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									                           March 2009

G   Lenovo tackles the
    server field P9>>
G   Comztek stays
    bullish in turbulent
    times p17>>                         Even with its poor
    The server space

    remains vibrant
                                        global performance
    p28>>                               p35>>
                                                                                              EDITOR’S: NOTE

    Its great to be in Africa,
    at least at the moment
O   nce again I did my rounds last month and spoke to some company executives
    about the somewhat damp mood that the business world seems to be in both
    on a global and local scale.
       Expecting to hear nothing but news about doom and gloom on the horizon,
    I was pleasantly surprised to gather from most of then the fact that at the
    moment, the best place to do business is in emerging markets and specifically
    our own.
       Two vendors, EMC and LG Electronics both said that they would be seeing a
    lot of business being done in the emerging market segment and pointed out
    South Africa as being one of those countries that would see significant growth
    in revenues.
       Although I am very aware that the global recession has not passed us by and
    even if we have not yet felt its full impact, it is great to see multinationals feeling
    so excited about doing business here.
       Some might even say that these companies are just avoiding the obvious
    truth, but even a local distribution company like Comztek says that it is
    staying bullish and will see good business coming its way provided it sticks
    to its principles.
       One feels happy to be African during times like these because for a change
    the continent is not being talked about in terms of famine, bad politics and
    disease; but for its potential as a vibrant economic landscape that will see
    increased technological adoption for many years to come.
       I take my hat off to all corporations, regardless of their discipline, who are
    showing the continent a lot of attention as it is no secret that it has the greatest
    need for technology and by advancing technologically, it will firmly take its
    rightful place in the global village.

Kaunda Chama – editor
                                                               News & Analysis
                                                               4 – What’s News

                                                               5 – Comings and goings

                                                               6 – Demand Generator takes a look at how Microsoft’s new
                                                               baby gets industry acceptance

                                                               8 – Hi Five
                                                               9 – Lenovo tackles server field
 CRN Contacts:
 Editor:                                                       10 – Novell trains partners
 Kaunda Chama                                         11 – Printacom launches new printing division

                                                               14 – Symantec lays it on the line
 Associatte editor:
 Michelle Sturman                                              15 – Building blocks                                                                                                             10
                                                               16 – LG sees potential in emerging markets
 Dominic Khuzwayo
                                                               17 – Comztek still bullish in turbulent times.
                                                               By Kaunda Chama and George Maseko

                                                               35 – Cover story: EMC sees gold in SA.
 Brand executive:                                              By Kaunda Chama
 Hellen Murahwa                                         Features
                                                               25 – Database Software: With the demand for data and                       11
                                                               storage needs not slowing down any time soon, it is only
                                                               natural for the database software market to be alive and
 Jenny Bastomsky
                                                               kicking. By Stanley Chishala

                                                               27 – Servers: According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly
 Designer:                                                     Server Tracker, factory revenue in the worldwide server market
 Spencer van Graan                                             declined 14 per cent year over year to $13.5 billion in the                                        fourth quarter of 2008 (Q408), marking the second
                                                               consecutive quarter of market decline. By Dominic Khuzwayo

 Database and
                                                               30 – Storage: No matter how the ICT landscape changes or         32
                                                               what happens in the general economic environment,
 Daisy Mulenga                                                 much like security, the need for faster and larger capacity                                          storage solutions always seems to be on the increase.
                                                               By George Maseko
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except where expressly stated. The publisher, however,
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2 •          CRN SOUTHERN AFRICA • MARCH 2009

 New notebook hard drives from WD                                                  Lenovo steps into the server space
 Drive Control Corporation (DCC) has announced the availability of the             Lenovo has officially entered the server space with the
 new Western Digital (WD) Scorpio Blue 2.5-inch 500GB notebook hard                launch of its ThinkServer range. Designed for SMBs, the
 drives. According to DCC, the WD Scorpio Blue 500GB is the highest                ThinkServer TS100 Tower and RS110 Rack servers are
 capacity 2.5-inch, standard form-factor (9.5mm) hard drive shipping               equipped with Intel Core 2 Duo or Xeon 3000 or 3200
 to date, and is developed for use in OEM notebook platforms.                      processors and are best suited for small offices using
 Manivassen Naicker, Western Digital product specialist at DCC says:               simple applications such as email, messaging and file
 “The trend towards larger hard drive capacities is increasing dramatically        storage. Additionally, ThinkServer TD100 Tower, TD100x
 and WD is now able to offer larger capacities to mobile workers that              Tower or RD20 Rack servers are equipped with Intel Xeon            Henry Ferreira

 require additional hard-drive space for their applications, data, photos          3000 or 5000 processors and are ideal for medium-sized businesses
 and videos.”                                                                      that require additional capabilities such as database applications and
                                                                                   virtualisation. Henry Ferreira, country manager, Lenovo SA comments:
                                                                                   “Lenovo is now delivering a full suite of product offerings for SMBs from
 Microsoft release BizSpark                                                        desktops, notebooks and netbooks to servers. We believe this is an
 Microsoft has unveiled a new initiative: BizSpark. BizSpark is set to give        opportunity for Lenovo to capture more market share in SA and to
 start-up software companies low or no-cost access to its tools and                establish us in the important small business market.”
 technologies, with technical and marketing support to help them develop
 and take their products to market. Microsoft says qualified start-ups get
 access to a range of Microsoft technology, such as Visual Studio Team             New IT67 Enterprise Rigid RFID Asset Tag
 Suite, for up to three years at negligible upfront cost. They can also            ProScan Enterprise Mobility, a member of the ProScan Group, recently
 access a network of organisations – start-up incubators, investors,               introduced the Intermec IT67 Enterprise Lateral Transmitting (LT) RFID Tag.
 advisers, government agencies and even potential customers – with an              According to ProScan, the Intermec IT67 enables superior multidirectional
 interest in software-fuelled innovation and entrepreneurship. To be               reading performance, designed specifically to support portal and forklift
 considered, start-ups must be private companies in the business of                applications. In addition, users can now read the data from the IT67
 software development and less than three years old with under                     laterally, eliminating the need to face the tag directly. This allows enterprises
 US $1 million in annual revenue.                                                  to streamline operations and track assets more effectively without the need for
                                                                                   checkpoints. The IT67 is ideal for industries that track large metal containers
                                                                                   such as the automotive, postal and waste management industries.
 Faritec cuts costs
 Faritec has announced a decline in revenue for
 the six months to 31 December 2008 and a slight                                   Sony comes to Melrose Arch
 deterioration in gross profit margins for the same                                Sony Electronics South Africa will launch its fourth Sony Centre at Melrose
 period. Faritec CEO Simon Tomlinson says                                          Arch in Johannesburg on Saturday, 28 March 2009. The Melrose Arch
 revenue has declined by 18 per cent from R502                                     Sony Centre is set to be yet another success story for Sony as its three
 million to R414 million compared to the same                                      contemporaries in the Menlyn Shopping Centre in Pretoria; Eastgate
 period last year; earnings before interest, taxation,                             Shopping Centre in Johannesburg; and Gaborone in Botswana have
                                                                 Simon Tomlinson
 depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) decreased                                  enjoyed tremendous success. Sony says, for Blu-ray enthusiasts, one of
 to a loss of R11.6 million; and gross profit margins have decreased               the highlights of the Melrose Arch Sony Centre will be its comprehensive
 slightly from 24 per cent to 23 per cent, mainly as a result of significant       range of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Blu-ray titles; enjoying pride-
 pressure on hardware margins. This has resulted in a significant                  of-place in the store with an eye-catching display and expert sales staff.
 decrease in headline earnings per share (HEPS) to -8,3 cents and
 earnings per share (EPS) to -8,3 cents. The group remains cash positive,
 reporting a closing balance of R42 million. The group also raised a               HP announces support for Windows Mobile 6.5
 deferred tax asset for the period of R10 million.                                 HP has announced plans to support the Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.5
                                                                                   operating system on future smartphone devices. According to Susan
                                                                                   Macke, VP Marketing, Handheld Global Business Unit, Personal Systems
 Car adapter for laptops in stock                                                  Group, HP Windows Mobile 6.5 on HP smartphones will offer key
 PartServe Channel Support, a company focused exclusively on the                   enhancements to business productivity, personal messaging and mobile
 southern African IT services channel, has launched its universal car              Internet capabilities, making it even easier for mobile customers to
 adapter for laptops. According to PartServe, the new adapter works on             communicate and to manage critical business and personal information.
 nearly all laptop brands, including Dell, HP Sony, Acer, Compaq, NEC,             Macke says the enhanced mobile Internet experience and greater
 Asus, IBM, Samsung, Fujitsu, Apple and Toshiba. PartServe claims this is          personalisation capabilities boost the opportunities for Windows-based
 ideal for people who spend a lot of time travelling and need to charge            smartphones in broader market segments. “HP continues to work
 their laptop between appointments or who need to use a laptop after a             towards developing smartphones that simplify the mobile experience and
 long-distance drive and cannot risk running out of power. Lee Bowes,              meet evolving customer needs. Working closely with key partners, such
 PartServe channel support directorm says the universal car adapter is the         as Microsoft, allows for smooth integration of new technologies for the
 first automatic voltage-regulated car adapter in SA.                              best possible customer experience,” she says.

                                                                                                                                  COMINGS       AND GOINGS:

            HP appoints new MEMA MD
            HP has appointed Santiago Cortés as MD and VP Technology
                                                                              &                GOINGS
                                                                                       offices in the region as well as the sharing of intellectual property
                                                                                       to better serve customers.
            Solutions Group (TSG), HP Middle East, Mediterranean and Africa
            (MEMA). Cortés succeeds Ken Willett, who has led HP MEMA for               XON appoints Deon Prinsloo
            the past two years, and who was recently promoted to drive HP’s            XON, one of SA’s black-empowerment ICT groups, has
            sales strategy and productivity in EMEA. Francesco Serafini, MD,           appointed Deon Prinsloo to head its hardware division. Prinsloo
            HP EMEA says Cortés will drive the TSG business for HP’s MEMA              says the business has an extensive service footprint with offices
            region, which covers 71 countries, and lead the regional                   and personnel in all the major national and regional centres,
            management team. “Cortés’ proven track record of growing HP to             and a centralised service and support function in Midrand,
            become one of the largest IT companies in the Iberian market,              Gauteng. He adds that he aims to differentiate XON from
            and building close relationships with many enterprise customers            traditional hardware resellers by offering value-added services
            will help tremendously in continuing to strengthen our leadership          based on XON’s national service and support infrastructure.
            position in these very important and high-growth markets,”                 He also intends paying more attention to the often neglected
            Serafini says.                                                             mid-market. “Hardware resellers traditionally focus their fight for
                                                                                       market share on enterprise accounts and neglect the mid-market,”
            SAS appoints new vice president for                                        he says.
            AME region
            SAS has appointed Riad Gydien VP for Africa and the Middle                 New marketing manager for Softline
            East. Gydien was promoted to head of operations for the Africa             Softline, one of the leading providers of accounting, payroll, CRM
            and Middle East region late last year, in addition to his duties as        and ERP software solutions recently appointed Hazel van der Lith
            the South African country manager. This promotion sees his                 as group marketing manager. Van der Lith will be responsible for
            territory expand further to include Pakistan and Turkey. Gydien            communications across the Softline business divisions and will deal
            will be involved with SAS’ future strategies in the region. In             closely with the parent company, Sage Group plc, to interpret and
            addition, he will be tasked with ensuring better alignment and             roll-out global strategies locally. Van der Lith’s career spans
            centralisation of resources to achieve better cohesion between             advertising, retail and corporate marketing.

