THE CLOUD ISSUE #172
THE BIG INTERVIEW
What keeps AWS on top? We ask Ian Massingham, the companyâ€™s lead tech evangelist
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TheEditor A big 2018 awaits
AFTER A rollercoaster 2017 packed with more drama than I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, what awaits us over the coming 12 months? The agenda for tech year has long been CES and that is sure to be the case for 2018. The CTA’s Steve Koenig has his say ahead of the show on P32 and I won’t spoil what he predicts, but let’s just say that you shouldn’t expect Alexa to go away any time soon. Closer to home in the Channel, and I touch on it in a feature on bigmoney mergers and acquisitions on P28, looks to be a narrowing in the supply chain, with specialist vendors and distributors continuing to be bought up by the big players. This has been a huge factor for the past 18 months and there are no signs of that changing. From PCR, you can expect even more industry-leading comment and opinion across our magazine and website throughout the year. Speaking of our website… One exciting development in the past month has been the launch of the brand new PCR website. After months in the works, we were able to reveal the new site at the end of December and I couldn’t be happier. Expect lots more visually capitavating content, along with plenty of web-exclusive features that we’ve got in the works. I’d also like to take this opportunity to bid a fond farewell to longtime PCR designer Dan Bennett. Dan has been with us for 11 long years and is one of the longest-lasting members of staff in the entire NewBay family, but he has decided that it is the time for him to leave us for pastures new. You might not realise it, but Dan has been pivotal in PCR throughout the years, not only helping to ensure that the magazine stays with the times, but also giving us plenty of ideas that we would never have thought of. We wish him all the best. We’ll miss you Dan!
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THE BIG INTERVIEW AWS
Contents January 2018 Kaspersky conundrum The Cloud in 2018
Will the Channel keep faith where the UK government has not?
Securing the Cloud
How to keep data safe in the Cloud with GDPR approaching
Rounding up forecasts and industry analyst predictions for 2018
Merger she wrote
Are mergers and acquistions good for business?
At a glance 32 CES INTERVIEW Steve Koenig, CTA senior director of market research, speaks ahead of CES 2018 44 THE GAMES AFOOT We round up the biggest stories that are going to be dominating the conversations in the gaming world in 2018
10 Life in the Channel 13 Industry opinion 36 Products 49 Logging off
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The end of the line for Kaspersky? As the UK government is warned off from using Kaspersky products, Rob Horgan examines what impact that decision will have on the Russian firm, its partners and the Channel as a whole
ASPERSKY’S DAYS IN the West could soon be numbered – in fact, they probably already are. Public confidence in the Russian cybersecurity firm is shaky to say the very least, as the Sword of the Damocles inches closer to the under-fire firm. Now that may sound like a big jump or a tremendous assumption to make, considering the current climate, but the reality is that Kaspersky is in real danger of having the door abruptly slammed in its face. If things continue in the vein that they are currently going, Kaspersky could soon be banished from Europe and the US altogether. The first major UK firm to succumb to the concerns circulating around Kaspersky is Barclays. Quick on the heels of the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) decision to advise the UK Government against using Kaspersky products, Barclays pulled the plug on dealings with the Russian software firm. Removing Kaspersky’s security software from its list of customer offerings, Barclays snap reaction lays weight to the argument that commercial firms can be – and evidently are – easily swayed by government stances. That would seem especially true when it comes to matters of internet security. In this day and age, when
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cybersecurity is playing havoc at the forefront of everyone’s paranoia – yet low down on most people’s understanding (including government officials) – Kaspersky appears to be being prepped to take a bullet. Barclays official stance was that while it was removing the product it was not encouraging users to strip Kaskpersky software from their PCs (perfectly contradictory). “Following the information that’s been shared in the news we will no longer be offering Kasperky’s free service,” a Barclay’s spokesperson said. “We’ve made the precautionary decision to no longer offer Kaspersky software to new users. However, there’s nothing to suggest that customers need to stop using Kaspersky. At this stage there is no action for you to take. It’s important that you continue to protect yourself with anti-virus software.” At this point it is integral to point out that Kaspersky has not been found guilty of any wrongdoing. Its only proven ‘crime’ – if it can even be called that – is the fact that it is a Russian company, with a Russian founder, that pays its taxes to the Russian government. In fact, like Barclays the NCSC urged people not to drop Kaspersky on the back of its own warning. “We see no compelling case at present to
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“It would be grossly irresponsible of any nation who sees Russia as a threat to allow any government department or significant business entity to be using any Russian technology” Charl van der Walt, SecureData
extend that advice to the wider public sector, more general enterprises, or individuals,” a NCSC spokesperson said. “We really don’t want people doing things like ripping out Kaspersky software at large, as it makes little sense.” And yet, Barclays isn’t the first major company to react to the mounting speculation surrounding Kaspersky’s true intentions and most probably won’t be the last. Earlier in the year, after the US Department of Homeland Security announced that it was ‘concerned about ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence’, retailers began banishing Kaspersky products from their shelves across the US and UK. While Amazon still offers Kaspersky products (a big confidence boost for the security firm) Best Buy, Office Depot, Office Max, Staples and Target have either stopped selling or are phasing out Kaspersky products. Each time Kaspersky is accused of spying, its charismatic founder Eugene Kaspersky jumps to his companies defence. Time after time we have heard him pleading his companies good intentions, and promising to be completely transparent. For now the UK distributors and retailers who deal with Kaspersky are – on the whole – sticking with the Russian firm, however the mounting pressure may take that choice out of their hands. (The fact that Kaspersky’s Channel partners have kept tight-lipped on the subject so far tells its own story.) 8
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As nations point their fingers at one another and cyber warfare becomes a reality, the distrust that is already building will eventually become too great to ignore. According to chief security officer at SecureData Charl van der Walt, it is only a matter of time before Cyber Balkanisation – effectively borders on the internet – comes into force. “In a reality where nations are in conflict… it would be grossly irresponsible of any nation who sees Russia as a threat to allow any government department or significant business entity to be using any Russian technology, let alone something so deeply embedded as an antivirus engine,” he said. “It won’t stop with Russia either. China is already in the firing line and governments will increasingly see their technologies and systems being shunned. This is why Cyber Balkanisation seems like such an inevitable tragedy: if the West starts rejecting Russian and Chinese technologies, why wouldn’t those two countries do the same? Inevitably pro-western allies like Israel and Western Europe will be painted with the same brush. All the way up and down the computing stack, governments and companies will be forced to choose vendors with which they feel a political alliance.” If van der Walt is correct, Kaspersky may just be the tip of the iceberg as virtual borders are drawn in cyber space. The Channel will have a large say in the matter as individual partners must decide whether to follow in their government’s footsteps or to commit to their existing business partnerships. www.pcr-online.biz
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“We’re fully embracing IoT, and I’m looking forward to driving through client-true solutions in this area” 10
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LIFE IN THE CHANNEL
Neil Bramley Toshiba’s B2B Client Solutions Business unit director of Northern Europe talks to PCR about 20 years in the business, edge computing and his upcoming holiday on the slopes How long have you been at Toshiba and what are your key responsibilities? I’ve been at Toshiba for over 22 years, starting way back in 1995. My current role is tremendously diverse but can be driven down to a few key areas. First and foremost, I’m responsible for all aspects of sales and marketing, both to the Channel and end clients across the UK, Ireland, and Nordics, as well as the operational and commercial aspects of the business. We have over 30 years of experience within the European B2B PC market and have been dedicated to the Channel throughout this time, so determining the best solutions and programmes to continually support our distributors and resellers is of utmost importance. What is your average working day? There’s a lot of variety within the role, which is natural when overseeing multiple markets, a tiered partner programme and operations across both the commercial and personnel streams of the business. One constant though is my gym routine – every other day. Once in the office, I’ll check my emails before we sit down for a personnel and business catch-up. Then it’s on to the hustle and bustle of the day – which could entail evolving our verticalisation approach, attending meetings with potential new partners and clients, or enriching our staff development and training programmes. What is the most surprising/unexpected thing that’s happened to you at work? It’s always great to see the resourcefulness of individuals or teams, and just how collaborative and supportive the approach is. While not necessarily a surprise, this is a core element of the culture at Toshiba, so it’s wonderful to see it wholeheartedly embraced.
