed data to GPU-based servers. SwiftStack said at the time that it had worked with customers to design clusters that could scale to handle multiple petabytes of data and support throughput in excess of 100 GB per second.

Das said Nvidia has been using SwiftStack’s object storage technology as well as 1space. He said Nvidia’s internal work on data science and AI applications had quickly showed the company that accelerating the computer shifts the bottleneck elsewhere, to the storage. That played a factor in Nvidia’s acquisition of SwiftStack, he noted.

“We recognized a long time ago that the way to help the customers is not just to provide them a GPU or a library, but to help them create the entire stack, all the way from the GPU up to the applications themselves. If you look at Nvidia now, we spend most of our energy on the software for different kinds of AI applications,” Das said.

He said Nvidia would fully support SwiftStack’s customer base. SwiftStack claims it has around 125 customers. It products lineup included SwiftStack’s object storage software, ProxyFS file system for integrated file and object API access, and 1space. SwiftStack’s software is designed to run on commodity hardware on premises, and its 1space technology can run in the public cloud.

SwiftStack spent more than eight years expanding its software’s capabilities since the company’s 2011 founding. Das said Nvidia has no reason to sell the SwiftStack’s proprietary software because it does not compete head-to-head with other object storage providers.

“Our philosophy here at Nvidia is we are not trying to compete with infrastructure vendors by selling some kind of a stack that competes with other peoples’ stacks,” Das said. “Our goal is simply to make people successful with AI. We think, if that happens, everybody wins, including Nvidia, because we believe GPUs are the best platform for AI.”

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Microsoft Teams, consumer Skype interoperability launches in January

After nearly three years of fits and starts, Microsoft plans to deliver in January interoperability between Microsoft Teams and the consumer version of Skype.

The integration will let users of the two cloud-based collaboration applications message and call one another without switching apps. Skype for Business, which Microsoft is encouraging users to abandon in favor of Teams, has had the same interoperability for years.

The upcoming feature is good news for organizations that were frustrated over their inability to use Teams to communicate with external clients or partners on consumer Skype. More than 3,000 people endorsed a request for the integration on Microsoft’s user feedback website.

After initially denying the request in 2017, the company tentatively slated the feature for launch in 2018 before shelving it once again. Microsoft recommitted to building the integration in June and promised in its September roadmap to release the feature in the first quarter of 2020. The vendor updated its target this month to a January 2020 rollout.

However, interoperability between Microsoft’s enterprise and consumer communications apps is not as important as it once was, said Tom Arbuthnot, a technology architect at Modality Systems. Modality is a Microsoft-focused systems integrator.

In Skype for Business’ heyday, customers tried in vain to persuade Microsoft to allow external guests to join business meetings using consumer Skype. Now, Teams lets users join meetings in a web browser without plugins or downloads.

Meanwhile, Teams customers are still waiting for Microsoft to deliver better ways to collaborate with external parties that also use Teams. The app lacks a configuration akin to Slack’s shared channels, which let employees work across organizations.

“The bigger demand area right now is for Teams federation across company boundaries,” said Irwin Lazar, analyst at Nemertes Research. The feature would eliminate the need for guest accounts and provide more control over security.

More Microsoft Teams features on tap for January 2020

Also, next month, Microsoft will enable new integrations between Teams and Outlook. Buttons in those apps will let users share information between them.

Users will be able to transfer the contents and attachments of an email to Teams and to export Teams messages to Outlook. They will also be able to sign up for email alerts for messages and to reply to messages from within Outlook.

The email integrations will bring Teams nearly on par with rival Slack, which launched similar capabilities earlier this year. However, unlike Microsoft, Slack also supports interoperability with Gmail. 

Another feature on the roadmap for January is read receipts, which will give users the ability to see whether their colleague has read a direct message.

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For Sale – Zotac Geforce RTX2060, 2.5 months old, boxed as new

Change of plans so have removed the PC listing (see archive) and now just selling the GPU at present.

–– ADVERTISEMENT ––​

Bought 6th September 2019. Utterly perfect condition, literally removed from wrapper and fitted into PC case.

