Tag Archives: vendor

StorageCraft backup and object storage packaged for schools

StorageCraft is going to school.

The backup vendor has identified education as a prime market for the integration of StorageCraft backup and recovery software with the object storage it acquired from Exablox in 2017.

The vendor is bundling data protection with object storage in an entry-level package, called StorageCraft for Education. Like other vertical markets, schools today find their storage capacity stressed, as more information goes digital.

The package consists of two StorageCraft OneBlox appliances and StorageCraft backup software. One appliance can reside off premises, with replication between the two boxes.

Pricing starts at less than $38,000 for StorageCraft OneBlox 4312 appliances with 96 TB of raw storage capacity. The education bundle is also available on OneBlox 5210 appliances with 38 TB of raw all-flash capacity. The appliances include StorageCraft OneSystem software for managing and monitoring storage across sites.

StorageCraft ShadowProtect software handles the backup and remote replication for data stored on the OneBlox appliances.

The goal is to provide the basic components necessary for creating on-premises primary storage for a large amount of data, along with an off-site backup to protect it. StorageCraft backup also provides scalability. And the storage offers large capacity, while keeping costs down, as schools often lack the IT budgets of enterprises.

“Most of the learning within the educational system is rapidly transitioning from more of a textbook-based approach to a rich-media-based learning approach,” said Shridar Subramanian, vice president of marketing and product management at StorageCraft, based in Draper, Utah. “At higher education, rich media is being generated for research projects, as well.”

Subramanian succinctly summed up the problem: “Where do you store all of that?”

Most of the learning within the educational system is rapidly transitioning from more of a textbook-based approach to a rich-media-based learning approach. … Where do you store all of that?
Shridar Subramanianvice president of marketing and product management, StorageCraft

Many turn to the cloud for storing “all of that,” but Subramanian said the costs of retrieving data from cloud-based storage are up to 50% higher than owning StorageCraft appliances over a three-year period. Restoring a backup from the cloud versus an off-site appliance could also take longer.

Lee Berkowitz, IT and network manager at MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center, chose StorageCraft backup and storage after looking at products from Promise Technology, QNAP and RAID Inc.

“StorageCraft used object storage, was easily and rapidly expandable, and required no rebuilds in case of drive failure,” Berkowitz wrote in an email. “The additional fact that the units offered deduplication was a great bonus. We did have an instance when one of our units needed replacement from StorageCraft. In that case, the new unit was activated, with no loss of data or downtime.”

The education bundles are part of StorageCraft’s strategy to integrate its data management and backup software with Exablox’s object storage hardware.

“Our vision is to go after the midsize enterprise segment, as well as the SMB market space, and provide them with an integrated solution that not only manages all their data, but also protects it,” Subramanian said. “Thereby, customers don’t have to worry about stitching together different pieces of infrastructure or applications.”

8×8 X Series combines UC and contact center

Unified-communications-as-a-service vendor 8×8 pushed further into the cloud contact center market this week with the release of X Series, an offering that combines voice, video, collaboration and contact center functions in a single platform.

Combining UC and contact center makes it easier for agents to get in touch with the right people when handling customer queries, said Meghan Keough, vice president of product marketing at 8×8, based in San Jose, Calif. For example, a company could set up shared rooms within a team collaboration app where agents and knowledge workers can chat or video conference.

The 8×8 X Series will also help companies better track customer contacts, because the same back-end infrastructure will handle calls to a local retail store and the customer service line at headquarters, Keough said. 

8×8 highlighted the platform’s ability to federate chats between leading team collaboration apps, such as Slack, Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex Teams, allowing users of those cloud services to communicate with each other from their respective interfaces.

Technology acquired in 8×8’s 2017 acquisition of Sameroom is powering that federation and is available as a stand-alone product. The vendor also released its collaboration platform, 8×8 Team Messaging, in beta this week, with features such as persistent chat rooms, presence and file sharing.

The vendor is offering several subscription tiers for the 8×8 X Series. The more expensive plans include calling capabilities in 47 countries, as well as AI features, such as speech analytics.

Cloud fuels convergence of UC, contact center in 8×8 X Series

UC and contact center technologies used to live in “parallel universes,” said Jon Arnold, principal analyst of Toronto-based research and analysis firm J Arnold & Associates. But the cloud delivery model has made it easier to combine the platforms, which lets customers use the same over-the-top service for geographically separate office locations.

Many UCaaS vendors have added contact centers to their cloud platforms in recent years. While some, including 8×8, developed or acquired contact center suites, others — such as RingCentral and Fuze — partner with contact-center-as-a-service specialists, like Five9 and Nice InContact.

Legacy vendors are also taking steps to enhance their cloud contact center offerings. Cisco is planning to use the CC-One cloud platform it recently acquired from BroadSoft to target the midmarket, for example. Avaya, meanwhile, bought contact-center-as-a-service provider Spoken Communications earlier this year to fill a gap in its portfolio.

