5 Channel Ops: HP and Pure Get Flashy, Ruckus Touts WLAN ROI

Greenpeace is taking on Amazon, and I don’t mean the river.

Lorna Garey

June 5, 2015

10 Min Read
5 Channel Ops: HP and Pure Get Flashy, Ruckus Touts WLAN ROI

Lorna GareyThis week Microsoft announced a July 29 release date for Windows 10. I hear you thinking, “That’s fine, but my business customers aren’t budging from Windows 7 until Redmond pries it forcibly from their grasp.” And who can blame them — while the OS upgrade may be free, migrations certainly are not. However, there are opportunities for customers who are security-conscious, support a lot of road warriors or simply have gadget lust. At Computex this week, Microsoft execs highlighted some slick new hardware, optimized for Windows 10, from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP and Toshiba. For example, Toshiba announced a new PC with built-in biometric security, including a face-authentication camera, while the FoxConn Kangaroo and Quanta Compute Plug are ultra-portable “desktops on a stick” that enable a business traveler to turn any screen with an HDMI port into a full Windows PC. And don’t get me started on the aluminum-clad Asus Transformer Book; it sports 14 hours of battery life, quad-core Intel Cherry Trail processors, 4GB RAM and is available in Rouge Pink, among other color options.

HP Discover, New Print Options

We previously covered how HP’s imminent split into two companies will affect partners. That division is scheduled to be legal on Nov. 1, but this week HP announced it would begin operating as separate enterprise and consumer companies on Aug. 1. The Discover conference this week in Las Vegas also featured some flash, both figuratively via a partnership with “Avatar” makers Lightstorm and 20th Century Fox, and more literally with an all-flash data center design and range of new server offerings.

But no worries — HP’s not ignoring the less flashy but still lucrative managed printing business. It also announced some new and updated offerings aimed at making printing, if not painless, at least a bit more secure and efficient. They include:

  • HP Access Control now features serverless pull printing, to eliminate the need for print servers in branch offices while still maintaining policy control. It can also allow mobile device users to print via email to the secure pull print queue, again while maintaining the customer’s access control, tracking and security policies. These new capabilities are now available globally to all customers with HP Access Control.

  • The JetAdvantage Security Manager now supports policy-based security monitoring and management on newer Pro-class HP LaserJet printers. 

  • A new module for HP Capture and Route adds form-recognition capabilities that make it faster and easier to scan and manage paper documents.  

  • Finally, HP Proactive Print Advisor is a new service providing customizable reporting, analysis and recommendations based on a customer’s print environment. The idea is to provide insights on ways to optimize print fleets for cost effectiveness and policy enforcement and to stay on top of updates.

Speaking of Flash …

Pure Storage this week rolled out the newest iteration of its FlashArray//m flagship storage array; a Pure1 cloud-based management and support platform; and Evergreen Storage, a new model for storage procurement and upgrades. The goal is to make storage simpler and more efficient and eliminate the need for forklift upgrades and costly data migrations. All of these are sure to appeal to customers buried in data and facing budget uncertainty.

  • FlashArray//m, the fourth generation of Pure’s compact, modular all-flash platform, delivers a 50 percent increase in performance as well as improvements in density and power efficiency-per-terabyte over previous generations. The FlashArray//m comes in three controller configurations ranging from 5 TBs of raw storage and 150,000 32K IOPS on up to 136 TBs of raw storage and 300,000 32K IOPS. All software is included in the base price, meaning no additional charges for high availability, snapshots, replication, encryption or management software.

  • The Pure1 cloud-based management and support platform enables customer IT staff and partners to securely collaborate for storage management and support.  

  • The Evergreen Storage service model is based around Forever Flash, the company’s maintenance program that delivers flat pricing for software updates as well as periodic hardware upgrades; with the add-on Upgrade Flex Bundles, customers expanding their storage architectures may receive trade-in credits for their existing FlashArray controller hardware.

While your customers may not be familiar with Pure Storage, the company’s application and infrastructure partner roster includes Brocade, Cisco, Citrix, Commvault, Microsoft, VMware and others. Authorized Pure Storage channel partners can get help to determine the right configurations for their customers. A stream of the company’s recent customer and partner event is here.

One note on flash arrays: Don’t be too quick to follow Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant. Storage expert Howard Marks has some choice (and accurate) words on this topic via Network Computing; storage solutions providers should give it a read.

Check Your Privilege. No, Really

What’s scarier than a disgruntled IT admin with privileged access and an ax to grind? Not being able to detect that threat. One answer is to roll out a secure, centralized vault for shared sensitive information. Partners of ManageEngine can help customers do just that using the new enterprise edition of its Password Manager Pro privileged access management software, announced this week.

The system manages passwords, documents and digital identities and can integrate with ticketing and SIEM systems, Raj Sabhlok, president of ManageEngine, told Channel Partners.

“This also opens up an exciting opportunity for our channel partners,” says Sabhlok. “For partners that specialize in regulation and compliance, Password Manager Pro also provides the ability to establish and enforce sufficient controls in ITSM processes of their clients. This leads to partners developing cutting-edge expertise and contributing equally to the overall solution rather than just being front-end representatives.”