Balance of 5 year warranty, registered in my name so I’m happy to help if required. Absolutely no issues, works perfectly.

Pics show it still fitted to my PC along with the box.

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Clumio extends support to AWS EBS with $135M funding bump

Clumio plans to use its $135M Series C funding to expand its data protection scope.

The backup-as-a-service startup came out of stealth in August with protection for VMware on premises, VMware Cloud on AWS and native AWS services. Clumio this week disclosed its latest funding round. Clumio’s Series A and B rounds raised $11M and $40M, respectively, so the latest $135M injection marks a substantial funding boost for the company. Sutter Hill Ventures and Altimeter Capital led the new funding round.

Clumio CEO Poojan Kumar said the data protection vendor will build out its services platform eventually to cover every data source, starting with Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS). The Amazon EBS support was rolled out in beta this week, and Clumio is working on support for Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

Clumio’s Amazon EBS support is expected to become generally available before the end of 2019.

Clumio’s mission statement is to do with backup what Salesforce has done with customer relationship management (CRM) by delivering backup as a service entirely through the cloud. All processes involved with backup such as deduplication, access management, encryption, backup scheduling and resource allotment would be handled through the service.

Kumar said as customers’ infrastructures expand beyond their data centers, keeping their data protected has grown more complicated. Clumio is targeting customers who don’t want to devote IT resources to keeping up with that complexity.

“Customers are saying, ‘I want to stop the business of doing this myself,'” Kumar said.

Kumar said this is especially true with cloud-native data. He said customers have told him that data generated from a cloud application shouldn’t then be replicated to a data center in order to back it up. He said most customers want to lower or remove their data center footprint.

screenshot of Clumio EBS backup
Clumio now protects AWS EBS data in addition to VMware Cloud on AWS.

Investor interest in backup

This has been a banner year for funding for backup vendors, with four vendors alone pulling in more than $1 billion. Veeam received $500 million and Rubrik pulled in $261M in January, and Druva rose $130M in June.  

Christophe Bertrand, senior analyst at IT analysis firm Enterprise Strategy Group, said Clumio nearly tripled its previous funding, although it competes in a crowded backup market, because of its “born-in-the-cloud-ness.” Cloud-native service offerings, subscription pricing and the lack of on-premises investment are all seen as the direction of where backup is currently headed, so investors are buying in now.

“Investors are looking at this as where the market is going,” Bertrand said. “Winning Best of Show at VMworld probably helped, too.”

Bertrand was quick to note that Clumio faces a tough competitive field, however.  Druva and Carbonite — now  part of OpenText — have provided cloud-based backup for years, and long-time backup vendor Commvault added its Metallic SaaS backup service in October. Most of the other large backup vendors can also protect data in the cloud.

Bertrand expects Clumio to invest in extending its geographical reach and bolstering its partner ecosystem. As for product development, he expects Clumio to support more applications, hypervisors besides VMware vSphere and even use cases beyond backup.

Kumar said the Clumio roadmap calls for adding features such as security, container support, customer access keys and bandwidth throttling. He said Clumio will also develop support for new workloads, expand its channel strategy and add to its engineering team.

“They have to do these things quickly to gain traction,” Bertrand said. “It’s going to become a very contested space.”

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Juniper Mist roadmap includes SD-WAN, security integrations

Juniper Networks plans to broaden the reach of its cloud-based Mist AI engine from access points and switches to security and SD-WAN products on the wired and wireless LAN.

The vendor plans to finish by the middle of next year integrations between Juniper Mist and cloud-based versions of Sky Advanced Threat Prevention (ATP) and Contrail Service Orchestration (CSO). The former is Juniper’s malware detection service, and the latter is the management software for the company’s Contrail SD-WAN.

“[The integration] is something which has just started, so it’s beyond the design board,” said Sujai Hajela, who heads the Juniper company Mist. Hajela was CEO of Mist before Juniper acquired it this year.

Juniper bought Mist in an attempt to catch up with Cisco and Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, in the wired and wireless LAN market. Both companies are market leaders, according to Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant report.