                                                                                  recruited Xerox technical and sales staff from Harare, all of whom have
                                                                                  received certified training from the Xerox Training Centre in
                                                                                  Johannesburg. “For more than three decades, Xerox products and ser-
                                                                                  vices have been delivered to educational institutions, and large commer-
                                                                                  cial and financial enterprises in Zimbabwe,” says Rob Abraham, MD of
HP, Sun Microsystems sign deal                                                    Bytes Document Solutions. “During this period Zimbabwe has often
HP and Sun Microsystems have expanded a multi-year partnership                    experienced difficult trading conditions and foreign currency shortages.
agreement for Solaris on HP ProLiant Servers. This agreement will enable          Despite this, Bytes Document Solutions has ensured that Xerox users in
HP to distribute and provide software technical support for Sun’s                 Zimbabwe have had access to competent technical support along with
Solaris10 operating system on the HP ProLiant server and blade system             spare parts and consumables, often at its own expense,” adds Abraham.
platforms. Additionally, under the agreement Sun Microsystems becomes
a strategic HP ProLiant OS distribution partner and Solaris is now elevated       DCC to sell HP PCs
to the lineup of key operating environments for the HP ProLiant platform.         Drive Control Corporation (DCC) has announced that it has obtained
The new deal sets the course for the companies to work together to                the rights to distribute and sell HP’s range of desktop and notebook
expand demand for both Solaris and OpenSolaris on both HP ProLiant                computers. Esna-May Hattingh, HP’s business unit manager, DCC, says
servers and server blades into new markets. According to the two                  this agreement gives DCC a broader range of products to take to its
companies, by providing a single point of purchase, contact and                   resellers, giving customers a more extensive offering. “Obtaining the
accountability for Solaris on HP ProLiant, HP and Sun are improving the           rights to sell HP PCs and notebooks was the next logical step for DCC.
overall customer experience.                                                      We already distribute HP’s range of printers and print supplies, and have
                                                                                  a variety of complementary product offerings that will be greatly
Bytes Document Solutions goes to Zim                                              enhanced by HP PCs and notebooks,” she says. She adds that all HP
Bytes Document Solutions has appointed Document Support Centre as                 sales people have been sent on the necessary PC and notebook training
its exclusive distributor in Zimbabwe. Document Support Centre has                courses to fully understand the products and their associated benefits.

                                                                                                           CRN SOUTHERN AFRICA • MARCH 2009 •                  5
                                                       SOLUTION         PROVIDERS

   MS Dynamics NAV gets thumbs up
   Delivering the right solutions.

T  he recently launched Microsoft Dynamics
   NAV software seems to be getting early
   thumbs up from customers. In South Africa it
   was launched February this year.
                                                      case of NAV, the system interfaces with other
                                                      Microsoft applications, so users do not have
                                                      to learn a new interface, making training a
                                                      simple affair, and improvements immediate.
                                                                                                         have access to 21 roles for line of business
                                                                                                         managers upon installation, and they will be
                                                                                                         able to create and define roles specific to
                                                                                                         their business.
       According to the software giants,              “To this end, our staff really liked the ability       Sales managers need regular updates on
   Microsoft Dynamics NAV is a comprehensive          to run things out of Outlook,” says Lewis.         who bought what. Marketing executives want
   management solution that helps people work            According to Lewis, NAV has helped his          to keep track of their budgets and impact.
   faster and smarter. Ideal for small and            company anticipate its clients’ needs better,      CFOs need to see revenue, or update the
   midsized business, Microsoft Dynamics NAV          creating a more proactive environment and          payroll module when raises are given. From
   is set to give business the flexibility to adapt   enhancing relationships while growing a            a business perspective, role-tailored user
   to new opportunities and growth.                   secondary revenue stream.                          experience is a massive boost to users’
       Sandie Overtveld, business and marketing          “Through NAV, we are able to get an             productivity – it gives you just what you need,
   group, Microsoft SA says, one of the first to      overview of each customer and their                just when you need it, explains Overtveld.
   deploy Microsoft Dynamics NAV in South             purchasing history, and we can now                     The product will also allow users to search
   Africa is the Department of Land Affairs.          proactively recommend complementary                for information across NAV as well as other
       Another company that is praising the           components to our customers.”                      systems to which it connects.
   NAV is Trident SA, one of the leading                 “We have heavily extended what you can              Overtveld says, “The launch of NAV 2009
   designer and manufacturer of mining                do in terms of personalisation. And you don’t      is the latest thrust by Microsoft into the
   machinery. Trident, which employs some 300         have to ask your IT department to do this for      lucrative ERP midmarket. “With the top end
   people, has seen it processes streamlined          you, after all these days, people often want       of the ERP market fairly saturated right now,
   since installing the system, and is expecting      to do things themselves.”                          there’s a lot of opportunity for savvy vendors
   its revenues to soar.                                 In addition, Trident now manages to             in the mid-market.”
       Simon Lewis, CIO, Trident, says, “The          eliminate a good deal of human error in its            “A big trend in ERP is for companies to
   implementation has simplified our operations       processes. All shipping documentation              have fewer and fewer diverse systems running,
   incredibly; it has also given us an accurate       and invoices – which were previously               as they look to consolidate their various
   picture of our business in that we need to         handled manually – are now generated               business applications on one platform.
   support critical business decision-making,         and bar-coded by the NAV system, allowing          That’s an area we believe South African
   and generates the kind of reports we need to       all orders to be tracked and administered          companies will find appealing,” he adds.
   now operate decisively in the global arena.”       efficiently.                                           “Microsoft will be bullish in 2009 and if
       Lewis adds that simplicity is key in making       Microsoft says companies choosing to            you are our competitor you better be
   ERP systems accessible to end users. In the        deploy Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 will            worried,” concludes Overtveld.
                            SOLUTION         PROVIDERS

    New marketing head
    for Softline
    Gearing for growth with new minds.


 I  n this month’s High Five section, CRN features Hazel van der Lith who
    was recently appointed the group Marketing manager for Softline.
    Softline is one of the leading providers of accounting, payroll, CRM and
    ERP software solutions to small, medium and large sized companies. Van
    de Lith will be responsible for the communications across the Softline
    business and deals closely with the parent company, Sage Group plc, to
    interpret and roll out global strategies locally. CRN had a chat with van de
    Lith whose career spans from advertising, retail and corporate marketing.

    CRN: What gives you the edge?
    Hazel van de Lith: I believe that I am able to bring an idea
    from concept to fruition, effectively and efficiently. I am highly
    experienced in process management and have honed my ability to
    align multiple resources in order to achieve the goal at hand.

    CRN: What are you planning to achieve this year?
    HVDL: I plan to immerse myself in the business management
    software category and learn as much as possible about the dynamics
    of this highly challenging and competitive industry. I also plan to
    launch and roll out a global brand alignment project within our
    unique South African context. This project is being spearheaded
    globally by our parent company Sage Group plc.

    CRN: How are you seeing the software market
    doing this year?
    HVDL: I believe we will see consolidation and rationalisation in the
    market, which is applicable to every category of business. Companies
                                                                                   “I am definitely going to ensure that I
    will become more discerning and cautious about their approach to
    business. They need to box a lot smarter. I do believe that the                spend every Rand wisely and make sure
    emerging markets face a period of higher growth than the mature
    markets, and will show more resilience to economic pressures.
                                                                                   that we achieve return on investment.” –
                                                                                   Hazel van der Lith, Softline.
    CRN: How has the economic downturn affected the
    marketing field?
    HVDL: Budgetary pressure is top of mind. Marketers are required to
    achieve a lot more with the same amount of money. I believe times of
    pressure also provide opportunity if you buy smarter. Companies are            CRN: What can you promise your partners this
    under pressure to maintain their brands’ share of voice. This will have        year?
    an effect further down the line when the economy enters a recovery             HVDL: From a group point of view, I believe all the divisions of
    phase. I am definitely going to ensure that I spend every Rand wisely          Softline are geared to work towards delivering an extraordinary
    and make sure that we achieve return on investment. I believe that             customer experience. As for our partners, our intention has always
    being aggressive in tough times will pay off significantly when the            been to collaborate with them to create mutually beneficial business
    economy recovers.                                                              relationships that are prosperous and sustainable.

                                                                                                                                         ANALYSIS: LENOVO
                                                                                                           SOLUTION    PROVIDERS

tackles server field
SMBs show server demand.


A   fter years of being a dominant player in the
    PC and notebook field, Lenovo is now
    officially tackling the server field with its
    recently launched ThinkServer line.
                                                        delivering a full suite of product offerings for
                                                        small and medium businesses from desktops
                                                        to notebooks to servers.”
                                                           “We believe this is an opportunity for
       According to Lenovo, the ThinkServers are        Lenovo to capture more market share
    tuned to provide an out-of-the-box solution         in South Africa and establish Lenovo in
    for small and medium businesses that require        the important small business market,”
    robust performance and high levels of               adds Ferreira.
    storage, but don’t have dedicated IT staff to          The SMB market seems to be the answer
    manage a server environment.                        for many vendors and it looks like vendors
       The company launched three towers and            are making servers more affordable to the
    two racks x86 servers, providing a scalable         SMB marketplace, smaller businesses can
    offering to fit the varying needs of businesses     now afford an entry-level server.
    ranging in size from one to 500 employees.             According to Greg Pothitos, servers are
                                                                                                                                   Henry Ferreira, Lenovo
       The ThinkServer TS100 Tower and RS110            performing very well in the SMB space.
    Rack servers are equipped with Intel Core 2         “The technology is becoming far more                      Ravi Perumal general manger, Annex
    Duo or Xeon 3000 or 3200 processors and             affordable and people are getting more                Distribution says, the SMB market will show
    are best suited for small offices utilising         bang for their buck. Vendors however need             greater demand for server products, as
                                                                                                              reliability and up time is key, especially with
                                                                                                              virtualisation. A medium sized company
                                                                                                              could use one server for multiple applications,
                                                                                                              thus showing a considerable cost saving and
    “Lenovo is now delivering a full suite of product offerings
                                                                                                              showing value in upgrading their current
    for small and medium businesses from desktops to                                                          servers.
                                                                                                                  According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly
    notebooks to servers.” – Henry Ferreira, Lenovo.                                                          Server Tracker, factory revenue in the
                                                                                                              worldwide server market declined 3.3% to US
                                                                                                              $53.3 billion, while worldwide unit shipments
                                                                                                              grew 2.0% to 8.1 million units. This is the first
    simple applications such as email, messaging        to start communicating to the masses and              time the server market has exceeded 8.0
    and storing files. They are also suitable for       place less emphasis on their large reseller           million units in a calendar year, reflecting
    use as Web servers.                                 programmes.”                                          continued demand for new physical servers
       Additionally, ThinkServer TD100 Tower,               In addition, Lenovo says that ThinkServer         even as virtualisation makes significant gains
    TD100x Tower or RD20 Rack servers are               customers can take advantage of a 90-day              in the enterprise.
    equipped with Intel Xeon 3000 or 5000               trial of ThinkPlus Priority Support services as           With the economic still in a weak state,
    processors and are ideal for medium-sized           they set up their servers for the first time. And     Ferreira admits that the IT industry is going to
    businesses that require additional capabilities     the company is also extending its commitment          have a tough this year. However, Lenovo says
    such as database applications and virtualisation.   to business partners by offering the full             looking at market opportunities for servers
       Newly appointed, Henry Ferreira, country         ThinkServer line as well as service and               worldwide at $31 billion and $8 billion
    manager, Lenovo SA says, “Lenovo is now             support through Tarsus and Pinnacle Micro.            EMEA, it wants a piece of that pie.

