Softcat Tech Update: May 2018

Posted on Thursday, May 31, 2018
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Just when you thought it was safe to go back into Softcat news, Tech Update is back, with a diverse cast of characters worthy of a Marvel cinematic epic. Let's take a look at what's been happening in the world of Enterprise IT.

Silver Linings Runbooks

The emergence of the public cloud titans has been one of the most significant paradigm shifts ever in IT, with news from the big three hyperscale players affecting nearly every IT shop.

Amazon continues its transition into a Cloud juggernaut with a side-line in eCommerce, releasing new products and services at breakneck speed. One of the most significant of these has been VMware Cloud on AWS – a managed platform service that combines the biggest name in on-premises platforms with the global leader in cloud. With migrations as simple as a vMotion, there are huge potential upsides for organisations with an eye on the cloud, but who are not in the world of cloud native, Function-as-a-Service, and would prefer a more familiar set of services.

Over in Redmond, the results are positive for Microsoft's Commercial Cloud business unit, with revenues up 58% year-on-year. Furthermore, Microsoft have decided to restructure the organisation, placing 'Intelligent Cloud' and 'Intelligent Edge' into the new Cloud and AI business unit, and shuffling the more traditional product groups into the Experiences and Devices unit. This is very much a statement of intent from Satya Nadella, underlining the importance of cloud to the new Microsoft, and the diminishing role of the Windows, Office and Enterprise software business arm we all know and love.

Meanwhile, over in the valley, Google have been cosying up to our friends at Nutanix, joining forces for a hybrid cloud play that is big on containers and Kubernetes. Nutanix fancy themselves as the next VMware, so expect further integration and plays from these two as the relationship continues.

And the Header goes in off the Frame!

That's enough ARPing on about Cloud, let's try and cut through the noise, and signal for some networking news!

Cisco are continuing their transition into a software and services-led organisation, pushing the message of 'intent-based networking', designed to deal with the new challenges facing modern networks. They have also packaged their Tetration analytics platform into VM and SaaS offerings, another step as Cisco decouple hardware and software offerings.

HPE's Aruba networks have announced a deal to purchase Cape Networks for an undisclosed sum. The South African company specialise in WiFi analytics, with a nifty sensor and slick dashboard. Aruba's strategy is Mobile First, and this acquisition dovetails nicely.

Speaking of mobile, 5G continues to be a hot topic, with device manufacturers planning launches as soon as February's Mobile World Congress 2019 (for the 2018 launches, see our round-up here). Work is also going on in the supporting infrastructure, with Huawei launching a 5G version of their SingleRAN platform, and Vodafone actively testing the technology.

In further, inevitable news, RIPE announced last month that they have allocated the final/8 block of public IPv4 address space. In spite of this, IPv6 adoption remains patchy at best, so expect more chicanery as the web giants try to buy/sell or claw back further IPv4 addresses.

Arista Networks announced two new campus switches as part of their Spline range, alongside an updated campus management plane, combined with smarts from VMware and Aruba to complement the solution.

Herding Nerds

In a landmark achievement of terrible scheduling, there have been numerous major conferences going on simultaneously. Here's the big announcements:

Google IO showcased a lot of features in the upcoming Android P and some clever devices, but the star of the show was Duplex, a feature in the Assistant that will make calls on your behalf, booking in your appointments with small businesses using uncannily human speech, complete with ums and ahs. I'll let you draw your own conclusions as to whether that's a good thing.

Microsoft Build showcased the new, collaborative Microsoft. Content with not owning every platform and app, Cortana and Alexa are working together, Windows 10 connects more closely with iOS and Android, and Intellicode adds AI to Visual Studio.

Red Hat Summit also featured input from Microsoft, with the announcement of a joint-managed OpenShift service running on Azure, further strengthening the hybrid cloud capabilities of the two companies.Other announcements included a tighter coupling of CoreOS and RHEL, and a preview of a dynamic multicloud platform director/AMQ that was one of the best demos your humble correspondent has ever seen.

Citrix also had a summit, and the big launch was of Citrix Workspace App, a fully unified workspace experience that combines a lot of products from the existing portfolio. This sits alongside the general rationalisation of branding, with a move to 'Citrix+function' nomenclature, which will see brands such as Xen and Netscaler renamed. In addition to this, Citrix took great pains to emphasise their support of choice, across all major clouds and hypervisors, and their aim to move much more to a cloud and subscription model of business.

Finally, at Nutanix .Next, the HCI market leader continued to broaden their reach, adding SDN capabilities, as well as a broad range of management and provisioning tools to their portfolio. Nutanix have made no secret of their ambitions to be a full-service datacentre and hybrid cloud player, and this is another step on the road to this. They also reassured attendees that the Xi cloud capabilities announced at .Next 2017 are coming soon, and will support the recent announcements.

AOB

  • Chinese mobility and telco networking giant ZTE have mothballed their major operations as a result of a hefty embargo from the US government. With >$17Bn in revenues and >100m handsets shipped last year, this is a rare example of a huge multinational company being effectively shuttered by a foreign government. However, following a tweet edict from President Trump, it appears there may yet be a reprieve for the company, which at time of writing remains in limbo, its fate in the hands of the US and Chinese premiers.
  • HPE Nimble Storage have beefed up their product lines, adding more performance and capacity across the board, as well as a roadmap for NVMe, SCM and NVMe over Fabrics.
  • Former Autonomy CFO Sushovan Hussain has been found guilty of fraud, specifically of cooking the books to inflate the company's value prior to its acquisition by HPE. The civil showdown between HPE and former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch has, however, been pushed back to 2019.
  • Microsoft have showed off the second version of its Surface Hub, the giant collaboration screen for offices, with all the goodness of Windows 10 and Teams. While not a mass-market success, this mode of collaboration is becoming increasingly popular, and the new Surface Hub looks ideal for organisations embracing the Microsoft 365 and collaboration suite.

Missed the last Tech Update?

The Softcat Tech Update is released approximately twice a year, check out our November edition, here.

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