Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Sep 16

NetApp Accuses Rivals of Squeezing Partners

By | Managed Services News

NetApp targets rivals’ customers and partners in an aggressive acquisition campaign.

NetApp is targeting the competition, notably Dell, with an aggressive customer and partner acquisition campaign.

The vendor believes its portfolio – bolstered by a series of recent acquisitions – now provides a focus on the cloud, which its rivals lack.

Kristian Kerr is vice president of NetApp’s partner organization in EMEA. He says the acquisitions and cloud focus are attracting  partners “that have traditionally been more aligned to our competition.”

NetApp's Kristian Kerr

NetApp’s Kristian Kerr

“There are partners, especially in the UK, that have been closely allied with other vendors,” said Kerr. “But some of the competition don’t have a strong clear path to the cloud. We have a much stronger leadership position in hybrid cloud, and relationships with public cloud providers.”

Specifically, NetApp has Dell Technologies in its sights. NetApp has previously suggested that Dell’s midrange portfolio refresh in May underwhelmed customers and partners. It now says this acquisition campaign helps stranded Dell customers get to a hybrid cloud operating model.

“It’s much more a hands-on, surgical, targeted approach, said Kerr. “Identifying some partners that I feel, quite frankly, are getting squeezed by a couple of the large vendors. You [have] partners focused on cloud, storage, data management. They’re not interested in selling PCs and laptops and servers and everything else. They feel that they’re getting squeezed by some of these other vendors.”

As part of the acquisition campaign, NetApp has a fast track programme to onboard competitive partners. It has also launched a series of assets and prepackaged materials targeting its rivals.

Kerr stressed the firm wants partners and customers to know it as more than a data storage company. All brand messaging now focuses on NetApp “unlocking the best of cloud.”

“We’ve got a clear approach of what we want to do; we want to be the leader in hybrid cloud. We’ve got the most comprehensive cloud strategy, cloud- and friendly partner programme,” he said.

“We have opportunity now where we are gaining interest and onboarding new partners. Now we just want to accelerate that, plus take some competitive share as well.”

Updates to Partner Program

In July, NetApp announced several updates to its Unified Partner Program. It said it was unifying all contracts and agreements, streamlining guides and policies. It also said it was to offer fewer, more focused, deal-based incentive programs and growth attainment rebate programs.

NetApp also promised to provide registered partners with access to more information, communications, enablement and training. This includes bringing Cloud First partners into the program and expanding training programs for cloud partners and service providers.

However, last month NetApp announced several hundred job losses as the company “realigned resources and investments.”

Sep 15

Dell Technologies Layoffs: ‘Nothing Routine About Today’s Environment’

By | Managed Services News

With the cuts, Dell says it is focusing on the long-term health of the company.

Dell Technologies layoffs are coming. In a move to address its cost structure in uncertain times, the vendor notified employees that it will eliminate jobs, Bloomberg first reported.

An unnamed source said that Jeff Clarke, chief operating officer at Dell, told staff at an internal quarterly meeting that planned layoffs are coming. There was no mention of which groups or employees the cuts will impact. The vendor employs 165,000 people worldwide.

Dell's Jeff Clarke

Dell’s Jeff Clarke

“We’re also evaluating our business to make sure we have the right number of team members in the right roles and in areas where customers need us most,” according to a statement by a Dell spokesperson.

Dell Technologies responded to an inquiry by Channel Futures about the layoffs:

“Our priority continues to be taking care of our team members, so we can take care of our customers and our business, to ensure they’re healthy and strong for the long term,” the statement reads. “We’re also evaluating our business to make sure we have the right number of team members in the right roles and in areas where customers need us most. And, we’re addressing our cost structure to make sure we’re as competitive as we should be now and for future opportunities. While we do this type of organizational review regularly, and while it always results in some job loss or restructuring, we recognize that there is nothing routine about today’s environment. We updated our team Monday with this information so they understand the actions occurring this week. Every decision we’ve made up to this point is to make sure we’re doing what’s best for the long-term health of our company and our team.”

Financials

In a quarterly earnings call on Aug. 27, the company reported revenue of $22.8 billion. That was down 3% from the previous quarter. Operating income was $2.6 billion, or 11.5% of revenue.

