Month: October 2012 MAM Software Group Inc: MAM and Claranet to provide network solutions

Leading solutions providers announce partnership to deliver business connectivity solutions

MAM Software is pleased to announce it has partnered with Claranet, one of Europe’s leading managed service providers, to deliver a range of network connectivity solutions to its customers.

Promoted under the brand ‘MAM Network Solutions (MNS)’, the service provides a reliable and secure infrastructure on which to operate multi-branch networks or hosted software. Providing high-capacity, real-time connectivity between locations, MNS is the ideal solution for companies that require the most stable and resilient network possible.

MNS utilises the latest MPLS technologies to connect sites in a company-wide virtual private network (VPN). Whether communicating with a head office or a hosted server, MNS utilises Claranet’s enterprise-grade private network to ensure a consistently high quality of service.

MAM Network Solutions offer a range of flexible options including a choice of service level agreements (SLAs), remote/home users, line monitoring, internet breakout, virtual server hosting and dual line or 3G failover. Furthermore, MNS is fully managed and supported by MAM Software, providing a single point of contact for all technical enquiries and ongoing support.

“We are delighted to be able to offer our customers the security and reliability of Claranet’s network infrastructure” said Nigel Clemett, Director of Sales at MAM Software. “Stable, high-capacity connectivity is a prerequisite for any multi-branch network or hosted solution. Having Claranet as the exclusive partner of MAM Network Solutions enables us to deliver enterprise-class services to our customers.”

Our Claranet partnership is central to our cloud computing strategy. Many of our customers are looking for more flexible and hassle-free ways in which to run their business management systems, and our new external hosting solutions help meet this objective. Partnering with Claranet instils the necessary confidence and security that is needed when working with a hosted solution. Through the use of their advanced private networks, we can ensure that system uptime is at its absolute maximum.”

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MicroScope: Lessons from the 4G soap opera

By Simon Bearne, UK Sales Director, Claranet

The ongoing saga of 4G has been an interesting distraction for technophiles in recent weeks, with EE beginning trials in cities around the country and the other networks lobbying furiously – successfully, it seems – for Ofcom to bring forward the auction of the remaining mobile spectrum.

The squabble between the competing mobile network operators, along with the ongoing soap opera of the spectrum auction, is certainly relevant to anyone who is interested in the next-generation of high-speed mobile internet. But given that media mentions of 4G have focused on the consumer angle, resellers can be forgiven for wondering how relevant 4G will be to their core business of enterprise-focused IT.

However 4G on consumer mobile devices is a bit of a red herring – at least until battery life improves. As the New York Times recently pointed out, 4G absolutely kills mobile batteries: a combination of the increased processing power required for data-intensive communications, and the need to switch between 4G and 3G networks in areas of patchy coverage.

In fact, I believe that 4G will bring more immediate benefits to businesses than to consumers – and that this therefore presents an inviting and profitable opportunity to the channel.

Modern businesses thrive on connectivity, but the more reliant they have become on the internet, the more vulnerable they are when a technical fault or a workman’s misplaced spade causes the network goes down. For many businesses any network downtime is unacceptable, so they invest in a redundant and costly physical backup network.

The advent of superfast mobile networks will – and I use this word advisedly – revolutionise the way that businesses build backup connectivity into their networks. Instead of investing in redundant physical infrastructure, they can instead use a 4G-enabled router to access cheap, fast and effective backup connectivity in the event of any disruption to their main network.

The implications for businesses could be immediate, by enabling them to switch seamlessly to a service delivered over the mobile spectrum at a fraction of the cost of a redundant cable connection. Because this would predominantly involve mains powered devices, the issue of battery life doesn’t arise; moreover, it brings backup connectivity within the range of smaller businesses that could not previously afford it.

Similar services already exist over a high performance 3G network, and this is particularly attractive to businesses that depend on ‘always-on’ connectivity such as retailers, who need to be able to process card transactions at all times. The limitations of the 3G network mean that it is not an ideal replacement for businesses that require constant, high-speed connectivity. That will change as soon as 4G comes online.