Before Mist, Juniper partnered with other vendors to combine wireless LAN technology with its campus switches. Today, Juniper has a wired and wireless portfolio with cloud-based analytics and management tools competitive with products from Cisco and Aruba. The latter two vendors introduced their cloud offerings in June.

Juniper Mist integration use cases

Hajela expects to formally release the Mist, CSO and Sky ATP integrations by early in the first half of 2020. At that time, the Mist AI engine will provide correlations on data drawn from access points (APs), Juniper’s EX campus switches, Contrail SD-WAN and Sky ATP.

The product integrations will let Mist’s AI engine solve a broader set of network problems on Juniper-based networks. Instead of stopping at APs and EX switches, the software could discover other bottlenecks, such as congestion on a LAN circuit managed through the Contrail SD-WAN.

With Sky ATP data, Mist could identify devices on the network that are infected with malware, giving IT staff the option of quarantining the group or booting them off the grid.

Pricing

Juniper plans to offer future Mist AI capabilities through a tiered pricing model. A standard tier, for example, would provide state information on network operations while a higher-priced tier would include advanced remediation of problems. Another level could consist of location-based services for retailers or asset management in a hospital.

“We’re going to provide you with a single, full vertical stack of software, and [let] you decide,” Hajela said during a recent interview.

Vendors focusing on installed base

Juniper’s Mist acquisition gives the vendor a wireless product it can sell to companies using the vendor’s networking gear. In 2018, Juniper ranked sixth in the global market for campus switching, according to Gartner.

However, some Juniper customers are keeping an open mind when it comes to their wireless LAN. The University of Washington is watching all the leading networking vendors as it draws up plans to transition to next-generation wireless technology, particularly Wi-Fi 6 and 5G.

The emerging technologies are disruptive enough to require significant changes to Washington’s campus network. “There’s just a huge point of change — of brand-new architectures — happening in the next year,” said David Morton, director of networks and telecommunications at the school.

Today, Washington’s wireless LAN comprises between 17,000 and 18,000 Aruba APs. The university manages the network with HPE and Aruba software and runs the campus’s wired network on Juniper switches.

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Datrium opens cloud DR service to all VMware users

Datrium plans to open its new cloud disaster recovery as a service to any VMware vSphere users in 2020, even if they’re not customers of Datrium’s DVX infrastructure software.

Datrium released disaster recovery as a service with VMware Cloud on AWS in September for DVX customers as an alternative to potentially costly professional services or a secondary physical site. DRaaS enables DVX users to spin up protected virtual machines (VMs) on demand in VMware Cloud on AWS in the event of a disaster. Datrium takes care of all of the ordering, billing and support for the cloud DR.

In the first quarter, Datrium plans to add a new Datrium DRaaS Connect for VMware users who deploy vSphere infrastructure on premises and do not use Datrium storage. Datrium DraaS Connect software would deduplicate, compress and encrypt vSphere snapshots and replicate them to Amazon S3 object storage for cloud DR. Users could set backup policies and categorize VMs into protection groups, setting different service-level agreements for each one, Datrium CTO Sazzala Reddy said.

A second Datrium DRaaS Connect offering will enable VMware Cloud users to automatically fail over workloads from one AWS Availability Zone (AZ) to another if an Amazon AZ goes down. Datrium stores deduplicated vSphere snapshots on Amazon S3, and the snapshots replicated to three AZs by default, Datrium chief product officer Brian Biles said.

Speedy cloud DR

Datrium claims system recovery can happen on VMware Cloud within minutes from the snapshots stored in Amazon S3, because it requires no conversion from a different virtual machine or cloud format. Unlike some backup products, Datrium does not convert VMs from VMware’s format to Amazon’s format and can boot VMs directly from the Amazon data store.

“The challenge with a backup-only product is that it takes days if you want to rehydrate the data and copy the data into a primary storage system,” Reddy said.

Although the “instant RTO” that Datrium claims to provide may not be important to all VMware users, reducing recovery time is generally a high priority, especially to combat ransomware attacks. Datrium commissioned a third party to conduct a survey of 395 IT professionals, and about half said they experienced a DR event in the last 24 months. Ransomware was the leading cause, hitting 36% of those who reported a DR event, followed by power outages (26%).