For many businesses, a cloud subscription to the 8×8 X Series will be cheaper than purchasing UC and contact center platforms separately, analysts said. Also, 8×8’s multi-tiered pricing model should appeal to organizations that are looking to transition to the cloud gradually.

8×8 is not the only vendor capable of offering integrated UC and contact center services, Arnold said. But the vendor has done a good job of marketing and packaging its products to make it easy for buyers and channel partners, he said.

“It’s all part of one large integrated family of services, and you can cherry-pick along the way what level is best for you,” Arnold said of the 8×8 X Series. “So, it kind of simplifies the roadmap [to the cloud] for companies.”

Fortinet transitions from partner to FortiGate SD-WAN vendor

Fortinet, a security vendor that has established partnerships with many software-defined WAN vendors, opted last week to start selling FortiGate SD-WAN, its own proprietary SD-WAN service.

In its previous SD-WAN partnerships, Fortinet offered its security services as a virtual network function or integrated into other vendors’ SD-WAN products. To make this transition, Fortinet upgraded its existing next-generation firewall product, FortiGate, to make SD-WAN available as an integrated feature, releasing an updated operating system to support the move. Fortinet’s website states the SD-WAN feature comes at no additional cost with a FortiGate license.

FortiGate SD-WAN includes security features such as application control, web filtering, antivirus, intrusion prevention and cloud advanced threat detection. FortiGate SD-WAN customers have access to FortiManager to monitor and configure deployed appliances, which are available as hardware appliances, virtual machines or cloud instances.

Fortinet counts Alorica, Edward Jones and the Upper Grand District School Board in Guelph, Ont., as FortiGate SD-WAN customers.

Cato Cloud SD-WAN adds identity-aware routing

Cato Networks made a series of upgrades to its SD-WAN-as-a-service product, Cato Cloud, which includes the introduction of what Cato calls identity-aware routing.

According to a Cato statement, identity-aware routing goes deeper than application-aware routing, which directs traffic based on application type. Instead, Cato said identity-aware routing assigns networking and security policies that “direct traffic or restrict resource access based on team, department and individual users.”

To do this, Cato Cloud accesses company data from Microsoft Active Directory, distributed repositories and real-time logins to identify each packet flow. This allows Cato Cloud to prioritize traffic on business processes, Cato said.

Cato also added or enhanced its SD-WAN features for real-time network analytics, failover options and multisegment, policy-based routing.

Aryaka expands global private network to Canada

Aryaka Networks added its twenty-seventh point of presence (PoP) to extend the reach of its SD-WAN-as-a-service offering. The latest PoP is located in Toronto and is the first PoP Aryaka has in Canada, although it previously offered its SD-WAN service in Canada through channel partners.

Aryaka also introduced its new director of business development for Canada, Craig Workman, who joins Aryaka from Gigamon, a network visibility provider.

“The PoP in Toronto will further enhance our software-defined network optimization and access capabilities in the region and open up new markets for our partners,” Workman said in a statement.

Aryaka uses its global private network as the basis for its SD-WAN service, which IHS Markit listed as a notable SD-WAN product generating revenue in 2018.

Fortinet transitions from partner to FortiGate SD-WAN vendor

Fortinet, a security vendor that has established partnerships with many software-defined WAN vendors, opted last week to start selling FortiGate SD-WAN, its own proprietary SD-WAN service.

In its previous SD-WAN partnerships, Fortinet offered its security services as a virtual network function or integrated into other vendors’ SD-WAN products. To make this transition, Fortinet upgraded its existing next-generation firewall product, FortiGate, to make SD-WAN available as an integrated feature, releasing an updated operating system to support the move. Fortinet’s website states the SD-WAN feature comes at no additional cost with a FortiGate license.

FortiGate SD-WAN includes security features such as application control, web filtering, antivirus, intrusion prevention and cloud advanced threat detection. FortiGate SD-WAN customers have access to FortiManager to monitor and configure deployed appliances, which are available as hardware appliances, virtual machines or cloud instances.

Fortinet counts Alorica, Edward Jones and the Upper Grand District School Board in Guelph, Ont., as FortiGate SD-WAN customers.

Cato Cloud SD-WAN adds identity-aware routing

Cato Networks made a series of upgrades to its SD-WAN-as-a-service product, Cato Cloud, which includes the introduction of what Cato calls identity-aware routing.

According to a Cato statement, identity-aware routing goes deeper than application-aware routing, which directs traffic based on application type. Instead, Cato said identity-aware routing assigns networking and security policies that “direct traffic or restrict resource access based on team, department and individual users.”

To do this, Cato Cloud accesses company data from Microsoft Active Directory, distributed repositories and real-time logins to identify each packet flow. This allows Cato Cloud to prioritize traffic on business processes, Cato said.

Cato also added or enhanced its SD-WAN features for real-time network analytics, failover options and multisegment, policy-based routing.

