The 25 Hottest Tech Releases In July4:50 PM EST Fri. Jul. 27, 2012
CRN is ready to match the heat that Mother Nature has provided us in July by highlighting 25 of the hottest tech products and services released this month. For solution providers, identifying the potential for new business opportunities that accompany these releases can be key in getting ahead of the curve in certain market trends.
July not only brought us the latest version of Microsoft Office 2013 and a high-performance laptop in the new Samsung Series 7 Chronos, it also saw a product that mightily impressed the CRN Test Center. The HP ProLiant DL380p 2U server stood out from the crowd in the Test Center's performance benchmark tests, boasting twice the memory capacity of its previous version.
From service automation platforms to new Android devices to cloud-based systems management and interconnectivity solutions, check out CRN's picks for the hottest tech releases in July.
Microsoft in mid-July unveiled a customer preview of Office 2013, including new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote and other modules, all with a consistent suitewide interface that's enhanced for use on tablets. The suite is widely rumored to be available early next year.
In tests ahead of the announcement, the CRN Test Center found a stable and responsive set of apps that integrate more tightly with each other, with Microsoft's Office 365 online suite and with Internet-based storage and social networks. Though all have a finger-friendly touch-mode, only OneNote and Lync execute in Metro; the rest run in Desktop Mode, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Access, Project and Visio.
The HTC One V smartphone officially hit U.S. shelves early this month, running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and a Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 1GHz processor.
The compact 3.7-inch device also includes HTC Sense 4, what HTC refers to as its "branded user experience" delivering enhancements to audio quality and a new suite of camera and imaging features that can be leveraged alongside the One V's 5-megapixel camera. HTC Sense 4 also integrates with Dropbox and provides users with up to 25 GB of free storage -- or, according to HTC, enough to store 10,000 photos.
It's unclear whether the HTC One V will ever hit major carries like T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, but it is available now at Virgin Mobile and U.S. Cellular.
Avaya confirmed a new version of IP Office, its UC system for small and midsize businesses that enables Avaya to better target midmarket users that are too small for its enterprise-grade UC products. The 8.1 release of IP Office, which is sold by Avaya 100 percent through the channel, can serve small businesses as tiny as five employees or scale up to 1,000 users in a single location, up from the previous software's 384-user single-location capacity.
A recent study from research firm IDC suggested all-in-ones are the bright spot in an otherwise stagnant PC market, projecting them to account for nearly 27 percent of worldwide desktop sales by 2016.
And HP, it seems, wants to get in on the action. The PC maker launched this month four new all-in-ones, including the touch-enabled Compaq Elite 8300. The new Elite 8300 sports a 23-inch high-definition display and is optimized for enterprise users with security features including Intel's vPro technology and HP ProtectTools.
Users can input data via a touch screen that can register up to two touch points at a time, a feature HP said bodes especially well for verticals such as health care and retail. The new Compaq Elite 8300 will be available starting Sept. 10 for $929.
ViewSonic grew its monitor lineup this month with the launch of its VX2703mh-LED, a 27-inch widescreen LED monitor. Targeted at both consumer and enterprise markets, the new monitor has a high-definition 1,920 x 1,080 display, a thin bezel design, HDMI, DVI and VGA inputs, and an ultrafast 3ms response time.
But the VX2703mh-LED's real claim to fame is its energy efficiency. ViewSonic said its newest display is mercury-free and users can opt for the company's ECO-mode feature, which allows for up to 40 percent less power to be consumed compared to a regular 27-inch monitor.
Spiceworks released a new version of its free social network and IT management software for SMBs. The software includes automated cloud services discovery to manage use of cloud services, a remote device agent and a new social IT knowledge base to help IT professionals find articles posted in the Spiceworks community. The new version, called Spiceworks 6, helps IT professionals gain and share knowledge in their social networking environment.
Cloud services discovery allows organizations to automatically detect more than 40 popular cloud services, such as Dropbox, Evernote and Basecamp, and helps managers and workers gain insight into exactly which cloud services are in use across their network.
Oracle has added a new password security feature to its identity management component of Oracle Fusion middleware. Oracle's new "Privileged Account Manager" simplifies management of shared passwords used in HR, finance, administration, etc., where multiple people may use the same password. To help bolster security and meet regulatory requirements, the system stores all shared passwords in a vault. Access to sensitive data is achieved through a self-service interface. When access is granted, the user receives the password, which is then dynamically changed after logout, or after access expires. Based on the password that is used and the time the data was accessed, the system can identify the user who accessed the data.
(Oracle CEO Larry Ellison pictured)
Check Point Software Technologies rolled out a new offering that is designed to enable the consolidation of security gateways onto a single appliance or open server. The introduction of Check Point Virtual Systems is expected to simplify security, boost performance, and provide enhanced cost control. Partners can secure multiple network segments by using any combination of Check Point software blades supporting firewall, VPN, intrusion prevention, application control, URL filtering, anti-bot, antivirus, and identity awareness. The system supports the consolidation of up to 250 virtual systems on a single gateway supported by software blade protections and policies optimized for the needs of the specific customer.
