Cisco Canada has introduced a program that will see three of its Canadian distributors configure-to-order its popular Business Edition 6000 IP telephony solution.
Under the plan, Comstor, Ingram Micro, and Tech Data will each offer pre-configuration of the phone systems, allowing them to drop-ship orders to customers ready to be installed and turned on, although not yet configured to user preferences. David De Abreu, vice president of Cisco Canada’s solutions and partner organization, called it a “made-in-Canada” solution that will help its partners go to market faster with the popular systems.
“We’re focused on making it easier for our partners to be successful, and part of that is making it quicker for them to go to market with the Business Edition 6000 product,” De Abreu said. “It will help our partners compete better, and satisfy their end customer needs.”
Shawn Snobelen is now heading up retail at D&H Canada.
Shawn Snobelen, settling into his new role heading up retail at distributor D&H Canada, sees his organization in the Goldilocks position. Not too big, and not too small. Sized just right for many Canadian retail customers.
“The largest guys have their model, and then there’s the niche distributor, but we can play very smartly in the middle,” Snobelen said. “We act like a traditional distributor, with the scale of a traditional distributor, but we can be a little bit more niche with the vendors and how we bring products to market. We’re not too big that we can’t be flexible, and we’re not too small that we can’t bring a lot of expertise.”
In effect, Snobelen is seeking to apply the balancing act between high balance and high touch which has proven so popular amongst IT distributors in recent years to the retail side of the market. By going with a more services-centric model, the distributor can serve as “an expert distributor for retail,” Snobelen said.
Call it a reminder that everything changes. HP – which two years ago had competitors circling it as it went through restructuring drama and rapid-fire executive changes – says it sees an opportunity to cash in on turbulence at some of its major competitors.
CEO Meg Whitman, speaking at an analyst conference, suggested HP has gone from the hunted and the hunter, and will seek to gain ground due to instability cause by IBM’s decision to sell its x86 server business to Lenovo, and the recent privatization of Dell.
“We think there is a real near-term opportunity for HP to actually gain share among some of our competitors who appear to be a little stable than we do right now,” Whitman said. “We look like the paradigm of stability in the industry right now, and we’d aim to capitalize on that.”
The market share number for Windows 8 and 8.1 are not getting better. In February, the market shares for the new version of Windows vs. the soon-to-be retired Windows XP barely moved.
Microsoft is reportedly considering a free version of the Windows 8.1 operating system — called “Windows 8.1 with Bing” — designed to get more consumer and business users to upgrade from their existing Windows version or keep from defecting to an alternate platform, such as Google Chrome.
Reports of the free version with integrated Bing search and applications features come just days after news broke that Microsoft is lowering the price of Windows 8.1 by 70 percent for mobile devices with retail prices of under $250 to better compete against Google’s Android.
If the Internet of Things (IoT) is to stay on its heady adoption curve, the M2M systems at its heart will need to be not just cheap and reliable, but also markedly more secure than they are today. Cisco Systems Inc., a vendor with a vested interest in keeping the IoT party going is putting up some cash and laying down the challenge to address that latter obstacle.
In an effort to engage the community on the matter of securing the exploding numbers of IP-enabled devices being connected daily in everything from ranging from home appliances to health care devices to industrial equipment, Cisco is launching the Internet of Things Security Grand Challenge, a chance for the global security community to propose practical security solutions across all of the markets being impacted IoT.
Xerox Canada has a new channel chief, but its focus on developing managed print services options for its partners will continue.
Steven Connor has taken over for Ajay Dhingra as vice president of channel partner operations for the company, and says one of his top priorities is to continue his predecessor’s top priority – managed print.
“It’s a huge opportunity. There’s a selection of customers who aren’t going to buy or acquire through managed print, but the overwhelming majority will, in some form or another,” Connor said.
HP has added another line of Windows-based tablets to its lineup, introducing its first ProPad-branded product and upgrading its top-of-the-line ElitePad.
Borrowing from its laptop branding approach, where Elite- signifies the top of the line, while Pro- suggests an offering for more cost-sensitive business users, the company has dubbed its new tablet the ProPad 600.
The new tablet takes most of its design cues from its predecessor. In fact, the tablet is virtually identical to the ElitePad, using the same processor and display, and a very similar look and feel, although with different materials. The ProPad differs, though, in that it does not support HP’s “jackets” expandability approach. The ElitePad supports a variety of such jackets for the ElitePad, including an integrated keyboard case, biometric security options, additional battery packs, and even a retail POS extension with support for scanning bar codes and swiping credit cards. Instead, the ProPad features microUSB for connectivity.