                                                                                                             CRN SOUTHERN AFRICA • MARCH 2009 •              9
                SOLUTION               PROVIDERS

   Novell trains partners
   Positioning for take off.


S  oftware giant, Novell recently held its annual
   REDucation partner summit in Johannesburg.
   The event is aimed at bringing its partner
   ecosystem up to date with latest developments
   in Novell’s solutions sets and go-to-market
      According to Novell, attendance was up
   58 per cent on last year and more than 20
   per cent of attendees were from organisations
   new to the Novell partner ecosystem. Novell
   claimed that over 90 per cent of attendees
   said they learnt new information about
   Novell through the event and would consider
   new approaches to working with the company
   as a result of their attendance.                                                                                 Michelle Beetar MD, Novell SA
      In times when vendors need to translate
   their message clearly, the same message            that we support our partners in the areas that       “Finally, our end-user computing solutions
   must be transferred correctly to their partners.   matter most to them: ensuring profitability;      continue to grow and with the addition of
   Most partners want to know what their              making it easier to do business with Novell;      teaming and conferencing to our solution
   vendors are promising them in these crucial        investing in their growth; and enabling them      offering over the past year, plus the launch of
   times. However, Novell claims it doesn’t           for success.”                                     Groupwise 8, we’re generating interest both
   make a living until its partners get what             When asked about what Novell is aiming         within our existing customer base and
   they want.                                         to achieve this year, Beeter says: “We’re         organisations who hadn’t considered Novell in
       Michelle Beetar, MD at Novell SA               going for growth and that’s across all our        this space for the past few years,” she explains.
   says Novell’s solutions are extremely well         solution sets.”                                      “We’re working hard to continue educating
   positioned in the current economic                    In addition, Beeter says that Novell has the   the market on what Novell has to offer, that’s
   environment.                                       edge in identity and security management in       our biggest challenge and opportunity,” she
      “We have compelling value propositions          this country and doesn’t expect that to slow      says. “We’re looking to grow aggressively
                                                                                                        across all our solution sets, and we’re an
                                                                                                        extremely relevant player in any organisation
   “We’re working hard to continue educating the market on                                              today. Thus, getting the message out,
                                                                                                        supporting our partners to convert the interest
   what Novell has to offer, that’s our biggest challenge and
                                                                                                        generated into business that helps them to
   opportunity.” – Michelle Beetar MD, Novell SA.                                                       grow and generate success stories that starts
                                                                                                        the whole cycle again will position us very
                                                                                                        well not only this year, but in the future.”
   that allow our partners to service our joint       down even in the current economic climate.           Beetar adds that it’s all about growth –
   customers and assist in reducing the total         “In the data centre solution area, the            growing revenues and customers, but also
   cost of ownership of their IT environments,        combination of Suse Linux platform, Platespin     growing its partner ecosystem and its
   minimising complexity and mitigating risk.”        (a recent acquisition) and the very real move     relationship with those partners.
      Beeter adds that these messages resonate        we are seeing to virtualised environments is         “In short, we’re extremely bullish across all
   well in all organisations in the current           generating great interest and we’re excited       our solution sets, particularly knowing we
   economic climate. “In addition, we’ve              at the opportunities that are presenting          have the support of a really energised
   revamped our partner programme to ensure           themselves.                                       partner base,” she concludes.

                                                                                                                                   ANALYSIS: PRINTACOM
                                                                                                   SOLUTION       PROVIDERS

Printacom launches new printing division
Strengthening distribution channel.

P   rintacom Technologies, a member of the MB
    Technologies Group, has extended its
    relationship with heavy-duty printing solutions
    manufacturer Printronix.
                                                      “We see a lot of potential in offering this kind of
                                                      dedicated solution to a market that is moving towards
                                                      an integrated logistics supply chain environment.”
       The relationship will allow Printacom to
    establish a dedicated printing division           – Neil Rom, Printacom.
    focused on OKI line printers and Radio
    Frequency Identification (RFID) barcode and
    label printers.                                      RFID bar-code printers not only print               Printacom distribution network with its strong
       The two companies have an established          product and shipping bar codes onto labels,            reseller base fits perfectly into the worldwide
    association based on Printronix supplying the     but simultaneously encode the microchip                Printronix strategy. “Printacom is active well
    OKI MX series of line printers, which the US      contained within the label for radio frequency         beyond the borders of SA, giving Printronix
    vendor manufactures on an OEM basis.              tagging and tracking.                                  scope for future growth.”
       Printacom MD, Neil Rom says: “We have             In an integrated logistics supply chain,                According to Rom, a unique selling point
    appointed Libby Ballardin as specialised          goods can be tracked from the factory floor            of the Printronix RFID printers is that they can
    printing product manager to head the new          right through to the retail till point without the     operate as a standard bar-code unit, with
    division, and will be focusing significant        need to physically read the bar code.                  RFID functionality available as an add-on.
    resources on building this division.”                “Thermal and bar-code printing is                       While Printacom will be directly managing
       The extension of the deal sees Printacom       growing and with RFID maturing in the                  sales, service and warranties will be handled
    adding the Printronix range of RFID bar           background, the relationship with Printacom            by approved warranty centres that will also
    code and label printers to its existing           will largely increase market coverage                  deal directly with Printronix on service issues.
    product offering.                                        and therefore market share in a                     Rom says the Printronix label printer range
       “We see a lot of potential in                                  win-win scenario,” says                is the perfect addition to Printacom’s OKI
    offering this kind of dedicated                                         Holger Steer, Printronix         printer offering, dovetailing well to offer the
    solution to a market that is                                            area sales manager:              market a complete printer product range
    moving towards an integrat-                                             Central Europe and               from entry-level SIDM, to mono and
    ed logistics supply chain                                               South Africa.                    colour-laser printers and multifunction
    environment,” adds Rom.                                                     He adds that the             devices as well as line printers from 500 lpm
                                                                            strength of Printacom’s          to 2000 lpm.
                                                                            distribution system was              “We are able to offer a complete solution
                                                                            a big attraction in              for customers with high-volume printing
                                                                           targeting the southern            requirements, and are aggressively targeting
                                                                            African market.                  this market,” he says. “We have the
                                                                                   Steer says that the       experience and expertise to deliver solutions
                                                                                   structure of the          that are compatible across all platforms,
                                                                                                             including legacy systems.”
                                                                                                                 The Printacom value proposition is based
                                                                                                             OKI’s recognised reliability as well as a full
                                                                                                             on-site warranty and back-up service.
                                                                                                                 He adds that this drive for the line-printer
                                                                                                             business is supported by OKI, and includes a
                                                                                                             trade-in on older machines – irrespective of
                                                                                                             the brand name – when purchasing a new
                                                                                                             OKI line printer.
                                                                                                                 “I think the market is desperately looking
                                                                                                             for a reputable brand that it can look
            Neil Rom, Printacom
                                                                                                             forward to with strong service backup,”
                                                                                                             concludes Rom.

                                                                                                           CRN SOUTHERN AFRICA • MARCH 2009 •             11
                           SOLUTION        PROVIDERS

    Laying it on the line
    Symantec to VARs: reduce number of vendors

S   ymantec will soon be putting the squeeze on
    solution providers to reduce or eliminate
    partnerships with competing vendors,
    executives at the security firm have said.
                                                     maintain a full line card or challenge the
                                                     company’s initiative, Cochran says,“We’ll
                                                     have to evaluate if the partnership is worth
                                                     having at that point. I’m not going to tell
       The vendor’s channel team will try to         someone how to run their business.”
    convince partners that also work with other         Cochran’s assertions were met with mixed
    security vendors to de-emphasize or drop         emotions from channel partners. Many
    partnerships with those rivals and focus more    partners say tough economic times ultimately
    on Symantec, says Randy Cochran.                 would require solution providers to focus on
    Symantec’s vice president of channel sales       a minimal number of vendors and hone their
    for the Americas. Cochran said he planned        craft with an in-depth knowledge of that
    to encourage partners with multiple vendor       vendor’s products to stay competitive.                              Randy Cochran, Symantec
    relationships to re-evaluate and reduce the         Steven Weeks, president and CEO of
    number of competing vendors on their line        Netcetera Consulting, says Symantec’s initia-       tions to support Symantec.” However, he says
    card in an effort to “drive tighter alignment”   tive reduces competition for his own business       the move would let Symantec reward high-
    with partners dedicated to increasing business   by weeding out less-dedicated partners. And         volume solution providers like Emagined.“For
    for Symantec.                                    going the “single vendor” route is something        an organisation that has done just about
                                                                                                         everything under the sun, it’s definitely put us
                                                                                                         in a better position to be able to compete
    “It’s all about choice. It’s not about their bottom line. It’s                                       when there are less folks out there just trying
                                                                                                         to hold the Symantec line card,”
    about our customers’ choice.” – Darrel Bowman,                                                           Sockol says.“Fewer individuals or                                                                                organisations are trying to go after the same
                                                                                                         business. It’s forcing them to choose where
                                                                                                         the value is.” Eric Anderson, CTO of
        “We’re getting to partners that have         Netcetera has been doing all along, he said.        Netanium Network Security says he under-
    certifications and specialisations. We’re           “We pick what we think is the best, learn it     stood the need for Symantec to focus on the
    telling them to ‘Reduce your line card; you’re   inside out and go with it,” Weeks says. “Our        partners who “have treated them well,” but
    carrying too much,’ ” Cochran says. “ ‘When      chances of closing the business are much            added some of the smaller VARs that based
    are you really going to become the trusted       higher.We’ve invested in that training. We just     their business models around a wide array of
    adviser?’ Choice becomes confusion.”             know it really well.” Other partners say the        security offerings would feel the impact most.
        So far, Symantec executives have said the    move makes sense for some small solution                “Multiple-vendor small VARs are probably
    move is not an official company directive.       providers that would have a hard time keep-         not selling much anyway. I’m sure it will hurt
    However, executives are currently discussing     ing up with multiple vendors. “If we sold 10        them,” Anderson says. “I don’t think this
    ways to motivate partners to consolidate their   different product lines, trying to stay up on all   initiative is unique to Symantec. I imagine that
    vendor partners, or maintain an exclusive        the ins and outs of those would just be over-       they have a large number of inactive partners.”
    partnership with Symantec. Rewards or            whelming,” says Gary Cannon, president.                 Meanwhile, other partners say Symantec’s
    incentives for partners who “invested in         Advanced Internet Security Symantec’s strate-       plan would make partners less competitive
    Symantec” could be in the form of more elite     gy has been in the works for the past six           by making them reliant on one vendor and
    certifications or specialisations, Cochran       months but was not officially stated, some          decreasing their ability to give their cus-
    says. “In tough economic times, it’s less        partners say. “We have definitely noticed it in     tomers a choice. “It’s all about choice. It’s
    about the breadth and more about how             the channel,” says David Sockol, president of       not about their bottom line. It’s about our
    good you are in those spaces,” he says. “        Emagined Security. “There are less exceptions       customers’ choice,” says Darrel Bowman,
    ‘Pressure’ is not the right word,” he adds.      being made for partners. Partners are being         CEO of “They’re
    “It’s a partnership.”                            held to the letter of the partnership law in        the Titanic. They better watch out. There’s an
        For those partners that continue to          order to make sure they meet their obliga-          iceberg out there.”