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) information systems department spent a weekend recovering from a zero-day malware exploit that hit nearly three years ago on a Thursday afternoon. The malware came in through a contractor’s VPN connection and took out more than 85 servers, according to Michael Beerer, a senior section manager for online system and network administration of OCTA’s information systems department.

Beerer said the information systems team restored critical applications by Friday evening and the rest by Sunday afternoon. But OCTA now wants to recover more quickly if a disaster should happen again, he said.

OCTA is now building out a new data center with Datrium DVX storage for its VMware VMs and possibly Red Hat KVM in the future. Beerer said DVX provides an edge in performance and cost over alternatives he considered. Because DVX disaggregates storage and compute nodes, OCTA can increase storage capacity without having to also add compute resources, he said.

Datrium cloud DR advantages

Beerer said the addition of Datrium DRaaS would make sense because OCTA can manage it from the same DVX interface. Datrium’s deduplication, compression and transmission of only changed data blocks would also eliminate the need for a pricy “big, fat pipe” and reduce cloud storage requirements and costs over other options, he said. Plus, Datrium facilitates application consistency by grouping applications into one service and taking backups at similar times before moving data to the cloud, Beerer said.

Datrium’s “Instant RTO” is not critical for OCTA. Beerer said anything that can speed the recovery process is interesting, but users also need to weigh that benefit against any potential additional costs for storage and bandwidth.

“There are customers where a second or two of downtime can mean thousands of dollars. We’re not in that situation. We’re not a financial company,” Beerer said. He noted that OCTA would need to get critical servers up and running in less than 24 hours.

Reddy said Datrium offers two cost models: a low-cost option with a 60-minute window and a “slightly more expensive” option in which at least a few VMware servers are always on standby.

Pricing for Datrium DRaaS starts at $23,000 per year, with support for 100 hours of VMware Cloud on-demand hosts for testing, 5 TB of S3 capacity for deduplicated and encrypted snapshots, and up to 1 TB per year of cloud egress. Pricing was unavailable for the upcoming DRaaS Connect options.

Other cloud DR options

Jeff Kato, a senior storage analyst at Taneja Group, said the new Datrium options would open up to all VMware customers a low-cost DRaaS offering that requires no capital expense. He said most vendors that offer DR from their on-premises systems to the cloud force customers to buy their primary storage.

George Crump, president and founder of Storage Switzerland, said data protection vendors such as Commvault, Druva, Veeam, Veritas and Zerto also can do some form of recovery in the cloud, but it’s “not as seamless as you might want it to be.”

“Datrium has gone so far as to converge primary storage with data protection and backup software,” Crump said. “They have a very good automation engine that allows customers to essentially draw their disaster recovery plan. They use VMware Cloud on Amazon, so the customer doesn’t have to go through any conversion process. And they’ve solved the riddle of: ‘How do you store data in S3 but recover on high-performance storage?’ “

Scott Sinclair, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said using cloud resources for backup and DR often means either expensive, high-performance storage or lower cost S3 storage that requires a time-consuming migration to get data out of it.

“The Datrium architecture is really interesting because of how they’re able to essentially still let you use the lower cost tier but make the storage seem very high performance once you start populating it,” Sinclair said.

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Vonage Meetings rounds out vendor’s cloud portfolio

Vonage plans to add a homegrown video conferencing app to its cloud-based business communications portfolio in December. The move is the latest example of a UC vendor combining calling, messaging and meetings.

Vonage Meetings, currently in beta, is scheduled to launch in December for businesses subscribed to Vonage’s cloud UC product. The vendor said it would not make the meetings platform available as a stand-alone offering.

Vonage currently provides video conferencing capabilities to customers through a partnership with Amazon Web Services, which makes the meetings app Amazon Chime. Vonage built the new platform using technology inherited through its acquisition of TokBox in 2018.

The release of Vonage Meetings follows moves by competitors, including 8×8, which launched a revamped meetings product in September. Market leaders Microsoft and Cisco have also built out all-in-one communications suites that include video over the last couple of years.

