SPICEWORKS SPICEWORLD — This week at SpiceWorld 2017 in Austin, Texas, Spiceworks executives showed off the company’s 2018 State of IT report. Based on responses from more than 1,000 IT respondents from a mix of company sizes and types, the survey paints an optimistic picture of tech buying trends in North America and Europe.
Several channel supplier exhibitors also discussed with Channel Partners their latest initiatives, and Spiceworks announced a new Learn initiative and some product news. Find details here.
The just-released survey, which ran in July, shows IT budgets will stabilize and, for 44 percent, grow in 2018. Just 11 percent expect IT spending to decrease. Key investment areas include hiring additional IT staff and increases in adoption of emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, virtual reality and IoT.
Spending on cloud-based services will also rise.
And we’re not talking anemic growth. Among companies that anticipate budgetary gains, the average increase is 19 percent. One area of concern for partners: more competition for talent from deep-pocketed enterprises. Sixty-two percent of organizations with 1,000 to 4,999 employees and 70 percent of companies with more than 5,000 employees report they’ll hire more IT professionals in 2018.
On the plus side for digital-services sellers, the top workloads running in the cloud will be communications and collaboration, cited by 42 percent; backup and disaster recovery, 41 percent; and productivity apps at 29 percent.
We also spoke with Arcserve, Carbonite, Intel and Sophos at the event and picked up some tips on engaging with the Spiceworks community. And as you can tell by the photo at the Eaton booth above, people were having fun. Click through our image gallery below for pictures and a recap.
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Carbonite has been in growth mode. The company now has 1.5 million B2C and B2B customers and more than 160 petabytes of data under protection. It’s made three notable acquisitions, purchasing Evault’s assets in early 2016, then earlier this year scooping up DoubleTake’s HA business and DataCastle for endpoint backup, recovery and analytics technologies.
At SpiceWorld, Carbonite marketing SVP Norman Guadagno told Channel Partners that the company has been working to revamp its site to reflect the new breadth, integration and enterprise readiness of its portfolio.
“We’re working toward a platform approach,” said Guadagno, citing data protection solutions ranging from backup and recovery to migration to mail archiving. He says the company has seen some 70 percent business growth and is looking to help partners help customers assess the value and accessibility requirements of various data types and select the most cost-effective storage locations, then set RPO and RTO guidelines.
Jon Whitlock, Carbonite’s vice president of channel sales and marketing, recently filled Channel Partners in on how the combined program will work. The goal is for partners to work more easily across product lines to offer the solutions that best fit each customer’s needs.
Guadagno says to check the company’s website on Tuesday.
Almost half (43 percent) of respondents have adopted IT automation technologies, and an additional 22 percent plan to implement next year. At a roundtable discussion moderated by Peter Tsai, senior technology analyst at Spiceworks (left); Billy Brown, information security officer for IT consultancy Engaging Solutions; Christian Lind, IT director for Nebraska Cancer Specialists; and Brad Bishop, systems administrator with Lamar University (l-r) agreed: Increased use of automation for mundane as well as important but data-intensive tasks such as monitoring security logs is a win for IT.
There are plenty of options for partners to automate their own and customers processes, and a recent ServiceNow study shows that highly automated companies are six times more likely to experience revenue growth of more than 15 percent.
Just before SpiceWorld, Arcserve welcomed Tom Signorello as its new CEO. Dave Hansen, who had been serving as interim CEO, will remain as chairman of the board. Signorello was most recently CEO of managed services provider OnX Enterprise Solutions. He also served as VP of North American Global Managed Services at Unisys.
While Arcserve is best known for data protection, talk at the show also focused on the new Ransomware Watch consortium that it formed with Infoblox, KnowBe4, Webroot and others. The site offers intel on new malware strains and tools including a ransomware simulator and system analyzer.
Speaking of Ransomware ...
There was a full house for a ransomware presentation by Ken Dwight, aka “The Virus Doctor.” Among Dwight’s advice: Don’t assume that wiping an infected system to bare metal is the best course of action. It could lead to extended downtime, and most business-class anti-malware programs will find and remove the infection and ransom notes.
In addition, he warned to test restore of files on a system not connected to the internet, and if unable to recover, stop and proceed cautiously rather than attempting to cleanse the malware. That step may make files impossible to decrypt using tools available from sites such as NoMoreRansomware, ID Ransomware or Bleeping Computer.
While there’s no guarantee of recovery after ransom is paid, statistically Dwight says there is a 75-90 percent probability of success.
So much for VARs being on the ropes. Among survey respondents, hardware still represents the largest share of spend, at 31 percent. Desktops and laptops take 16 and 15 percent of all hardware spend, respectively, while 13 percent of those budgets will go to servers. Networking, tablets and mobile devices, and security appliances are all around 7 percent.
Another finding: The larger the company, the more likely respondents are to use managed services. Among those spending on outside help, 11 percent of budgets will go to managed hosting, followed by managed storage/backup (9 percent), managed hardware support and maintenance (9 percent), and managed security (9 percent).
StorageCraft, also in the DRaaS business, announced in August a $100,000 recovery guarantee as a benefit for all Platinum partners that employ one StorageCraft certified engineer and one StorageCraft Certified Master Engineer. Meet those criteria and StorageCraft will compensate the partner up to $100,000 ($10,000 per for as many as 10 affected machines) for devices that are protected at the Cloud Premium service level but cannot be virtualized during a failover event.
There is some fine print: The issue must be reported to StorageCraft support within 24 hours of the disaster, and the company has 24 hours to restore the device.
At SpiceWorld, reps talked up the cloud-based service’s 99.999+ percent uptime, central management of all customer accounts and services from one location, and a VM Policy topology editor so that testing and execution of a site-wide failover can happen with the click of a button.
Intel showed off its new Unite Navigator room collaboration system. The compact hardware unit lists at $499 and is powered by vPro technology. The software powering the system is free; simply put a box in each customer site. The node connects wirelessly to displays, projectors or interactive whiteboards. For each meeting, users generate a PIN code to grant access. Connections are encrypted with 256-bit SSL and stay within the corporate network. Participants can share and edit content in real time.
Company reps said the Unite system was developed for internal use by Intel engineers frustrated with the complexities of secure conferencing and collaboration systems and that the offering is a great way to show off the vPro platform.
Sophos released this week its Sophos Mobile 7.1 enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution as well as the RC-1 build of the XG Firewall. However, at SpiceWorld, security solutions architect Byron Watson wasn’t talking products as much as the channel-focused provider’s emphasis on a holistic process, end-user education and integrated network and endpoint security.
The company also recently announced a cloud security provider specialty for partners.