Aryaka expands global private network to Canada

Aryaka Networks added its twenty-seventh point of presence (PoP) to extend the reach of its SD-WAN-as-a-service offering. The latest PoP is located in Toronto and is the first PoP Aryaka has in Canada, although it previously offered its SD-WAN service in Canada through channel partners.

Aryaka also introduced its new director of business development for Canada, Craig Workman, who joins Aryaka from Gigamon, a network visibility provider.

“The PoP in Toronto will further enhance our software-defined network optimization and access capabilities in the region and open up new markets for our partners,” Workman said in a statement.

Aryaka uses its global private network as the basis for its SD-WAN service, which IHS Markit listed as a notable SD-WAN product generating revenue in 2018.

Google’s partner ecosystem remains a work in progress

To gauge the success of a cloud vendor, look no further than the company it keeps.

Public cloud providers have a symbiotic relationship with their partner ecosystems — a marriage of marketing and technological convenience that links these massive platforms to thousands of ancillary products. These arrangements helped propel AWS deeper into the enterprise market and helped Microsoft parlay its precloud partnerships into more revenue from its cloud.

For Google, however, these relationships remain a work in progress.

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) lags behind AWS and Azure in a number of areas, and its partner ecosystem’s relative lack of depth and breadth is no exception. This is a particularly acute shortcoming for a company known more for its technology than its rapport with traditional corporate IT, but there are signs that Google has addressed the problem.

The turning point for GCP, according to industry observers, was the late-2015 hiring of VMware co-founder Diane Greene, who has emphasized success in the enterprise market. Partners and other vendors said it was difficult to coordinate any collaborative efforts with GCP in the past, but that process has slowly improved since Greene took over.

CenturyLink has worked with Google for more than two years to provide networking and application migration services that link to GCP. In the early stages of that relationship, discussions centered on how many petabytes of data GCP could ingest or the size of a Hadoop cluster.

“That would resonate maybe with data scientists working on big data analytics or cutting-edge app developers, but it didn’t resonate with the broader IT department,” said Chris McReynolds, vice president of core network services at CenturyLink.

Google has made great strides in this area, but it must continue to translate its broad set of technologies into products and services that meet customers’ specific needs, he added.

“I don’t think Google can do that alone,” McReynolds said.

Google’s scored some victories in this space in the past 18 months, such as prominent deals with Cisco, SAP and Salesforce. It also streamlined its partner application process, added incentives for partners and provided categories for customers to find particular types of partners. But some notable gaps remain in its partner ecosystem, including Oracle and VMware. And its 13,000 partners are far short of those for AWS, which added more than 10,000 partners in 2017 alone.

Google also has increased its financial commitment to this effort. The company’s channel and partner team is as much as 10 times the size it was 18 months ago, said Nan Boden, head of global alliances for Google Cloud. That’s a significant leap, but it’s hard to gauge the exact impact, because Google wouldn’t provide details about the actual size of the organization.

Part of that extended outlay is proactive outreach to partners to speed up adoption. Rather than wait for third parties to come to them, Google has invested to train channel providers, so they can get certified and well-versed in the platform. That avoids a scenario where independent software vendors and enterprises wait for the other to jump first.

Clouds and their partners: Can’t have one without the other

We watched the early interest in Google, and there wasn’t enough momentum for us to spend time and effort … but there’s been a lot of fast-growing momentum lately.
Joe KinsellaCTO and founder, CloudHealth Technologies

By some estimates, a public cloud partner ecosystem will generate as much revenue as the clouds themselves in the coming years, mainly driven by technology or consulting companies. The vibrancy of a given cloud’s marketplace is particularly important to enterprise clients. Corporations want assurances that their third-party software licenses are supported on the platform, or they require assistance to architect and manage their cloud assets. If a cloud lacks the appropriate scaffolding to support either scenario, IT shops may look elsewhere.

IT vendors tend to follow their customers’ lead with public clouds and extend to other platforms only when it becomes worth the investment in software and staff. Most third parties started with AWS and later expanded their support to Microsoft Azure. That shift to Azure several years ago was an early indicator that Azure was firmly established as the No. 2 public cloud on the market.

By contrast, Google’s mantra, “if you build it, they will come,” in the early years of GCP emphasized the company’s technical prowess and spoke directly to developers and data scientists with the message that they could operate just like Google. That grassroots momentum ultimately stalled, and Google remained an afterthought for most large enterprises.

“We watched the early interest in Google, and there wasn’t enough momentum for us to spend time and effort developing a value proposition there,” said Joe Kinsella, CTO and founder at CloudHealth Technologies. “But there’s been a lot of fast-growing momentum lately. We’re kind of being pulled into Google [by our customers].”

CloudHealth, based in Boston, provides cloud management and optimization and has worked with Google for two years. It already has support for AWS and Azure and plans to roll out a GCP service in the coming months. In conversations with corporate executives this past year, Kinsella noticed a curious trend in how the three hyperscale platforms crossed paths within an enterprise.

