Tag: enterprise

Toshiba gets enterprise sassy

ToshibaDespite being beset by high level accounting woes, Japanese giant Toshiba is pressing ahead with product introductions.

Its storage division said it has released the next generation of enterprise solid state drives (SSDs) for its PX series.

The PX04S has four serial attached SCSI SAS models aimed at enterprise applications such as mail servers, database servers, virtualised file servers and primary storage.

The dual ported 12Gbit/s SAS PX04S has read IOPS up to 270K and write IOPS up to 145K, supporting up to 3.84 terabytes (TB).

Toshiba has high endurance, mid endurance and value endurance configurations with obvious price differences.

Here’s a snapshot of the range.

Toshiba enterprise SSDs

HP on track for split by Christmas

sliceThe maker of Expensive printer ink which is more precious than gold, weight for weight, said it is on track to cut itself in two by the end of the year.

In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission,  it said it would complete the process by the end of the fiscal year 2015.

Under the plan, the company will divide its personal computer and printer businesses from its corporate hardware and services operations.

The corporate division will be known as Hewlett Packard Enterprise and provide technology solutions, besides cloud and mobile services. It will comprise the company’s enterprise group, enterprise services, software and financial services businesses.

The filing provides detailed information on the business and historical financial results of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, assuming it to be a stand alone company.

In fiscal 2014, Hewlett Packard Enterprise would have posted a profit of $1.6bn on revenue of $55.1 billion, down 19 percent and four percent, respectively, on a year-on-year basis.

The company’s printing and personal systems businesses will operate separately as HP, which currently holds the number one position in printing and number two position in consumer personal systems segment in terms of shipments.

Meg Whitman, chairman, president and CEO of HP said that this separation will create two “compelling” companies well positioned to win in the marketplace and to drive value for our stockholders.

Confusion hits the networking market

The enterprise networking market appears to be down the loo, and how badly depends on which analyst you ask for the numbers.

Beancounters at IDC says the first quarter value was $5.2 billion, while Dell‘Oro Group claims it was $5 billion. IDC said the market lost 12.3 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013 – down around $US730 million – while Dell’Oro said the market lost a billion compared to the previous quarter.

About the only thing the two could agree on was that that Layer 2 / 3 Ethernet was tanking because  pesky enterprises were shifting to WiFi because it is faster and more useful.

IDC said that there had been some large shipments in the data centre market which might have saved the likes of Cicso’s bacon. Network infrastructure VP Rohit Mehra was quoted as saying “10GbE and 40GbE switch ports for the datacentre and campus core remain the growth engine for this market, although we do expect the GbE market to hold its own with port shipments during the coming years.”

Dell’Oro  said that “data centre switching paused as Cisco’s Nexus 9000 product transition continued”.

IDC said   Cisco commands more than 60 percent share of the Layer 2/3 market – slightly down in the quarter – a 4.3 percent revenue decline has an impact on the whole business. Cisco’s service and enterprise router revenue dipped by 1.8 percent.

HP added 4.6 percent Ethernet switch revenue, while Juniper rose 53.4 percent for the same segment over the same period.

Dell’Oro  said that the “white box” switch market nicked market share and value from the name vendors.

However it was not all bad.  Dell’Oro said that future data centre business and the uncertain Chinese market, as offering hopeful signals or the future. IDC thinks that data centre business will keep the industry alive in the long term.

HP enterprise sales spark recovery hope

There are hopes that the maker of expensive printer ink, HP might actually be on the path to recovery after it beat revenue forecasts as sales growth in its enterprise group.

Revenue from the enterprise group, which Chief Executive Meg Whitman wants to expand climbed two percent, aided by a 10 percent rise in server sales and three percent growth of the networking business.

To be fair expectations were low, after HP had a miserable third-quarter performance, and after rivals such as IBM and Cisco had reported poor results.

The pickup in enterprise hardware revenue in the fiscal fourth quarter was needed after after a  nine percent slide in sales from the same division in the previous three months.

Edward Jones technology analyst Bill Kreher told Reuters that there is some hope in HP’s restructuring given that the company was able to jump over what was admittedly a pretty low hurdle.

However he thought that any signs of a turnaround will remain uneven.