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What is the best part of your job and why? The greatest constant is change, and nowhere is this truer than in the technology sector. At Toshiba, we want to deliver even greater value and differentiation, with a firm focus on addressing the business needs of the future now. I love the excitement, challenges and opportunities that come with working towards such a goal. Our hardware devices are globally renowned and will always be a major part of our business, but we’re also innovating in areas such as edge computing, clientless solutions, and even quantum cryptography. What is the biggest challenge of your job and why? I’m an individualist and have always wanted to work with an individual in the most effective way possible. In my opinion, this is essential in enabling people to achieve their true potential, while also demonstrating that we as a business recognise the value of that individual. My frustration would be if we fail to acheive this in any way. What plans have you got in the pipeline and what are you looking forwards to in 2018? First things first – going skiing! I’m looking forward not only to hitting the slopes, but also some work-free time with my family and friends. From a professional perspective, we’ve got some great new propositions in the pipeline which makes for a very exciting 2018. We’re fully embracing the era of IoT and connected devices, and I’m looking forward to driving through client-true solutions in these areas. How can people get in touch with you? Both the team and myself are easily contactable via email – we’d love to hear from you at B2B@toshiba.co.uk.
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Leanne Johnson - senior manager of Vendor Relations, CompTIA
How harnessing the Power of One can bridge the confidence gap Encouraging women in the workforce could generate £2.6 billion for the UK economy Key to tackling this is through getting more women in THE TECHNOLOGY industry is not only crying out technology to speak up and act as role models for girls at for more talent, but a more diverse range of skills that a young age. If they can relate to them and encourage men alone cannot fill. Women currently make up 17 per them to aim high, they can act as a significant source of cent of the technology workforce, despite representing inspiration that can have a lasting impact much later in 46 per cent of the total workforce in the UK. These are life. That one person – a teacher or family friend – could figures that have to improve – a report from Nominet make a huge difference to a young person’s life. suggests that increasing the number of women in the We at CompTIA run a programme called Dream IT, workforce could generate an extra £2.6 billion for the which works with technology professionals to UK economy. give presentations and talks to young girls to The importance of encouraging more encourage them into tech. So far, we’ve women into the industry is clear, but we reached over 12,000 girls, and now we’re may have overlooked the importance of “The importance adding another exciting element. one factor in achieving this: the of encouraging We’ve launched a brand new campaign confidence gap. Research has shown that more women into called The Power of One, which is centred men and women see their own potential the industry around role models and the impact that and performance differently. An often one person can have on another’s life. Our quoted statistic is that faced with the same is clear” campaign encourages women to be that role job advert, men will apply if they meet model for one girl that they know. If every approximately 60 per cent of the requirements, woman in tech looked within their own circles while women will only apply if they meet 100 per and showed them how exciting and fulfilling a career in cent. One study found that this lower confidence means tech could be, and showed them how they have the skills that they may not want to pursue future opportunities, to do it, we could go a huge distance to addressing our affecting women’s future progression. industry’s long standing gender imbalance. This mindset partly stems from that fact that from a CompTIA is challenging both men and women to young age, girls have been taught that to be confident and spread the word about the opportunities a technology self-assured was somehow ‘unladylike’, and to be career offers. Get started by talking to just one person ‘self-deprecating’ is a positive. But, the problem is also today or visit our Dream IT UK Facebook page to see because women don’t recognise themselves in the how you can get more involved. experience of others, and have few reference points.
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January 2018 | 13
Dean McGlone - sales director at V1
How the Channel can help business wake up to automation As automation transforms the way we all work, the Channel must collaborate, integrate and educate businesses on how to adapt
purchase a product that they can integrate tightly in AUTOMATION IS SET to transform every corner of the their existing product portfolio. Technology vendors business world. But, with new research from Future need to work better together, demonstrating how their Advocacy suggesting it poses a threat to the workplace, products can provide one end-to-end solution for many organisations fail to see the positive disruption that automating key business processes. automation can bring. The reality is that people shouldn’t Vendors must also work more closely with be worried – it’s this scaremongering that is clouding distributors, retailers and resellers to provide ongoing organisations’ perceptions and hampering the adoption of education and awareness. If the Channel works as a new technologies. collective, offering customers a package that Automation needs to be seen as a force for good makes automation both accessible and in business – it may even create new jobs. positive, the consequence is that likePerceptions are already changing, albeit “Many minded partners will see a significant slowly. For example, global research from organisations fail increase in their own sales. Sage revealed that accountants have a An example of this collaboration is huge appetite for automation. The good to see the positive with Sage and V1. Our PIA solution is news is that some finance departments disruption that integrated tightly into the core of Sage X3 have already quenched their thirst for automation can and many resellers are reporting that such technology. Purchase Invoice bring” automation has helped them increase Automation (PIA), for example, has average order values and even win new become a key part of many organisations’ business for Sage. This increased demand finance transformation plans. Accounts payable represents a huge opportunity. In fact, in the last few teams get more time and so can focus on higher weeks alone, we have signed up 10 new customers value activities and, in many cases, this leads to through our Sage partners. organisations looking for finance teams with higher Automation is absolutely an opportunity – but it’s up to skillset levels. So automation is an opportunity – not a the Channel to build confidence among organisations. threat – to the workplace. Partnerships encourage mutual business growth and, if But how can the Channel help in waking up we can achieve that, we can wake more organisations up businesses to this fact? The answer is in collaboration, to the positives impact of automation and turn those integration and education. We live in a connected world pessimistic reports on their heads. and, as a result, businesses are far more likely to
14 | January 2018
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Nick Sacke - head of IoT and products, Comms365
Why IoT at scale needs ‘shrink-wrapped’ options
Shrink-wrapped services are the key to realising the vision of IoT at scale, and providing it as a service will drastically improve adoption Shrink-wrapped IoT PoC kits allow the end user to test ANALYSTS CONTINUE to talk up the potential of the IoT IoT for real in several application areas to determine the market – but it is hard to see how 21 billion devices will be validity of their business case. Every aspect of this connected by 2020 given the current, highly bespoke IoT shrink-wrapped model is designed to scale to thousands, deployment model from a handful of large suppliers. even millions of highly dispersed devices. Plus, it is a The potential of IoT will never be achieved until we have solution ready to deploy and provide immediate value. ubiquitous delivery. However, from smart parking to smart For example, one car park in Cambridge already using warehousing, a new generation of ‘IoT as a Service’ a smart parking system, unveiled significant missed solutions will transform IoT adoption. revenue due to customers not paying the minimum The Channel has had little input into the evolution one-hour fee when making a quick stop. IoT of IoT. From diverse sensor technologies, a lack informed analytics resulted in the creation of network standardisation, large investments, of lower charges for short stays – and the need for multiple vendors, achieving “The IoT as generating some £500,000 in additional an end to end IoT deployment has been a Service model revenue after the change. considered complicated and too high risk. relies on an The logistics of implementing and Instead, resellers have rebadged the IoT supporting IoT is daunting for any services from mobile carriers. Unfortunately, ecosystem of expert organisation – which is why the IoT as a not only do these services do little to build on companies” Service model relies on an ecosystem of legacy machine to machine (M2M) offerings, expert companies in order to grow. The new they don’t maximise the value of the technology. generation of IoT as a Service providers will use IoT as a Service, or shrink-wrapped IoT, requires this ecosystem to drive industry standards, ensuring limited customisation. A complete IoT smart parking resellers have full access to the expertise required to solution can include sensors, network, data storage, deliver IoT at scale. analytics and visualisation, but is offered as a service that IoT can deliver efficiency, cost savings and generate can be purchased as a proof of concept, a first case revenue – but will only become mainstream if the ‘as a deployment or even as a full-scale solution. For a reseller, Service’ model is adopted. Shrink-wrapping will release there is nothing to do other than install it. With this IoT from the constraints of expensive, bespoke projects approach, a reseller can become a trusted IoT advisor for and provide opportunity to explore IoT’s potential the end customer, taking its strength in understanding a revenue streams. customer’s challenges and creating a business case.