CipherCloud, a cloud encryption vendor, released CipherCloud for Office 365 to cut barriers to data privacy, security, residency and regulatory compliance it says have slowed cloud adoption.
CipherCloud for Office 365 encrypts email messages, calendar and contact data stored in Microsoft's cloud-based Exchange Online and third-party Hosted Exchange, giving businesses control of their messaging data and preventing unauthorized access to organizations' information.
Unlike other email security products, CipherCloud encrypts data-at-rest, data-in-transit and data-in-use in realtime. CipherCloud for Office 365 is the latest addition to the CipherCloud Platform, which secures multiple cloud applications including Salesforce, Force.com, Chatter, Gmail and Amazon AWS.
Fujitsu launched this month its 13.3-inch Lifebook T902, the replacement for its Lifebook T901, that touts the same convertible, half-tablet, half-notebook form factor. Rather than come with a detachable keyboard like most convertibles, users of the new T902 (and the older T901, for that matter) rotate the screen 180 degrees and then close the clamshell to use in tablet mode.
It also runs on Intel's latest Ivy Bridge processors, gets up to an 11-hour battery life, and is thinner and lighter than the T901, weighing in at 4.1 pounds. The Lifebook T902 ships with 16 GB of RAM and Windows 7, but is upgradable to Windows 8. Fujitsu said general availability will be in the third quarter, with prices starting at $1,899.
Sophos rolled out an expanded unified threat management platform that integrates gateway security and endpoint security into a single product. The move is expected to increase efficiencies associated with configuring multiple endpoint solutions across an entire enterprise. Channel partners or IT managers use a simplified interface to install the agents and conduct management on a one-to-many basis. Because it is tied directly into the unified threat management system, managers can also deploy a variety of the other Sophos features, such as web protection and enforcement, mobile control, disk encryption, etc. Features include support for HTML5 VPN, which enables secure remote application access without installing additional software onto the desktop.
N-able Technologies launched the latest version of its RMM and service automation platform, N-central 9.0, that offers an enhanced technicians' "runbook" of designs, new remote control capabilities and a new automation manager that should make N-able partners very happy, said Gavin Garbutt, CEO of N-able. The Automation Manager is a drag-and-drop tool that automates best practices captured in N-able's MSP Technician Runbook, which provides hundreds of pre-tested automation processes and policies for numerous IT maintenance, remediation and diagnostics functions. The drag-and-drop tool can perform automatic service functions by device class, by customer and across all customers, as well as other highly customizable tasks.
In CRN Test Center's performance benchmark tests, HP's ProLiant DL380p 2U server stood out from the crowd. This eighth-generation ProLiant offers twice the memory capacity of its seventh-gen predecessor, a third more cores and as much as triple the storage capacity -- a maximum of 36 TB of internal SATA.
Add a low starting price, numerous configuration options, advanced management features and stellar benchmark performance and the result is a solid choice of computing platform for companies large and small. "It's big in data centers, and it's a top seller for small business because it's so flexible," said Barry Brooks, product marketing manager for the HP ProLiant DL380p eight-generation server.
The latest update to ShoreTel's unified communications platform, ShoreTel 13, expands its video communications and instant messaging capabilities. Thanks to an update to ShoreTel Communicator, the platform's call manager application, users can now use Communicator to participate in room-based videoconferences using H.264 AVC-enabled endpoints, and ShoreTel has tested integration with LifeSize and Polycom systems already.
CumuLogic released its CumuLogic Cloud Application Platform v1.0 to allow cloud service providers to build a Platform-as-a-Service to deploy Java applications in the cloud.
CumuLogic’s platform supports Infrastructure-as-a-Service clouds, such as Citrix CloudStack, OpenStack and VMware vSphere in private and hybrid clouds.
CumuLogic Cloud Application Platform v1.0 allows developers to build cloud-based applications, helps migrate existing Java applications to the cloud and includes enterprise application management features such as monitoring and metering.
Kaseya added a new entry-level cloud-based IT systems management offering to its product portfolio. The cloud-based Foundation solution offers unique pricing that lets MSPs enhance their break-fix processes with basic IT automation functionality with an administrator-based price for unlimited seats, according to the company.
The Foundation product complements Kaseya's existing Essentials and Advanced cloud-based product bundles and gives IT administrators hosted access to the Kaseya platform with preconfigured content and policies for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices. It also provides remote control, audit and inventory, alerting, reports and dashboards, Windows patch updates, standard policies and options to add on antivirus and data backup modules.
Among Samsung's latest high-performance laptops is the Samsung Series 7 Chronos, which topped the CRN Test Center's all-time list for laptop performance. Not to be confused with ChromeOS, the Chronos is a workhorse laptop that runs 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium on an Intel Core i7 2.3GHz quad-core processor, 8 GB of 1,333MHz DDR3 memory, an AMD Radeon HD6750 PowerXpress discrete graphics processor with 1 GB of dedicated GDDR5 memory and a 750-GB SATA-II hard drive with 8 GB of cache. The Chronos turned in a top score of 13,896 on Geekbench 2.3.1, putting it on par with several high-end workstations we've tested.