A given company likely deploys AWS and Azure, but the usage is often disconnected, as different teams work independently. However, a company typically operates with Google’s cloud in concert with AWS, which could give GCP an edge going forward, Kinsella said.

“What most enterprises are realizing is there is a lot more compatibility across stacks, from the migration services that Google offers to compute, database, storage and even their developer tools,” he said. “They’re more apples-to-apples compatible.”

AWS clearly has a broader, more mature set of tools available to its users, but Google has checked off equivalents for the top 10 or so features, which account for 95% of the revenue for these vendors anyway, Kinsella said. He said he sees GCP in the same position AWS was in 2015, when it started to turn the corner with partners and enterprise clients.

Vexata fires up NVMe flash storage to tackle analytics

NVMe flash storage vendor Vexata has rewired its ignition to enable faster cognition of dense analytics.

The startup last week upgraded its VX-OS operating system for capacity and performance. VX-OS 3.5 allows customers to expand a VX array nondisruptively from 180 TB to nearly half a petabyte in 6U.

Vexata is among a handful of startups with NVMe flash array storage systems designed from scratch for nonvolatile memory express flash technologies. Its cut-through architecture offloads the data path on field programmable gate arrays. Vexata arrays store metadata in DRAM, and Vexata’s internal Ethernet fabric parallelizes all data in the system for distributed shared storage. 

NVMe is viewed as a faster alternative to the SCSI protocol. Most established array vendors allow customers to replace SAS and SATA SSDs with NVMe flash drives, although the market for rack-scale flash systems is evolving.

The next phase of development is a fully developed ecosystem for the NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF) specification. NVMe-oF enables NVMe message commands to be transferred between a host server and storage array via Ethernet, Fibre Channel or InfiniBand. Today, PCIe-connected NVMe drives require Remote Direct Memory Access for data transfer.

“We are targeting this (product) to cognitive computing, where we increasingly are finding a number of large opportunities. Customers want to talk about AI, machine learning

and
autonomous systems. These aren’t fringe applications. Organizations are mainstreaming this stuff,” Vexata CEO Zahid Hussain said.

VX-OS 3.5 was engineered for improved latency on mixed read-write random workloads. Hussain said Vexata storage now can ingest writes at about 1.5 TB per minute, bringing it closer in line with its 3 TB to 4 TB per minute ingest rate on reads.

Most vendors design their all-flash and hybrid arrays with a dedicated clutch of SSDs to cache hot data, plus either disk or flash as back-end storage. Caching speeds performance, but it also limits the size of the working data set. 

Hussain said using up all the NVMe SSDs provides storage for denser computations and can modify data as it is being read.

“The strategy before was to add more controllers, but that would only activate a smaller number of the total available SSDs in the array. We have GPU-

ified
the whole architecture to solve that problem,” Hussain said.

VX-100 NVMe blades double up on capacity

The first iteration of Vexata’s array hardware scaled capacity to 180 TB.  VX-OS 3.5 lets existing customers scale capacity up to 64 NVMe SSDs, without re-cabling. Each array can support 16 storage blades that connect directly into the Vexata Ethernet midplane.

The upgrade expands VX-100 arrays to 435 TB in 6U. The system does not use an SSD cache for acceleration or inline data reduction for capacity. All capacity in the system is presented as raw storage.

VX-100 arrays include 16 ports for 32 Gbps Fibre Channel, NVMe over Fibre Channel or NVMe over lossless Ethernet. Each storage blade consists of four SSDs and embedded processing for local scheduling and metadata operations. Vexata supports clones, erasure coding, data protection with RAID 5 and RAID 6 and thin provisioning.

Hussain said customers will be able to get 1 PB in the 6U form factor by the end of 2018 by swapping in 8 TB

SSDs
.

“Conventional arrays still use x86 controllers and I/O paths that slow down the performance,” said Tim Stammers, a senior storage analyst at 451 Research in New York City. “The key thing Vexata is doing is to streamline the SAN architecture to get the most performance possible out of the NVMe storage.”

Vexata chief marketing officer, Ashish Gupta, said customers gain about 4 GBs of throughput when a blade is added to the array.

“We’re giving you the ability to scale performance and capacity with a single blade addition,” Gupta said. “That means you can maintain your cost structure without increasing a whole bunch of controllers, stitching them together, with the operational and computational complexities that come with that.”

The VX-OS release adds a feature for managing multiple Vexata chassis with a single pane.

About two dozen customers are using Vexata’s NVMe flash storage in production, Hussain said. They include the University of Hawai’i’s Pacific Disaster Center, payroll processing outfit Tata Consultancy Services, and Oath Inc., the digital media subsidiary of Verizon Communications.