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January 2018 |
â€œ[Our partners are] using [AWS] to transform the way in which they create core applications and the way in which they run the applications that their businesses and customers useâ€?
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Working backwards, moving forwards As AWS celebrates a decade in the EMEA region, Rob Horgan talks to technical evangelist Ian Massingham about how things got started and where cloud computing is heading
2017 marks AWS’s tenth anniversary in EMEA. How has it changed and evolved over the past decade? The 10 year anniversary is in the EMEA region, but we actually started opening APIs to developers at Amazon back in 2003. These weren’t the AWS services that you know today, these were services associated with allowing developers to work with data and services over on the Amazon retail side of the business. What we saw from that initial set of experiments with developers was that they wanted to consume a service from Amazon and integrate it into their own applications that they were building. So we continued to think about this and at the same time we were trying to focus – and we are still trying to focus – on equipping our own teams with the kind of tools that they need to maintain Amazon’s own range and pace of innovation. At Amazon, we are organised into a pretty large collection of independent, small teams which we actually call two pizza teams. This all goes back to a rule of thumb we have that no team should be too large that it can’t be fed by a couple of large pizzas. The reason we focus on team size is to maintain speed by keeping communications and overheads to a minimum. So we were empowering teams all over our business to create services pre-dating the birth of AWS, and we realised that we needed to provide a certain standardised technology for our teams to use to build new products and services for customers. www.pcr-online.biz
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We launched our first experimental Amazon Web Services offerings in 2006 in the US called Amazon S3; a simple storage service and that was in the Elastic Compute Cloud which turned out to be very valuable for developers to use as a platform to build applications. Business started to grow and in respect to that growth a lot of usage was starting to come from the European region and that is when we launched our second AWS region in Dublin during 2007. In terms of coming to Europe, we were responding to the demands of the region here in 2007. Since then we have opened a further two regions in Frankfurt and in London and we have two more in the pipeline in Paris and Stockholm which should both come round within the course of the next year to 18 months and that will further extend our coverage throughout Europe. How have consumer and business perspectives of the Cloud changed in that 10 year period and what impact has that had on AWS? Most of the first customers that we had back in 2007 were mostly start-ups or brand new companies that were building apps or services on the internet. They required and demanded access to low-cost computing resources on which they would build their applications. What you’ve seen in the interceding period is a real change in the mix of customers that are using AWS. We have still got lots of start-ups that choose to build on AWS. In fact I’d go so far as to say that AWS is the defacto platform for start-ups that are building new applications and services where they require resources. It is very difficult to raise money through non-cloud January 2018 | 17
thebiginterview “AWS is the defacto platform for start-ups that are building new applications and services where they require resources” based approaches if you are building a brand new business in today’s market, so we still see a lot of start-ups using AWS. But also we are now seeing larger enterprises of all types in the UK and elsewhere across Europe putting AWS to work. From NL in Italy to BMW in Germany, to customers here in the UK like Aviva, they are all using AWS to drive IT transformation. There has really been a big change in the way in which businesses use the Cloud over that 10 year period, when we started it would have been really unusual for a large enterprise to use AWS as a global application service but today it is completely normal for companies, and even government departments, to use AWS on scale to meet the security and compliance objectives that they might have, to reduce costs and to improve agility. Nowadays, AWS is an established platform among enterprise businesses as well as start-ups and that is the really big change from when it first launched. It is completely mainstream now. In November, we put on an event in London where we had River Island talking about how they are transforming the way they serve their customers using AWS to allow them to be digital in their thinking, respond more quickly all while minimising costs. There are traditional businesses today that are taking advantage of AWS as much as it is brand new start-ups. With cloud computing becoming an increasingly crowded area of technology, how has AWS adapted to continue to have such a large share of the market? At AWS and Amazon we always work backwards from customer needs. In creating any new service or launching any new product we always start with the problem that the customer trying to solve. That working backwards methodology is adopted every time we want to create something new within 18 | January 2018
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AWS. In fact, over 95 per cent of the new services that we launch come directly from customer feedback and I think that is actually the secret of success at AWS. We are very happy to sacrifice short-term gain for long-term success, and that brings mutual success with customers. It has been a really successful business model for both us and our customers and I think that’s the main reason why customers continue to use AWS. To give an example, something like cryptography – for securing data and protecting data stored in the Cloud – at AWS we’ve got a whole suite of services around providing customers with encryption options. If we take one called KMS, which is really designed to make it as simple as possible for customers to encrypt their data at their end so that they can meet regulatory obligations. So that will serve the vast-majority of customers’ needs. However, we also have a second option called the cloud HSM, which is a slightly more expensive service but it offers more rigorous key control. Those two services are quite similar so why bother to offer both of them? Well, because customers have said that they need them. Both products were born directly from customer feedback. It is not just about creating the service and then forgetting about it, it is about consistently trying to enhance and improve the services to continue to meet customers’ needs. While we’re on encryption, a big concern for many people using cloud technology is securing data, how does AWS keep people’s data secure? The first thing to say is that we don’t take ownership of anybody’s data when they put it in the Cloud. When customers store, process and operate on their data using AWS they retain ownership of the data and they retain control of it. We also provide a set of tools that customers can use to make it easier for them to secure and encrypt all their data. That helps them meet both regulatory obligations and their own obligations that they may have set to build trust with their customers. We have a wide variety of services that customers can apply to help solve problems in the area of security, data protection, privacy and so on. We’ve just talked about two of them with HSM and KMS but there is a whole suite of services for identity access management, auditing and logging, for application security, notification, and automated machine learning. Outside of these services, we provide best practice advice through the AWS console which highlights any areas of particular weakness and what customers can do to improve it. So it is a combination of providing a www.pcr-online.biz
broad range of services, providing best practices and then providing advice to help customers stay on the right track in terms of securing their data. In terms of data, what impact will GDPR have on users of AWS and what have you done to prepare for it? We announced earlier this year that our services will be GDPR compliant by May 2018. We’ve actually got a GDPR centre available on the AWS website, there’s a GDPR page there where we’ve compiled resources for customers to help them know how to implent GDPR compliance using some of the tools that we provide. We actually have a suite of services and we are already working with customers to help them to achieve GDPR compliance. In fact, we actually have a team of specialist security and compliance architects dealing with that particular endeavour so we have done a lot of work to make sure our services are ready for when GDPR comes into effect. Tell us a bit about the AWS Partner Network (APN) program and how it can benefit Channel partners. Within the APN, there are a very broad range of partner types that help customers to really get more value out of AWS. The first are partners who broadly speaking provide services that help customers to www.pcr-online.biz
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accelerate AWS adoption and therefore get the customers using the Cloud more quickly. There are also technology partners that have complimentary technology solutions that work alongside AWS to help customers maximise revenue or achieve additional objectives. They often take the form of ISVs or software providers that have complimentary software that works alongside AWS. So APN is basically somewhere for partners to collaborate with AWS to serve our mutual customers that ensures the best customer experience. I think that is actually equally beneficial to all parties involved. What do you see as being the biggest opportunities for growth in cloud computing platforms such as yourselves? There’s growth opportunities both in cloud computing and still within AWS. If you look at our major service announcements over the course of the last two or three years, there has been a big drive towards what has become known as serveless architecture – it wasn’t called that from day one. Ironically enough I don’t think this is going to be a massive area of growth in terms of customer spend as it is a really efficient way to build applications and services. We also expect to see massive growth in IoT and building connected device applications in the Cloud. January 2018 | 19
â€œWe have done a lot of work to make sure our services are ready for when GDPR comes into effectâ€? It is just a natural place to do it. Very, very good security characteristics, with things like our IoT platform. The AWS service makes it very simple to make connected device applications at scale. Anything from wearables to self-driving cars come under this bracket and I imagine that will be a big area of growth moving forwards. Finally, more and more big companies and government departments are using AWS to do their core IT. They are using it to transform the way in which they create core applications and the way in which they run the applications that their businesses and customers use. So again I expect there to be plenty of room to grow in the coming years.