Vonage has a strategy of building a technology stack that doesn’t rely on third parties, said Raúl Castañón-Martinez, analyst at 451 Research. “This is a bold move but will allow them more flexibility in terms of defining their roadmap.”

Vonage Meetings will be fully integrated with the vendor’s voice platform to let users quickly move between voice and video calls. Guests will be able to join meetings using a web browser without installing a client or plug-in.

Vonage said it would provide customers with a log of past meetings, including a record of in-meeting chats.

Vonage now has a single cloud platform from which it can deliver voice and video services, said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research. “I think that will work as a very good competitive advantage for them moving forward.”

In the future, Vonage will need to integrate Vonage Meetings with conference room equipment and software, Kerravala said. Also, the vendor should focus on improving its relatively basic messaging app.

Vonage announced the meetings platform this week at Vonage Campus 2019, a user conference in San Francisco. The company also released a new logo as it continues to pivot away from the consumer market.

Founded in 2001, Vonage was among the first vendors to offer internet-based phone service to consumers, but, more recently, has transformed into a business-to-business company.

“I think the Vonage that we knew as the consumer-first company is quickly winding down,” Kerravala said.

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Microsoft acquires Mover.io to ease OneDrive migrations

Microsoft plans to add cloud migration tools to aid SharePoint on-premises migrations to the OneDrive cloud with its Monday acquisition of Mover.io, an eight-year-old Canadian startup specializing in the self-service mass migration of enterprise files.

Mover.io, acquired for an undisclosed sum, also provides cross-cloud migrations from a dozen OneDrive file-sharing cloud competitors, including Box, Dropbox, Egnyte and Google Drive. Microsoft continues to support SharePoint on-premises, but the company has not said how long it will continue to do so, leaving room for speculation among users and experts.

Mover.io, acquired a month after Microsoft bought data-migration vendor Movere, will join several file-migration tools and services already on the Microsoft cloud platform, including FastTrack and the SharePoint Migration Tool. Users also have a choice of several other third-party tools to do the job, including ShareGate and Metalogix, which support file migrations to OneDrive.

Microsoft could, theoretically, poach customers from competing cloud file-management systems such as Box with the Mover.io migration tools. But the real OneDrive migration target customer for the Mover.io tools is Microsoft’s SharePoint on-premises base, said Deep Analysis founder Alan Pelz-Sharpe.

Enterprise-scale file migrations from on-premises servers to the cloud pose challenges of maintaining file directory structure as well as access and security policies, Pelz-Sharpe said. SharePoint enterprise migrations in particular can be even thornier because it was designed for front-line office workers to set up ad-hoc file-sharing sites with little IT assistance.

The fact that SharePoint’s been around for nearly two decades, pre-dating widespread cloud adoption, compounds the issue. Pelz-Sharpe described one of his clients, a utility company, whose SharePoint on-premises footprint has grown over the years to 12,000 SharePoint sites.

“They have no idea what is in them, and no idea what to do with them,” Pelz-Sharpe said. “These things can be complex. It’s a recognized problem, so the more experience, skills and tools Microsoft can bring to help, the better.”

Specifics about Mover.io features integrating with the Microsoft 365 platform will come next month, said Jeff Teper, Microsoft corporate VP for Office, SharePoint and OneDrive, in a blog post announcing the acquisition.

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HP’s purchase of endpoint security vendor Bromium a win for IT

HP Inc. plans to acquire Bromium Inc., an endpoint security vendor that uses microvirtualization technology to isolate threats from untrusted sources.

Bromium, founded by Gaurav Banga, Simon Crosby and Ian Pratt in 2010, is known for its Microvisor software, which uses hardware virtualization to launch a virtual machine for every browser tab or email attachment opened. The idea is to trap malicious code before it can infect a user’s machine.

Analysts called the acquisition unsurprising. Not only has HP been reselling Bromium software as Sure Click since 2017, but the endpoint security vendor market has been in the throes of rapid consolidation. Just last month, VMware and Broadcom acquired Carbon Black and Symantec, respectively.