Samsung's Series 7 laptops also include a multilayer slot-load DVD writer, an amazing 3-watt sound system, Gigabit Ethernet, WiFi b/g/n with a 2x2 MIMO and Bluetooth 3.0, all three types of video outputs, USB 3.0 and 3.0, and are available with a 15.4-inch display or an eye-popping 17-inch LCD, each with an LED backlight and anti-reflective glass.
TruMethods plans to launch a secure, multitenant tool to help managed service providers deisgn, implement and manage customers in line with their own business strategies. The myITprocess tool will collect and analyze data based on what technology customers have in place, how that technology fits into an MSP's offerings and whether that legacy technology has a negative impact on customers' business and should be replaced, according to TruMethods executives. The goal is to develop a standards-based solutions approach to ensure the same level of support across all customers, executives said.
With interconnectivity services all the rage in the videoconferencing space, Vidyo is taking perhaps the boldest gamble yet: it's making its new cloud-based interconnectivity offering, VidyoWay, available for free.
The idea is that the service will create drag for commercial Vidyo products as well as build a community around Vidyo's conferencing platform in an organic way. "When something is free, it encourages trying it out," Marty Hollander, Vidyo's senior vice president of market development, told CRN. "Say you're a big user of VidyoWay and you do it from a Polycom system. But that says to us, maybe we should offer you a trial. We looked at the economics and if we were to do a pay-per-click marketing campaign, that's an order of magnitude more costly for us."
SAP unveiled the second 2012 release of Business ByDesign, the company's cloud-based ERP application suite, in July. The company also said that it's accelerating its schedule for updating the product from twice a year to a quarterly release cycle, putting it on a par with Salesforce.com and other cloud application developers. The release includes an improved software development kit that SAP said makes it easier for channel partners and ISVs to extend the cloud software's capabilities for vertical industries and to customize the applications for specific customers. Developers also can integrate BusinessByDesign with other SAP Web services and adapt the applications' screens for different mobile devices. Channel partners now account for more than 50 percent of Business ByDesign subscription sales.
(SAP Co-CEO Bill McDermott pictured)
Assurance Storage, a developer of tiered storage software, and AIC, an OEM/ODM server manufacturer, are working together to develop the Guardian Storage Server line based on Intel's new Xeon E5-2600 processors.
Assurance said the new processors offer the performance needed to support RAID hardware acceleration as well as software optimization without the need to use PCIe slots in the server, giving solution providers the opportunity to use those slots to add solid state storage cards.
Assurance is delivering these systems to solution providers and ISVs for evaluation and customer deployment. Solution providers can add their own brand to the systems if desired.
The new Stratus Avance Software 3.0 from fault-tolerant server technology developer Stratus Technologies is the company's first to support Intel Xeon E5-powered servers. It now supports up to 24 virtual machines on a single licensed high-availability server platform, which is 50 percent more than were supported in the past.
Avance 3.0 also supports servers based on the Intel Modular Server (IMS) technology, allowing customers to create a high-availability blade platform between two IMS chassis. It also supports faster data snapshots than in the past to cut virtual machine backup time, the company said.
Oracle's "engineered systems" -- its turnkey systems that combine Sun hardware with Oracle middleware, database systems and application software -- are one of the vendor's key initiatives right now. The line includes the Exadata Database Machine, the Oracle Database Appliance, and the Exalogic Elastic Cloud server. Exalogic launched in January 2011.
This month Oracle debuted Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software 2.0, a new release of the system's software that Oracle says vastly simplifies application deployment and life-cycle management. It provides application virtualization through integration with Oracle VM and a range of tools that automate the deployment of large-scale, mission-critical applications.
Oracle is also touting the success of the Oracle Exastack Program under which 340 ISVs have applications that are certified to run on the Exalogic and Exadata servers.
Texas Memory Systems (TMS) updated the firmware of its RamSan PCIe flash-based storage systems to allow them to be used as bootable storage devices.
With the updated firmware, the devices, including the RamSan-70 (pictured) allow most common servers to load their operating system directly from PCIe flash storage, eliminating the need for spinning hard drives or RAID controllers.
The RamSan-70 series support up to 900 GB of SLC flash-based storage capacity, and can perform at up to 1.5 million IOs per second with a latency of between 30 and 60 microseconds.
Looking to print wirelessly from your Apple iOS device? Cannon unveiled three all-in-one inkjet printers that support wireless printing for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices without the need for users to install device drivers. The PIXMA MG4220 Wireless, PIXMA MG3220 Wireless and PIXMA MG2220 all include a new Facebook application that allows users to access and customize photos living on the social networking site.
The PIXMA MG4220 Wireless printer is available for $129.99, while the PIXMA MG3220 Wireless and PIXMA MG2220 are available for $79.99 and $69.99, respectively.