MicroScope's top stories, week ending 31 January 2014

Azzurri boss departs after restructure, channel speaks out over Windows XP malware support, and Cisco in cloud conflict warning. Catch up on the biggest channel news stories from last week

Azzurri's Vim Vithaldas calls it a day

Azzurri Communications CEO Vim Vithaldas has chosen to step down from his post at the end of the firm’s financial year in July, declaring the company’s transformation process complete.

Vithaldas joined Azzurri to replace Mark Quartermaine in December 2011, with a brief to keep a steady hand on the wheel and guide the firm – which was burdened with high levels of debt and had run through a number of CEOs in a short space of time – back to profitable growth.

Having overseen the refinancing of the firm – a process that wrapped up last October – and paid down its debt from over £100m to around £25m, Vithaldas said that for family reasons the time had now come to step back.

Azzurri said it was now at an exciting point in its development as a managed comms services provider, and thanked Vithaldas for his major contribution towards achieving that position.

Chairman Steve Andrews said: “We are now well set to accelerate further Azzurri’s position in the market and will announce Vim’s successor to take this forward during the coming months."

Windows XP security concerns linger on

With the deadline for the end of Windows XP support looming some channel players are starting to reveal how they will step in to help protect customers that choose to remain on the operating system.

Microsoft has said it will provide malware support on XP through July 2015

Although Microsoft has indicated that it will continue to provide malware support on XP until 14 July 2015, despite the rest of support being turned off in April this year, there are warnings from the channel that more efforts will need to be made to protect customers.

Panda Security has pledged to keep the same level of support for XP users that they have been enjoying for the last decade plus,  having acknowledged that a large chunk of its user base are still on the platform.

“It is very important for us to keep our commitments to our customers”, said Manuel Santamaría, Global Product Manager at Panda Security. “Nearly 50% of the two million computers currently protected with Panda Cloud Office Protection have Windows XP installed, so for our customers it is extremely important that we continue supporting this operating system, particularly after their systems lose product support on April 8, leaving them vulnerable”.

Pure Storage soups up UK partner ops to account for growth

All-flash storage array advocate Pure Storage has expanded its partner programme in the UK to account for the growth it is seeing in the market as it sets out its stall in opposition to firms such as EMC and NetApp.

Speaking to MicroScope ahead of a London partner and customer event, Pure Storage CEO Scott Dietzen said that being able to offer price parity with spinning disk was a differentiator that was attracting more and more partners, and raising the bar when it came to flash storage competitors, more and more of whom have been piling into the UK.

Pure landed in the UK nearly a year ago with grand claims, including 10 times faster performance and 10 times more power efficiency than disk-based storage.

Accenture predicts more enterprise IT innovation

Established enterprise customers should start displaying some of the technology innovation traits of a start-up as they look to exploit IT to drive growth and change business processes.

 vision of innovation across all company sizes is a view of the future held by Accenture, which includes the idea as the main plank of its Technology Vision 2014 report, which identifies some of the trends driving the changes.

Cisco: cloud could cause conflict between buyers and channel

Growing adoption of cloud services is resulting in major changes in how customers procure, purchase and consume IT, and could store up trouble for the channel, according to a report produced by Cisco Consulting Services and Intel.

The survey of 4,000 IT decision-makers revealed that in most businesses control of planning and purchasing was shifting away from the IT department towards lines of business (LOBs) such as HR, sales or accounting.

Hardware recycling market facing tougher tests

The hardware recycling market could be set for a shake-up with legislation becoming tighter and customer awareness about the need for reliable data destruction increasing.

Features, comment and analysis

How will Lenovo compete in the PC server market?

Watch out HP, Lenovo is coming. Following the $2.3bn acquisition of IBM’s x86 business, Lenovo is expected to use aggressive pricing to win customers

Prepare to shift to a software-defined world

The channel will play a crucial role in helping businesses realise the potential of software-defined datacentres as acceptance grows. Billy MacInnes reports

Reseller view: channel challenges in 2014

Sabio director Adam Faulkner talks about some of the challenges facing the channel in this year and argues that the time has come for action when it comes to some pressing issues

Express Metrix hands channel free SAM software

Software Asset Management specialist Express Metrix has decided to make a free version of its auditing tool available to channel partners and customers as it looks to encourage greater licensing compliance.

Xirrus reveals widespread school wireless problems

Plenty of primary and secondary schools have added tablets to the learning tools that they provide for their pupils but not many have made the investment in the infrastructure to support greater mobility.

Security industry hoping Data Privacy Day jogs cyber fears

The security industry is hoping that the occasion of Data Privacy Day will act as a reminder to those responsible for looking after information to take the threat of cyber crime more seriously.

VoxGen lays foundations for channel push

VoxGen’s new CEO Kerry Robinson has set the firm’s sights firmly on growth and expansion as he takes up the reins, with a particular focus on building more channel business.

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