Infrastructure solutions revenue was $8.2 billion, down 5%. Breaking that down, server and networking revenue was $4.2 billion, down 5%; and storage revenue was $4 billion, down 4%. Client Solutions Group commercial revenue was down 5%. The Client Services Group consumer revenue was $3.16 billion, up 18%. VMware revenue was $2.9 billion, up 10%.

During the call, Clarke said that Dell expects 60% of its workforce to stay remote or have a hybrid schedule. That’s in response to the fluid and uncertain economic times in which we live.

Yesterday, Clarke rolled out remote working plans to employees, worldwide, according to Bloomberg. Dell is letting employees work from home as much as they would like. That’s from one to five days a week post-pandemic, as long as they have manager approval. The vendor isn’t making compensation adjustments. And, the company was providing remote employees $400 for home office equipment.

Dell's Tom Sweet

Dell’s Tom Sweet

Tom Sweet, chief financial officer at Dell, in the financial call, addressed the outlook for the remainder of the year. He noted that it remained uncertain.

“Similar to Q2, we expect Q3 revenue to be seasonally lower than prior years, which has typically been flat to down 2% sequentially,” Sweet said.

Also at Dell

Also mentioned on Dell’s earnings call was the continued focus to provide as-a-service solutions for customers across the company’s portfolio.

“Giving them [customers] more flexibility in cloud-like economics,” said Sweet.

Dell partners recently learned that Rola Dagher is the company’s new global channel chief. Formerly president, Cisco Systems Canada, Dagher replaces Joyce Mullen, who left the company after 21 years.

And, the fate of the Dell-VMware relationship is not yet sealed.

Sep 15

OneLogin Partners Get More Rewards with Expanded Partner Program

By | Managed Services News

Accelerate 2.0 is designed to help partners globally expand their business with OneLogin.

OneLogin partners have access to an expanded partner program that introduces partner tiering, and provides additional business and marketing resources.

OneLogin designed Accelerate 2.0 to help partners expand their business with the company’s unified access management platform. Since launching its partner program, OneLogin partners now source more than 40% of the company’s opportunities.

OneLogin provides identity access management (IAM).

Matt Hurley is OneLogin‘s vice president of global channel, distribution, OEM and strategic alliances.

OneLogin's Matt Hurley

OneLogin’s Matt Hurley

“OneLogin announced OneLogin Accelerate in late 2019,” he said. “At that time we were in the early stages of building a channel program and recruiting partners. Our program has had phenomenal success and our partners generate a significant amount of new business for the company.”

It’s time for OneLogin to distinguish partners that have made significant investments into the company’s go-to-market motion, Hurley said.

“We also welcome partners in our community to make those investments to move up into our higher partner tiers,” he said.

Training and Certification

Accelerate includes programs to help educate, equip and grow OneLogin’s partners. Additionally, the company has committed to training certifications for partners with specializations in sales, technical and delivery of its products.

At the highest level, OneLogin’s platinum partners have invested and achieved sales and technical certifications across multiple places in their organization. They’re also meeting annual recurring revenue targets jointly established between the firms.

The new tiers allow OneLogin to bring new features to its top-tier platinum and gold partners. Those include AI deal sourcing, additional MDF and channel sales coverage.

“The OneLogin partner program rewards our partners at the highest incentive level of anyone in our space,” Hurley said. “We are a partner-first company and in several segments sell exclusively with our partners. We are maintaining all of that, plus investing in technical headcount to support our platinum and gold partners, channeling more marketing dollars to those levels as well as utilizing our AI deal sourcing models to help our platinum and gold partners find and close deals at a higher percentage.”

“As part of OneLogin Accelerate, we’ve been able to utilize the program’s training, dedicated support and co-marketing to create higher margin than we thought possible,” said Sam Barhoumeh, Ready Networks‘ CEO.

Sep 15

Acronis: Companies Lack Endpoint Security Amid Remote-Work Challenges

By | Managed Services News

Few companies are prioritizing a URL filtering feature.

New research by Acronis shows organizations continue to struggle to protect their data and infrastructure against new remote-work challenges.

For its 2020 Cyber Readiness Report, Acronis surveyed 3,400 companies and remote workers from around the world during June and July.

Almost all (92%) companies said they had to adopt new technologies to accommodate remote-work challenges. That includes workplace collaboration tools, privacy solutions and endpoint cybersecurity.