“They have managed to get some production deployments already,” Stammers said. “There are quite a few types of application for very fast purpose-designed NVMe storage. The market isn’t moving at a rapid pace at the moment, but there is demand [growing] for this type of extremely fast, purpose-designed NVMe storage.”

Data migration software coming for SAP CRM

ORLANDO — The goal of every major CRM vendor is to gain more of the market share and potentially capture customers from competitors. But doing that can prove difficult for a number of reasons, including organizations relying on legacy systems, challenges with data migration and the cost associated with migration.

Along with unveiling C/4HANA, SAP’s new suite of applications that it says will provide that full 360-degree view of the customer, the company also told SearchCRM.com you can expect data migration software to help automate that migration process from SAP later this year.

In this Q&A from Sapphire Now, Giles House, EVP and chief product officer for SAP Customer Experience talks about the future of CRM within the SAP sphere, as well as what customers of CallidusCloud can expect from the product. SAP bought CallidusCloud earlier this year, putting the finishing touches on its C/4HANA suite. House was chief product officer and chief marketing officer for CallidusCloud before its acquisition by SAP.

Beyond tying together the front- and back-office processes of C/4HANA, SAP hopes that adding data migration software to the suite later this year will help persuade unhappy CRM customers to migrate.

After the CallidusCloud sale, can customers expect anything different with CallidusCloud? What should they look for? Has there been any concern from non-SAP customers?

Giles House: An obvious one is tighter integration with SAP — Callidus was a great partner with SAP for many years and, more recently, the last couple years, SAP rolled it out internally. The biggest thing for those customers is, through us, a lot more investment in technology and innovation.

We’ll still be open and talk with other CRMs, and the answer is absolutely. In the modern world, have to recognize there are sales departments making their people suffer in other systems. We have to make sure they get the best incentives and CPQ [configure price quote] platform on the market.

How do you convince potential customers that you’re not lagging behind in CRM?

House: The intent, the acquisitions and the fact we’ve got these integrations in already two months after the sale closed starts to show progress and give people confidence. As we get through the rest of this year, you’ll see a completely different conversation happening around SAP CRM and the product itself.

Giles House, EVP and chief product officer for SAP Customer Experience
Giles House, SAP

The reason why is simple: there’s $1 billion-plus of churn in the CRM market and about $2 billion of resentment. Many companies want to get off their current, expensive CRM platform because it doesn’t give them that 360-degree view, and every year the sales person comes knocking for a 10% increase in licensing fee.

There’s been a desire to switch, but there hasn’t been something good to switch to because the other propositions are that same patchwork quilt — integrate it yourself, good luck on the analytics. Different for SAP is it will all be integrated and all will be running on the SAP Analytics Cloud and all running on the best cloud platform out there. Not a cloud platform that pays $1 billion to a legacy database vendor like Oracle.

There are software customers that would like to migrate, but data migration software is expensive and the process is challenging. How are you hoping to get them to actually commit to that migration?

[Data migration] can all be automated and that’s another thing we’re bringing out later this year is the automation of that migration.
Giles HouseSAP

House: I think number one is we have to lower that cost. There was a customer where they were quoted it would be eight figures to move. Under the covers, it’s not that hard because what CRM is doing today for a lot of people is not that hard. CRM is a notepad on a database. ‘Here’s what’s going on in the deal, here’s an account of the customer.’ It’s not that hard if you think about it, but we need to help migrate that and automate that migration.

Do the data mapping, make it simple, create the new fields in the new systems and help update the workflows. That can all be automated and that’s another thing we’re bringing out later this year is the automation of that migration.

So automating that process from previous CRM systems to C/4HANA with data migration software will be part of the suite?

House: It has to be. We need to automate it — whether that’s using some of the automation technology that we already have at SAP or whether it’s a whole new [data migration software] solution, we need to get the details of that ironed out, but it’s doable and it will be done.

Cisco Live 2018: Vendor opens management console to partners

At Cisco Live 2018, the networking vendor continued its emphasis on software, opening Cisco DNA Center to developers and talking up opportunities for channel partners in building solutions on its intent-based networking platform. The Cisco conference was held this week in Orlando.

Cisco said it is releasing developer tools and open APIs into Cisco DNA Center, the control console for the vendor’s intent-based networks. Cisco launched its intent-based networking initiative a year ago, shaking up its network design approach and underscoring its push toward network programmability. In opening DNA Center, Cisco encourages its partners to create applications that take advantage of data collected via Cisco DNA Center.

World Wide Technology Inc. (WWT), a technology solutions provider and Cisco Gold partner based in St. Louis, created a Mobile Ops Center to demonstrate the potential to build upon Cisco’s control center.

“We have only scratched the surface of what is possible with the extensive API set Cisco has built into DNA Center,” said Neil Anderson, practice manager of mobility and access at WWT.

Anderson said WWT plans to use the API capabilities to deliver IT automation on top of Cisco DNA Center and “speed the delivery of our deployments for customers.” In addition, he cited the possibility of integrating across multiple platforms: integrating Cisco DNA with security and IT service ticketing help desk platforms, as well as linking policy in the network with policy in the data center.