20 | January 2018
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Now that the Cloud has firmly cemented its place on the computing landscape, Rob Horgan looks to the future to see where it could be heading next
The Big Three will capture the lion’s share of the market The one thing that all market forecasters and industry analysts appear to agree on is the dominance that the big three public Cloud players will continue to have moving forwards. While Forrester expects AWS, Google and Microsoft to control 76 per cent of the cloud by the end of 2018, IDC predicts that that figure could be as high as 80 per cent. And with the total global public cloud market estimated to be worth $178 billion in 2018, up from $146 billion in 2017, the big three will be keen to cash in. As a result of what is at stake, IDC chief analyst Frank Gens expects to see some savvy business moves. “I think we’ll see those top three make some very interesting alliances and maybe even some acquisitions,” he said.
22 | January 2018
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True hybrid clouds to emerge There was quite a buzz around the prospect of hybrid clouds for the majority of 2017. However, nothing of note actually came to fruition. That is about to change. With 79 per cent of businesses now running workloads in the Cloud, the prospect of simultaneously operating private and public clouds with common orchestration and management tools, is exciting for any enterprisesized business. In all likelihood, this form of ‘multicloud’ set up will become the dominant model in 2018, as true hybrid clouds begin to come to market. There are already key developments and partnerships forming to make this a reality. For example, Azure and Azure Stack from Microsoft provide a uniform set of infrastructure and API capabilities across public and private clouds; the partnership between VMware and AWS; and the teaming up of Cisco and Google. These collaborations are just a few examples of how hybrid clouds will start to emerge.
“Many enterprises and SaaS vendors will not be ready to meet the strict GDPR requirements.” Madhan Kanagavel, FileCloud
SaaS vendors to pack more of a punch SAAS vendors are expected to compete more at the platform level as they integrate services such as Azure, AWS and Oracle Cloud in 2018. Due to the ever-increasing demand for customisation, combined with the expected rise of IoT and AI, Forrester is predicting that ‘SaaS vendors will deprioritise their platform efforts to attain global scale and select from AWS, Azure, or Oracle Cloud’. The report continued: “With Salesforce emphasising platform capabilities that enable Artifical Intelligence (AI), advanced development of its Lightning platform, Cloud, and their rapidly evolving Einstein solution. Like Salesforce, Workday is investing in its platform with greater depth of features. Both companies need a broad public cloud platform capable of scaling fast to support global deployments, which is one of the primary factors that led Salesforce and Workday to choose Amazon AWS to scale global deployments.” The only thing that could perhaps trip up SaaS vendors is GDPR. Coming into force in May, Madhan Kanagavel, CEO at FileCloud expects these new regulations ‘will catch many SaaS providers off guard’. Kanagavel adds: “Even though a long lead time has been granted to prepare, many enterprises and SaaS vendors will not be ready to meet the strict GDPR requirements. The fact that these regulations go well beyond the physical borders of the EU, and cloud-service providers across the globe will be bound by the GDPR’s guidelines, is where the predicted troubles lie.”
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Container war will be won For much of the last two years, a three-way battle between Kubernetes, Docker Swarm and Mesos has waged with all aiming to be the dominant force when it comes to the Cloud’s container orchestration, one nor the other has really flagged itself up as the go-to service. However, come 2018, many analysts are predicting that Kubernetes will once and for all take the container crown. Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud have already launched managed Kubernetes services. Meanwhile IBM has announced its private cloud will support Kubernetes in its Bluemix public cloud. AWS is also backing Kubernetes in the container war as it joins the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) as a platinum member. With powerful friends on board combined with more mainstream deployments, Kubernetes is set to win the container war. How Docker and Mesos react is however going to be just as interesting to see.
January 2018 | 23
COMING SOON TO WESTC OAST
ww w.west coast .co.uk
Keeping control â€“ GDPR and the Cloud With the new regulations fast approaching and data breaches becoming an increasingly common occurrence, Rob Horgan investigates the best ways to secure data in the Cloud
Y THE time you finish reading this article, more than 70,000 data records around the world will have been compromised (assuming it takes you around 10 minutes to read, and you make it to the end). In the first half of 2017, some 1.9 billion data records were compromised, according to Gemalto. That translates to 122 records exposed every single second. And that is just the breaches that go public. There was a dramatic 164 per cent increase in the number of data records reportedly breached from the second half of 2016 to the first half of 2017. And the most worrying thing is that number will undoubtedly go up when GDPR comes into effect next May and European companies are obliged to declare all breaches that would have previously been swept under the carpet.
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“For businesses, one of the main issues with storing data in a public cloud is the loss of control” Russell Crampin, Axians So what can we all do to protect our data and how can the Cloud help to alleviate both consumer and business concerns surrounding security and impending regulatory obligations? With 47 per cent of data stored in the Cloud deemed as ‘sensitive’, 28 per cent personally identifiable information and a further 25 per cent recognised as either payment or health data (according to SkyHigh Networks), Karl Simpson, CSO at Calligo, believes that the first question that everyone should 26 | January 2018
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ask themselves is: ‘should I be storing this information in the Cloud?’ He says: “The stringent requirements around GDPR mean that while cloud may be convenient, managing the content that you do store becomes incredibly important. You need to be aware of where your data is being stored, the cloud provider may be required to provide access to your data under certain circumstances as applicable to the country in which your data is hosted rather than the country that you are in with potentially unexpected outcomes for access to your data. If you are unsure as to the answer to either of these questions then there is a good chance that you should look at alternative options.” However, if you are going to store data in the Cloud then the number one thing to remember is restricting access; creating distinct passwords, using dual-factor authentication where possible and finally (and this is the biggie, especially where GDPR is concerned) encrypt, encrypt, encrypt! And it is important to take responsibility for the data you store. As David Emm, www.pcr-online.biz
Kaspersky principal researcher, says: “Companies might choose to outsource data storage, but they can’t outsource their responsibility for securing it. In other words, security needs to be part of their dialogue with a cloud provider before storing data in the Cloud; and they need to take their own steps to secure sensitive data, for example through encryption.” And if you ignore the importance of encryption, or shirk the responsibility, then you are putting your data at risk (which will get you into serious trouble come GDPR day). Remember, with GDPR, implementing encryption is considered an appropriate control, to the extent that even in the event of a data loss you are not required to communicate a breach to the data subject. As Russell Crampin, UK managing director of Axians says: “For businesses, one of the main issues with storing data in a public cloud is the loss of control. If the cloud provider itself is compromised, your data in turn is vulnerable. Some SMEs, in particular, drawn in by the affordability and scalability of public cloud www.pcr-online.biz
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services, may not be fully aware of the risks presented by outsourcing their data. A hacker will target a vulnerable network, but won’t always know what they are looking for and will be seeking any opportunity. As a business user, can you really ensure that your provider of cloud connectivity has invested in their own security protection? This question is particularly pertinent if the provider has grown quickly - they are now a more profitable target for hackers, but their security defenses may not be strong enough to reflect this.” But it is not just security that GDPR will impact companies using the Cloud. In terms of GDPR’s impact on businesses, Microsoft’s Server Guy Ed Baker outlines six steps that must be undertaken. “If cloud-consuming companies are serving European customers then there are a number of actions they should take,” he says. “Firstly, know the location where cloud apps are processing or storing data. Take adequate security measures to protect personal data from loss, alteration, or unauthorised processing. Close a data processing agreement with the cloud apps you’re using. Collect only ‘necessary’ data and limit the processing of ‘special’ data. Don’t allow cloud apps to use personal data for other purposes. And finally ensure that you can erase the data when you stop using the app.” A large part of GDPR is also making data storage much more transparent and accessible. GDPR will finally provide an answer to the biggest question that users have when using the Cloud, which is ‘where is my data going?’ As Chris Niggel, director of Security and Compliance at Okta says: “Ensuring strong visibility of how customer data is stored and managed will be critical in avoiding the strict financial penalties that could affect organisations if a data breach occurs. This includes any instance of personal identifiable information, such as emails or photos. In the event of a data breach, organisations will be required to report an incident within 72 hours of discovery of the incident, meaning the ability to quickly identify and report breaches is key. By using a centralised cloud management system organisations can quickly identify where data is located and who has access, considerably speeding up the process.” Combine visibility with security and then you should have no issue with keeping your data secure. On top of that you will be meeting your regulatory obligations and giving customers peace of mind. January 2018 | 27
