SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

HPE Partners with ClearCenter to Simplify IT for Small and Medium Businesses

By GlobeNewswire, June 05, 2017, 05:00:00 PM EDT

New partnership offers preloaded ClearOS on HPE ProLiant servers to make SMB IT simple, secure and affordable

PALO ALTO, Calif., June 05, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE:HPE) today announced an exclusive partnership with ClearCenter, a leading open source platform provider, to offer ClearOS, a Linux-based operating system on HPE ProLiant servers. Tailored to fit the IT needs of small and medium businesses by consolidating server, gateway and networking functionality, HPE and ClearCenter deliver a powerful IT solution with a simple web-based user interface and a built-in application marketplace, making IT deployments for SMBs simple, secure and economical.

IT for SMBs is complex, with conflicting technology choices and trade-offs making it difficult for companies to identify the right solutions for their short- and long-term needs. HPE is joining forces with ClearCenter to help channel partners deliver cloudlike simplicity and on premise security in one affordable solution that will grow with the business.

In addition, HPE is announcing new servers for SMB customers, including the new ProLiant MicroServer, as part of its Gen 10 portfolio. Designed specifically for Small Office/Home Office (SOHO), the ProLiant MicroServer includes the new ProLiant ML30 and ProLiant DL20 servers refreshed with new Kaby Lake processors from Intel.

The ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 boasts several upgrades including:

AMD graphics embedded in the chip, enabling high-resolution applications like media streaming.
Dual DisplayPort connectors, equipping two monitors with 4K experience.
Optional GPU support on a PCIe slot, which allows users to connect a total of five monitors to the MicroServer or a five screen extended display.

"At HPE, we are committed to providing our SMB customers with simple, secure and cost effective solutions that are easy to deploy," said Peter Schrady, senior vice president and general manager, ProLiant Servers, Hewlett Packard Enterprise. "Through our exclusive partnership with ClearCenter to deliver ClearOS, we will enable customers to create a ready-to-use server at no additional cost with more than 100 applications to choose from so businesses can build the IT solution that is just right for them."

Small and medium businesses need easy-to-use solutions that are secure and affordable. HPE will be offering ClearOS pre-loaded on the new HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10, as well as ML110, ML30 and DL20. HPE ProLiant preloaded with ClearOS is ready to use out of the box, easy to customize and integrates into any IT environment.

 

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Lenovo Line Up

Last Look at Accelerate 2017!


I thought you might be interested in these two last looks at the recently completed Lenovo Accelerate 2017 conference in Orlando. I will repeat.

Long-term Roadmap: Analytics and IoT

Lenovo NA President Emilio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My 1:1 with Lenovo NA President Emilio Ghilardi.

Different is Better

Sammy Kinlaw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My 1:1 with  Sammy Kinlaw, NA Channel Chief

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Perfect Timing – A Mobile Phone That Meets My Needs


    Long-time SMB Nation readers will recall my mobile phone journey from Apple to BlackBerry to Windows Phone. Today I’m limping along with an aging Nokia 1020 that I originally purchased for its state of the art camera (40+ megapixels). That’s right– my need with my phone beyond basic communication was to have a kick ass camera. Fast forward the movie and I’m shopping for a new mobile phone.

I’ve made the decision to roll with an Android-based phone that doesn’t catch on fire. I need a superior camera, great sound and basic functionality and then some. I recently went on a first date with the Moto Z phone from Lenovo (Lenovo acquired the Motorola phone business October 2014).  

Features
The Moto Z is a capable Android-based phone on its very own. But it’s the Mods that add extreme value. My first need is a killer camera as I’m a blogger in the media. The camera Mod is based on Hasselblad True Zoom camera hardware and has the following features: 10x optical zoom, xenon flash, RAW format and easy sharing. My next need is sound. When I host a phone call on speaker, I need quality and volume (both missing on my Nokia 1020). The sound Mod (JBL SoundBoost) for the Moto Z uses JBL sound technology plus adds a ten hour battery boost. Imagine both a boom box and the world’s best speakerphone on a mobile phone! There is also an InstaShare projector Mod that blew my mind. You attach it and you can illuminate a 70-inch screen, even in a light room, to display a PowerPoint deck or watching streaming entertainment such as a football game.

Take a Look
At the Lenovo Accelerate 2017 conference in Orlando last month, I walked the trade show floor and got a look at the Moto Z and its mods. I shot a vid here of the experience and I highly recommend you look at it.  

motovidpoliteimage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drawback
Right now the Moto Z is only available with Verizon. Small problem in that I use AT&T. I was educated that you can use an unlocked version of the Moto Z with AT&T. However I don’t like using unlocked phones because of support issues. (I had a family member use an unlocked BlackBerry Z90 that was programmed for Sprint that I “opened” using Unlock River. It allowed the BlackBerry Z90 to use an AT&T sim card but it downgraded the AT&T network coverage to 2G. A bit later, AT&T terminated its 2G network and rendered the unlocked BlackBerry Z90 useless. But I digress. I don’t like unlocked phones however Lenovo reports that the AT&T version of the Moto Z phone will be out mid-year 2017. At that time, I’ll seriously consider the Moto Z.

Next steps
Over the next several weeks, I’m gonna find a way to demo the Moto Z for two reasons. One is to provide an update to you, the SMB Nation reader. The second is to see if the Moto Z is indeed the phone for me when the AT&T compliant version releases later this year. Standby.

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On the Road Again – Lenovo Tech Wheels Tour

One of the jewels at the recently completed Lenovo Summit (Orlando, April 2017), hardly hidden, was the Lenovo Tech Wheels truck. It represents the initial on-the-road outreach by Lenovo to tell it’s story to the people, one truck stop at a time.