                                                                                                                                         ANALYSIS: INTEL
                                                                                                        SOLUTION       PROVIDERS

    Building Blocks
    I N T E L D 9 4 5 G C L F 2 M OT H E R B OA R D

W   hen Intel introduced the Atom processor last
    year, the chip’s primary function was for
    implementation into what the company
    called MIDs, or Mobile Internet Devices, such
                                                    motherboards created around the CPU,
                                                    including the recent D945GCLF2.
                                                       Built with the latest Atom 330 processor
                                                    and Intel’s 945GC chipset, the
    as GPS navigation systems and other devices     D945GCLF2 is a Mini-ITX form-factor
    that always-connected Internet. Although not    motherboard designed with Internet-centric           installed the D945GCLF2 into a Mini-ITX
    a specific target for this generation of the    uses in mind. Similar to the 1.6GHz Atom             case and added a 2-GB Kingston memory
    CPU, Intel expected some spillover into the     models found in most netbooks, the Atom              module. Although not a powerhouse, nor
    vertical market of specific handheld produc-    330 differs primarily in that it has a 1M            anticipated to be, the system surpassed our
    tivity, and a new category of portable com-     cache and a maximum TDP of 8 watts                   expectations in performance. The bill of
    puters called netbooks was created.             (vs. 512K cache and 2.5 to 4 watts). Smaller         materials for this system, not including OS
        Since then, Intel has released multiple     than a penny, the CPU comes already                  cost, runs about $250 at retail list pricing.
    versions of the Atom, and netbooks have         mounted on the motherboard, complete with               A system built around the D945GCLF2
    been one of the fastest-growing segments of     heatsink and fan.                                    isn’t likely to win any speed contests, but when
    computing in recent memory. Not forgetting         With the intention of building a test bed to      you consider you can build a relatively small,
    system builders and do-it-yourself              approximate the functionality of a netbook,          capable computer for that price, it fills a niche
    enthusiasts, the company also has produced      albeit most likely the next generation, reviewers    that didn’t even exist a few years ago.
                 SOLUTION         PROVIDERS

    LG sees potential in emerging markets
    Africa at heart of beating market downturn.

L   G electronics says that massive growth in
    electrification in South Africa and Africa is
    making it a prime target for consumer elec-
    tronics companies that are seeking to weath-
                                                          The company has intensified its efforts to
                                                       increase market share despite the volatile
                                                       economic situation.
                                                          “Every company has been affected nega-
    er the global financial downturn. This is          tively by the economic downturn,” says Nam.
    according to the company’s CEO Yong                “LG Electronics will be intensifying its efforts
    Nam who was speaking to LG business part-          to increase market share despite the eco-
    ners in South African recently.                    nomic situation.”
       Nam says the increase in electrification           To achieve this, LG Electronics underwent
    matched a desire by people living on the           a reorganisation at the beginning of 2009 to
    continent for products that made their lives       increase its focus on business solutions. The
    easier and connected them to the rest of the       restructure maximises the growth potential in
    world.                                             existing businesses while at the same time
       “South Africa was one of the earliest and       allows for the development of new ones.
    remains the fastest growing market for                “These changes will help LG Electronics
                                                                                                                                Peet van Rooyen, LG
    mobile phones and technology,” he says.            expand its value chain from stand-alone
    “This was largely because mobile phones            hardware to commercial solutions, providing        its procurement system, which includes every-
    were portable and assisted in overcoming           longer term growth potential, profitability and    thing from raw materials to investment in
    mobility infrastructure limitations in South       partnerships which will elevate the LG             facilities, financial services and recruitment.
                                                                                                          Its efforts to improve its cash flow have
                                                                                                          already resulted in reduced inventory,
    “We see the global crisis as an opportunity for us to                                                 increased liquidity, optimised supply chain
                                                                                                          management and a more consolidated and
    differentiate ourselves – as we innovate, and strengthen                                              efficient purchasing process overall.
    customer service to build sustainability.” – Peet van                                                     “These initiatives will enable LG to
                                                                                                          improve both growth and profitability over
    Rooyen, LG Electronics SA                                                                             the long-term, regardless of the economic
                                                                                                          climate,” Mr Nam remarked. “Becoming a
                                                                                                          stronger global brand will be a natural out-
    Africa. But now South Africa’s infrastructure is   Electronics brand, but not at the expense of       come of this effort,” said Mr. Nam.
    catching up and more people are demand-            innovation,” he explains.                              Peet van Rooyen, Managing Director of
    ing our other consumer electronic products.           Nam confirms that the company would             LG Electronics South Africa, and the first
    This makes South Africa and Africa one of          not reduce, and could even increase, its           non-Korean head globally of an LG
    the most important territories for LG              investment in R&D, marketing, branding and         Electronics subsidiary company said: “LG
    Electronics in 2009,” he explains.                 design. According to him, LG Electronics will      Electronics is set to capitalise on the South
        The vendor, one of the global leaders and      continue to invest in future growth engines        African and African market in this time of
    technology innovators in consumer electron-        such as solar power, commercial air condi-         financial strain and efforts are underway to
    ics sees South Africa as an important hub for      tioners and business (B2B) solutions; all sec-     improve standards to global levels. These
    its expansion into sub-Saharan Africa.             tors LG expects will expand and become             improvements which include the HR system,
        “Of course South Africa and Africa is not      increasingly profitable once the economy is        reorganisation of business portfolios, focus
    isolated from the economic recession but this      back on track.                                     on customer-centric processes; mean that
    market has the biggest potential to grow,”            Globally, LG is targeting a reduction in        LGE will continue to research, develop and
    says Nam. “In this region we aim to achieve        expenses of 3 $1.9 billion this year. This         supply Africa with products that consumers
    more than 20 per cent sales growth in              company-wide initiative, which includes            want, backed by our brand.”
    2009, the Middle East and Africa region            headquarters and all 82 subsidiaries around            “We see the global crisis as an opportuni-
    remains one of LG Electronics’ top interna-        the world, also applies to manufacturing and       ty for us to differentiate ourselves – as we
    tional markets with sales of $ 3.9 billion in      indirect costs.                                    innovate, and strengthen customer service to
    2008, 22% higher than in 2007.”                       LG has been working to further improve          build sustainability,” concluded van Rooyen.

Still bullish in
turbulent times

Well networked >>
Selling solutions that work >>
The SME space looks promising >>

Comztek still bullish in turbulent times
Focus remains on doing good business.


The road ahead is far from smooth, but ICT
distribution specialist Comztek remains confident
that with the right processes in place and
strong business strategies and ethics,
                                                       “The 2010 FIFA World Cup will also help
                                                    in bettering revenues and not only for the
                                                    distribution business but for the entire IT
                                                    space,” he notes.
companies will definitely weather the storm.           Conradie goes on to say that the smaller
    The company’s MD, Paul Conradie, is             distribution players may take some strain in
cognisant of the fact that the next six to          the short to medium term, but the bigger
12 month period will see credit lines being         players involved in project business will
pulled and cash flow becoming a big issue,          continue to see some reasonable returns.
and comments that with this in mind the                He adds that with the biggest challenge
company does not have any “spectacular”             being the availability of cash, companies
plan in the pipeline.                               should make sure that they represent brands
    “Cash is becoming scarce and expensive          that have good return on investment, while
and this makes plans like expansion quite           at the same time maintain good infrastructure
                                                                                                                                      Paul Conradie
difficult. That is why instead of expansion we      and good payment lines between them, their
will focus on continuing to do ‘good business’      vendor and reseller partners.                       Looking at the market as a whole, he is of
both locally and regionally,” he says.                 Meanwhile, Comztek continues to enjoy         the opinion that although stability will soon
    However, Conradie points out that               good business from its four business units:      return to the ICT space, there is still some
because of its market share in SA, Comztek          Consumer Electronics, Networking, Security       consolidation that is going to take place for
does remain susceptible to the effects of the       & Storage, and Software Infrastructure that      a while, and this will be both a good and a
global financial turmoil, but adds that it will     incorporate brands such as Iomega, Fujitsu       bad thing for the sector.
make sure that it does not cripple the local        Siemens Computers, 3Com, D-Link,                    “In the coming six months, Comztek
business by doing business in the rest of           Symantec, McAfee, Adobe, Cisco and               intends to focus on customers that it views as
Africa too aggressively.                            Microsoft.                                       being ‘good customers’ and service them to
    The end to end communications company              Conradie states that the business unit        the best of the company’s ability. At the
says that because it does not just address          approach was and continues to work well,         same time our company salutes our strategic
one market segment its actual market share          as it allows the company to see how specific     vendors for the way they have worked with
is quite difficult to determine, but Conradie       market segments are performing and it has        us in this very difficult economic period,”
stresses that Comztek does not take on any          also worked well in increasing the company’s     says Conradie.
product unless it can potentially dominate          overall revenues.                                   He adds that he feels that even multi-
the market with it.                                    Although only in its ninth year of            nationals have Africa’s plight at heart by the
    “We look at our product offerings and           operation, Comztek has managed to maintain       way they have recently conducted business
ensure that they offer us and our resellers         a 50% growth in business on an annual basis.     with the likes of Comztek and that they have
sustainable returns, otherwise we would             Through local partners and African partners,     demonstrated a good understanding of the
rather opt to discontinue any product that          the company did business in 18 African           needs and environment of emerging markets.
does not do so,” he says.                           countries last year and currently has branches      To Comztek’s reseller partners, Conradie
Conradie is confident that the global               in East Africa, Zambia and Namibia.              says: “During a time like this, be careful how
economic downturn will not last for the next           In addition, Conradie points out that the     you handle your business. Don’t dent your
two years, adding that when global financial        last three years have seen the company           credit worthiness because the ‘slam-back’
lenders start lending money to emerging             doing a lot of good business in the African      effect in the current environment will be
markets, South Africa will be one of the            region. It has managed to grow this business     much worse than it would have been had
first recipients.                                   by 100% year on year.                            things been better.” K
                                                                                                                   COMZTEK:          SPECIAL

Still well networked
VoIP and Unified comms still paying off.

we Brandkamp, Comztek Networks business
unit director, says that Comztek will continue
to provide products and services that
compliment solutions offered by resellers
                                                   guaranteed swap out service to their
                                                   customers,” he says. In the current economic
                                                   climate, Comztek’s backup stock programme
                                                   is ideally positioned for resellers that want to
and system integrators.                            provide the highest levels of service without
   The success of the networking business at       the financial burden of investing in spares
Comztek has been the foundation on which           and setting up the infrastructure required to
the distributor has built its other focus areas    manage these spares.
over time.                                             “Over the past year we have invested a lot
   “We carry a number of blue chip brands          in addressing the SMB space as it has
in our networking product portfolio, that can      continued to thrive. Comzteks products have
be used to build communication solutions for       received very good response from the
any size customer, from SoHo right through         African region and business has even grown

