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Hitachi looks to align storage with business needs

April 24, 2014
Peter Kriparos, channel chief for Hitachi Data Systems Canada

Peter Kriparos, channel chief for Hitachi Data Systems Canada

Hitachi Data Systems is touting its newest storage software and hardware as a way to get to “business-defined IT,” more closely matching IT capabilities with business users needs.

Dubbed the Continuous Cloud Infrastructure, Hitachi introduced a new operating system for virtualized storage, Storage Virtualization Operating System (SVOS) and the first piece of hardware designed for the new software, the Virtual Storage Platform G1000. Behind that, the company updated its Hitachi Command Suite software to manage storage environments.

The company announced the new products at SkyService’s private aviation hangar on the grounds of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, one of two North American stops – the other at its Santa Clara, Cal. Headquarters – on a seven-city “follow the sun” launch tour.

The launch started with a “skit” featuring Michael Cremen, executive vice president of global sales at HDS taking “the business” point of view, with Miklos Sandorfi, vice president of solutions and cloud at HDS, countering with “the IT” point of view on the same issues. While even the participants admitted it was a bit contrived, it served to reinforce the increasingly true perspective that IT and business leaders are at loggerheads, and suggested that both sides needed to get on the same page.

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HP updates XP high-end storage

April 24, 2014
Brad Parks, senior manager of go-to-market strategy for HP Storage

Brad Parks, senior manager of go-to-market strategy for HP Storage

HP has announced updates to its XP7 high-end storage offering that bring some of the virtualization technology introduced in its 3Par product line up into the enterprise space.

XP is HP’s highest-of-the-high storage offering, designed for mission critical applications in large enterprise environments. The company boasts “six nines” availability, and Brad Parks, senior manager of go-to-market strategy for HP Storage, said it’s not unheard of for units to see 100 per cent uptime over a number of years.

With the new release, HP introduces the ability to do autonomous virtual arrays within the XP7, with each subset presenting itself as a full unit to the network and to admins. Similar technology, called virtual private arrays, has been available in the 3Par lineup for some time, but the company is keen to bring them into more traditional storage environments.

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Sage levels playing field for subscription sales

April 24, 2014
Sage North America channel chief Donald Deshaies

Sage North America channel chief Donald Deshaies

Sage North America has announced changes to its partner program, boosting partner margins on subscription sales, and flattening a complex tier structure.

The program changes are designed to reflect changing customer buying patterns, and changing priorities for both the vendor and its channel partners, said Donald Deshaies, vice president of channel management for Sage.

Perhaps the biggest change, in the face of the move towards the cloud, is revamped partner margins for its subscription offerings. Sage introduced the pricing model two years ago, with the offer paying partners 35 per cent of the value of a subscription’s first year, and then 20 per cent of each renewal year. However, this proved not as profitable for partners as selling perpetual licenses. And with more customer interested in the subscription model, something had to give.

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Cisco ramps up security presence with Managed Threat Defense Service

April 24, 2014
Ahmed Etman, General Manager, Security and Enterprise Networking, Cisco Canada

Ahmed Etman, General Manager, Security and Enterprise Networking, Cisco Canada

Cisco has not been top-of-mind historically when it comes to cutting-edge security. But the vendor has been looking to change that, with significant acquisitions and the infusion of significant internal resources. Now Cisco has introduced its new Managed Threat Defense [MTD], an on-premises service comprised of hardware, software, and analytics designed to monitor, capture, and analyze threats.

“This is another advancement in the security space from Cisco,” said Ahmed Etman, General Manager, Security and Enterprise Networking, Cisco Canada. “It reflects that Cisco will be focusing more on security, to the extent that three months from now, I will be dropping enterprise networking, and me and my team will focus exclusively on security.” Read More »

Virtual and cloud storage vendor Tintri revamps partner program

April 24, 2014
Derek Dal Ponte, senior director of Channel marketing at Tintri

Derek Dal Ponte, senior director of Channel marketing at Tintri

Tintri, which makes storage for virtualization and cloud environments, has announced a major revamping and expansion of its global channel partner program. They have also announced a new mobile app that equips partners with access to tools and information to help partners get information and identify and sell Tintri solutions in the field.