Starting this Spring, Lenovo’s Tech Wheels truck will visit partner sites, stores and events in the Southeast US LenovoTechTruckTour region (Lenovo is based in North Carolina).

If this sounds like a redo from yester year, you are partially correct. SMB Nation readers will fondly recall the Microsoft Across America tour trucks and buses before the Great Recession. Here’s the good news. The Lenovo Tech Wheels tour is bringing that excitement back. Thank you.

The Tech Wheels truck that I toured (pictured) was a first class GEEK CAVE. Here is an example of how it works. The idea is that this vehicle will pull up to the office building where you have your MSP consulting and reseller practice. The trailer then spreads its wings to create a demonstration lab showing Lenovo wares. To me the secret sauce was the presentation, just like how an upscale restaurant presents gourmet food. It’s all in the presentation and Lenovo’s Tech Wheels scores high marks here.

So what’s it all mean? The Lenovo fiscal year just started April 1st. This is a pilot program with one truck running in the current fiscal year. If successful, I would offer you can anticipate seeing additional Lenovo Tech Wheels trucks in the next fiscal year. And once it hits critical mass, it’s essentially recreated the Microsoft Across America tour – updated by about ten years. Think of this as an “event in a truck” because the desired motion an MSP would take is that customers would be invited to walk through the Lenovo Tech Wheels truck and be dazed and amazed.

I’ll keep you posted on the progress of this initiative as I have a personal interest in its success.

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Check-in: IBM (You Gotta Read This!)

Last quarter I reported from the IBM PartnerWorld Leadership (PWL) Conference 2017 in Las Vegas. Now I want to check-in again on IBM’s efforts to transform and improve its channel partner program.

In the Box

Think of a box having four-sides. That is how IBM essentially communicated the PartnerWorld paradigm to its Business Partners at PWL. I’ll tackle each side here but Figure #1 shows you where I’m headed.

IBM Partnerworld

Figure #1: IBM Box

Global Markets. Don’t forget that in many ways (IMHO), IBM is stronger globally than domestically in the US. It’s a trusted brand when I’ve travelled to LATAM, EMEA and APAC. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. IBM’s claiming to continue to strengthen its globalization approach with dedicated segment leadership, stakeholder collaboration, strong business unit alignment and optimized buyer group focus. For what it is worth, a significant portion of the attendees at PWL were from overseas. Another factoid was IBM’s admission and assertion that it has a 1% market share with plenty of room to grow. I’d concur.

One Channel. Represents IBM’s primary route to market in commercial. The channel vision conversation with especially strong with the seismic shifts occurring in buyer behavior driven by cloud, digital, data and cognitive. The client journeys dictate seamless engagement across digital, direct and business partners. My point is this. Granted IBM tends to work more with larger partners (and ISVs like Bluebee, a genome startup I spoke with) and doesn’t have as meaningful connection with SMB partners and MSPs (more on this in a moment), the facts surround the customer behavior trends are the same!

In the context of channel, a shout out to IBM for the introduction of new competencies in cloud, Watson and security.

Marketing. I found this area to be very interesting and will spend a few extra minutes on this topic. IBM’s marketing strategy is very simple and reflected in Figure #2 below. Marketing is focused on three industries (Manufacturing, Retail, Banking), three professions (CIO/IT, CISO, Marketing) and four IT Products/Services (Analytics, Cloud, Systems and Security). If you get anything out of this blog, let it be this. Approximately 80% of the client base is seed accounts. Translation is that this is the green field for SMB MSPs who want to attach to IBM’s motion. You read it here first.

IBM Image 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure #2: Worth a few hundred words, this one-pager succinctly summarizes the IBM PartnerWorld marketing strategy.

In the context of marketing, this is where I want to highlight two things. The first was my conversation with IBM Cloud CMO Quincy Allen (Figure #3). Basically, we landed on the conclusion that marketing is analytics. And who better to lead that charge than IBM with its huge head start with Watson.

Quincy Allen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure #3: Facetime with IBM Cloud CMO Quincy Allen discussing marketing analytics and how to get business value.

Digital Sales/Business Group. The basic story here is marketing workflow. The concept is a content-based strategy of digital hubs that allow the partner to market from top of funnel to mid-funnel and finally conversion. It has to do with relevant content showing up in search such as “AI for marketing” leading to a related article to engage the customer and convert to a trial version of the offering. To be honest, I’d be surprised if IBM didn’t offer this stuff to its partners.

A shout out to the Cognitive Sales Advisor. It’s a Watson-based tool to unify partner support.
The Magician

Jamie Mendez, Director at PartnerWorld, is the magician behind the scenes. And I got to meet her! She keyed in on PartnerWorld (which is the partner program, website and engagement model including events) with a “adding value” mantra. “Few partners only do one thing when you look at our partner program model.” Mendez said. “We want partners to build something, sell something and deploy something.” For that reason, I noticed the PWL conference had a lot more developers that you would see at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (now called “Inspire”).

I chatted about her breadth partner play because my perception has been that IBM doesn’t have an SMB play. They do it in a difference form. First IBM defines an “enterprise” as 50-employees or higher. Second – it partners with distributors for its breadth play including Ingram, TechData, Avnet and Arrow.
Final Thoughts

Gotta hand it to IBM for hanging in there long-term. Year-after-year I attend the PWL conference and they are investing in the partner channel. I think IBM is finally on to something with its focus on Watson and IoT. And it was the first time I had heard of PartnerWorld trying to engage audiences at scale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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