The server numbers are not good. According to analyst firm Gartner, 2013 worldwide server shipments — orders placed and delivered — increased a scant 2.1 percent. Unfortunately, server revenues declined 4.5 percent reflecting the commoditization of the basic building blocks of data centers.
Server sales had been trending down most of 2013, with initial estimates placing the decline around 6 percent for the year. The year may have been saved for server vendors and resellers in the fourth quarter, when shipments increased a healthy 3.2 percent. But the fourth quarter was a bloodbath in terms of revenue. Overall, server revenues declined 6.6 percent the last three months of the year. IBM Corp. took the biggest hit, with server revenues declining 28.9 percent, and basically dragged down the entire segment.
In the tussle to attract business users to consumer-y cloud storage, appearances are everything. As such, the file-sharing service Box may have scored a coup with the hiring of ex-Symantec Corp. CEO Enrique Salem, an experienced enterprise-grade tech boss with a lengthy — if somewhat uneven — track record in both storage and security.
It’s the second big advisory get for Box, which last August named former Microsoft Corp. Windows boss turned Harvard professor Steven Sinofsky to a similar position.
Salem’s hiring as a special advisor to it’s leadership team is a smart move for Box, though probably not enough on name alone to move them past consumer rivals like Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive and put them on the playing field with the likes of bona fide storage and backup vendors, including Carbonite Inc., Mozy, Axcient Inc., Datto and others.
Hewlett-Packard Co. is clinging onto whatever momentum helped it limp over the goal line last year, wrapping up its first quarter of 2014 on Thursday with another mixed bag of results that will satisfy analysts and investors and keep CEO Meg Whitman’s turnaround on track for a while longer.
HP’s Q1 revenues came in at $28.2 billion, down 1 percent from the year-ago quarter and off a bit from last quarter. That makes 10 straight quarters of top-line revenue declines measure year-over-year.
Despite the drop, the results beat analyst expectations, and HP did manage a quarterly profit of $1.43 billion flat from the last quarter but a 16 percent rise over last year when the company was just starting to recover from multi-billion dollar losses.
The days of Windows XP are fast coming to a close. Microsoft Corp. is pulling out all the stops to get businesses and consumers to upgrade, asking users to apply peer pressure to adopt Windows 8.
Come April, Microsoft will discontinue most support for Windows XP through a normal end-of-life cycle. Microsoft has been warning users for much of the past year that the end of Windows XP was coming, yet 28 percent of all desktop and notebook computers still use the 13-year-old operating system.
McAfee is extending the number of its products available to solution providers in a managed security services-friendly model, adding more of its software to the mix, and for the first time, including the company’s hardware offerings in a pay-as-you-go structure for MSSPs.
The company (soon to be re-branded Intel Security) has made some of its endpoint offerings available to MSSPs over the last two years, and is starting to see momentum with the program, according to worldwide channel chief Gavin Struthers. The company has seen managed services-related revenues grow 50 per cent quarter over quarter in recent quarters, and that’s a trend he sees continuing.
“One in ten purchases will be a managed service purchase, and one in five customers are exploring managed services,” Struthers said.
Microsoft is bringing business intelligence to the SMB and midmarket segments with Power BI for Office 365, a new cloud-based applications that extends the reporting capabilities of Excel and enables Web-based sharing.
For solution providers, Power BI for Office 365 is an opportunity to open business intelligence capabilities to their business customers, as well as provide complementary services and support that facilitate the analytical process, or so says Microsoft.
“With new functionality built-in to familiar tools like Microsoft Excel 2013 and Office 365, you have a complete platform on which to build BI solutions and services… Power BI opens up huge potential for partners to enable companies to derive actionable insights from data, consume them from a variety of form factors and collaborate across the organization – big or small. Power BI truly democratizes the Big Data paradigm and creates a new market for our partners to serve with Microsoft,” wrote Phil Sorgen, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Group, in his blog.
Marc Dupaquier, General Manager Global Business Partners at IBM
IBM Corp. isn’t necessarily getting out of the server business with the sale of its x86 server unit to Lenovo. It sees its SoftLayer hosted infrastructure services as a replacement for the product and a point of entry for partners to get into cloud computing services.
“Partners selling cloud services like SoftLayer will go relatively fast. It’s not really different from x86 servers,” said Marc Dupaquier, general manager of Global Business Partners at IBM, in an interview with Channelnomics.
