5 Channel Ops: Dell Storage and VDI Security, Avnet Adds IoT

Lorna GareyRemember Aereo? Its founder, Chet Kanojia, is back with a new venture called Starry, which aims to slash the cost of delivering a new fiber link to urban housing units or businesses from $2,500 to as little as $25 using the millimeter wave active phased array technology also in testing by AT&T, Verizon, Facebook and Google. MIT Technology Review’s writeup is well worth a read.

Customer tip of the week from Intel Security: Bathing suit season can be bad for security. Attackers understand seasonality, and not just traditional holiday scams. In a study released this week, 88 percent of respondents considered the possibility that diet-related clickbait links and fitness pop-ups might be malicious. Then they clicked through anyway. Intel Security offers advice on how customers can protect themselves and employees that’s worth passing on.

Dell Launches Storage Center OS, VDI Security

For customers that know they need to upgrade their storage infrastructures but are concerned about unified management and investment protection, Dell’s new Storage Center Operating System 7 could smooth the transition path. Dell says it’s been working on SCOS 7 for three years in an effort to redefine storage economics. The system promotes flash adoption, uses virtualization for better control of data and unifies Dell’s storage ecosystem across multiple portfolios.

The release will be attractive to customers that have bought into Dell’s SC Series line of storage arrays, which offer all-flash tiers under $0.45 per GB, and hard drive tiers under $0.10 per GB. SCOS 7 brings intelligent deduplication and enhanced block-level compression, works with the SC Series’ auto-tiering and allows multiple devices — including PS Series boxes — to be managed as a federated storage fabric.

SCOS 7 is a free firmware upgrade for SC Series customers with current support contracts. PS Series customers with contracts can also upgrade to the 9.0 firmware this month at no charge. PS and SC series licenses do not transfer, however.

On the security front, Dell also announced new malware prevention capabilities, due in July, for Windows-based thin clients and virtual desktops based on its Dell Data Protection endpoint security portfolio. The company says that, while VDI keeps data from residing on endpoints, malware could still infiltrate a customer’s network through a locally accessed Web browser, USB stick or other peripheral device.

Steve Lalla, Dell’s VP of commercial client software and solutions, said in a statement that 95 percent of data breaches originate on the endpoint, and that integration of Dell Data Protection solutions into Windows-based thin clients and virtual desktops provides customers with an additional layer of security from the endpoint to the data center. Microsoft, VMware and Citrix are on board with the effort.

Avnet Gets IoT Game

Avnet announced this week a new distribution agreement with Zentri, which provides a secure IoT platform in a SaaS model. Zentri’s Secure Connected Platform line includes ZentriOS, a suite of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE modules, Zentri Cloud Services and the Zentri Mobile App Software Development Kit. ZentriOS will also be included in Avnet’s Cloud Connect Starter Kits.

ZentriOS-powered products can be easily connected to major clouds, including Amazon AWS, IBM Bluemix and Microsoft Azure, and managed using a dedicated service.

“ZentriOS is a differentiator for our customers’ technical teams, enabling them to deliver IoT products in weeks without the need to hire specialized developers,” said Alex Iuorio, senior vice president, supplier marketing and business development, Avnet Electronics Marketing Americas. ZentriOS and Zentri Device Management Services are both available for Avnet’s BCM4343W IoT starter kit.

NTT: Retail Risk Overtakes Health Care

NTT Com Security’s annual Global Threat Intelligence Report, released this week and based on data from 24 SOCs, seven R&D centers, 3.5 trillion logs, 6.2 billion attacks and nearly 8,000 security clients across six continents, shows that, on average, 77 percent of organizations fall into the “unprepared” category, largely due to a skills shortage and lack of investment.

“Prevention and planning for cybersecurity incidents seems to be stagnating,” says Garry Sidaway, VP security strategy and alliances for NTT Com Security. “Facing security challenges that didn’t exist last year, let alone a decade ago, and struggling with a shortfall in information security professionals, many organizations no longer have the necessary skills or resources to cope.”

The report delves into various verticals and threat sources. The most at-risk group is now retail customers, with 22 percent of all incident response engagements, up from 12 percent the previous year and experiencing the highest number of attacks per client. Healthcare is in second place. As to where attacks are coming from, internal threats jumped to 19 percent of overall investigations from just 2 percent in 2014.