One key feature is that the software can automatically discover unknown privileged accounts, so they can be disabled before an attacker, or malicious insider, takes advantage. It can also record, archive and play back privileged sessions for forensic audits, or enable admins to monitor sessions in real time and terminate suspicious connections.

Partners can give the software a spin with a free 30-day trial. Thereafter, Password Manager Pro is available in the current Free, Standard and Premium Editions, as well as the new Enterprise version. The standard suite starts at $495 per year for two administrators. Premium edition starts at $1,195 per year for five administrators. Enterprise prices start at $2,995 per year for 10 administrators with no restrictions on the number of end users or managed passwords.

Ruckus: Make Those APs Pay

Ruckus Wireless, along with location and proximity-based mobile engagement provider Gimbal, this week unveiled an expansion of the SPoT location-based service to help customers squeeze some ROI from their wireless infrastructures. Short version, it’s a beaconing system that uses existing access points. You support them, why not monetize them?

The SPoT line comes in three versions:

  • Ruckus SPoT Point detects client locations in real time within a range of five to eight meters, with 80 percent accuracy, after some calibration work. SPoT Point is subscription-based and can be purchased on a one-, three- or five-year basis for $25 per Ruckus access point per month.

  • Ruckus SPoT Presence is a calibration-free version for those who need less precise tracking information or for smaller venues with fewer access points. SPoT Presence detects the overall number of devices present using Ruckus ZoneFlex access points and proximity analytics. It’s scheduled to be available by next month at a lower price point versus Point.

  • Ruckus Virtual SPoT is a virtual software appliance that works with VMware VSphere and can be managed remotely in from cloud data centers. It’s available now for a one-time fee of $995 for the per-instance license and $100 per Ruckus ZoneFlex access point supported.

Once a beacon network is up and running, the Gimbal technology securely shares access with business partners, sponsors or digital ad networks, which can then entice customers with targeted content or offers. However, beacon networks aren’t just for selling. Location-based services can be used by schools and hospitals to track high-value assets, like smartboards or portable ultrasound machines, not only to prevent theft but to see where this gear is most used. Municipalities could monitor foot traffic to improve safety.

All versions of Ruckus SPoT location-based services are available from authorized Ruckus BiG DOGs channel partners, which can also engage with other ecosystem program participants including Aislelabs, for personalized, real-time in-store marketing, and Purple WiFi, for hotspot login via Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.

Bits & Bytes

Dimension Data this week released its 2015 Network Barometer Report. Based on network discovery data gathered through Dimension’s technology life-cycle management assessments and the support requests routed through its service centers, the report gauges the readiness of today’s networks to support business.

The news is bad for enterprises, good for hardware and solutions providers. Some high (or low) lights:

  • Networks have aged for the fifth year in a row. Of all devices, 53 percent are now obsolete or well on their way, up from 51 percent in the 2014 report.

  • Sixty percent of devices have at least one security vulnerability, down from last year’s 74 percent.

  • Seventy-four percent of wireless access points are still older models (802.11g and older) that don’t support a sound mobility strategy.

  • Just 21 percent of all network devices are IPv6-capable, even though many could be updated with a simple firmware fix.

The upshot: Your customers likely have a ways to go to support “generation mobile” and the Internet of Things.

Greenpeace says Amazon has some ’splaining to do in terms of opening a massive new data center in Ohio without indicating how, or if, the center will contribute to Amazon’s promise to work toward using 100 percent renewable energy to power its facilities. Some large companies that use AWS are calling for increased transparency from Amazon, and channel partners with environmentally conscious customers contemplating where to purchase IaaS capacity may want to raise this as a decision point.

Yeoman Technology Group posted an interesting blog titled, “Should You Worry About the Google Buy Button.” The answer for partners with retail and manufacturing practices is yes. Yeoman offers five questions to ask your customers.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee held a hearing Tuesday on the Federal Communications Commission’s proposal to extend the Lifeline phone subsidy program to include Internet service, reports the NationalJournal. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wants to allow recipients to spend their subsidies on voice, data or home Internet access, which could increase business for ISPs in underserved areas.

As you may have noticed, I’m a fan of delivering commodity network functions in virtual model. However, one complaint has been a lack of standards and specifications. This week, the Open Platform for NFV Project, under the auspices of the Linux Foundation Collaborative Project, debuted OPNFV Arno, the industry’s first open source platform for NFV. Amo enables continuous integration, automated deployment and testing of the components necessary to build an NFV platform from upstream projects including Ceph, OpenDaylight, OpenStack, Open vSwitch and KVM.

In a blog announcing the framework, stakeholders comprising a who’s who of the networking and telecom market made statements. For example, AT&T wrote, “OPNFV is working diligently to accelerate the industry build and continuous integration and build of the NFV platform. And AT&T is looking forward to the progress. Arno is the first step in this direction. The networking industry has become more comfortable collaborating in an open forum to create common approaches. In the future, common use cases, traffic profiles and benchmarks, along with automated testing on an integrated build environment like ARNO will help advance the NFV platform.” Cisco, Juniper, NEC, Huawei, NTT and others concur. Learn more about NFV in this report.

Follow executive editor @LornaGarey on Twitter.

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