While most mobile operators may be thinking about the business implications of 4G, it’s likely that they will concentrate more on the lucrative consumer side, with its potential for pushing contract upgrades and device sales. That is why the channel has such an important part to play: to act as a link between mobile operators and the businesses that stand to benefit. And if resellers jump on this opportunity and start investigating potential relationships with mobile network operators now, it’s not just businesses that will profit.

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TechWorld: Cloud will never be cheaper than on-premise: Claranet…the real benefit is access to the economies of scale

Deploying applications in the cloud is never going to be cheaper than deploying on-premise infrastructure, but the service benefits of cloud computing make the cost of adopting it worthwhile.

Speaking at the Apps World summit in London yesterday, Martin Saunders, product director at Claranet said: “People understand that cloud isn’t cheaper. It is always going to be cheaper for a company to buy a server, stick it in server room and run it themselves. But I think if that’s all you’re focusing on then you’re very much missing the point of what this thing is all about, because it’s a service. It’s not just about buying infrastructure and hardware.”

Saunders said that people often compare the cost of running a server on premise to the cost of running a server in the cloud, and conclude that the cost of the on-premise server can be written off in three years, whereas the cloud server will be an on-going expense.

However, he said that the labour and power costs of operating an in-house server 24/7 are often left out of these calculations, as well as the staff training and personnel required.

Ron Fraser, CTO of cloud services at Microsoft, added that cloud was traditionally sold as a cost-saving mechanism, and the cloud strategy belonged to the CIO. Now most of the conversations that vendors have around cloud computing are with chief marketing officers and chief financial officers.

“There’s two personalities to cloud. There’s the internal perspective, which is all about potential cost savings, risk assessments, and how you manage your portfolio apps. And there’s also an external perspective, which is driven by the economics the cloud brings in,” he said.

“If nothing else, the fundamental shift that cloud brings is a democratisation of access to the economies of scale. You can be a small company, and you can access the same globally diversified, resilient infrastructure that an IBM or a JP Morgan can have at the same unit price point.”

Fraser said that this is levelling the competitive landscape in a lot of markets, meaning that very small companies can take on incumbents, unencumbered by legacy systems, legacy processes and legacy policies and risk assessment procedures.

The costs associated with cloud are coming under increasing scrutiny as the European Commission embarks on a new strategy to speed up and increase the use of cloud computing in the region.

The EC claims that 80 percent of organisations adopting cloud computing achieve cost savings of at least 10-20%, and intends the new strategy to create 2.5 million new jobs and boost GDP by €160 billion (£127bn) by 2020.

However, TechMarketView analyst Anthony Miller questions where the predicted growth in revenues and jobs (based on figures from IDC) are going to come from, given that cloud technologies are – almost by their very definition – deflationary.

“Our own forecasts for the UK market suggest that spending on software and IT services will decline in real terms (i.e. excluding inflation) until 2015 and then will remain pretty much flat (plus or minus) till the end of the decade,” he said.

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Computer Weekly: Family-run distributor uses Claranet to boost IT capabilities

Family business BETE, which specialises in distributing industrial spray nozzles, has adopted Claranet to support a staff of 10 home workers.

The approach BETE has taken with its IT has put it in a position to offer specialist warehousing to other small businesses.

The business stocks the spray nozzles in its own warehouse in Nottingham. The main operation involves the home workers taking sales and advising customers on which products to buy.

Software at the warehouse is used to print order dockets, which the warehouse staff use to ship out customer orders.

The firm uses an Orderwise order entry system and Goldmine customer relationship management (CRM) package, which are run remotely via Microsoft terminal services hosted by Claranet.

Claranet also provides multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) networking, supporting Voip and data access for home workers. The Voip service provides call routing and call group functionality, where any member of the home working team can pick up an external call.

For a small company, BETE has used quite a sophisticated IT setup. Ivan Zytynski, marketing manager at BETE, previously worked at Claranet, where he gained some experience of what was possible using hosting.

In Zytynski’s experience, smaller companies tend to be vulnerable to poor advice from suppliers, which limits the effectiveness of their IT systems. Sometimes the company does not understand what is possible, he said. “A lot of IT projects flounder when the company does not have a clear vision,” added Zytynski.

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