In fact HP”s operating margins eroded and Non-GAAP operating margin slipped to 9 percent in the quarter from 10.4 percent a year earlier, reflecting aggressive competition from rivals such as Dell and Lenovo.

Revenue fell across most of HP’s business divisions except the enterprise group, whose sales edged up to $7.6 billion. Sales from HP’s largest PC-focused unit fell another two percent to $8.58 billion while the printing division’s sales dropped a percent to $6.04 billion.

Still, shares in HP climbed above $27 after starting at $25.09 so everyone is feeling fairly optimistic. 

Despite growth, Cisco to lay off five percent of workforce

Cisco CEO John Chambers plans to axe five percent of the company’s entire workforce, with the 4,000 layoffs beginning in 2014.

Although Cisco has grown, Chambers said it was “not growing as fast as we need,” adding that the company had to dedicate its work to growth areas, quickly.

Cisco made $2.8 billion in sales from the $12.4 billion fourth quarter, meeting Wall Street’s estimates and beating them just a smidge.  Cisco also reported sitting on cash assets of $50.6 billion, an increase of $3 billion from the previous quarter.

Profit was $2.27 billion, an increase from the same time last year at $1.92 billion. Revenue was up to $12.42 billion from $11.69 billion. Shares have shot up 34 percent over the year but fell after this quarter’s results were posted.

As many of the big players in the tech industry are finding out, governments and businesses are hesitant to invest in new enterprise equipment or sign fat contracts because of the disastrous economic outlook worldwide.

“What we see is slow steady improvement, but not at the pace we want,” Chambers said, speaking on an analyst call, the WSJ reports.

Chambers does not seem to have many qualms about mass layoffs – for example, in 2011, Cisco gutted almost 10 percent of its work force when it layed off 6,500 employees. But in that instance the company’s profit had dropped two quarters in a row. Earlier this year, Cisco laid off 500 workers.

Chambers believes there is a bureaucratic culture of middle management at the company, and that more can be achieved with less staff.

IBM turns multi-billion creditor

IBM appears to be so frustrated with the lack of SMB client sales growth after the financial crash in 2008 that it has announced a scheme to loan money to a slew of them to the tune of $4 billion.

The plan will open the kitty up through IBM Global Financing and even come with a mobile app so companies can potentially access credit in minutes, anywhere.

IBM pointed out that by 2020 it’s expected there will be 10 billion mobile devices out in the wild, so it makes sense for the company to speed up crediting through the iPad, iPhone or Android (but not Blackberry).

BusinessInsider reckons that Big Blue is playing the long game. By getting involved at an early stage and opening its kimono to credit and IBM technology, partners are more likely to stay with the company in the long run. Besides, IBM spokesperson Ed Abrams told BusinessInsider that plenty of SMBs want to indulge in the latest buzzwords – big data, cloud – in tech, they just need a little direction, preferably towards IBM.

Abrams said the program is on the back of a trial last year where the company injected $1 billion worth of financing into the SMB market, expecting it to last 18 months. IBM got through it in less than a year, and 7000 businesses signed up.

IBM seems to be planning to plant as many seeds as it can for even more long-term growth. 

IBM warns enterprise security to carefully consider the cloud

IBM has finished its X-Force 2011 Trend and Risk Report, which has identified that the web is becoming suprisingly safer in terms of security vulnerabilities, spam and exploits. The downside is this is forcing cyber criminals to think outside the box to really wreak havoc.

Over the course of 2011, there was a 30 percent drop in the availability of exploit code compared to the average throughout the last four years. Software developers are to thank, according to IBM, for making the appropriate architecture and procedural changes which are necessary to stump hackers. At the same time, software vendors have been waking up to the fact that leaving public vulnerabilities unpatched is regarded as a phenomenally bad idea. IBM said that while some vulnerabilities are never patched, the percentage of those has been decreasing – down to 36 percent in 2011 from 43 percent in 2010.

XSS vulnerabilities were down in 2011 but they do still appear in approximately 40 percent of the applications IBM looks at. That is quite remarkable, IBM suggests, because it is a high level for a problem which is “well understood and able to be addressed.”

The bad news: malicious attackers are not resting on their laurels as more traditional methods are mostly quashed by the industry. Attackers are, IBM says, becoming increasingly savvy.