“The key differentiator for us is the operating system we are built on,” said Derek Dal Ponte, senior director of Channel marketing at Tintri. “It was built from the ground up to be VM-aware, and it manages everything at the VM level, not LUNs and volumes. The founder was the head of R&D at VMware, and our genesis was to solve that storage bottleneck.”

Tintri has pledged to get as close to 100% channel as possible in its go-to-market strategy, and the new program is designed to provide the organization and support to make that happen.

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CompTIA wants to close IT gender gap

April 24, 2014
Nancy Hammervik, senior vice president of industry relations at CompTIA

Nancy Hammervik, senior vice president of industry relations at CompTIA.

It’s no secret to anyone who’s ever visited an IT shop or attended a tech trade show: Women make up half the American workforce but account for just a quarter of information technology jobs. Not only is it unfair, it’s stifling the industry’s ability to grow and flourish.

There’s been sluggish movement to correct the inequity, from Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In”campaign to social media efforts targeting and calling out all-male panels at trade shows. Now the channel can boast an effort of its own in this worthy cause.

CompTIA on Wednesday announced an initiative aimed bringing more women into the IT workforce. The Dream IT program is “a new evangelism platform to empower girls and women to pursue degrees and careers in technology,” officials of the non-profit advocacy and training organization said. Read More »

Synnex Canada looks for more engagement from Varnex members

April 22, 2014
Synnex Canada president Mitchell Martin

Synnex Canada president Mitchell Martin

Synnex Canada feels it has increased the value for membership in its Varnex SMB-focused reseller community. Now it’s going to look for more from members, both current and future.

At the company’s recent spring Varnex conference in Orlando, Synnex Canada Mitchell Martin said the distributor was looking to make sure it has partners who are truly engaged with the program, and in particular with Synnex’s “Solv” practice areas, a number of which are coming online in Canada.

“The challenge is getting the right resellers into the program, and getting them involved in the Solvs practices. That’s where we’re focused right now – more on quality than quantity at this point,” Martin said. “It’s at the right scale, but everything depends on [members’] ability and willingness to engage.

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Security and cloud computing at SMB crossroads

April 22, 2014

cloud securityCloud computing may be the marquee player in IT services, but when it comes to giving business leaders the cold sweats, security still steals the show, at least among the cloud’s newest arrivals.

In a new poll of 1,300 technology service providers offered up by PSA purveyor Autotask, the IT pros say their clients are more concerned about security than they are about even high-profile matters like MDM and cloud.

Better than half (54 percent) of those queried said security was the top clients concern, followed by support for the cloud (52 percent), mobile-device management (46 percent) and data management (45 percent).

Their concerns are not unfounded. In their annual Security Threat Report for 2013, Symantec Corp. said attacks on SMBs jumped 18 percent from the year earlier. In their own research, Intel Corp.’s McAfee security unit found that nearly 80 percent of SMBs or eschewing data protection in general. Fewer than half have any security safeguards on e-mail on Internet connections and just 9 percent are using device-level security.

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Paragon Software rolls out aggressive new partner program

April 22, 2014
Yudy Vinograd, director of channel sales for Paragon Software

Yudy Vinograd, director of channel sales for Paragon Software

Data protection, backup and disaster recovery  provider Paragon Software Group has completely redone its channel program, unveiling the Paragon “Pure Channel” Program and pledging that it will make Paragon easier to work with, expedite partner sales cycles and make them more money.

“With the Pure Channel program, we have created a program that optimizes partner workflow and truly enhances what they provide to their customers,” said Yudy Vinograd, director of channel sales for Paragon. “We have streamlined a way to help them be effective.”

While Paragon has been in business over 20 years and has always specialized in image-based technology with a toolkit of disk optimization utilities, a significant portion of their business over this time has been in the OEM space.

“We OEMed in routers, disk drives, storage arrays – anywhere where data needs to be imaged, aligned and partitioned,” Vinograd said. “In the SMB and SME space, we were there, but only with a standalone product, Hard Disk Manager, and HDM technical licenses based on it, and these were used to let IT admins do imaging of workstations and servers for backup, and had a robust set of disk management tools.”

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Stratus signs first distie deal with Arrow

April 22, 2014
Susan Bailey, vice president of sales and services for the Americas at Stratus Technologies

Susan Bailey, vice president of sales and services for the Americas at Stratus Technologies

High availability solutions maker Stratus Technologies has entered into its’ first distribution deal in North America, which will see it make its everRun Enterprise fault-tolerant software available to x86 servers through distributor Arrow Electronics. The agreement covers both the United States and Canada.

