IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

ICYMI: Our Channel News Roundup for the Week of October 31st

A would-be Slack killer from Microsoft, high drama from Intel Security, and statistical confirmation that your parents don’t understand what the heck you do for a living were all among the stories we didn’t get around to covering this week. By Rich Freeman

We thought we had made ourselves clear by now, IT industry. When the ChannelPro team is (extremely) busy staging another of our genuinely fantastic SMB Forum events, as we were in Boston this week, you are not to make news. But you just couldn’t restrain yourselves, could you? Well, fine then, we’ll accommodate your thoughtlessness one last time for 2016 and catch everyone up on the stories we couldn’t get around to this week.

Microsoft TeamsGo, Teams! As in Microsoft Teams, the new Office 365 component that subscribers to Enterprise and Business plans have had access to in preview form since Wednesday. The forthcoming system, which is meant to compete with the much-loved collaboration platform Slack, has a whole lot of catching up ahead of it, but will benefit from native integration with the also popular Office 365 suite that Slack can’t boast. Should be an interesting fight, assuming Teams ends up providing a reasonable facsimile of Slack’s bewitching user experience.

Blink and you could have missed it. But the much ballyhooed new Microsoft Dynamics 365 hit general availability this week, and a roadmap for the new business solutions suite appeared online too. All of which will be quite interesting to some of you and less so to others, according to our research anyway.

And now, before moving on to everyone else’s news…Let’s take a peek at these other, lesser Microsoft announcements from the week that was:

  • The Microsoft Access database (along with support for some new data sources) is now part of Office 365 Business and Business Premium plans.
  • Office 365 administrators now have enhanced control over end user access to third-party apps.
  • Bletchley, Microsoft’s blockchain solution, is now available on the Azure Marketplace.

Cisco UCS S-SeriesParty favors. Actually, it’s a mite glib to call the two new products Cisco unveiled at its partner conference in San Francisco this week party favors, but let’s face it, one reason vendors like Cisco announce new products at conferences is to give attendees a little reward for making the trip. For Cisco partners this time around, the goody bag included a new all-in-one endpoint security solution with integrated prevention, detection, and response capabilities, a new Unified Computing System storage server (pictured) optimized for Big Data, and an updated edition of the ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite automation and management system.

Not bad! We would have settled for a USB hub.

Jack BauerPaging Jack Bauer. Intel Security, by contrast, didn’t have new products to share with folks at its FOCUS 16 event in Las Vegas. It made up for that, however, by surrounding the enhanced defense architecture it outlined with the kind of drama once reserved for TV spots promoting the new season of 24. Today’s cybersecurity specialists, Intel Security told us in a press release, are tasked with nothing less than “defending the civilized world” from cybervillains, on a battlefield “where more than money is at stake and where private and public sectors are fighting against time.”

Cue the countdown! And then tell people about the “Dynamic Endpoint, Pervasive Data Protection, Data Center and Cloud Defense, and Intelligent Security Operations” solutions that combine to provide unified protection against current and future threats. And since integrations with third-party solutions have been a key part of Intel Security’s strategy since last year’s FOCUS event, why not spotlight a few new ones with Check Point, Aruba, Huawei, and MobileIron as well?

This was the first FOCUS event, by the way, since Intel announced its intention to spin off its Intel Security unit (which was better known as McAfee once upon a time) as an independent business that it and private investment firm TPG will co-own. That transaction is still pending.

Alcatel IDOL 4SMeanwhile, from our not-life-or-death-but-still-interesting product news department. There was this:

  • Adobe unveiled a new solution for crafting “digital experiences.”
  • Alcatel announced a new Windows-powered smartphone (pictured) to be sold exclusively via T-Mobile.
  • ARM shipped a new VPU and GPU designed to please Generation Z, whatever that is, by enabling more immersive visual content on mobile devices.
  • Acronis launched a new cloud-based file sync and share solution.
  • Bitdefender added new protections against ransomware and advanced persistent threats to its GravityZone product line.
  • Fujitsu equipped its ScanSnap Cloud document imaging solution with new integrations to Box, LedgerDocs, and other third-party solutions.
  • IBM added hybrid cloud capabilities to its all-flash storage arrays.
  • Thin client vendor IGEL released a preview edition of its forthcoming Linux 10 OS.
  • Lenovo shipped the new Phab 2 Pro smartphone, which utilizes Google’s Tango technology and partner solutions to deliver a variety of new augmented reality experiences.
  • ManageEngine added remote control to its client management solution’s iOS app.
  • Microsemi released new Ethernet PHYs for Industrial and Internet of Things applications
  • NEC shipped a new series of storage gateways capable of supporting SAN, NAS, or both in a single, unified storage environment.
  • Nexsan added support for mobile and web access to its Unity storage platform.
  • Qualys announced an agreement with Hewlett Packard Enterprise to make its cloud-based security and compliance solutions part of HPE’s managed security services portfolio.
  • Quorom shipped version 4.0 of its BDR solution, which features new automated testing functionality and a new browser-based UI.
  • Salesforce launched Lightning Partner Community, which sounds like a channel program but is actually a Salesforce-based solution for companies in any industry with a channel program.

Mark KirsteinOur not-life-or-death-but-still-interesting non-product news department was busy this week too. Covering developments like this:

This week’s stats ticker:

  • By 2018, more than 3 million workers globally will be supervised by a so-called “robo-boss,” according to a list of “Creepy but Cool Facts on Artificial Intelligence” published by Microsoft (the company gleefully propelling us into that creepy future) on Halloween.
  • Amazon Web Services has twice the infrastructure-as-a-service market share as its top three competitors (Microsoft, Google, and IBM) combined, according to Synergy Research.
  • From the same Synergy Research study: Cloud infrastructure service revenue is growing 50 percent a year.

Parents and computersSurprise! Guess what, techies? You know those people to whom you’re constantly giving free computer support to, otherwise known as your parents? Turns out most of them don’t understand what you do for a living, according to recent research from LinkedIn. Indeed, fully 80 percent of surveyed parents couldn’t explain what that UI designer in the family does and 58 percent were mystified about what kind work a “software developer” does all day. On the plus side, 78 percent of parents brag about what their kids do for a living whether they know what it is or not.

The same study also revealed that just under half of parents (both with and without kids in IT) don’t think they could handle their child’s job. That, of course, implies the other roughly half of parents think they probably could take on what their kids do, suggesting that a lot of you reading this right now were raised by profoundly, extremely delusional people.

About the Author

Rich Freeman is ChannelPro's Executive Editor

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