                                                                                                                                      Uwe Brandkamp

“At Comztek we have a very competent networking team                                                  providing business value to the end customer.
                                                                                                          According to him, some networking
of channel managers focused on their brands and                                                       vendors are beginning to broaden their
                                                                                                      product portfolios and diversifying from their
support staff focused on providing support services.” –
                                                                                                      traditional network infrastructure focus areas,
Uwe Brandkamp, Comztek                                                                                and some working vendors that usually cater
                                                                                                      to the high end customers are also moving
                                                                                                      into the SMB space with solutions specifically
to the high level enterprise backbones and         more than 100% annually in a number of             designed for this market.
even into telecommunications networks,”            the countries we operate in,” explains                 Brandkamp’s advice to Comztek’s
says Brandkamp.                                    Brandkamp.                                         resellers is that with technologies such as
    “At Comztek we have a very competent              Comztek has had the opportunity to take         VoIP and Unified Communications gaining in
networking team of channel managers                advantage of the many green fields projects        popularity, they should look to trying to
focused on their brands and support staff          on the continent looking for infrastructure, as    replace legacy systems that are already in
focused on providing support services.” This       well as telecommunications operators that          place, and where this is not possible, to
team plays a major role in helping its resellers   have needed access to its solutions.               rather develop solutions that can complement
and system integrator partners with solution          He adds very good demand from the               those existing systems.
implementation as well as support and services.    market and project, should be, very good               This, he says, provides other revenue
It offers services such as preparation and         demand from the market nad projects                streams through service and support
staging of equipment, network design, proof        that they will continue to do the same in          business. He notes that as more applications
of concept testing and onsite support.             the interim.                                       are being put on the network, networking
    In addition to providing services to its          Other focus areas for the coming                itself is becoming more complex and
resellers, Comztek also runs a very successful     12 months, according to Brandkamp, will be         challenging. This is where Comztek’s staff
backup stock programme. “We will continue          network security for SME and high end              can assist with technical support and
to keep spares on behalf of our reseller           customers, wireless solutions for the SoHo         services, as well as provide solid advice from
partners. At any time we keep in excess of         and domestic market and data centre                a team of highly skilled and passionate
R10 million rand worth of spares for our           solutions. No matter what technology is            people that understand networking. K
resellers, which allows them to provide a          offered, solutions should be focused on

 Selling solutions that work
           BY KAUNDA CHAMA

The Security & Storage and Software
 Infrastructure business units within Comztek
 are tracking close to target even in the current
                                                       We are very excited about the opportunity
                                                    these brands represent in these regions and
                                                    growth thus far is very promising.” In South
                                                                                                                                 Caygill continues:
                                                                                                                              Microsoft has been
                                                                                                                              very supportive in the
 economic state, notes David Caygill, business      Africa, the Adobe business has been doing                                 way it has engaged us
                                                                                                                David Caygill
 unit director for the two business units.          well; we have recently seen the release of                                during the current
    “We are focusing on core applications in        CS4 and sales are picking up. Last month          difficult economic climate and together we
 the business computing environment where           we held our Adobe Creative Solutions              have looked at ways to bring additional
 strategic mission critical projects have           Partner event, where we recognised our top        value to our reseller partners.
 remained on the cards for blue chip and            partners, and we were very encouraged by             We have introduced business development
 financial institutions. The SMB market has         the enthusiasm and commitment to the              managers to work with our SMB market
 been less predictable but we are optimistic        Adobe brand, he notes.                            resellers. Microsoft, specifically, has
 that this is turning around,” he says.                The security side has been very competitive    supported Comztek’s PlusPoints programme,
    The Security & Storage business unit            over the last year but I think that the big       and Comztek resellers are able to earn
 houses products such as Symantec, McAfee           brands like Symantec and McAfee will              rewards based on Microsoft licensing sales.
 and Marshal while the Software Infrastructure      continue to evolve and adapt to dominate             While Comztek’s vendor partners keep
 houses products such as Adobe, Attachmate          the markets they focus on. A key driver           bringing more affordable products to
 and Microsoft.                                     for Symantec has been to minimise the             market, and this is assisting the company
    “Our approach outside of South Africa is        resource impact on the host PC and the            and its reseller partners to obtain improved
 to take mainstream core product brands like        latest test results show they are achieving       revenues, Caygill notes that one of the
 Symantec, Adobe and Microsoft into East            great results and continue to be a winning        biggest challenges for resellers will be
 and Southern Africa.                               brand, says Caygill.                              working capital management. K

 Time for growth
           BY KAUNDA CHAMA

Kenyan-based Matthew Rudd is responsible
 for looking after Comztek’s East African
 business and says that the strategy for
 the company is to build on the strong
                                                    adds that Comztek will also be
                                                    introducing other brands to the
                                                    region, including Adobe,
                                                    Symantec, Fujitsu-Siemens
                                                                                                                    price-sensitive markets. “We
                                                                                                                    are working with two of the
                                                                                                                    world’s leading software
                                                                                                                    vendors to encourage
 foundations laid since the company’s               and 3Com.                                                       compliance amongst end
 formation in Kenya, two years ago.                    “We will increase the number of                              users, and we will continue to
    Although there are clear signs of economic      products that we offer this year. We                            promote a spirit of responsible
                                                                                                     Matthew Rudd
 slowdown, he remains confident that there          are a comparatively small office,                               competition across all our
 will be areas of growth on the eastern side        and can be quite proactive and adaptive.          supply channels,” he says.
 of the continent, especially in countries like     We have increased our workforce by nearly             Comztek East Africa is clearly growing
 Ethiopia and Tanzania.                             50% in recent months and we will continue         rapidly. The company anticipates 100%
    “The aim in these countries will be to          to grow in the months ahead,” he says.            growth in the current financial year, and is
 increase penetration while at the same time           Rudd admits that the principal challenges      presently on target to achieve this. Key to this
 enhancing our product portfolio,” says Rudd.       faced include the perennial problem of            success will be the ability to establish a more
    At the moment, he says that the biggest         software piracy, and the continued difficulty     prominent footprint in East African countries
 area of focus is on Microsoft products but         of having to counter a price-war in               outside Kenya. K
                                                                                                  COMZTEK:   SPECIAL

    The SME space looking promising

hris Davies, Comztek KZN regional director,
sees a lot of potential in the small and
medium enterprise space and expects this
market to remain buoyant even in difficult
economic conditions.
   Nevertheless, his company will remain
cautious about how it does business and
who it does business with. Comztek KZN will
refrain from taking too many risks and much
like the strategy of the entire Comztek group,
will focus on doing good business, he says.
   “Chasing payments and avoiding over
stocking will be areas to concentrate on,
while at the same time, we will continue
pushing hard on the networking and soft-
ware infrastructure business,” he says.
   The next six months will see his region
doing a lot in helping its channel partners
and end-customers with solution designs and
                                                                                                              Chris Davies
also assisting its resellers to be more
cautious with the way they select which deals
they take on.                                    expect business as usual this year, as we will
   “Although the SME space is definitely one     definitely carry stock for them,” says Davies.
that will give us good returns, as well as           He adds that the company is seeing a lot
public sector business, we are still bracing     of opportunities popping up as the 2010
ourselves for a very tough year and limiting     Soccer World Cup draws nearer. “Although
the risks that will be taken on the business     we are planning a big sales drive as well as
side,” says Davies.                              investing in some technical training, Comztek
   Davies adds that the skills shortage and      is also punting the fact that to stay ahead of
training still remain a cause of concern, and    competition, it and its partners have to think
going forward it is one aspect of the sector     out of the box.”
that the whole industry seriously needs to           Meanwhile, he comments that even
look at improving.                               though on the software side, piracy remains
   He says that one of the things the company    rife, companies such as Microsoft and
wants to do is increase the onsite technical     Adobe are doing a lot to help companies to
training assistance from its vendor partners.    get and remain legal.
This is because having company personnel             “On the networking side, although band-
continually travel up to Johannes burg is        width availability and management remain
proving to be quite costly.                      challenges, IP telephony remains a viable
   “On the sales side, we can promise our        option for many companies,” he concludes. K
resellers leads assistance and welcome the
same from our vendors. Plus, our resellers can

Remaining focused
Selling solutions still the answer.


an Duvenage, Comztek Regional Director
for Western and Eastern Cape, says that at
this stage, he sees no reason for a significant
change in his branch structure or strategy,
                                                   in the private sector have
                                                   recently gone through software
                                                   updates and that hardware
                                                   recycles are continuously taking
as selling solutions is satisfying the company’s   place. However, even though
customers as well as paying dividends for          there is potential for more
the company.                                       networking business, the refresh
   “If you look at Comztek as a whole, the         cycles are slowing down in
company is growing substantially and our           the private sector, if compared
Cape business is growing to the same extent.       with good growth in the
The 24 best of breed products that are             government sector.
encompassed in Comztek’s four business units          “We will definitely make sure
play a major role in this growth” he says.         that we concentrate on doing
   Duvenage adds that the company is               good business with our good
doing comparatively well, even during a            and stable partners,” he notes.
period when the world economy is slowing           “Comztek is continuously looking
down, or even contracting. As a matter of          at gaps in the market and ways
fact, the Cape branch has seen some record         of closing them. The first half                                                   Ian Duvenage
months recently and is ahead of budgets            of this year will see a lot of
and targets.                                       corporates taking care of compliance and            “We are also expecting a lot of good
   “In the next months, we are not planning        disaster recovery needs. With networking,        business to come our way as technologies
any major changes; what we will do is look         most of the business will probably come          such as virtualisation gain general
at which pillars or product groupings have         from the public sector, although the private     acceptance, although the Microsoft and
not been doing well over the past 12 months        sector should follow in the latter half of the   Novell offering in this regard is still in
                                                                                                    start-up phase”. He adds that software
                                                                                                    solutions from the likes of Adobe are doing
                                                                                                    well in the Cape region because a number
“On the networking side, companies like Cisco are
                                                                                                    of publishing, advertising and marketing
always brining out strong products and now that ICT is                                              media businesses are located there.
                                                                                                       “On the networking side, companies
not a nice to have and is now a need to have, the                                                   such as Cisco are always presenting new
market might seem somewhat sluggish, but we see a                                                   go-to-market products, and due to the fact
                                                                                                    that IT purchases are not a nice to have, but
lot of potential with new products and solutions.”                                                  a need to have for corporates, in order to
– Iain Duvenage, Comztek                                                                            compete in their respective industry sectors,
                                                                                                    we see a lot of potential with new products
                                                                                                    and solutions.”
                                                                                                       “Essentially, as a company, looking
and look at ways we can improve sales in           year. Security and storage products as           at the next six months, we will remain
those technological areas,” he explains.           well as consumer electronics goods also          optimistic, but also realistic,” concludes
   Duvenage says that a number of companies        contribute towards our successes.”               Duvenage. K
                                                                                                                                     COMZTEK:           SPECIAL

Belief in the consumer
              BY KAUNDA CHAMA

H   einz Stephan, Consumer Electronics Business
    Unit director at Comztek, says that although
    the unit is one of the company's newer
    divisions, it has great potential because of its
                                                         continues to execute on the plans that it
                                                         made last year, ie the strategic move to
                                                         focus distribution efforts based on the
                                                         emerging trends in the Home, SoHo,
                                                                                                                                       that while the business unit
                                                                                                                                       has continued to expand
                                                                                                                                       over the past year, it has
                                                                                                                                       kept the same headcount,
    unique strategy in the distribution space.           Retail, SME and Corporate markets.                           Heinz Stephan    due to its focus on working
       "Although it might be seen as still in               He comments that in the current eco-                                       better and smarter. This
    development, from a Comztek point of view,           nomic climate, bigger is not always better, so            same strategy will be kept for the coming
    the CE business unit was strategically assembled     Comztek will continue to focus on its current             12 months.
    to incorporate more mainstream products,             CE product offerings and will only take on                   The past year has seen the Comztek CE
    rather than traditional ICT products," he says.      new brands where it feels a vendor has a                  business unit doing very well with its
    "This makes the CE unit have a slightly different    solid investment strategy.                                notebook and PC sales, as well as server
    market focus than other Comztek business units."        "South Africa, and Africa as a whole, has              technology from Fujitsu Siemens. However,
       Stephan adds that while the move into             become very brand conscious and in turn                   Stephan still stresses that the plan is not to
    the CE space was motivated by the                    Comztek has also become very critical of the              become a broad-based PC distributor, but
    commoditisation of traditional IT products,          vendor partners it represents," he notes.                 rather attach value to the existing partners
    the company does not plan to become                     "Rather than trying to be everything to                and products that Comztek represents.
    another broad-based PC distributor but               everyone, we will ensure that we give the                    He adds that there is still great potential in
    rather to complement its existing product            existing brands the attention they require. We            the computer peripherals space as well as
    portfolio with quality CE products.                  won’t look at verticals that are not                      external storage devices, which are geared
       He further says that his business unit            economically viable," he says.Stephan says                to continue to do well in the next year. K