“Distribution is a very new part of our channel strategy, and this is the first time for us in North America for either hardware or software, although we have had some small boutique distributors in other parts of the world,” said Susan Bailey, vice president of sales and services Americas, at Stratus Technologies.

Stratus, which has been around for decades, and which began as a maker of fault-tolerant, fully integrated and largely proprietary hardware platforms, evolved into open systems, and then to making a FT server that operates on industry standard systems. They were still hardware-focused until five years ago, when they developed their own Avance software platform. Their software strength was significantly deepened 18 months ago when they acquired Marathon Technologies.

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Kaspersky names Doggett North American chief

April 22, 2014
Chris Doggett, managing director of Kaspersky Lab North America

Chris Doggett, managing director of Kaspersky Lab North America

Russia-based security vendor Kaspersky Lab has announced changes at the top of its North American organization, with longtime president Steve Orenberg stepping down and leaving the company, and former B2B sales chief Chris Doggett taking over at the top in the new position of managing director.

Doggett joined Kaspersky Lab two years ago as vice president of North American channel sales, and a year ago was promoted to senior vice president of corporate sales. Before that, he spent more than six years in channel leadership roles at Sophos, ending his time there as the company’s global channel chief.

One of Doggett’s first big jobs in in his new role will be to fill his former position, heading up corporate sales for North America. While he said there are some internal candidates, Doggett suggested the company would likely go outside the company for the role, and that there were several prospects among people he’s worked with in the past or who he knows rom the industry.

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IBM pushes SoftLayer cloud incentives program

April 22, 2014

CloudsIBM Corp. is making its SoftLayer cloud computing division more attractive to partners by providing profitability enhancements, marketing resources and training support. This initiative comes as Big Blue struggles to staunch declining revenue from legacy products while accelerating the adoption of its cloud services.

SoftLayer, a cloud infrastructure and hosting company IBM acquired in 2013 for $2.1 billion, is the cornerstone of a concerted effort to accelerate IBM’s presence in the cloud computing market and transform the company’s revenue mix. IBM is investing $1.2 billion to expand SoftLayer’s capacity beyond its existing 15 data centers around the world.

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Intronis adds imaging, expands virtualization support

April 21, 2014
Chuck DeLouis, vice president of product management at Intronis

Chuck DeLouis, vice president of product management at Intronis

Cloud backup vendor Intronis kicked off what it says will be a very busy year for updates, introducing its Spring ’14 edition that includes new support for image backups, and expands its ability to back up virtualized IT assets.

With the launch, Intronis is making the case for solution providers being able to streamline their disaster recovery offerings around the company’s products and services, particularly as it moves out of folder backup and storage, and into full system protection with the addition of physical imaging.

“This is transformative. It takes us into a completely different arena,” said Chuck DeLouis, vice president of product management at Intronis.

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Motion gets bigger with R12 launch

April 21, 2014

Motion R12Tablet specialist Motion Computing is looking to “redefine rugged” with the launch of its new R12 line, a 12.5-inch Windows tablet that the company says incorporates a decade worth of learning in selling tablets into field environments.

The R12 is the new top of the line from the company, and introduces a 12.5 inch touch display for the first time in widescreen in Motion’s lineup. Scott Ball, country manager for Canada at Motion Computing, said widescreen will make all the difference in certain key industries.

“Large manufacturing companies all want to go paprelss, but they need widescreen for their jobs. Their shop floor applications all require a large screen,” he said.

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Synnex brings key solution practices to Canada

April 15, 2014
Synnex Canada president Mitchell Martin

Synnex Canada president Mitchell Martin

ORLANDO – When Synnex announced a shift to a more North America-wide strategy last year, it said one of the key benefits would be greater parity between its high-value offerings on both sides of the border.

At the distributor’s spring Varnex conference here this week, it made a big step towards that parity, formally introducing two of its “Solv” practices in Canada, and taking further steps to establish a third.

Synnex used Varnex as a backdrop to introduce its ServiceSolv and CloudSolv businesses in Canada, while its MobilitySolv business in Canada is taking steps to rapidly close the gap with its namesake in the U.S.