Although SQL injections were down 46 percent for 2011, cyber criminals have been making another attack increasingly popular: shell command injection, which means attackers can execute commands directly on the web server, were up as much as three times during the year.

It also looks like the phenomenal amount of press into password protection still have not made people take notice. “Dave1” or “654321” are easy enough for automated password guessing which became more popular as well. There was a “large spike” in this kind of password guessing, particularly in the second half of the year.

As newer trends continue to proliferate so too do the risks involved. Some CIOs and IT managers in the enterprise are worrying about Bring Your Own Device – a trend which shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. Without the right protection in place, businesses run the risk of letting exploits slip through the net – a big deal because publicly released mobile exploits rose 19 percent in 2011. Social media also became more of an obvious candidate for threats. IBM said its X-Force report noticed a massive increase in phishing emails for social media networks. Pressingly, there are other, more sophisticated attacks taking place. As social media users freely submit so much information about themselves to the web, they are opening themselves up for “pre-attack intelligence gathering” in both public and private sector networks.

Cloud has become firmly rooted as every-day terminology and moved from, according to IBM, an emerging technology to mainstream status still experiencing huge growth way into 2013. IBM suggests that organisations should think long and hard about which of their workloads go to which provider, and recommends that highly sensitive data stay in-house.

Liability in the cloud remains a troubling point of focus for many businesses. IBM says it encourages businesses to look very carefully at Service Level Agreements. IBM security cloud strategist Ryan Berg said in a statement: “Depending upon the type of cloud deployment, most, if not all, of the technology is outside of the  customer’s control. They should focus on information security requirements of the data destined for the cloud, and through due diligence, make certain their cloud provider has the capability to adequately secure the workload.”

Killing prominent botnets has also helped significantly reduce the number of spam traffic. IBM noted that spam in 2011 was down by roughly half the volume of 2010. We can also thank better spam filtering technology.

Hitachi GST ships 'fastest' enterprise hard drives

Hitachi GST is beating its chest about the Ultrastar C10K900 enterprise drive family. The kit is shipping now, and the company claims it’s the fastest around.

Hitachi boasts that the C10K900 has 18 percent faster sequential and 17 percent faster random performance than its nearest competitor – benchmarked in IOMeter on a Dell PE1950, with a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and an SAS/5e PCI-e HBA. 

The company claims the C10K900 runs at the industry’s highest 10K capacity point, 900GB. It’s also available at 600GB, 450GB and 300GB capacities. According to Hitachi GST, the Ultrastar drives sport average seek times of 3.8 milliseconds. Average latency time is under 3.0 milliseconds, says Hitachi, so we’d guess that’s 2.9.

Hitachi’s drives are a 2.5 inch design, meaning it taks up 70 percent less physical space and 65 percent less power than other 3.5 inch enterprise drives. There’s capacity parity with 3.5 inch 10K drives, too. 

The devices are low power at – Hitachi claims – up to 28 percent lower than competitors. Thanks to its Advanced Power Management technology, which has multi-state idle modes, the C10K900 offer read/write operating power specifications of 5.8 watts and 3.0 watts in idle. Also featured is Bulk Data Encryption to keep data safe in demanding security environments.

Qualification units are shipping now with volume shipments expected for Q1 2012.

Mobile connectivity has workers sleep deprived

According to a new survey from enterprise wi-fi outfit iPass, employees are increasingly troublingly attached to their mobile devices.

In its Mobile Workforce Report, of the workers surveyed, 59 percent said they would feel “disoriented, distraught or lonely” if they didn’t have a smartphone on them for a week.

Despite their smartphone addictions, the survey reports that on average, mobile-enabled employees tend to waste just 28 minutes a day with all the distractions smartphones bring. According to the survey, the top three most time consuming distractions are work email, technical problems and using social media.

The report says that tablet ownership has reached 44 percent of mobile employees, an increase from the 33 percent in the second quarter of this year.

Another trend is another nail in RIM’s coffin. iPass has recorded the iPhone taking preferential place over RIM’s Blackberry smartphones in the enterprise. 