Remaining     BY KAUNDA CHAMA
ark Stokes, country manager of Comztek’s
Zambian operation, says that although the
company has had a good first half of the
financial year, from July to December last
                                                         slowdown. However, we still
                                                         have a lot of good business
                                                         opportunities lined up,”
                                                         explains Stokes.
                                                                                                                              because it makes closing deals easier
                                                                                                                              for them and takes away other
                                                                                                                              hindrances that occur when dealing
                                                                                                                              with multiple vendors or distributors.
year, it remains cognisant of the impact of                 He says that on the                                                  He states that the company
the global financial meltdown.                           networking infrastructure side,                      Mark Stokes     recognises the fact that there will be
   He says that the main reason why a                    the company will not have any issues                      some consolidation in the technology arena
country like Zambia will feel the knock-on               sustaining the current levels of business,                but that profitable vendors will keep their
effect is because the country’s economy relies           adding that despite weak global growth, our               heads above water.
on base metals, and copper (main Zambian                 consumer electronics business is looking to                  Meanwhile, the company is not expecting
dependence) has taken a major price knock                bounce back with the recent addition of two               any new products to come on board and will
recently and there has also been a big                   new brands, Logitech and Labtec.                          concentrate on growing the penetration
reduction in the FDI (foreign direct investment).           Stokes highlights that now that Comztek is             of its current product portfolio focusing on
   “The fact remains that the last 18 months             Microsoft’s official distribution partner in              ensuring that each of the four business
have been good for Comztek in this region                Zambia, the company also sees a lot of                    divisions (Networks, Security & Storage,
and I strongly feel that the next six months             potential in the software infrastructure business.        Software Infrastructure & Consumer
will still yield some good business. After this             Stokes adds that reseller partners prefer to           Electronics) remain strong and profitable
period, the country may start to feel more               deal with distributors that have contracts with           whilst providing excellent value for money for
of the effects of the global economic                    vendors providing end-to-end solutions,                   our channel partners. K
                                                                                                                 DATABASE   SOFTWARE FEATURE
                                                                                    SOLUTION       PROVIDERS

Database software
    A necessary part of the solution.


W   ith the demand for data and storage needs
    not slowing down any time soon, it is only
    natural for the database software market to
    be alive and kicking.
                                                      into production. These solutions also help to
                                                      reduce the cost and complexity of compliance
                                                      as well as the risk of insider threats by
                                                      automating the collection and consolidation
        Backing this statement, Raymond Watt,         of audit data. This helps to provide secure
    MD, REO Consulting (an EOH company),              and highly scalable audit warehouses,
    says that data is here to stay, so companies      enabling simplified reporting, analysis, and
    had better get workable data management           threat detection on audit data.
    strategies in place if they want to survive the      “Your business needs to be online 24/7. If
    current levels of complexity.                     critical applications, servers or data becomes
        He comments that one theme that is            unavailable, your entire business might be
    woven through all the opinions being              jeopardised. Lost revenue, dissatisfied cus-
    published around database software is             tomers, penalties and negative press will
    that great database architecture and              have a lasting effect on your reputation. This
    administration skills are hard to come by.        is why agile businesses want to be able to
        “Mix this with a CIO’s wish to find a         adopt new technologies quickly, whether it’s
    relational database management system             operating systems, servers or software, to
    (RDMS) that is actually manageable and            help them stay ahead of the competition,”
    configurable without compromising features,       Watt comments.
    speed, size and, of course, security, and I          Jim Holland, Axiz product manager: HP
    promise you, the database software market is      ESG, says the benefits of a document
    not only alive and kicking, but positioning       retention policy are tied in with the
    itself as the bastion of IT,” opines Watt.        requirements of a business.
        With the Business Intelligence (BI) market
                                                                                                                 Raymond Watt, REO Consulting
    booming, managing data warehouses and
    huge amounts of data is creating new
    headaches and challenges.                         “There is a myriad of innovative database software
        The great news, Watt says, is that there is
    a myriad of innovative database software          products available to help companies in their quest to
    products available to help companies in their     manage the terabytes of data in their organisations.
    quest to manage the terabytes of data in
    their organisations. These products find          These products find means of managing data volumes
    means of managing data volumes efficiently
    and cost-effectively, while adding security
                                                      efficiently and cost-effectively, while adding security
    (which includes auditing), load balancing         (which includes auditing), load balancing and uptime
    and uptime management.
        Software solutions vendors, such as
                                                      management.” – Raymond Watt, REO Consulting
    Oracle and CA, continue to develop
    solutions that can help companies to adopt
    new technologies quickly while eliminating          According to him, beyond legal
    the risks associated with change by combining     compliance, data retention helps an
    workload capture and replay features with         organisation to demonstrate good corporate
    performance analysers to allow them to test       governance, which is becoming increasingly
    changes against real-life workloads and then      important. Compliance hits at the core of
    help them fine-tune them before putting them      data storage and pushes examination of it

                                                                                                       CRN SOUTHERN AFRICA • MARCH 2009 •   25
                                           SOLUTION    PROVIDERS

    further into the organisation. Companies are       important records, businesses could see
    now challenged with how to build an IT             reduced risk to business continuity as well
    infrastructure that retains data over long         as greater trust in their brand as a result
    periods of time, keeps it in its original format   of compliance.
    and ensures that it can easily be recovered           “Data retention helps to manage and
    at any time.                                       reduce storage costs, ensure a consistent
        Holland says that worldwide talk about         approach across all sites and locations,
    data storage compliance and corporate              and improve operational efficiency. In
    governance regulations has overwhelmed             today’s ever-changing business climate,
    organisations of all sizes and has made            organisations must ensure their data
    them more accountable for the data they            policies are in line with legal requirements,”
    collect and store.                                 Holland explains.
        Another consideration in the scramble to          Oracle, in an effort to enhance its
    comply is how to do so in an environmentally-      enterprise data centre management
    friendly manner. It is important to bear in        capabilities with rich application configuration
    mind that as the world becomes greener so          management capabilities, has announced
    will the data centre. Companies will be            that it will buy mValent (a leading provider of
    looking to minimise their footprint, which will    application configuration management
    probably lead to the continued increase in         solutions) in the first half of this year.                                     Jim Holland, Axiz

                                                                                                          10 Storage Survey (March 2008),
    “Data retention helps to manage and reduce storage
                                                                                                          CommVault won the largest percentage of
    costs, ensure a consistent approach across all sites and                                              new Fortune 1000 customers in 2007 versus
                                                                                                          Symantec, HP and IBM with 40 per cent
    locations, and improve operational efficiency. – Jim                                                  switching to CommVault from a competing
    Holland, Axiz                                                                                         vendor. Additionally, CommVault continues
                                                                                                          to enjoy strong customer loyalty with 86 per
                                                                                                          cent of its users saying they have no plans
                                                                                                          to switch.
    technologies like virtualisation. Businesses          “Effective application configuration                The company claims that this trend, which
    will also look for applications that streamline    management is becoming increasingly                is repeating itself, is a reflection of the South
    operations for greater efficiency.                 important as businesses look to improve            African market.
       “It’s not just the major regulations like the   their operating efficiencies,” says Richard            The company says the reason for this shift
    Sarbanes-Oxley Act. There are thousands of                            ,
                                                       Sarwal, senior VP Oracle applications and          is CommVault’s new approach to storage
    regulations that affect data storage, back up      systems management. “With the addition of          and data management; providing one
    and protection across a range of industries.       mValent, Oracle expects to be able to              product for all data management versus the
    But in spite of the many regulations, there        address this need by providing customers           multiple-point products provided by many of
    are no mandates or guidelines that dictate         with the ability to collect, compare and           its competitors. It also claims its Simpana
    implementation. I believe that the key to          reconcile deep configuration information of        software successfully reduces the cost and
    many compliance issues is to define a policy       complex systems. This acquisition is               complexity of data management.
    based on business and legal concerns, and          consistent with Oracle’s strategy of delivering        Essentially, data centres will always be at
    then to implement that policy in the IT            cost-effective solutions for managing              the centre of corporate strategies driven
    department. Without the policies, the              applications that enable customers to adopt        mostly by business intelligence strategies,
    storage people are in a vacuum. It’s not           new, innovative technology with reduced risk.”     customer relationship management practices
    their call to determine the legality of data          Symantec, IBM and HP have been                  and legislation. With the continuing data
    storage,” explains Holland.                        dominating the worldwide storage services          explosion, the only way companies can
       Companies, he adds, must not view               market with around 18 per cent, 11 per cent        make sense of the vast amounts of data they
    legislation as something which has been            and 6 per cent in market share respectively        are sitting with is by implementing effective
    created to catch them out.                         (behind EMC, which has the lion’s share of         data storage policies backed by the best
       Revamping processes should not be done          about 28 per cent of all customers).               database management software.
    just to dodge bureaucratic bullets, but               CommVault, a much smaller and newer                 Without this, companies will continue to
    should be seen as an opportunity to create a       player, is drawing new customers away from         face the same problems they have over the
    compliance-driven IT architecture. Alongside       Symantec, IBM and HP with 38 per cent              past five years; lack of adequate storage
    operational efficiency, such as the systematic     year-on-year sales growth.                         space and data repetition together with lack
    archiving of financial data, email and other          According to TheInfoPro: Wave                   of data integrity.

                                                                                                                                 SERVER     FEATURE
                                                                                                   SOLUTION     PROVIDERS

Server space
still looking vibrant
Its up for grabs.

ccording to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly
Server Tracker, factory revenue in the
worldwide server market declined 14 per
cent year over year to $13.5 billion in
the fourth quarter of 2008 (Q408),
marking the second consecutive quarter of
market decline.
   Additionally, worldwide server unit
shipments declined 12 per cent in 4Q08
when compared with the same period a
year-ago. For the full year 2008, worldwide
server revenue declined 3.3 per cent to
$53.3 billion, while worldwide unit
shipments grew by two per cent to 8.1
million units. This is the first time the server
market has exceeded eight million units in a
calendar year, reflecting continued demand
for new physical servers even as virtualisation
makes significant gains in the enterprise.
   However, servers still continue to offer
solution providers large service revenues
and possibilities of even higher-margin
deals, as both large enterprises and SMEs
turn to the channel when looking for a
server solution.
                                                                                                                                 Rory Green, HP

“Virtualisation is a driving technology behind server                                                 quarter, representing 10.4 per cent of
                                                                                                      quarterly server market revenue.
consolidation, but it is not the complete answer.” –                                                      Bevan Lock, systems and technology
Rory Green, ISS product manager, HP.                                                                  group manager, IBM says: “Our expectation
                                                                                                      is that we’ll continue to see growth in
                                                                                                      blade and multi-processor servers with
State of the Market                                experienced positive growth in the quarter,        enterprise-class management and reliability
Currently, blade technology seems to be the        the segment decelerated sharply, with factory      features being increasingly preferred.
most widespread IT trend and also the most         revenue increasing 16.1 per cent year over              “From a virtualisation aspect we see the
efficient and cost-effective option on the         year on shipment growth of 12.1 per cent           market maturing beyond the hypervisor and
market, not to mention vendor claims that it       compared to Q407. Overall, blade servers,          concentrating on vendors who offer superior
is the “greenest” option at the moment.            including x86, EPIC and RISC blades                management and automation. Based on the
    IDC reported that the blade market             accounted for $1.4 billion in the fourth           success of virtualisation in consolidating