“We’ve come a long way in six months,” said Mitchell Martin, president of Synnex Canada. “We’re about 90 per cent there in terms of the value offerings in Canada that are available in the U.S.”

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Dell unveils enterprise storage, server offerings

April 15, 2014
Brian Payne, executive director of server solutions at Dell

Brian Payne, executive director of server solutions at Dell

Today at the Dell Enterprise Forum in Frankfurt, Dell is making several announcements in the enterprise storage and server space. These begin with Dell Fluid Cache for SAN, which the company has talked about previously, but which is now being formally announced. Also being announced are the Dell Compellent Storage Center 6.5 array software, the Dell OpenManage systems management portfolio, new Dell EqualLogic Host Integration Tools and new enterprise-class features for the PowerEdge VRTX shared infrastructure system.

“We publicly talked about the potential of FluidCache for SAN as we developed it, and now we are formally announcing it and talking about the specifics, including new details as well as availability and pricing,” said Brian Payne, executive director of server solutions at Dell.

“The Dell Fluid Cache for SAN is about addressing application performance,” Payne said. “It deals with two problems, the growing user base requiring the scalability of the back end storage layer to grow, and the need for quicker response time to increase productivity.”

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Trend Micro upgrades Complete User Protection

April 15, 2014
Eric Skinner, vice president, solutions marketing, Trend Micro

Eric Skinner, vice president, solutions marketing, Trend Micro

Security software vendor Trend Micro has announced significant upgrades to the Trend Micro Complete User Protection solution.

“There are two key attributes to the announcement,” said Eric Skinner, vice president, solutions marketing, Trend Micro. “First, we are improving the protection capabilities of our solution set, and secondly, we are introducing more flexible management and licensing, with a unique blend of on-prem and SaaS licensing where the management and licensing are integrated.”

The Complete User Protection solution is targeted at mid-sized businesses in the 100-5000 seat zone, where the customer values a more integrated solution. Skinner said that even though the gradual transition to the cloud is part of the puzzle for IT security, and the evolving threat landscape means the approach has to be changed, customers still don’t want lots of consoles.

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Heartbleed tools an opportunity to talk security

April 15, 2014

HeartbleedHeartbleed, the OpenSSL vulnerability that leaves most of the Internet and supporting technology open to compromise, crossed over into the mainstream where even computing novices and neophytes are talking about their risk exposure. Security vendors are racing to put testing tools into the field, and those tools are creating opportunities for solution providers to talk with customers about their security posture and risk management.

First, a little about Heartbleed. Finland-based Codenomicon discovered the vulnerability that allows the compromise of OpenSSL, one of the core security protections of Web sites and networking systems. Essentially, the vulnerability allows hackers to steal virtually any piece of information in a given domain, including usernames, credentials and other identifying data. Click here for more detailed information about Heartbleed.

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Managed services pricing needs reality check

April 15, 2014

Asking questions about managed services pricingSince the early days of managed services, good pricing practices have proven elusive. MSPs are challenged in identifying the right price for various products and packages, mostly because of the lack of good information on what the market will bear.

The lack of managed services pricing data is causing MSPs to make irrational decisions. Channelnomics has seen numerous instances of MSPs lowering prices to match those of peers against which they don’t compete; others are bypassing good tools and technology because they don’t believe they can afford to take them to market.

The result of this messy landscape of inconsistent pricing is a marked decline in managed services profitability. The 2112 Group, publisher of Channelnomics, reported last week that managed services profitability fell by as much as 50 percent in 2013.

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HP Software focuses on mobility partners

April 14, 2014
Genefa Murphy, director of product management and user experience for HP Software

Genefa Murphy, director of product management and user experience for HP Software

HP Software is looking to build a channel for its growing family of mobility-related offerings with the launch of the new HP Anywhere Partner Program.

To date, HP has had a few channel relationships around its HP Anywhere and Asset Catalogue software lineups, but with the launch of the new channel program, which will sit inside the PartnerOne uber-umbrella, the company is looking to formalize relationships and “engage in a more succinct, formal, and ongoing basis,” said Genefa Murphy, director of product management and user experience for HP Software.

“We see an opportunity to help our partners on their mobile journey in a number of ways, and to build an ecosystem around that,” Murphy said of the new program.

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