The great distie As resellers are buying from fewer and fewer distributors each year, Jonathan Easton asks if less is more, or whether the lack of competition in the Channel will damage the industry
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stack up BIG MONEY DEALS have been one of the fundamental cornerstones of the rapidly expanding tech market. With companies domestically and internationally getting bigger and bigger we have seen, in the past 18 months alone, the likes of ARM and Corsair bought up by venture capital groups. Further afield, being acquired by a major tech firm with eyes on a monopoly is part-and-parcel of being a successful tech start-up these days. Look no further than Nest and WhatsApp to see start-ups that have now become household names in part thanks to being gobbled up by the Silicon Valley giants. When it comes to vendors it’s easy for us in the Channel to often put up a metaphorical barrier. Corsair may have been bought for in excess of half a billion dollars by EagleTree Capital, but it’s still making the same systems, components and peripherals it was before the deal; so as far as retailers, resellers and distributors are concerned their business dealings haven’t changed. But over the past year and a half, major mergers and acquisitions are hitting closer to home and having more of an effect. Over that time frame, we have seen more than 30 major M&A deals take place across Western Europe, according to Context’s ChannelWatch Survey. These deals, such as mergers between Tech Data and Avnet, Esprinet and Vinzeo, and Ingram Micro coming under Chinese ownership through the HNA
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acquisition, have also had a drastic effect on the supply chain itself. Within the time period, the average number of distributors that resellers are buying from has dropped from five-ten in the last report period to just two-three this year. But rather than this being indicative of a flailing economy, these trends will ‘most likely continue as a consequence of the Channel’s evolution, rather than as a cause’, says Exertis business intelligence manager Jonathan Wagstaff. “Increasing margin-pressure on traditional broadline distribution has meant that highperforming specialist and value-added players are an attractive option to distributors looking to speed up the transition to a hybrid model. This model combines broadline, value, and specialist distribution, with a focus on business outcomes, where specialist offerings are maintained and not diluted.” This is a sentiment also carried by Brigantia Partners commercial director Iain Shaw. “Over the next five years I think there is likely to be a further spate of smaller acquisitions as the broadline and larger distributors look for niche VADs that specialise in recurring revenue managed services,” he notes. “These acquisitions will bring with them a wealth of talented individuals with experience in this area of the market place.” With specialist disties becoming an everincreasingly attractive prospect to broadlines, security is set to be where they are looking. “The small to medium sized security VADs are likely to be top of the agenda,” continues Shaw. “I would expect to see some high prices paid for the best of these that have growing books of business, interesting new specialist vendors and a team that have information security experience and are knowledgeable about not only what GDPR is but the processes that are required to help their partners and their partners’ business customers become and remain compliant.” Certainly the appeal of knowledge and expertise is reflected from inside a major distributor, with Wagstaff commenting that Exertis’ acquisition of
January 2018 | 29
“Organic growth and sourcing new routes to market is just too slow” Martin Kay, Blake Morgan Hammer has provided it with ‘world-class, enhanced capabilities in technical expertise, configuration, sales support, and more’. A big factor at play is time limitations. While a lot of distributors would like to nurture specialist expertise from within, ‘for many, it’s the only route to scale’ asserts Martin Kay of law firm Blake Morgan. “Organic growth, sourcing new routes to market and establishing new distribution networks is just too slow, too expensive and risk of failure too high. For the company it fuels survival and growth when funding lines become increasingly harder to access. For investors, whose patience may be nearing exhaustion, it can open possibilities for acceptable returns within acceptable timeframes.” But has the siphoning down of distributors had a negative effect on the retailers and resellers who are facing end-users and clients?
30 | January 2018
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Not quite, reckons Phil Griffiths, owner of PCR Award-winning independent retailer Chips Computers. “I would personally like to buy all my items from one distributor, so it saves on time and shipping costs.” But it’s not all rosy, he adds. “This can have negatives. If that one distributor has no one to compete against they are not going to offer their customers the best prices/ deals.” But these are skepticisms and precautions that are at the root of multiple laws that have stopped, and will continue to stop, monopolies across all industries, not just in tech. Competition is fundamental to tech buying, from consumers looking for bargains to offices considering the bottom line and resellers who want to provide value to their customers while turning a profit. “My advice to the big boys that consider such acquisitions will be to keep the teams together that have built these businesses,” concludes Shaw. “Incentivise them well and then give them access to the wider historical customer bases and relationships. Selling tin is not like selling recurring revenue services and the mistake to be avoided is thinking that traditional sales teams will understand the processes involved and the time investment needed.” Competition and expertise are why the Channel – as broad as it is – is able to come under one roof. While mergers and acquisitions will continue, the niche specialities that are brought about by the Channel’s vastness must not be understated. Uniformity is no good for business.
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Steve Koenig at a CTA question and answer
To CES and beyond! Following on from last month’s chat with the company’s CEO, Radio World International editor-in-chief Marguerite Clark caught up with Steve Koenig, senior director of market research at the Consumer Technology Association to talk about trends and highlights visitors can expect from CES 2018
What do you consider the main tech trends in consumer electronics to be heading into CES? CES is the global stage for innovation and the trends we see there are a mosaic of B2B and B2C technologies. On the B2B front we expect 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics to be major trends. For those ‘in the market’ trends, look for native interfaces (which includes speech recognition and biometric technology), augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will further redefine our definition of realism. We will also get a view of smart cities through a blend B2B and B2C technologies that will shape the future of urban life. CES 2018 will also highlight major tech trends in sports innovation, digital health and automotive technology. What do you expect to emerge out of this show? Increasing deployment of AI will further automate tasks and routines in meaningful ways – especially in the services sector. Digital assistants (e.g. Alexa, Google Assistant) will become omnipresent in our lives – from our phones, to our homes and vehicles. Wherever we are, they’ll be with us. Already this holiday, we’re seeing massive uptake of smart speakers (one vessel for digital assistants) as holiday gifts. This activity becomes the catalyst for establishing voicecontrol and will be integral in the unfolding HMI
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story for consumer tech. And 2018 will be the year voice-shopping becomes a real sales channel; joining stores, online and mobile. Alexa was arguably the show-stealer at CES 2017, what do you think will wow the crowd this year? I think we’ll see an extension of the 2017 Alexa surprise in the broadening application of AI (including machine-learning, neural-networks and computer vision). The other ‘wow factor’ related to AI at CES 2018 will be how rapidly these systems are improving. We’ll discover new capabilities and applications for AI that will amaze and inspire us. What advances do you expect to see in areas of virtual reality? Some of the most compelling advances in VR over the next year few years will be in terms of content – that is, storytelling with this (still emerging) medium. Expect more short-form content to emerge across entertainment and brand-marketing platforms. Also look for longer-form content stories to emerge that will totally transform movie night. On the hardware side of things, I expect more wireless solutions for headsets, but more significantly we’ll have new ways to sense and experience the virtual world.