Mobile workers – that is, workers who are connected when away from their desk – are suffering for their jobs. The report says one in three workers don’t get enough sleep because of their job and one in four sleep under six hours a night. An always-on environment means over half of workers surveyed said they either exercise very erratically or not at all. 60 percent blamed that on their jobs.

Evan Kaplan, CEO of iPass, said mobile employees work roughly 240 more hours a year than non-mobile counterparts. It seems the freedom escaping the shackles of a 9-5 office desk job is making us more of a slave to our work.

Dell: Apple needs to open up its secret proprietary garden

Those famous allies, Intel and Dell, are working on a research project which they both hope will provide them with some more insight about where and how the workplace is evolving. The world has already seen a lot of changes in the last ten years alone, so what’s next?

TechEye had a chat with Bryan Jones, executive director of marketing for public and large enterprise at Dell EMEA, and Ian Jones, enterprise sales director at Intel. We’re told there is no relation.

Dell and Intel have commissioned a survey of 8,000 workers in independent fields related to IT who will feed back their findings to a panel of experts.  The Dell blog, here, outlines exactly what the report aims to achieve. The report isn’t finished yet, but there are seven key points which have got Dintel curious. 

 

Choice and change

At first glance, they’re dressed up in corporate speak, but both companies make tacit arguments about how the workplace is changing. First, the two want to figure out how to make crowdsourcing work in business. “Businesses are fascinated with the concept of crowdsourcing,” Bryan Jones tells us. “But how do they then take that and apply that to their business? I think it’s a perspective of a lot of business, they know what it is and they should be interested, but they’re struggling with here it fits in.” A Mechanical Turk is not only found on the Kingsland Road.

There are questions about how crowdsourcing fits in with the core of an IT department. “How do you build the right IT infrastructure to take advantage of these colonies of experts, as you bring them in?” Dell’s Jones asks. Then there is crowdsourcing as a service. Or more specifically, he says, “how do you break up a concept, or development into  something that you can take advantage of that crowdsourcing capability? You spend a lot of money on your experts, your really smart people who are there for the innovation, but how can you free up their resources and time so they don’t have to do the mundane stuff?” And that is what Intel and Dell want to figure out. 

To us, it seems that what Dell is implying is a working world in which, perhaps, it’s not neccessary for the executives and the lab workers to file the paperwork and reports that bog down otherwise important research. For example, there is a Finnish company called Microtask which pays multiple people to fill in the smallest details of a form, cross checking the answers and using software to understand the correct response. In the end you have a complete document, in a similar way that Google’s captcha project is digitising books while also providing security for websites and services.

Intel and Dell say another concept which has found itself under the looking glass is measuring worker productivity by output rather than hours. Is the nine-to-five job, which the world is so set in its way with, really necessary? “Do you need to go to the office, or can you get it done at the coffee shop, do you have to do it nine to five?” Dell’s Jones asks. “How do you evaluate employees on a like for like basis from an HR perspective?” The landscape is changing and we don’t need to be set in our ways. The output is what matters, not the timesheet. 

 

Devices in the workplace

TechEye recently talked to Good Technology, which has a new suite of products that IT managers can integrate to look at security on the app level. Any company which holds sensitive information is a potential customer, according to Good. The reason software like this is so crucial is because of the ebb and flow of new devices entering a working environment.

As Intel says, there is a change in adoption. According to Ian Jones: “Increasingly, what we’re seeing is the choice of the device is situational – as a professional, I know you’ve got a laptop, and a smartphone, and a tablet, and you will choose those depending on your circumstance at the time.” The same goes for other industries where the choice of devices varies, like in construction where rugged smartphones and tablets can be appropriate. “These devices are becoming more pervasive around the world,” Jones says.

And with these pervasive devices comes the prospect of a global network, connected at all times.

Could that ready availability and constant connectivity lead to more work-related stress – and not less of it? It depends how a company plans to look at it.

Bryan Jones agrees there are questions to be asked. “That’s part of what we’re trying to understand. This whole concept of the adoption of the devices, measuring output, not hours. I think there is a cultural set of challenges with being always on and always connected. You need downtime to recharge your batteries and be at your best. We think there is a balance that has to be struck.”

Intel’s Ian Jones tows a similar line: “Giving individuals the freedom to choose is a massive benefit for an IT director to bring to a community. If you had to get something finished on the Friday evening, you had to stay late. Now you have the choice to do it in a different way.”