Candid Wuest is Acronis‘ vice president of cyber protect research. He said it’s surprising that only 2% of companies are prioritizing a URL filtering feature while phishing attacks escalate.

Acronis' Candid Wuest

Acronis’ Candid Wuest

“[This] means that most organizations are building their security protocols on compliance rather than actual real-life industry needs,” he said. “And only one out of five companies managed to keep its IT costs unchanged.”

Another surprise was 39% of companies suffered videoconferencing attacks. A big reason for this is no built-in video conferencing protection tools.

“The massive videoconferencing platform adoption was too abrupt, [with] users ignoring basic security features (available on Zoom, but not activated – like password protection, waiting rooms, authenticated access),” Wuest said.

Malicious hackers tried to attack 31% of global companies at least once a day during the pandemic, according to Acronis.

Additional Costs

Companies in the United States, Singapore, India and United Arab Emirates reported the most significant IT cost increases. Nearly half (47%) of U.S. companies report significant cost increases compared to the global average of 27%.

Additional costs came from new devices and infrastructure upgrades, Wuest said. Other added expenses are collaboration software and securing employees’ home networks.

One in three (35%) companies reported more new devices connecting to their corporate networks in the past three months. Countries with the most new devices are the U.S., India, Singapore and Sweden.

“The report shows that IT managers are struggling the most with adequately instructing employees on remote work and securing remote workers,” Wuest said. “Troubles with securing remote workers and ensuring the availability of internal corporate apps are both caused by low cyber awareness among employees.”

An automated policy application can help here, he said. Moreover, policies should not rely on employees’ cooperation only. Automated enforcement reduces the risk of employees violating them willingly. It also protects the company from their honest mistakes.

“In general, the lack of endpoint controls and numerous unmanaged, unprotected devices that get connected to the internal network – with no defense in depth (DiD) implemented – it becomes too easy to compromise the organization, creating a challenge for MSSPs,” Wuest said.

Sep 15

VMware vSphere, More Get Kubernetes Updates as Dell Announces Integrations

By | Managed Services News

Dell Technologies announces synchronous product releases.

VMware’s application and infrastructure modernization efforts are getting a boost. The vendor just announced new Kubernetes product updates for VMware vSphere, Tanzu Editions, vSan and VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF).

More specifically, VMware announced vSphere 7 Update 1, vSAN 7 Update 1 and VMware Cloud Foundation 4.1 product releases. The company is also introducing VMware vSphere with VMware Tanzu and Tanzu editions.

VMware's Sheldon D'Paiva

VMware’s Sheldon D’Paiva

“This is how we’re bringing modern applications to the hybrid cloud,” said Sheldon D’Paiva, director, cloud platforms business unit, VMware. “We continue to power forward and provide a developer-ready infrastructure. We feel good based on customer conversations about how we’re delivering a single platform from traditional, as well as modern, applications. Customers don’t need to add yet another platform on top of where they are already. They can leverage existing investments in tools and skills sets.”

More on Tanzu

Tanzu is a portfolio for building, running and managing modern apps on any cloud.

Earlier this year, VMware announced a slate of products around Kubernetes, and also unveiled the VMware Cloud Foundation hybrid platform. That supports both traditional VM-based and container-based applications, as well as an expanded Tanzu portfolio. What’s new today is vSphere with Tanzu.

“It’s an integrated Kubernetes solution. We rearchitected the heart of the platform, which is namely vSphere,” D’Paiva said. “That’s the fastest way for many of our customers to get started with Kubernetes.”

With vSphere, Tanzu customers can bring their own networking and storage. That is one key differentiator between VMware Cloud Foundation with Tanzu and vSphere with Tanzu.

“We believe that it will open the floodgates for application modernization initiatives,” said D’Paiva.

Beyond the Infrastructure Domain

The new Tanzu editions are packaged add-ons that come in basic, standard, advanced and enterprise. The design simplifies the customer journey with Tanzu by addressing common customer challenges.

“The Tanzu portfolio covers a broad gamut of capabilities that unlock productivity for engineering teams, large and small,” said Craig McLuckie, vice president, modern applications platforms business unit at VMware.

To simplify Kubernetes adoption, there’s Tanzu Basic Edition and Tanzu Standard Edition. Basic has Kubernetes fully integrated into vSphere. Standard is available in vSphere in VCF and is also available across multiple clouds.