What will we see at the show in regards to artificial intelligence/robotics and autonomous vehicles? AI is the driving force behind the current robotics trend of migrating from task-based systems to those with a service orientation, which can range from companion robots in the home to systems design to function in a commercial setting. At CES 2018 we will learn about new use cases for these service robots and how in some cases they are automating certain tasks or just filling a role like a family companion. CES 2018 will initiate a new chapter in the evolving story of AI’s role in the self-driving vehicle. We will witness improvements in computer vision but also the processing power of AI systems enabling faster learning of the driving task but also decision-making on the open road. Do you think the development of Blockchain tech will bring major changes to the tech sector? Blockchain technology holds some near-term promise for the financial sector in its ability to create an open source, secure and verifiable chain of transactions that, by design, is exceedingly hard to alter or defeat and eliminates much of the vulnerability inherent in introducing one or more intermediaries into an
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otherwise direct exchange of currency for goods or services. In establishing a peer-to-peer trust ledger in this way, blockchain also holds great promise for internet security by, for example, helping a network of distributed IoT devices establish a private blockchain among themselves. By requiring each device on the network to constantly update, store and solve the next block in the blockchain, only computers that can decrypt and verify the next block in the chain will be allowed to connect to this private network.
“I think we’ll see an extension of the 2017 Alexa surprise in the broadening application of AI” January 2018 | 33
Do you expect quantum computers to become a short-term reality? Quantum computing is a reality but unfortunately at such a small scale to be of no use to the average person. Researchers have worked with quantum computing for 30 or so years and have proved that what was once theoretical is, in fact, possible. Currently, quantum computers can do fairly rudimentary maths problems quickly, but scaling a quantum computer to a point where the greater speed would justify the expense and effort is, according to many in the field, at least 10 and perhaps 20 years away. So in the most literal sense, quantum computing is here, now. But building a universal computer capable of harnessing the power of quantum computing by running any code thrown at it (versus doing one specific type of calculations) is billions of dollars and several technical hurdles away from being anything more than theoretical. Cybersecurity seems ever more important, yet there is a feeling that smart devices are growing so fast that privacy and cybersecurity can’t possibly keep up. What comfort can you offer to a consumer who wants smart devices but worries about this loss of personal privacy?
34 | January 2018
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As connections in the home rise so does the importance of practicing good online hygiene by reinforcing cybersecurity measures at home. This means putting the appropriate security measures in place to protect the home network (e.g. firewalls, security passwords, etc.). But also securing PCs and mobile devices (that can also control smart home devices). Lastly, users should practice safe online conduct and remain vigilant to ostensible threats – become healthy skeptics – given most threats come through common channels like your email inbox. For readers working specifically in the home and business computing sector, what new areas of growth are you seeing? Expect to see new entrants in the server space and GPU arenas for high performance computing to support machine learning endeavors. On the consumer front we’re expecting to see more solutions like Samsung DeX that enable smartphones to function like PCs when attached to an external display and input devices (like keyboard/mouse). We hear a great deal of interest in products for the home entertainment and smart home market. What’s next that we should watch for in this?
CES’s ups and downs Steve Koenig gives us the inside scoop on what the CTA reckons is on the way up – and what’s on the way out
Ups: ■ 4K UHD TVs ■ Smartphones ■ Smart home devices ■ Smartwatches ■ Smart speakers (like Amazon Echo)
Downs: ■ e-Readers
■ DVD players ■ Camcorders ■ Portable game consoles ■ Portable GPS devices
■ Wearable activity trackers
■ MP3 Players
■ Wireless speakers (both portable and stationary)
■ Cordless phones
The general theme across home entertainment and smart home will be greater integration and support for digital assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant. For TVs expect more video walls and less supersize displays. And we will probably see and learn more about micro-LED technology. How do you interpret the growth of streaming video and its impact on shrink-wrapped product (DVDs, CDs, etc.) and where is that trend going? The growth of streaming media services (both video and audio) is a function of consumers’ on-demand expectations for access to content anytime and anywhere. That said, we still see demand for physical media for library content or high-quality versions (like 4K HDR). However, some consumers (typically older adults) still prefer physical media on principle. What about the decline in sales of TV sets? The year to date shipment volumes of LCD TVs through September were up 5 per cent and we expect annual 2017 sales volume growth to remain positive. Where we are seeing decline in TV sales is in the under 40-inch size categories, which our current forecasts predict will fall 22 per cent on a volume basis this year.
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■ Digital point and shoot cameras
Where do you see drone-technology heading? While we continue to see drones marketed in consumer sales channels for hobbyists and enthusiasts, drones are beginning to take flight in commercial and industrial applications to perform tasks with greater speed and efficiency than humans (like search/rescue operations or package delivery) or fill roles that are dangerous (such as building or bridge inspections).
“As connections in the home rise so does the importance of practicing good online hygiene”
January 2018 | 35
BenQ CineHome W1700 SRP: £1,599 OUT: January 8
The CineHome W1700 is BenQ’s first affordable true 4K UHD HDR home cinema projector. With BenQ CinematicColor technology, the projector comes fully loaded with true 8.3 megapixel 4K resolution and projection-optimized HDR, for stunning trueto-life image quality. The W1700 utilises revolutionary 0.47 inch single-DMD DLP technology to minimise the projector’s sleek, compact profile, convenient for households. The projector’s pristine 4K video quality is supercharged by High Dynamic Range (HDR) support, offering greater brightness and contrast range with auto image optimisation. Furthermore, full support for the latest HDCP 2.2 copy protection lets users enjoy all the fast-growing choices for 4K content.
Dell 2018 XPS 15 9570 SRP: £2,700 OUT: January 16 Dell’s 2018 XPS 15 laptop is set to be the only laptop in the world to boast a resolution of 5129x2880 pixels. With a 15-inch 5k display, the latest iteration of the XPS 15 laptop will also sport an improved Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 video card, boosting its gaming capabilities. This GPU is attributed to high-performance gaming laptops, meaning that the new XPS 15 could be the first in the series to be a powerful gaming notebook as well. The new XPS 15 being powered by an eighth-generation Intel processors, should bring improvements in various aspects especially power efficiency at higher resolutions.
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SRP: £149 OUT: January 2
SRP: £71.99 OUT: January 8
Lynky brings all of your smart home devices together into one simple, easy-to-use interface. Whether wallmounted or sitting on your desk, Lynky commands your entire smart home via touch or Google Assistant voice control. Also, Lynky has an Open Developer Platform to make it easy for device makers to integrate with the Lynky hub.
The Dynamode SH-DB1608 smart doorbell acts as an intelligent sentry for your home, apartment, office or even the garden shed. Easy to install, without any wires courtesy of a long-life, built- in rechargeable battery, it lasts months on a full charge thanks to ULPC technology. Fluid HD 720p video is assured via its multicoated, wide angle (135 degrees) lens so you can talk and see your visitor from anywhere in the world on your smartphone.
Ultimate Ears Blast
Xbox Wireless Adapter
SRP: £229 OUT: January 23
SRP: £24.99 OUT: January 31
Ultimate Ears is bringing Amazon’s Alexa to its product roster with a new speaker lineup. Drawing on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless options, the speakers are set to work in whatever environment music players find themselves in. By incorporating Alexa into the devices, Ultimate Ears had to bring in a new six-microphone array into the Blast, making it much bigger than previous versions of the speaker.
The latest revision of the Xbox Wireless Adaptor has been significantly reduced in size and comes in at 66 per cent of the original’s volume. The ‘Sync’ button used to connect controllers has been moved from the side and now fits seamlessly into the rear of the design. After the first version of the adapter was blasted for its cumbersome dimensions, this second take is much more suitable for laptop and tablet use.
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January 2018 | 37
Storage From USB sticks to NAS devices, PCR rounds up the wide range of storage options on the market
38 | January 2018
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HPE Nimble Storage CS1000H
HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen 10
Distributor: Westcoast SRP: £52,640 Specs: Hybrid dual controller 10GBASE-T 2-port base array
Distributor: Westcoast SRP: £2,199 Specs: Cache memory: 11MB L3 cache, cache per processor: 11MB, dimensions (WxDxH): 44.55 cm x 67.94 cm x 8.73 cm
HPE Nimble Storage Adaptive Flash hybrid storage arrays combine a flash-optimised architecture with HPE InfoSight predictive analytics to achieve fast, reliable access to data and greater than 99.9999 per cent measured availability.