                                                                                                   CRN SOUTHERN AFRICA • MARCH 2009 •         27
                   SOLUTION    PROVIDERS

                                             server workloads there is strong interest from      increased physical infrastructure costs and
                                             customers in consolidating their PC client          increasing IT management costs, he says.
                                             environments using the same virtualisation              Keene adds that through server
                                             platforms,” Lock says.                              virtualisation, many of the traditional
                                                 Lock adds that while blade servers are          problems related to server-based computing
                                             popular for virtualisation, for larger              have been solved, as it brought with it the
                                             virtualisation projects there is a definite trend   ability to reduce the space and energy
                                             towards large multi-processor servers which         requirements of traditional physical servers
                                             are able to offer sufficient resources to host      and vastly increase server productivity.
                                             the maximum number of virtual machines.
                                             From an energy-efficiency CX aspect, these          Alternatives
                                             servers also offer the best virtual machines        Christopher Coetzee, Intel server product
                                             per watt.                                           manager, Rectron says, there will always
                                                 Rory Green, HP ISS product manager              be an entry-level server market, many
                                             says: “We can see some distinct design              companies that have between 10 and 20
                                             changes in the servers we are bringing to           users will not require a midrange or high-end
                                             market which clearly demonstrates that              server but they can still make use of
                                             virtualisation is having an impact on what          virtualisation, one advantage is that
                                             our products look like.”                            virtualisation is available to each and every
                                                                                                 segment of the existing server market.
                                                                                                     “All of Intels white-box servers from entry
   “Although there is a ‘white box’ or ad hoc initiative                                         level through midrange to high-end and
                                                                                                 enterprise allow for virtualisation are
   in the locally branded market space, we are still
                                                                                                 bundled with the right software like Microsoft
   seeing a stronger lean towards branded technology                                             Server 2008 with Hyper V.”
                                                                                                     Greg Pothitos HP ESS business unit
   platforms, which are more prolific.” – Chris Norton,                                          manager at Tarsus says: “WMware/Hyper V
   VMware SA.                                                                                    is without a doubt the buzzwords in the
                                                                                                 market right now.”
                                                                                                     Pothitos adds that there is, however, still a
                                                 “For example, we have launched a blade          lot of education required around these
                                             product (BL495c) which can be configured            technologies. They are changing the way
                                             with eight network cards out of the box and         hardware is being sold – fewer more
                                             still has room to grow. Memory support is           powerful units.
                                             being increased 2.5X what was available
                                             only a few months ago. While we are                 The local scene
                                             selling fewer servers, they are being               Looking at local vendors, the competition is
                                             populated with lots of memory, network              tough, the big guys want to have the bigger
                                             connectivity and SAN connectivity to take full      chunk of the pie, but even the small guys
                                             advantage of the virtualisation performance         want a significant share as well.
                                             and feature sets,” says Green.                         Mandy Porter, Dell business unit manager,
                                                                                                 DCC says: “We’ve not really seen any local
                                             Main Drivers                                        server manufacturers making major inroads.
                                             Nick Keene, country manager, Citrix Systems         Also, when opting for a lesser-known brand,
                                             SA says since the advent of the x86 server,         key issues such as support, maintenance
                                             server-based computing has replaced the             and warranties should be considered.”
                                             local desktop as the heart of the IT                   Pothitos points out that the performance
                                             infrastructure.                                     you get from locally branded servers is not
                                                This trend was further supported by the          the same as that you get from branded
                                             wide adoption of Windows and Linux as               ones. “Performance is not everything; people
                                             server operating systems. Even though x86           buy what suits their needs.”
                                             servers have significantly improved the com-           Chris Norton, regional director, VMware
                                             puting experience, there are still some             SA says: “Although there is a ‘white box’ or
                                             challenges that need to be overcome, some           ad hoc initiative in the locally branded
             Nick Keene, Citrix Systems SA   of these include low infrastructure use,            market space, we are still seeing a stronger

                                                                                                                           SERVER   FEATURE
                                                                                                   SOLUTION   PROVIDERS

lean towards branded technology platforms,           He adds that virtualisation drives physical
which are more prolific.”                        server and storage consolidation and better
   “Currently, Intel white-box servers use       use of hardware assets. Virtualisation does
Multi-Core Xeon processors with as many as       not address database or application
four cores per processor, the midrange to        consolidation, although it is sometimes driven
high-end platforms like Star lake, Sapello       as a part of the same project.
and Alcolu server boards supporting two              Lock points out that from a virtualisation
quad core processors give the user total of      aspect he sees the market maturing beyond
eight cores of performance. Intel’s enterprise   the hypervisor and concentrating on vendors
offering named the Fox Cove offers four          who offer superior management and
Quad Core processors giving the user a           automation. Based on the success of
maximum of 16 cores. Next generation one         virtualisation in consolidating server work-
might even see eight core on a single CPU,”      loads there is strong interest from customers
says Coetzee.                                    in consolidating their PC client environments
                                                 using the same virtualisation platforms.
Opportunities in the market
It looks like data centre consolidation is       Economic Recession
making room for new-generation technologies      Meanwhile, IDC predicts that the global
in the server market.                            economic slowdown will worsen before any
    According to Norton, the value proposition   improvement is seen in late 2009 or early
is changing along with end-user requirements.    2010. IT customers will increasingly look for
As organisations face a tight year across all    optimisation projects with strong Return on
industries, the two options available to most    Investment (ROI) potential and to extend
businesses are either to do nothing or to        virtualisation, consolidation and migration          Bevan Lock, IBM
consolidate their data centres to minimise       programmes to lower capital and operational
financial exposure.                              costs while improving efficiencies.
    Norton says that he sees this as a growth        According to Pothitos, people still need to
opportunity for copanies like VMware in          power up their businesses and upgrading will
support of customer initiatives. There will be   definitely take precedence over new units
revenue growth as planned refreshes take             He adds that the government has a huge

“Our expectation is that we’ll continue to see growth in
blade and multi-processor servers with enterprise-class
management and reliability features being increasingly
preferred.” – Bevan Lock, IBM.

place on high-end kit; however, it will be       budget to spend according to finance
nominal resulting in a flat revenue base and     minister ,Trevor Manuel’s budget speech.
a decline in unit sales.                         “What I do think you will get, are better
   Richard Sutherland, portfolio manager         attach deals and therefore more for your
dynamic infrastructures at Fujitsu Siemens       money. With the changing conditions,
Computers says: “There is continued scope        people will be forced to reinvent themselves,”
for growth as companies look at deploying        says Pothitos.
newer server and processor technologies             Ravi Perumal GM, Annex Distribution
which incorporate superior processing power      says, the server market will show growth
and energy-efficient design. The increased       overall as customers still need performance
power encourages consolidation as it allows      from their servers.
for increased implementation of virtualisation      Also, with the launch of the new
within the overall solution.”                    technologies and the price-performance ratio
   Green says: “Virtualisation is a driving      getting better, the need for more storage
technology behind server consolidation, but      space will also help to drive transitions to
is not the complete answer.”                     new technologies.

                                                                                                   CRN SOUTHERN AFRICA • MARCH 2009 •   29
                    SOLUTION   PROVIDERS

  An ever-increasing need.

                                           BY GEORGE MASEKO

                                  N      o matter how the ICT landscape changes or
                                         what happens in the general economic
                                         environment, much like security, the need for
                                         faster and larger capacity storage solutions
                                         always seems to be on the increase.
                                            Besides the fact that a lot of companies
                                         have had to increase their storage capacities
                                         due to the need to keep information for
                                         longer brought on by new regulations and
                                         legislation, now there is a third factor, the
                                         information or data explosion.
                                            These days, both companies and individuals
                                         find themselves needing to store incremental
                                         amounts of information on a regular
                                         basis. This might be bad news on the
                                         company-expense side, but it is also a
                                         revenue opportunity for storage vendors,
                                         distributors and resellers.

  “Organisations understand that storage hardware is a
  must, however, due to the capital outlay, it is often a
                                                                                                     Raul Del Fabbro, Drive Control
  grudge purchase. Fortunately, commoditisation is
                                                                                         compression; disk-based back up; automated
  driving down costs and so is the emergence of more
                                                                                         tiered storage (virtualised – dynamic data
  cost-effective storage applications that offer smaller                                 mobility); thin provisioning; efficient data
                                                                                         centre spacing; and green computing.
  margins and thus a more competitive pricing structure.”                                   Considering these factors, it is clear to see
  – Raul Del Fabbro, Drive Control                                                       that companies will have to become more
                                                                                         adept in the way they sell their storage
                                                                                         solutions because even though capacity
                                            For obvious reasons, storage will, for a     needs continue to rise, there is also a need
                                         long time, continue to be the largest           for solutions that reduce total cost of
                                         component of hardware in the ICT environment.   ownership and are energy efficient.
                                         The good news for resellers and, especially        According to recent research by global
                                         end users, is that storage prices continue to   firms, when it comes to storage, the global IT
                                         drop on a quarterly basis.                      priorities include driving down running costs,
                                            According to storage solutions vendor        achieving higher levels of efficiency, and
                                         EMC, the top storage spending priorities are:   reducing complexity by making IT easier to
                                         storage consolidation/utilisation; business     use and manage by choosing a partner with
                                         continuity; data de-duplication; data           fewer, more strategic suppliers.

                                                                                                                            STORAGE   FEATURE
                                                                                                    SOLUTION   PROVIDERS

   Compliance with regulations remains           growth of data makes it difficult to
top of mind as companies prepare for             consolidate storage and moreover security in
a new wave of regulations and legislation        the storage space,” she notes.
as the industry drives more governance              On the aspect of consolidation of storage
and compliance.                                  management and network management
   In addition, as the industry prepares for     software, Del Fabbro comments that it is still
the next generation of data centres,             really early the market has not experienced
companies will want to create dynamic            a major trend yet. However, from a
internal ICT environments that they can use      convergence (between network and storage
more efficiently.                                management) point of view, we are
   According to Raul Del Fabbro, manager,        beginning to see the availability of Fibre
solutions division at Drive Control              Channel over IP (FCoE) technologies from
Corporation (DCC), storage hardware has          certain vendors and this will no doubt drive
been under pressure in recent months, it is      the consolidation aspect.
simply not a purchase that is easily made.          Commenting on new trends in storage
   “Organisations understand that storage        hardware and how they are influencing
hardware is a must, however, due to the          mobile storage solutions, Porter comments:
capital outlay, it is often a grudge purchase.   “A major trend we are seeing is the increasing
Fortunately, commoditisation is driving down     popularity of iSCSI as a scalable and
costs and so is the emergence of more            cost-effective storage solution.”
cost-effective storage applications that offer
smaller margins and thus a more competitive      The midrange storage space
pricing structure,” he says.                     Regarding solutions offerings for growing
   Del Fabbro adds that storage software         SME and mid-market businesses, Del Fabbro
remains a profitable segment of the market-      says there is currently a wide range of
place due to its more cost-sensitive nature.     storage offerings for the SME and                                         Mandy Porter, DCC
   On the subject of storage opportunities       mid-market available, with even lesser tiered
created by new regulations and compliance        solutions gaining some prevalence.
   needs, he explains: “There is no doubt            “The market has for a considerable time
South African companies are increasingly         understood the needs of the SME and
understanding the importance of storage in       mid-business segment and continues to
order to comply with regulatory guidelines.      address it quite effectively. Granted, there are
   “However, we are still quite far behind our   still some expensive solutions; however,
global counterparts and again, storage           most businesses will find storage solutions
solutions are a grudge buy. This said, organi-   that fulfil their needs in an effective and
sations understand the importance of safely      cost-sensitive manner.
storing and backing up critical information.
   “The good news is financial institutions      “The reality is the yearly and exponential growth of data
that are bound to regulatory requirements
are implementing the necessary hardware          makes it difficult to consolidate storage and moreover
and software and are therefore setting
                                                 security in the storage space,” – Mandy Porter, DCC
an example.”
   Del Fabbro adds that subsidiaries of
multinationals are following in the footsteps       “It is key is to understand your needs
of their parent companies and implementing       and have a partner with reputable
storage best practices and the resultant         brands/vendors.
technologies such as effective archiving and        “SME and mid-market businesses are
back-up systems.                                 educated and often have pre-set ideas of
   Regarding consolidation in the storage        what they want. Fortunately, most of these
space and how it relates to security, Mandy      businesses are open to suggestions which will
Porter, Dell Unit Manager at DCC says            enable them to make the right decision for
consolidation is not really as prevalent as      their specific environments,” he explains.
some would expect.                                  With both research houses and independent
   “The reality is the yearly and exponential    analysts predicting that storage will buck the