Tanzu Advanced is for customers who deploy custom apps on Kubernetes. Finally, Tanzu Enterprise aims to transform the way organizations build software.

Other Updates

VMware vSphere 7 Update 1, vSAN 7 Update 1 and VMware Cloud Foundation 4.1 offer new capabilities that support traditional workloads. New features and enhancements will help customers …

Sep 14

Nvidia to Buy Arm for $40 Billion, Pose Big Challenge to Intel, AMD

By | Managed Services News

Nvidia could mount a significant challenge to Intel and AMD, but the deal might face regulatory challenges.

A blockbuster deal – Nvidia buying Arm for $40 billion – promises to reshape compute and artificial intelligence (AI) platforms.

Nvidia and Arm parent Softbank Group announced the agreement late Sunday evening. It is among the largest ever by a semiconductor manufacturer. Softbank, the conglomerate holding company, acquired Arm in 2016 for $32 billion.

The combination of Nvidia, known for its GPUs, and Arm’s system-on-a-chip processors, could mount a formidable challenge to Intel. It would also be a threat to AMD, which offers its own accelerators and CPUs.

Arm has licensed its CPU chip designs to more than 1,000 partners. Arm’s CPUs power most mobile phones and tablets today, and increasingly PC laptops including Microsoft’s new Surface X. But in recent years, Arm has also pushed into the data center with new power-optimized server CPUs and supercomputing.

While Arm itself doesn’t manufacture chips, it licenses its architecture to almost every leading player. Arm claims 180 billion chips have shipped in devices produced by its licensees including Amazon, Apple, Huawei, Qualcomm and Samsung. In addition to impacting the competitive future of compute and infrastructure, Arm and Nvidia have large developer partner communities.

Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang told both companies’ employees that it will keep that licensing model.

Be sure to keep up with the latest channel-impacting mergers and acquisitions in our M&A roundup.

“We will maintain its open-licensing model and customer neutrality, serving customers in any industry, across the world, and further expand Arm’s IP licensing portfolio with Nvidia’s world-leading GPU and AI technology,” Jenen wrote in a letter to employees of both companies.

If Huang can keep satisfy the U.K. and keep the Arm team happy, the move by Nvidia to acquire Arm “will be a strong endorsement of Nvidia’s strategy to be the platform for the next internet,” according to a LinkedIn comment by Cisco product manager Vernon Turner. “All of the pieces are coming together.”

Reaching a Broader Market

Almost every PC vendor offers Nvidia’s GPUs, or graphics processing units, in some of its high-performance desktops, laptops and workstations. Many server manufacturers and network providers are available with Nvidia GPUs as well. In recent years, Nvidia has expended its technology into the cloud, accelerating performance for AI-intensive capabilities. In April, Nvidia completed its $7 billion acquisition of Mellanox, which provides Ethernet, InfiniBand storage and network interconnect technology.

Huang told analysts on Monday that the combination will position the company to accelerate that push.

“By combining the world’s most popular CPU with Nvidia’s AI computing platform, we’re creating the leading computing company for the age of AI,” Huang said.

“Arm will definitely help Nvidia technology reach to broader market, especially edge AI,” Microsoft silicon architect Jaymin Jasoliya noted on LinkedIn.

But the companies acknowledged it could take up to 18 months to complete, pending regulatory approvals. It’s not a slam dunk that the deal will pass muster in China, the U.S. or England, where Arm is based. Two years ago, the Trump administration nixed Broadcom’s $117 billion bid for Qualcomm. Indeed, licenses and competitors may challenge the deal.

Softbank would get a $2 billion breakup fee if the deal doesn’t close. If the deal does clear all hurdles, the agreement calls for Nvidia to pay Softbank $12 billion in cash and $21.5 billion in Nvidia stock for Arm.

Analysts Weigh In

Patrick Moorhead, founder and lead analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, spoke with Huang and Arm CEO Simon Segars. Moorhead shared his observations in a Forbes post.

Moor Insights' Patrick Moorhead

Moor Insights’ Patrick Moorhead

“Nvidia brings incredible capitalization to Arm which, as we have seen since its Softbank acquisition, Arm has increased its market presence and competitiveness,” Moorhead noted. “Softbank investment has enabled Arm’s thrusts in the data center, automotive, IoT and NPU markets. I believe the ladder can only make it stronger as long as it sticks with its commitment to let Arm do what they do best, which is creating and licensing IP in a globally-neutral way which it is committing.”