Corsair Voyager GTX 128GB USB 3.0 Distributor: Exertis SRP: £94.99 Specs: 128 GB, write speed: 360 MB/s, read speed: 450 MB/s The Flash Voyager GTX clocks in with read speeds of up to 450 MB/s, and writes at up to 360 MB/s. That’s twice the speed of other high-performance USB keys. The GTX takes advantage of the faster USB 3.0 interface, while providing full USB 2.0 support.
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The HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen10 Server delivers the latest in security, performance and expandability. While backed by a comprehensive warranty, the HPE ProLiant is ideal for any server environment.
500GB Toshiba DT01ACA050 Distributor: Beta Distribution, Ingram Micro, Northamber, Westcoast SRP: £34.49 Specs: 7200 RPM performance, 6GB/s SATA interface, halogen-free design Toshiba’s 7200 RPM 3.5-inch (8.9cm) HDD series is optimised for use in power-friendly consumer and commercial desktop computers, gaming PCs and external HDDs. The DT01ACA050 offers 500GB capacity and uses Advanced Format and leverages best-in-class power management technology.
January 2018 | 39
500GB Western Digital WD5000AZRZ Distributor: Exertis, Ingram Micro, Tech Data SRP: £41.99 Specs: 5400 rpm, 6GB/s, 500GB capacity, 64MB cache The 500GB WD5000AZRZ is a high-quality HDD that delivers incredible performance thanks to its easy to use 3.5 inch form factor that is just 26.1 mm in height. The drive runs at 5400 rpm, with its technical highlight being its 6GB/s interface, which is the latest SATA III standard.
2 Bay Synology DS216SE
40 | January 2018
Distributor: CMS Distribution SRP: £122.48 Specs: Max. storage capacity: 16 TB, HDD interface: 2 x SATA III - 6GB/s, HDD form factor: 2 x 3.5 inch/2.5 inch Synology DiskStation DS216se is a budgetfriendly two-bay NAS device, ideal for starting your own cloud or creating a no-fuss and fullfeatured file server. Powered by DiskStation Manager, DS216se offers possibilities way beyond the traditional NAS servers with built-in applications and handy add-on packages.
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1 Bay Akitio MyCloud Mini Compact Personal Cloud Server Distributor: Smithie UK SRP: £74.48 Specs: Max. storage capacity: 1.5 TB, HDD interface: 1 x SATA II - 3GB/s, HDD form factor: 1 x 2.5” The personal cloud server provides safe and secure network storage plus the ability to easily share your digital content with family and friends. The MyCloud software makes all of this so easy and centralised. With the MyCloud, both your hardware and data are located in your own home.
120GB SanDisk Extreme 500 Distributor: EET Europarts SRP: £71.48 Specs: Interface: USB 3.0, max. read: 415 MB/s, max. write: 340 MB/s The SanDisk Extreme 500 portable SSD is less than half the size of the average smartphone and delivers up to four times the speed of a portable hard drive. Get to work in seconds, transfer big videos and photo libraries at up to 415MB/s —a speed that portable hard drives can only dream about.
Expect more Simple, fast and reliable printing from the new L2000 mono laser range
Being short on space shouldn’t mean getting short-changed on your technology. Brother’s new range of mono laser printers is compact, but packed full of useful benefits – at a small business-friendly price. With 10 different models to choose from, your customers are sure to find the perfect fit for their home office or small business.
LMS Data PDU-P-3W-2USB
Distributor: Target Components, GNR Technology SRP: £179.99 Specs: Frequency simultaneous dual band 2.4GHz and 5GHz, wireless security WPA2PSK, supports Plug & Play and Amazon Alexa
Distributor: Meroncourt SRP: £39.99 Specs: Integrated x3 UK mains sockets, integrated x2 USB power sockets, USB ports rated at 5 volts, 500mA (approx.)
Designed for seamless smarthome WiFi, the Nova is powered with true Mesh technology. A set of three units covers homes of up to 6,000 square feet with strong WiFi signals. Smart Auto-path Selection Technology ensures a robust wireless network and maximises faster home internet.
42 | January 2018
Intellinet Multifunction Network Cable Tester Distributor: Meroncourt SRP: £10.99 Specs: Tests RJ-11 and RJ-45 connections, cable type: UTP/STP/FTP, battery: 9V DC standard or alkaline The Intellinet Multifunction Network Cable Tester is a high quality cable tester that will test both shielded and unshielded LAN cable and indicate successful connections or faults. The tester is compatible with both RJ-11 and RJ-45 connectors.
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With 3-way UK socket and 2-USB charge ports, the LMS Data desktop power pod is a more aesthetic power delivery device for electrical devices. The newly developed product from LMS Data is an ideal solution where there is a need to keep desk or work areas tidy when powering devices.
Intellinet 24-Port Gigabit Ethernet PoE+ Web-managed Network Switch Distributor: Meroncourt SRP: £925.00 Specs: Provides power and data connection for 24 PoE devices, power over Ethernet 802.3at Save Installation time and money with PoE. The Intellinet 24-Port Gigabit Ethernet PoE+ WebManaged Switch comes with 4 SFP combo ports and is designed to pass both data and electrical power to a number of PoE-compatible devices via standard Cat5e or Cat6 network cables.
Intellinet High-Power PoE+ Gigabit Network Injector Distributor: Meroncourt SRP: £44.99 Specs: Distance support up to 100m, internal power supply, fanless design ideal for silent operation The Intellinet Gigabit High-Power PoE+ Injector allows users to connect IEEE 802.3af/atcompliant products to a non-PoE LAN switch port. The injector can be used to connect a wireless access point, IP phone, network camera or any IEEE 802.3af/at-powered device (PD) to a switch.
Netgear EX2700 Network repeater White Distributor: Beta Distribution, Exertis, Ingram Micro SRP: £19.99 Specs: Data transfer speed up to 300 MB/s, wireless band: single-band (2.4 GHz) Connect your home and expand the areas in which you can use Wi-Fi with the N300 Netgear EX2700100 WiFi Range Extender. Optimise the existing Wi-Fi coverage in your house with the Netgear analytics app you can set up and identify the areas that need a boost.
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HPE OfficeConnect OC20 Distributor: Westcoast SRP: £199.00 Specs: Power consumption: 12.3W (PoE) or 10.1W (DC), ports: one 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet (RJ-45) HPE OfficeConnect OC20 dual radio 802.11ac access point series (AP) offers small businesses an intuitive and cost effective wireless solution that is simple to set-up and manage without technical expertise. An easy-to-use mobile application gets your network up and running in minutes and offers remote network monitoring on the go.
TP-Link AV600 600Mbit/s Ethernet LAN PowerLine network adaptor Distributor: CMS Distribution, Exertis, Tech Data SRP: £24.95 Specs: Ethernet LAN data rates: 10Mb/s, 100Mbit/s, Ethernet LAN (RJ-45) ports: 1, data transfer rate: 600Mbit/s (max) With data transmission rates up to 600MB/s over electrical wires, the TP-Link network adaptor is ideal for HD video streaming. It turns your existing powerline into a high speed network with no need for new wires or drilling.