IBM is making big investments in its cloud infrastructure business, building and expanding on the foundation of SoftLayer, a hosting service it bought last year for $2 billion. It’s spending $1.2 billion to open more than 15 new data centers around the world to double its hosting capacity.
Shawn Massey, channel sales manager at StorageCraft
The idea of cloud-based backup and data recovery has gone from a “nice to have” to nearly ubiquitous very quickly. Many solution providers already offer at last one partnership to provide such a recurring service, and there’s opportunity for many more to do so.
With these dramatic changes in mind, Shawn Massey, channel sales manager for StorageCraft, joins the ChannelBuzz.ca podcast to discuss 2013 in the busy market, and offer his thoughts on where opportunity lies for solution providers in 2014 and beyond.
From a network service provider’s perspective, it’s the ultimate marriage of convenience, something sorely needed in the fledgling SDN space. Ericsson AB and Ciena Corp. are teaming up on some joint transport solutions that bring together the pair’s optical and IP capabilities.
The deal calls for joint development of IP-optical convergence with hopes of spurring SDN innovation and delivery at the service provider level. As part of the arrangement, Ericsson will now offer Ciena’s Converged Packet Optical portfolio, including its 6500 Packet-Optical Platform and 5400 family.
The development pact relies heavily on Ciena’s optical technology, in particular its WaveLogic coherent optical processors. Ericsson officials say they hope to combine WaveLogic capabilities with their own established IP portfolio and support from their global services organization to help service providers move toward an SDN-enabled transport infrastructure using Internet Protocol Over Wavelength Division Multiplexing, or IPoWDM, technology.
Donna Wittmann, exeuctive director, channels, alliances and commercial sales, VMware Canada
With new channel chief Donna Wittmann on board and getting settled into here new role, VMware Canada is looking to focus on channel enablement with the introduction of new resources to support its partners.
Those resources will be particularly focused on some of the company’s new focus areas – cloud, network virtualization, and end user computing in particular. The goal, Wittmann says, is to help partners find their way into the company’s newest opportunities, but also to make sure the channel is at the core of the Canadian organization as a whole.
“Not only is the model [VMware Canada president] Eric [Gales] is building partner-centric, but we’re putting place a really integrated go-to-market model, with every piece of the organization talking about our go-to partners, and how to engage our partners,” Wittmann said.
Hewlett-Packard’s new Color LaserJet Pro MFP M476 takes the honour of being the first printer to market certified by the new Mopria Alliance group that aims to standardize the heretofore hodgepodge of mobile printing solutions.
Launched last year, Mopria is a connection founded by HP, Canon, Samsong, and Xerox, and since joined by other printer vendors, including Lexmark, Brother, Epson, Konica Minolta, and Ricoh, as well as interested other parties, such as Adobe.
While the new color LaserJet is the first to hit the market, it is certainly far from the last. George Brasher, vice president and global manager of HP’s worldwide LaserJet business, hinted that his division had a first-mover’s advantage of just days over his peers in the InkJet business. And the plan is to certify all of the company’s printers introduced in the last two years to the Mopria standard. Ultimately, some 80 per cent of printers shipped over the last two years should be able to be brought up to the Mopria standard, Brasher said. HP also markets a wireless accessory that will make additional printers compatible with Mopria.
As any good New Englander will tell you, it’s always good to stock up on necessities for the winter months — bread, milk, eggs — before they run out. Now, add Windows 7 to the necessity list: Microsoft has announced the final dates the vaunted operating system will be available for sale.
Windows 7, first released in October 2009, will no longer be available through retail sales of PCs with preinstalled versions after Oct. 31, 2014. Affected versions include Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate. No end-of-sales date of Windows 7 Professional through commercial channels has been set. Expectations are Microsoft will discontinue commercial sales sometime in early 2015 with the release of Windows 9.
Marc Dupaquier, General Manager Global Business Partners at IBM
The messaged delivered by IBM at its annual PartnerWorld Leadership Conference is simple: solution providers must transform their businesses to incorporate software and services, or risk disintermediation.
IBM knows a thing or two about business transformation. Over its 103 year history, IBM has undergone several transformations and changes in its products and business models. Currently, it’s spending billions of dollars to build out capacity in cloud computing, mobility, security and cognitive computing. At the same time, IBM is divesting commodity assets, such as its x86 server unit.
No bones about it, IBM sees its future in cloud computing, software-defined services and advanced business applications based on its Watson artificial intelligence technology. By the end of 2014, IBM will have 40 new data centers around the world for providing infrastructure services through its SoftLayer unit.