Bob O ‘Donnell, president and chief analyst at TECHnalysis Research, agreed.

“The truth is, this acquisition would be a brilliant move for Nvidia,” he noted. “Because it would extend the company’s level of influence and exposure to many areas of the tech market that it has never been able to reach.”

Sep 14

Altaro Survey: MSPs Faring Better Now than Before COVID-19 Pandemic

By | Managed Services News

80% of MSPs have retained staff despite decreasing revenues due to COVID-19, the survey shows.

Altaro Software has just announced the results of a survey conducted to gauge the impact of COVID-19 on MSPs and their response to the pandemic.

According to Altaro, MSPs have largely dodged business pressures to lay off staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies everywhere have felt the economic uncertainty in every aspect of their businesses. But MSPs certainly have – “managed,” if you will – to hold their ground. The findings reveal an MSP industry that continues to evolve and adapt while identifying opportunities to boost revenue and business performance.

In fact, the survey found that eight out of 10 MSPs did not lay off staff, and those that did expect to rehire within six months. Even though one-third of MSPs said they faced losses of up to 50% in the first half of 2020, 21% reported revenue increases of up to 25%, while 21% saw no change.

OK. so rough start to the year, admittedly. But despite this, more than two-thirds of MSPs expect a better showing in the coming months compared to pre-COVID levels. How’s that for a plot twist?

Nearly 40% of MSPs stated that in terms of revenue in the coming six months, business performance was expected to stay the same, while 28% expected performance to improve by up to 40%. Of those MSPs that expected business performance to decline (27%), six out of 10 said they expected the drop to be between 21-40%.

Altaro's Stephen Chetcuti Bonavita

Altaro’s Stephen Chetcuti Bonavita

“MSPs continue to show amazing resilience in the face of economic pressures and uncertainty,” said Stephen Chetcuti Bonavita, CCO at Altaro. “The demand for IT services continues to grow – especially for backup – and MSPs are making the most of these new opportunities. Challenges remain and their concerns are very real; however, their ability to adapt means the future looks good.”

75% of MSPs Favor Remote Working, Revenue-Wise

This seems counterintuitive, but the work-from-home (WFH) movement has actually been a boon for MSPs. The surge in businesses’ requests for IT services has actually created new business opportunities. These may help offset some of the losses incurred in the first half of 2020.

As work-from-home becomes the norm for many companies, cloud and IT services have exploded. MSPs responded by expanding their services and product offerings to meet this increased demand.

According to the survey, more than three in four (75%) of MSPs said remote working is their best revenue-generating opportunity. This is closely followed by cloud computing (61%) and security as a service (38%).

This, of course, is only the beginning. To look ahead at the impact of COVID-19 on MSPs throughout the year yields a most interesting perspective. The majority of MSPs with a post-COVID-19 recovery plan intend to expand their product offering or services (66%). They also plan to improve their services (56%) or expand their marketing segment (48%).

Nearly one-third of MSPs do not know when they will return to a pre-COVID-19 level of operation. Though 29% are confident they will do so by the end of the year, that’s a hard guess for anyone. Other concerns addressed in the survey, and felt by all, include the unknown economic landscape and potential lack of business. There’s also cybersecurity threats, time management, hiring and changing technologies.

Sep 14

Key Elements of MDR for Powerful and Practical Cybersecurity

By | Managed Services News

Accelerate detection and remediation of advanced threats with a managed approach through MDR.

The rise in ransomware attack volume and sophistication is a wake-up call to IT service providers and their customers. Traditional perimeter-focused defenses, such as firewalls, are no longer sufficient against stealthy and financially motivated attackers. There are several ways to achieve a managed detection and response (MDR) outcome:

  1. Do-it-yourself (DIY)
  2. Outsourced
  3. Hybrid approach.

MDR’s defense-in-depth benefits MSPs by enhancing threat visibility, augmenting skills and expertise, responding to current vulnerabilities, and adding proactive prevention, detection and response. Here is a recommended approach for MSPs evaluating MDR and what it entails:

Do you have a SIEM for full visibility? Organizations must protect an ever-increasing attack surface that encompasses physical servers, workstations, endpoints and mobile devices. To ensure comprehensive visibility, you need to correlate log data in a security information and event management (SIEM) platform for quick search, analysis and incident response. Cybersecurity experts view SIEM as a foundational capability that organizations of all sizes and maturity levels should adopt.