Chart showing how industry trends have influenced Cisco's strategy
Cisco’s move to make DNA Center an open platform is the latest move in the vendor’s ongoing software transformation.

Cisco Live 2018: Developer base grows

The networking vendor used the occasion of Cisco Live 2018 to point to its growing developer base. Susie Wee, vice president and CTO of DevNet innovations at Cisco, said the company’s DevNet developer program has reached the 500,000 registered members mark. “It means we’ve hit critical mass with a developer community who can program the network,” Wee wrote in a Cisco blog post.

We have only scratched the surface of what is possible with the extensive API set Cisco has built into DNA Center.
Neil Andersonpractice manager of mobility and access, WWT

According to Cisco, its developer allies include infrastructure developers, cloud developers, independent software vendors (ISVs), systems integrators and network automation consultants. Cisco’s traditional partners — networking resellers — have been retooling in response to Cisco putting software in the lead.

Jason Parry, vice president of client solutions at Force 3, an infrastructure and security solutions provider based in Crofton, Md., said network engineering is becoming more of a development and network programming endeavor. Force 3 is a Cisco Gold partner.

“I think the trend or the move towards software continues to be very evident,” Parry said.

Cisco DNA Center opens opportunities

Parry said Cisco DNA Center will likely follow the path to greater openness that Cisco technologies such as Application Centric Infrastructure have taken.

“We will see them continue to open that up as they have other platforms,” he noted.

The ability to access analytics and telemetry through the Cisco DNA Center APIs will let developers “leverage the network … access layer in ways they really haven’t before,” Parry said. That ability will enable use cases around security, he added.

Fifteen partners have already created solutions on Cisco DNA Center and have demonstrated them at Cisco Live 2018, according to the company. Several of those partners come from the IT services space, including Accenture, Dimension Data, HCL, Logicalis, Presidio, Wipro and WWT.

Cisco said Accenture is creating services around software-image updates, while Presidio focuses on power management and HCL concentrates on third-party device provisioning.

WWT’s Mobile Ops Center, meanwhile, aims to help IT engineers keep tabs on intent-based networks when they are away from the Cisco DNA Center management console.

“Today, DNA Center is a console-based experience — the IT engineer needs to be present at the DNA Center console at his desk to proactively manage and operate the network,” Anderson explained.

He said WWT Asynchrony Labs created a mobile app, using the Cisco DNA Center platform APIs, that lets engineers “take the DNA Center with them wherever they go.”

Dell reverses storage slide

On the heels of its first-quarter earnings report, Dell Technologies highlighted how channel partners are contributing to the company’s growth.

Dell reported $21.4 billion revenue for the first quarter with sales increases in its core technologies. Storage generated $4.1 billion in revenue, which represented a turnaround from a fourth-quarter slump.

“For the first time really since we brought [Dell and EMC] together … we saw phenomenal share gains” in storage, said Cheryl Cook, senior vice president of global channel marketing, at Dell EMC. “It is our first quarter of turning that business back to growth, which has certainly been a focus area for us.”

Among Dell EMC’s recent efforts to boost storage sales were a number of channel incentives and expanded resources such as sales performance incentive funds and the addition of storage sales specialists.

According to Cook, highlights of Dell EMC partners’ first-quarter performance included:

  • Fourteen percent revenue growth in Dell EMC’s distribution business. Distributors continue “to be one of our fastest growth areas of partner types,” she said.
  • Channel partners brought in about 14,800 new or reactivated customers.
  • Dell EMC approved about 120,800 deal registrations.
  • Partners earned more than 5,500 credentials.

Going forward, Cook said that Dell Technologies is looking to create a more integrated framework for partners for doing business across its strategically aligned businesses. That was a key theme discussed at the vendor’s Global Partner Summit in May.

She said Dell Technologies plans to maintain separate partner programs — for example, the VMware and Dell EMC Partner Programs — but will focus on developing ways to recognize partners’ training investments and benefits across programs.

“At some stage, we may drive … ‘loosely coupled alignment’ across the programs rather than [the programs] all living inside one hard program. But we’re very much focused on bringing the value proposition, the benefits and such that we can align our incentive structures similarly [and] recognizing training and credits in each of the programs so that it’s not redundant or repetitive,” she said.