But there “are pros and cons,” according to Dell. “We’re trying to get to how IT helps enable and address the challenges rather than make them worse.”

Jones says as the generational change becomes more clear, the latest technology as part of the package is arguably as important as the company car once was 20 years ago. 

“We’re spending a lot of time ‘on’,” said Dell’s Bryan Jones. “The shift in responsibility is moving away from the domain of the employer to this shared responsibility of employer and employee. You have to help yourself, and be willing to be involved and accountable for yourself in a way that frankly wasn’t there ten years ago.”

With the changes in IT, it’s clear that there needs to be a worldwide attitude change for companies to keep their head above the water. 

Of course, Dell’s Bryan Jones says that, as a company involved in and familiar with the consumerisation of IT, you want to be able to open up and embrace it. “But you can’t do it without having some level of control,” he says. “Otherwise you have security concerns, accountability concerns, compliance issues.” With that, the role of the IT manager needs a re-think, they must face up to how the changing face of technology fits  in and connects to the rest of the organisation. 

That is where the jack-of-all-trades future CIO comes in. CIOs will need to know more, be flexible and highly adaptable. “The CIO of the future is going to be the manager that has the internal stuff, all the way out to other stuff that is exclusively in the cloud and everything in between,” Dell’s Jones said. While the concepts “may be uncomfortable for today’s IT executive to address, you’re going to have to, to remain relevant and attract the right worker.”   

Jones says that people pick their technology and then find appropriate uses for it, too. Good Technology told us about American soldiers on the battlefields in Iraq where soldiers were using iPhones to navigate and communicate. Jones agrees that when technology can be manipulated and used to an advantage, in certain security-critical situations it’s very, very important to have the right infrastructure protection there. 

The soldier using an iPhone is a good example, Jones says: “If you think about the choice of the device, we see that a lot. That burden of making structure secure is something the IT manager is faced with, it has to be security at the app level, and making sure someone using the device is who they say they are.” That’s a significant change. The control is out of the hands of the employer. 

People are increasingly savvy with their own devices at home, which often offer a level of technology and usability a that blows the office computer out of the water.

TechEye asked about the difficulties in educating end users and the IT managers. As the generational gap shifts, so does the understanding of IT in the workplace. No example is as perfect as the public sector and, specifically, the NHS. The NHS is a huge organisation which also has offices around all of the United Kingdom. 

Although it is frowned upon, workers do bring their own devices to their jobs at the NHS. That’s good, and bad, according to Intel. At the very least it suggests a shift in thinking. 

“The NHS is a tough customer that we [Intel] have had experience with,” Ian Jones says. “People are starting to bring their own devices in, and using them, and goodness knows if they’re secure. On the other hand, there are tablet projects which are secured through a smart card scheme, so they are clearly at a level of progression on both fronts. They are arguably the toughest customer to address because they’re regional, trust by trust, but they – both managed and unmanaged – prove the change is happening there, and it’s going to happen in other places as well.”

Dell says there will be healthcare specific data in the report. What it wants to do is understand, and help other businesses understand – including in sensitive areas like healthcare, insurance, banking and the legal community – exactly how to handle their data. “How much of this can you put in the cloud, or should you put in the cloud,” in Bryan Jones’ words. “We’re trying to get some more insight into this in the next round of research.”

 

Locked-in, proprietary systems doomed? Dell thinks so

The future of the workforce will not be with a single vendor. Dell tells us: “They will not be proprietary and they will not be closed architectures. They will have to support multi vendor capabilities.”

What, then, about the famously walled-garden that Apple has built around itself? “That should include Apple,” according to Dell. “We look at solutions from Apple, HP, IBM, Oracle, and there has been a trend lately for closed architecture. We don’t think long term that ever wins the race.

We believe you have to be able to support all of that. What you’re essentially betting is that one provider is going to out-innovate the entire industry – the innovation will win out in the end.”

“It can’t be ONLY Apple, devices, it can’t be ONLY Apple applications,” Jones says. “The iPhone is being outshipped by Android, especially in emerging economies. And if you’re going to deliver in a global sense, we believe long term, open and affordable absolutely delivers.”