Do you use MITRE ATT&CK for better threat correlation? Developed by MITRE, the ATT&CK framework is based on real-world threat observations. The framework’s tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) enable security defenders to improve threat hunting and complete discovery of ongoing attacks. Implementing MITRE ATT&CK on your own can be complex and time-consuming. Our threat protection platform, EventTracker, natively maps the ATT&CK knowledge base into its console for enhanced visibility and threat enrichment, so you benefit from the MITRE ATT&CK framework without doing the heavy lifting.

Do you have EDR to protect the endpoint? A significant percentage of today’s threats originate from always-on endpoints like laptops, tablets, servers and virtual machines. Organizations can improve threat detection time with endpoint detection and response (EDR) capabilities, especially when protecting legacy and unpatched devices. Stopping an attack early in the cyber attack lifecycle restricts adversary access, reconnaissance and damage. Our deep learning capabilities even accelerate threat prevention across a broad range of operating systems and file types. The business case for EDR is simple, with its proven results to protect your critical devices from zero-day attacks and mutating malware.

Can you automate cybersecurity? Automation can reduce mundane tasks repeated hundreds of times a day by cybersecurity analysts, leaving more time for proactive tasks like threat hunting. Streamlining cybersecurity reduces false positives and ensures that service providers and their customers see only validated and high priority threats. We speed up the predict, prevent, detect, and respond process while improving analyst efficiency and accelerating threat detection. Netsurion’s security simplifies IT operations and provides learn-once-defend-everywhere insights.

Do you have a SOC for 24/7 incident response capability? A security operations center (SOC) allows organizations to fully monitor, detect, investigate and respond to cyber threats 24/7/365. Hackers don’t work only Monday through Friday, and neither should your cybersecurity protection. But the obstacles to build and maintain an in-house SOC are significant. The high cost of hardware and software alone is daunting, but even more expensive is recruiting, training and retaining cybersecurity analysts. Netsurion delivers SOC-as-a-service with analysts who work as an extension of your in-house team.

MDR solutions and provider capabilities can vary widely. Make sure to tailor your assessment and selection process to

Sep 14

Cisco Promotes 13-Year Vet to Replace Dell’s Dagher as Canada President

By | Managed Services News

Rola Dagher recently moved on to become Dell’s channel chief.

13-year Cisco veteran Shannon Leininger is the new president of Cisco Canada. The appointment comes about a month after Dell Technologies hired away Rola Dagher from the post. Dagher is Dell’s new channel chief.

Cisco Canada's Shannon Leininger

Cisco Canada’s Shannon Leininger

Leininger’s most recent position with Cisco is area vice president, U.S. Public Sector SLED East. Based in Washington, D.C., the job focuses on state and local governments, and education. She held that position for two-and-a-half years.

Another lengthy role for Leininger at Cisco was senior operations director, federal civilian market lead. She held that title for more than six years. Prior to that, she was operations director, federal civilian health care and science, for more than seven years.

“Shannon has built a legacy of developing high-performing teams and advocating for the next generation of leaders. We’re thrilled to have her take the helm of the Canadian team,” said Jeff Sharritts, Cisco’s SVP of Americas sales. “As a longstanding Cisco employee and a well-respected sales leader, Shannon understands purpose is at the heart of everything we do. This understanding will be critical as she looks to support our people, our customers and partners, and communities across Canada in her new role.”

A History at Cisco and in the Industry

According to Leininger’s LinkedIn page, she is active in inclusion and diversity initiatives. For example, she serves on Cisco’s public-sector inclusion leadership team. She is also on the Connected Women board of directors for Cisco, and Women in Technology.

Leininger’s predecessor, Dagher, was president of Cisco Systems Canada for more than three years.

“I’m excited to bring a new perspective to Cisco Canada and lead the team to new heights,” said Leininger. “As we continue to align with where our customers are headed, help them overcome their mission-critical challenges and support their business continuity, it is critical that we focus on how they are adapting their digital strategies for the future. At Cisco, we believe that technology’s primary purpose should be for good and we are committed to leading the way and leveraging our technology to power an inclusive future.”