Analysts also labeled the news a good thing for IT admins. Brad LaPorte, an analyst at Gartner specializing in endpoint security and threat intelligence, said a deal like this “is a multiplier” for those in charge of HP devices.

“When you roll out a fleet of HP laptops, you’ll already have a centralized agent that is secure by default, which will greatly reduce the number of agents you have to install and manage,” he said. “The added security will also mean fewer alerts because your attack surface has been greatly reduced.”

But, he cautioned, while HP is headed in the right direction, not every company will benefit from the acquisition and there are steps HP still needs to take to round out its security program.

HP’s response to Dell

LaPorte described the acquisition as a safe bet for HP, one that could help the company stay relevant. “This is a play to compete against Dell’s Endpoint Security Suite that it’s had for a couple of years now,” he said.

Eric Parizo, senior analyst at Ovum, also pointed to the Dell rivalry as rationale behind the acquisition. He ticked off Dell’s growing endpoint security capabilities, which include its RSA NetWitness Endpoint security product, its ownership of managed security services provider SecureWorks, and its more recent go-to-market partnership with CrowdStrike.

Although Dell still has more [endpoint security] options, now at least, HP can say it has a viable alternative.
Eric ParizoSenior analyst, Ovum

“HP needed additional endpoint security technology to bolster the capabilities it can provide as a technical solution to secure its PCs and laptops, but also as a bundling option to increase the size of its sales opportunities,” Parizo said. “This move also helps counter the perception that Dell has more to offer in the way of endpoint security. Although Dell still has more options, now at least, HP can say it has a viable alternative.”

By acquiring rather than reselling the technology, HP can build out the Bromium functionality, something Paula Musich, security and risk management research director at Enterprise Management Associates Inc., fully expects to see.

“HP hasn’t offered a roadmap for where they plan to take the acquired technology, but it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see them eventually extend the technology to HP’s vast printer portfolio,” she said. “Internet-connected printers are a target for attackers, and there’s a potentially huge addressable market in adapting the technology to HP printers.”

If Musich’s theory becomes practice, IT admins would benefit by having “a single source for protecting both printers and PCs/laptops,” she said.

Even in the short term, the acquisition will help IT admins better manage HP laptops and PCs, as well as provide an added layer of security. Bromium provides security “from the user in versus the network out,” said Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst at ZK Research in Boston.

“The more distributed computing becomes and the more we do more things on more devices in more places, the more something like Bromium is needed,” he said.

LaPorte described Bromium as an endpoint security vendor whose product operates on a pre-OS layer, or hardware layer, rather than post-OS layer. Investing in such products is HP’s — and Dell’s, for that matter — attempt at getting ahead of attacks that target deeper layers of the computing stack.

‘Too many pizza shops’

Although the dollar figure HP will pay for Bromium was not disclosed, LaPorte described the acquisition as a likely cheap bet for HP. In a 2016 attempt to secure funding, Bromium’s valuation was cut almost in half; its growth and profitability had recently been in the single digits.

But the acquisition may not be a good fit for everyone. LaPorte said companies that use a golden image, or a preconfigured template for virtual machines, may miss out on the benefits that an endpoint security product provides. “When you remove these features to meet specific organizational needs, you are sacrificing security in lieu of efficiency,” he said. “Buyers need to consider these requirements before purchasing.”

And the buy still leaves HP’s security services and endpoint detection and response functionality lacking, especially compared to Dell. LaPorte believes HP will take its next steps in these areas.

On the whole, LaPorte expects consolidation of the endpoint security vendor market to continue on a weekly if not multiweekly basis. “There are too many pizza shops and not enough people buying pizza,” he said simply.

Clear leaders, such as CrowdStrike and Microsoft, control a significant portion of the market share, making it difficult for other endpoint security vendors to find decent footing in the market, according to LaPorte.

“The market share for the people who are not the leaders in this space is going down exponentially,” he said.

Although he has little insight into the Bromium acquisition, Steve Athanas, associate CIO of system architecture at UMASS Lowell and VMUG president, said it’s a market he is keeping an eye on.

“I’m very interested to see how this wave of security acquisitions and consolidation plays out,” he said.

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