The full report weighs in at 74 pages and includes case studies and recommendations.

Cisco’s Robbins Offers UCC Strategy Hint

Cisco announced better than expected Q3 2016 results this week. Overall, the company posted total revenue of $12 billion, up 3 percent. But check out the breakdown: Growth in product revenue was just 1 percent compared with 11 percent for services; 46 percent of Cisco’s business now comes from software and subscription services. In his comments to analysts, CEO Chuck Robbins zeroed in on priorities: services overall, with security and collaboration as drivers, and moving customers to hybrid cloud and convergence with partners’ help.

Cisco’s Q3 security revenue growth was 17 percent, with deferred revenue up 31 percent “driven by our ongoing shift from hardware to more software and subscription services,” said Robbins on the call. “Security is and will remain one of our absolute highest priorities.” He then pivoted to collaboration: “This is yet another example of a successful transition to a cloud-based platform increasing our market leadership,” said Robbins, referring to 10 percent revenue growth — “solid performance in telepresence and unified communications driven by our new offerings in those areas.”

Only after discussing security and collaboration did Robbins turn to the data center portfolio.

Now, Cisco’s security ambitions aren’t news. However, at the recent partner summit, collaboration also had prime billing. The Spark unified communications and collaboration service offers messaging, file sharing, search, conferencing including room-based systems, Active Directory and Exchange integration, and business-class telephony service hosted in the cloud. Cisco’s $700 million acquisition of Acano, which supplies on-premises and cloud-based video infrastructure and collaboration software, closes this quarter. It’s a safe bet that Cisco is just as committed to grabbing UCC market share as security.

SDN Market Springs up More Than 80 Percent — in One Year

Robbins has also said that all Cisco networking products will, eventually, be available as software. This week, analyst firm IHS Technology released a report saying that the global data center and enterprise software-defined networking market — including SDN-enabled Ethernet switches and controllers, SD-WAN appliances and control and management software — rose 82 percent in 2015 over 2014, reaching $1.4 billion. There’s no reason to believe growth will slow this year.

“New SDN use cases continue to emerge,” said Cliff Grossner, IHS senior research director for data center, cloud and SDN. “And we forecast SD-WAN revenue to hit $1.3 billion by 2020.”

Grossner points out that there’s much jockeying for position. He cites Dell, VMware and Hewlett Packard Enterprise for SDN gear. The SD-WAN market is just as crowded and dynamic, and even more relevant to the Channel Partner’s audience. This week MetTel announced a deal with VeloCloud to offer an SD-WAN solution aimed at enterprise and midmarket customers, and at CTIA in September Verizon launched an SD-WAN managed service using Cisco IWAN traffic-routing technology. Our own Craig Galbraith recently caught up with channel leaders to discuss pros and cons.  

Bits & Bytes

BitTitan announced this week that all migrations to Microsoft SharePoint Online are free for its partners as part of the company’s MSPComplete end-to-end cloud service enablement platform. Partners also have access to additional complimentary sales tools. Check it out.

Peak 10’s second National IT Trends in Healthcare study shows that healthcare CIOs are under pressure to keep up with rapid advancements in interoperability, big data and security challenges, according  to 157 U.S. C-level executives and information technology professionals. Key for partners: Hospital groups are moving to outsource IT functions, adopt SaaS and cloud-based solutions and implement telemedicine portals. And, IT budgets are expected to increase in the next 12 months, according to 67 percent of health care IT leaders

Have you heard of Platform 9? I met the company at a recent Boston event hosted by my friends at and was impressed. Platform 9 is a channel-focused provider of OpenStack private clouds delivered as a SaaS-based managed service — it’s all about extreme ease of use. Partners can stand up a production-ready private cloud in minutes. Platform 9 handles upgrades and bug fixes behind the scenes, as well as ongoing monitoring and troubleshooting. It offers SLAs and is hardware, OS and platform agnostic. Take a look via a free trial, or check out a webinar on June 2.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know, either in comments or direct. Follow executive editor @LornaGarey on Twitter.

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