In its most recent earnings report, Cisco said revenue of $12.2 billion was down 9% from the same quarter a year ago. However, earnings per share were up 22% in the company’s fiscal fourth quarter. And, at the end of fiscal 2020, the company reached its goal of more than 50% of revenue earned through software and services.

Earlier this month, Cisco and the City of Toronto launched “Digital Canopy.” This is an investment of more than $1 million of in-kind technology and services to expand Wi-Fi access in some of Toronto’s most vulnerable communities. It includes free Wi-Fi hotspots for people who may not have access to reliable internet. The joint effort will deliver free Wi-Fi hotspots to approximately 13,000 Torontonians.

Sep 14

AWS: Pentagon’s JEDI Cloud Reevaluation ‘Was Never Meant to Be Fair’

By | Managed Services News

It’s official: The $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud computing contract will remain with Microsoft Azure.

After nearly a year of legal battles raised by Amazon Web Services, a contender for the coveted project, the Pentagon decided to stick with Microsoft.

“The department has completed its comprehensive reevaluation of the JEDI cloud proposals and determined that Microsoft’s proposal continues to represent the best value to the government,” the Department of Defense said in a prepared statement on its website. “The JEDI Cloud contract is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract that will make a full range of cloud computing services available to the DoD. While contract performance will not begin immediately due to the preliminary injunction order issued by the Court of Federal Claims on Feb. 13, 2020, DoD is eager to begin delivering this capability to our men and women in uniform.”

AWS has taken issue with the decision, chalking it up to President Trump’s public feud with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. AWS, as Oracle did, also is pushing back against the single-vendor structure for JEDI.

“Given the DoD did not agree to meaningfully review the many evaluation flaws outlined in our protest, we said the corrective action was likely to result in another contract award based on politics and improper influence and not based on the relative strengths of the two offerings,” the company wrote in a blog. “That is exactly where we find ourselves today, with the DoD’s reevaluation nothing more than an attempt to validate a flawed, biased and politically corrupted decision. It’s also important to point out that the DoD cited price as a major factor in the previous decision. This time, AWS offered a lower cost by several tens of millions of dollars. The DoD’s decision to intentionally ignore the clear cost benefits offered by AWS reinforces the fact that this corrective action was never meant to be fair.”

AWS Allegations Not Out of Line

Shelly Kramer, a founding partner and principal analyst at Futurum Research, said AWS “is probably not far off” with its allegation of unfairness.

Futurum Research's Shelly Kramer

Futurum Research’s Shelly Kramer

“I understand AWS’ frustration and commend the company for relentlessly pursuing what it believes is a fair and just resolution to this matter,” she wrote in a blog. “I do, however, believe (and have always opined) that Microsoft is as capable as AWS when it comes to fulfilling the needs of the Department of Defense for its JEDI cloud computing needs. While that might not have always been the case, Microsoft has earned its place to stand alongside AWS in the cloud arena. I have also always felt that politics has played a role in this decision, based on what is widely known and demonstrated animosity of the president toward Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. That aside, I’m also a realist. Politics always plays a role, in every selection process and every contract award. Period.”

With that in mind, Kramer predicts AWS will keep throwing legal roadblocks at Microsoft’s ability to start working on JEDI. Again, a court-ordered injunction remains active, so Microsoft cannot proceed.

“I think chances are good that what we’ll see here is continued delay by AWS up to the November presidential election, at which time the company will decide whether to continue to invest in this fight or to move along,” she said.

AWS Not Backing Down

For its part, AWS doesn’t appear ready to give up. In its blog, the company excoriates Trump and the Pentagon.

“We strongly disagree with the DoD’s flawed evaluation and believe it’s critical for our country that the government and its elected leaders administer procurements objectively and in a manner that is free from political influence,” Amazon said, adding, “Throughout our protest, we’ve been clear that we won’t allow blatant political interference, or inferior technology, to become an acceptable standard. Although these are not easy decisions to make, and we do not take them lightly, we will not back down in the face of targeted political cronyism or illusory corrective actions, and we will continue pursuing a fair, objective and impartial review.”

Microsoft, meanwhile, told Nextgov that it appreciates the Defense Department’s “careful review.”

“[T]he DoD confirmed that we offered the right technology and the best value,” a spokesperson told the publication. “We’re ready to get to work and make sure that those who serve our country have access to this much-needed technology.”

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