Other news

  • Continuum, a managed service provider (MSP) technology platform provider, has acquired CARVIR to expand its cybersecurity offering. CARVIR provides monitored and managed security to MSPs targeting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
  • Rackspaceunveiled Rackspace Colocation, a service that lets customers deploy their own hardware in Rackspace data centers. The offering provides an average of eight carriers per colocation data center, the company said.
  • A whitepaper from AMI-Partners notes managed services providers (MSPs) are partnering with ISVs, such as BitTitan, Microsoft and SkyKick, to help migrate SMBs to cloud-based email and productivity offerings. “By using a suitable tool, MSPs reported being able to save an average of 18 hours on a typical SMB migration project,” AMI-Partners stated.
  • The vast majority of companies lack complete commitment to the DevOps process, according to a survey undertaken by 2nd Watch, a cloud consulting firm based in Seattle. The survey of more than 1,000 IT managers and directors found 78% of the respondents said separate teams still manage infrastructure/operations and application development. About 30% of the respondents said they use a manual process for deployment, while 70% use some form of an automated pipeline.
  • Tufin, a provider of network security policy orchestration technology, rolled out a program to support partners deploying, configuring and customizing its orchestration suite. The Service Delivery Partner Program has structured the program with two tiers — Service Delivery and Service Delivery Plus — and offers certification, professional services business referral opportunities, and access to best practices and tools among other benefits, Tufin said.
  • Data management vendor DefendX Software is targeting partners such as cloud and managed services providers with a new channel program. The DefendX True Partner Program provides deal protection, lead sharing and new customer incentives.
  • Chicago-based Telecom Brokerage Inc. (TBI) inked a distribution deal with Canadian communications provider Shaw Communications. Under the agreement, TBI’s agent and value-added reseller partners can offer Shaw’s data solutions in Canada.
  • Accenture has agreed to acquire DesignAffairs, a strategic design consultancy in Germany. The deal aims to bolster Accenture’s smart products and services initiative, Accenture Industry X.0.
  • Agosto Inc., a cloud services and development company in Minneapolis, said it has named Rick Erickson chief cloud strategist. Erickson, Agosto’s co-founder, focuses on the Google Cloud Platform in particular.
  • Atera, an IT automation platform vendor that targets MSPs, launched a chat feature that the company said service providers can use as a self-service tool for their customers.
  • Aparavi, a SaaS-based active archive startup, rolled out a program for service providers. Aparavi Advantage offers marketing support, training and sales assistance.
  • Telehouse America, a data center and managed IT services company, has expanded its alliance with Atlantic Metro into areas including SD-WAN and object storage.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

Jaguar Land Rover, BI Worldwide share GitLab migration pros and cons

Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of popular code repository vendor GitHub also thrust competitor GitLab into the spotlight. A quarter-million customers tried to move code repositories from GitHub to GitLab last week in the wake of the Microsoft news, a surge that crashed the SaaS version of GitLab.

Enterprises with larger, more complex code repositories will need more than a few days to weigh the risks of the Microsoft acquisition and evaluate alternatives to GitHub. However, they were preceded by other enterprise GitLab converts who shared their experience with GitLab migration pros and cons.

BI Worldwide, an employee engagement software company in Minneapolis, considered a GitLab migration when price changes to CloudBees Jenkins Enterprise software drove a sevenfold increase in the company’s licensing costs for both CloudBees Jenkins Enterprise and GitHub Enterprise.

GitLab offers built-in DevOps pipeline tools with its code repositories in both SaaS and self-hosted form. BI Worldwide found it could replace both GitHub Enterprise and CloudBees Jenkins Enterprise with GitLab for less cost, and made the switch in late 2017.

“GitLab offered better functionality over GitHub Enterprise because we don’t have to do the extra work to create web hooks between the code repository and CI/CD pipelines, and its CI/CD tools are comparable to CloudBees,” said Adam Dehnel, product architect at BI Worldwide.

GitLab pipelines
GitLab’s tools include both code version control and app delivery pipelines.

Jaguar Land Rover-GitLab fans challenge Atlassian incumbents

Automobile manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover, based in London, also uses self-hosted GitLab among the engineering teams responsible for its in-vehicle infotainment systems. A small team of three developers in a company outpost in Portland, Ore., began with GitLab’s free SaaS tool in 2016, though the company at large uses Atlassian’s Bitbucket and Bamboo tools.

As of May 2018, about a thousand developers in Jaguar Land Rover’s infotainment division use GitLab, and one of the original Portland developers to champion GitLab now hopes to see it rolled out across the company.

Sometimes vendors … get involved with other parts of the software development lifecycle that aren’t their core business, and customers get sold an entire package that they don’t necessarily want.
Chris Hillhead of systems engineering, Jaguar Land Rover’s infotainment systems

“Atlassian’s software is very good for managing parent-child relationships [between objects] and collaboration with JIRA,” said Chris Hill, head of systems engineering for Jaguar Land Rover’s infotainment systems. “But sometimes vendors can start to get involved with other parts of the software development lifecycle that aren’t their core business, and customers get sold an entire package that they don’t necessarily want.”

A comparison between tools such as GitLab and Bitbucket and Bamboo largely comes down to personal preference rather than technical feature gaps, but Hill said he finds GitLab more accessible to both developers and product managers.

“We can give developers self-service capabilities so they don’t have to chew up another engineer’s time to make merge requests,” Hill said. “We can also use in-browser editing for people who don’t understand code, and run tutorials with pipelines and rundeck-style automation jobs for marketing people.”