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The games industry in 2018 With belts loosened and the holiday season firmly in the rearview of the gaming world, PCR takes a look at what will be the biggest stories and talking points of the year
VR’s last stand? 2017 was a bit of a nothing year for virtual reality as far as major title releases went. After emerging to much fanfare in 2016, the high-end VR headsets on the market – Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR – saw little development asides from a couple of price cuts. As the year went on, many pundits and gamers alike were quick to write the tech off as another failed experiment in gaming, going the way of 3D, motion control and other fads that were quickly swept away by something 44
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newer, more exciting and shinier. Certainly, this argument could be supported by the lack of high-profile games for VR consistently through 2017. The beginning of the year started promisingly with high-profile games Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and Star Trek: Bridge Crew, but there was a big drought between those titles and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR (a VR port of a six year old game, mind) that launched in November. Towards the end of the year, other vendors such as Dell, Acer and HP entered the fray
with their own VR offerings, but these lower-specced devices had more of a focus on lifestyle and productivity rather than gaming. Developers have promised a renewed focus on VR gaming, with Bethesda porting Fallout 4 to Vive in its entirety and Half Life-maker Valve working on three unique titles for virtual reality. But with augmented reality having claimed much of VR’s spotlight over the past 12 months, 2018 could be a pivotal moment to see whether or not the technology has legs. www.pcr-online.biz
Lawmakers may have to step in on loot boxes Depending on who you ask loot boxes are either an optional microtransaction method for gamers to speed up the process of unlocking in-game items or a cynical and insidious cash grab that dangerously normalises gambling for children from a young age. They became one of the most controversial aspects of gaming towards the tail end of 2017, ruining one of the most hotly (Hothly) anticipated new titles of the year – Star Wars Battlefront II – for many. The backlash was so severe that sales figures were down 61 per cent
from the launch period of 2015’s Star Wars Battlefront. Going back to the basics, loot boxes, loot crates or other such named packages, are consumable in-game containers which can be redeemed to receive a randomised selection of virtual items. These can range from skins for characters (as in Overwatch) or in-game controllable players (like in FIFA’s popular Ultimate Team Mode) or character boosts which may give players an advantage (as was the controversy with Star Wars Battlefront II).
However much money these loot boxes have made, many have grown increasingly hostile towards them. This came to a head in December when state representatives from Hawaii announced that they were in the process of creating a bill that would prohibit loot boxes from people under the age of 21. And that is unlikely to be the last we hear about government regulation in the business of loot boxes, as it will become an even bigger issue unless publishers start to heed the warnings signs of last year.
Will consoles continue to close the gap? Late in 2017, we saw the launch of the Xbox One X which, technologically, started to shorten the gulf between gaming PCs and console, with specs comparable to gaming PCs of a similar price. The coming year will no doubt see attempts to further close that gap, with persistent rumours that Sony will bring out the PlayStation 5 in 2019, with a 2018 tease a possibility as the latest titles start to put the aging home console under strain. As for the www.pcr-online.biz
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aforementioned Xbox One X, developers will start to figure out how to get the most out of Microsoft’s impressively powerful system as the year progresses. On the flipside however, the rise of console-replacement PC systems, such as the Corsair One, will likely gain a lot more attention. But for these types of PCs to properly take a hold they will need to come down in price (the Corsair One starts at £1799.99). January 2018 | 45
IN MY TEAM
PCR catches up with Tech Data’s Consumer Technology Group Management Team
Who is the ‘team joker’ and why? Who is in your team and what do they do? We definitely have some ‘wannabe’ comedians who would Our CTG management team can be broadly split into sales, undoubtedly say themselves but for dry humour and quick wit commercia and senior managers and directors. There is a huge the general consensus would be Ross Turner or Ben Francis. amount of specialism and experience in both this management team and the CTG team, which now comprises of over 50 people. What are you currently working on? The team from left to right, above is: Ben Francis (CE and The growth of services and subscription-based business is accessory category manager); Dan Gigg (account director); a big focus for us, especially now that we’ve gone live Christian Cox (gaming BDM); Jason Clegg (account with the ‘Optimise Technology as a Service’ director); Steve Reynolds (account director); Jenny “There is a gap proposition. The days of simply shifting tin in Parkinson (smart home BDM); Mark Glasspool retail are behind us now – the whole focus is on (product marketing and sales director); Michael in the market for how we can add value and help retailers deliver Cain (new technologies BDM); Lindsay a dynamic VAD a better customer experience. Browning (printing BDM); Paul Jacobs (CE and with geographical accessory business unit director); Catherine Who is the best team player and why? Craig (consumer hardware business manager); spread” Probably Kevin Wragg as he sits at the hub of the David Nelson (service and delivery director); Teresa wheel, acting as the link between our sales, business, Johnston (account director); Ross Turner (head of operations and logistics sides of the business. But really, sales); Matt Child (managing director). everyone’s a team player in CTG, that’s what makes it work. Who has been in the team for the longest/shortest? What are you looking forward to as a team in 2018? Kevin Wragg (sales operations director and the one member of Building on the great start we’ve made in 2017 – CTG was brought the mangement team not in the photo) has been at Tech Data for together at the start of the year. We’re investing in the team and 22 years, while Mark Glasspool and Paul Jacobs have both been building from within and looking ahead we see lots of potential in with us for 17 years. Jenny Parkinson is the newest, having joined making the most of the newly integrated Tech Data group. in September. Contact: email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.pcr-online.biz
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<Logging off>\\| Out and about in the industry
<Back to school>
CEO of Onecom Darren Ridge returned to his old school 40 years after he left to inspire students to succeed and challenge them to predict the future of technology. Darren took assembly at Havant Academy, Leigh Park, and talked to pupils about his time at the school, then known as Wakefords. After describing how he went from humble beginnings to lead a successful telecoms firm turning over £100m a year, Darren launched a Future of Tech competition, inviting the young people to think of an app, service or technology idea that could transform lives. Students who signed up will work with Academy staff and a mentor from Onecom to develop their ideas over five weeks. Darren will then return to the Academy to give the winners in each age group a Samsung Galaxy S8.
<Night watchman beds in> Swapping the comfort of his warm bed for a plastic seat at one of the world’s most famous cricket grounds, Verv CCO Bobby Watkins was one of 60 rough sleepers who helped raise £100k for a number of charities (such as Borderline) in aid of homeless people. The CEO Sleepout event is a charity set up to fight homelessness and poverty, with attendees ranging from their 20s to one brave 89 year old.
<Cyber security school scheme > A government scheme has been launched to encourage schoolchildren to take up cyber security as a career. The initiative called ‘Cyber Discovery’ aims to ‘find the next generation of cyber security talent’. With some £20 million worth of investment, the program is aimed at young people in years 10 to 13. The curriculum will cover everything from digital forensics, defending against web attacks and cryptography, to Linux, programming and ethics.
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January 2018 | 49
<One person’s rubbish...>
Jonathan Easton Editor email@example.com Rob Horgan Deputy Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
SocialBox is appealing to the public and other local companies for donations of old laptop computers so that they can be refurbished and given to people struggling with homelessness. Peter Paduh, the founder of SocialBox, has set a goal of collecting 1,000 laptops by the year 2020, which will be distributed by homelessness charity Thames Reach to its clients so they can get their lives back on track. The Laptops for Homeless support initiative is a part of SocialBox’s overall goal of donating used, unneeded IT equipment to those in the community who need extra support. So far, 150 refurbished laptops have already been donated to Thames Reach through this program.
Dan Bennett Designer email@example.com Jason Dowie Production Executive firstname.lastname@example.org Gurpreet Purewal Sales Manager email@example.com James McKeown Content Director firstname.lastname@example.org Stuart Moody Head of Operations email@example.com
<Ain’t no mountain high enough > Eight Exertis directors were joined by Netgear and Fujitsu staff for a 100 mile cycle that saw the team ascend 6,000 ft. Raising £21,000 for the Naomi Houe and Jacksplace charity, most of the team took to the saddle. However Exertis HR director Nick Foster decided that the cycle wasn’t challenging enough and instead ran the hilly half half marathon from Cowes to Ventnor in 2hrs 20 minutes.
Send stories to Rob Horgan firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Distribution Issue Taking a look at the middle-men who keep the Channel ticking, PCR delves into the world of distribution. Looking at how the role of the distie has evolved over recent years, we will be looking at the different services distributors are now expected to provide. We will also be going behind the scenes for a Day at a disite special feature.
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Published on Dec 19, 2017