Jaguar Land Rover’s DevOps teams use GitLab’s collaborative comment-based workflow, where teams can discuss issues next to the exact line of code in question.

“That cuts down on noise and ‘fake news’ about what the software does and doesn’t do,” Hill said. “You can make a comment right where the truth exists in the code.”

GitLab offers automated continuous integration testing of its own and plugs in to third-party test automation tools. Continuous integration testing inside GitLab and with third-party tools is coordinated by the GitLab Runner daemon. Runner will be instrumental to deliver more frequent software updates over the air to in-car infotainment systems that use a third-party service provider called Redbend, which will mean Jaguar Land Rover vehicle owners will get automatic updates to infotainment systems without the need to go to a dealership for installation. This capability will be introduced with the new Jaguar I-Pace electric SUV in July 2018.

Balancing GitLab migration pros and cons

BI Worldwide and Jaguar Land Rover both use the self-hosted version of GitLab’s software, which means they escaped the issues SaaS customers suffered with crashes during the Microsoft GitHub exodus. They also avoided a disastrous outage that included data loss for GitLab SaaS customers in early 2017.

Still, their GitLab migrations have come with downsides. BI Worldwide jumped through hoops to get GitLab’s software to work with AWS Elastic File System (EFS), only to endure months of painful conversion from EFS to Elastic Block Store (EBS), which the company just completed.

GitLab never promised that its software would work well with EFS, and part of the issue stemmed from the way AWS handles EFS burst credits for performance. But about three times a day, response time from AWS EFS in the GitLab environment would shoot up from an average of five to eight milliseconds to spikes as high as 900 milliseconds, Dehnel said.

“EBS is quite a bit better, but we had to get an NFS server setup attached to EBS and work out redundancy for it, then do a gross rsync project to get 230 GB of data moved over, then change the mount points on our Rancher [Kubernetes] cluster,” Dehnel said. “The version control system is so critical, so things like that are not taken lightly, especially as we also rely on [GitLab] for CI/CD.”

GitLab is working with AWS to address the issues with its product on EFS, a company spokesperson said. For now, its documentation recommends against deployment with EFS, and the company suggests users consider deployments of GitLab to Kubernetes clusters instead.

Nyansa extends network performance monitor software

ORLANDO, Fla. — Nyansa, a network performance monitor software vendor, has introduced two applications that extend the company’s platform to the WAN and devices connecting to a Wi-Fi network.

The new products, called Voyance WAN and Voyance Client Agent, collect data and send it to the Voyance platform for measuring and analyzing network performance in data centers and wireless networks. Like other network performance monitors (NPM), Voyance checks for network problems and provides intelligence to help determine their causes.

Nyansa launched the products this week at the Cisco Live conference. The WAN application monitors traffic headed outside the corporate network to ensure employees are not spending a lot of time on nonessential online applications, such as YouTube or Facebook.

Because companies lease a finite amount of bandwidth from carriers, traffic to consumer sites can affect the performance of links to cloud-based collaboration and meeting applications or critical business software, such as Oracle, Salesforce or Workday.

Combing through data to find anomalies

Voyance WAN collects traffic data from routers through the NetFlow and cFlow protocols embedded in the devices. Nyansa plans to add support for the jFlow and sFlow protocols, but has not said when it will do so.

The Voyance platform analyzes the utilization of WAN links and correlates it with the performance of applications and network services. As a result, the platform can identify degradation in WAN performance. The software can also identify the problem site or WAN interface and provide the percentage of bandwidth usage at peak times.

The Voyance Client Agent is installed on corporate mobile devices accessing the company’s Wi-Fi. Data collected from the devices is fed into Voyance for analysis and correlation with other network metrics. The agent supports Apple macOS and iOS. Eventually, Nyansa plans to add support for Windows and Android.

In general, the Voyance NPM is based on a combination of deep packet inspections and cloud-based analytics. The network performance monitor software tracks all transactions and sends the data to AWS servers for analysis. The resulting intelligence is then transmitted to the user’s location, which network engineers can review through an easy-to-understand graphical user display.

Last November, the company added a remediation engine that spotlights problems with infrastructure devices and recommends configuration changes to correct it. The network performance monitor software also calculates the benefits of the corrective action.

In other news from Cisco Live, A10 Networks, an application delivery controller vendor, said it has added ingress filtering for Kubernetes containers. Enterprises and internet service providers use ingress filtering technology to block suspicious traffic from entering a network. The application examines all inbound packets and then permits or denies entry based on information in the packet header.

Finally, NetBrain Technologies announced the general availability of version 7.1. The latest iteration of the software provides integration with Cisco’s software-based networking technology for the data center, called Application Centric Infrastructure.

NetBrain software helps engineers manage network documentation and understand network design. Its products also assist in documenting and sharing network knowledge.