                                                                                                    CRN SOUTHERN AFRICA • MARCH 2009 •   31
                    SOLUTION      PROVIDERS

                                              general drop in IT hardware spending for          will help customers to simplify the management
                                              the foreseeable future, it is also important to   of their next-generation data centres with a
                                              note that spending will be done in a very         unified networking fabric that consolidates
                                              cautious manner as budgets continue to            LAN, SAN and server cluster network
                                              be squeezed.                                      environments into a single high-speed
                                                 With this in mind, companies will be           10 Gigabit Ethernet fabric that supports
                                              looking for partners that will help to reduce     protocols such as fibre channel, FCoE and
                                              the total cost of their ICT operations, help      Internet Small Computer Storage Interface
                                              them manage the relentless growth of              (iSCSI).
                                              information and help them to improve the             “These challenging economic times
                                              energy efficiency of their data centres.          highlight the importance our customers
                                                                                                place on ensuring long-term value from their
  “By offering the Cisco data centre switching solution with                                    solutions, not just short-term benefits. They
                                                                                                need maximum value for every rand they
  our server and storage solutions, customers can now                                           spend, and that is what Dell continues to
                                                                                                deliver with the expanded Cisco partner-
  more easily transition to a unified network fabric and
                                                                                                ship,” says Kobus de Beer, enterprise brand
  meet their operational continuity, transport flexibility and                                  manager, Dell South Africa. “By offering the
                                                                                                Cisco data centre switching solution with our
  scalability requirements. The Dell and Cisco offerings                                        server and storage solutions, customers can
  will be very exciting for our customer and partner                                            now more easily transition to a unified
                                                                                                network fabric and meet their operational
  communities.” – Kobus de Beer, Dell, South Africa                                             continuity, transport flexibility and scalability
                                                                                                requirements. The Dell and Cisco offerings
                                                                                                will be very exciting for our customer and
                                                  Factors such as improving security/risk       partner communities.”
                                              management of their information continue             “As part of its unified computing
                                              to be important, while at the same time           approach, Cisco set out to develop a unified
                                              companies are continually looking at ways         networking fabric for the data center to help
                                              of simplifying information and infrastructure     organisations simplify their cabling
                                              management as they prepare for the next           infrastructure, reduce the number of required
                                              wave of technological advancements.               adapters, lower costs, reduce power
                                                  According to storage solutions vendor         consumption and the carbon footprint within
                                              EMC, distributors, resellers and end-user         their data centre,” says Soni Jiandani, VP
                                              companies should look for a technology            marketing, server access and virtualisation
                                              partner with a portfolio of comprehensive         business at Cisco. “By combining the
                                              infrastructure solutions that have proven         benefits of lossless 10 Gigabit Ethernet and
                                              reliability and availability.                     Fibre Channel over Ethernet with Dell’s
                                                  Last month Cisco and Dell announced           PowerEdge servers and storage solutions,
                                              that they will collaborate to deliver next-       together we can offer a more end-to-end
                                              generation IT solutions that help customers       data centre virtualisation solution.”
                                              to simplify their data centre infrastructure by      With all the business factors considered,
                                              pooling storage, computing and networking         on the technology side, it seems the next
                                              infrastructure resources to more rapidly          stage of the storage revolution will comprise
                                              support business applications in virtual data     the combination of Flash, FC and SATA. All
                                              centre environments.                              of these technologies are poised to
                                                  This collaboration will result in Dell        revolutionise the way storage arrays are
                                              adding Cisco’s Nexus 5020 switches                designed and built over the next 24 months.
                                              that support both 10 Gigabit Ethernet                Essentially, what companies will be
                                              and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) to         looking for are solutions that give them
                                              its Dell Power Edge server and Dell               higher performance, use less already-scarce
                                              EqualLogic, PowerVault and Dell/EMC               energy and at the same time take up a
                                              storage solutions.                                smaller footprint, while remaining more
   Kobus de Beer, Dell, South Africa              The Cisco and Dell combined solutions         reliable and lowering costs.

                 GUEST      COLUMN

    Preview to ‘09 Season.
                                                from the inside

W   ith the global economic crisis continuing
    unabated, the lavish new car launches so
    favoured by the Formula One fraternity have
    been shelved in favour of more modest
                                                                                                       surprises. Also, it is believed the team will not
                                                                                                       run a KERS in the opening Grand Prix.
                                                                                                          Just 24 hours later came the much awaited
                                                                                                       McLaren Mercedes launch. Unveiled in front
    events in keeping with the current climate.                                                        of the press and a select number of invited
       Honda’s dramatic pull-out at the end of                                                         guests at the team’s headquarters in
    last year set the tone for a muted preview to                                                      England, the event served to achieve little
    the 2009 F1 season. Gone were the                                                                  more than highlight Lewis Hamilton’s delight
    extravagant new car launches, high priced                                                          at the sight of the ‘number one’ on the nose
    venues and A-list guests. The fashion was                                                          and flanks of his car – courtesy of his world
    simple reveals – either in the pit lane, the                                                       championship win last year.
    workshop or even in cyberspace.                                                                       Of course, the new MP4-24 bears little
       The first new car to be unveiled was the                                                        resemblance to its championship-winning
    Ferrari F60, named in honour of this, the                                                          predecessor and featured heavily revised
    sixtieth Grand Prix season. Ferrari is the only                                                    bodywork, in line with the new rules. The
    team to have contested them all. In a simple                                                       event didn’t throw any light on whether the
    ceremony, drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe                                                        McLaren KERS system was a mechanical or
    Massa as well as designer Aldo Costa and                                                           electrical setup, although the mention of
                                                           Graham Duxbury, Duxbury Networks
    team principal Stefano Domencali took the                                                          ‘vibration’ in testing hinted at the possibility
    wraps off the new challenger at Mugello.          team simply placed some studio images of         of a mechanical device. Team mate Heikki
       The car took to the track shortly              the new TF109 on the Internet.                   Kovalainen took the opportunity to
    afterwards, driven by Massa. After two laps          Toyota has been stung by reports revealing    assure everyone that his physical training
    the Brazilian said he was “happy and excited      that it spent over $400 million on F1 last       programme was on track and that he
    to take the Ferrari out for its first ride” and   year, with no wins to show for it. So the        will be “more prepared than ever for the
    that concluded proceedings.                       on-line launch was in keeping with the           new season”.
       In line with the new regulations, the F60      team’s new, publicised goal of ‘taking              Perhaps the biggest news from McLaren
    features a Kinetic Energy Recovery System         positive, decisive measures to reduce costs’.    was that chairman and CEO Ron Dennis will
                                                                                                       be stepping down – but not retiring – to give
                                                                                                       Martin Whitmarsh a change at the helm.
    “Of course, the new MP4-24 bears little resemblance to                                                Previously known for lavish events
                                                                                                       featuring extravagant special effects,
    its championship-winning predecessor and featured
                                                                                                       Renault launched its new R29 in very
    heavily revised bodywork, in line with the new rules.”                                             muted style in the pit lane at the Portimao
                                                                                                       circuit in Portugal.
                                                                                                          In addition to a rather informal press con-
    (KERS), which has been developed in                  Will this new philosophy result in race       ference with team principal Flavio Briatore
    conjunction with electronics supplier             wins? There was much talk about the team         and drivers Fernando Alonso and Nelson
    Magneti Marelli. The team did not confirm         going ‘all out’ to beat its meagre tally of      Piquet, a technical briefing was presided
    whether the device will be used for the first     two podiums and one front row start in           over by engineers Bob Bell and Rob White.
    race or whether it was mechanical or              2008. Chairman and team principal Tadashi           Interestingly, they revealed that Renault will
    electrical in concept.                            Yamashina restated his target “to fight to win   be storing electrical energy in its KERS this
       If Ferrari’s launch was subdued, Toyota        the first race for Toyota”.                      year. A motor/generator unit will be coupled
    went one better and held theirs in                   Drivers Jarno Truli and Timo Glock were       to the engine and batteries will be used as
    cyberspace just three days later. Instead of a    upbeat and determined, as they should be.        the storage medium. How much power will it
    formal launch with reporters and company          However very little technical information was    deliver? They were tight lipped. But word in
    officials flown in from around the world, the     forthcoming and there were no design             the paddock is around 80 hp.

                                                    COVER     STORY:   EMC
                         SOLUTION    PROVIDERS

EMC sees
 gold in SA...
   Even with its poor global performance

                           BY KAUNDA CHAMA

                      W    hile many multinational companies have seen
                           poor global performance impact on local
                           operations adversely, information
                           infrastructure solutions specialist vendor EMC
                           anticipates high growth in SA.
                              According to the company’s country
                           manager Gerhard van der Merwe the company
                           will continue to enhance it signature EMC
                           Velocity? Partner Program for Europe, Middle
                           East and Africa (EMEA) and in turn expects
                           high growth in SA in the next two years
                           despite the downturn in the world economy.
                              He says that the company has put in place
                           cost-saving strategies for local enterprises to
                           offer value-added, efficient solutions and
                           services to increase its market share. >>

                           CRN SOUTHERN AFRICA • MARCH 2009 •         35
                       SOLUTION   PROVIDERS

                                             >> “The strategy for EMC South Africa is          Management Software Group, which will
                                             the same as the global strategy. As an            combine a new product line with existing
                                             information infrastructure provider, EMC          products such as Smarts, Infra and Control
                                             aims to become a virtual data centre              Centre to offer clients a value proposition
                                             solution specialist, achieving 100 per cent       to handle the growth in content in SA
                                             virtualisation and being recognised as the        and Africa.”
                                             number one solutions provider in the world,”         He says that of the mature and emerging
                                             Van der Merwe says.                               regions the company focuses on, it is only
                                                                                               expecting growth in the emerging markets,
                                                                                               particularly in the SECA region.
                                                                                                  According to Van der Merwe, the company
    “In addition, an increasing number of African countries                                    is growing its local staff complement
                                                                                               significantly (from 103 to 170) and will
   are becoming more resilient to the global economy,                                          continue to maintain direct contact with
                                                                                               large enterprise clients and sometimes work
   which has led us to open an east African hub in Kenya                                       on their projects with their tier-one partners.
   and a west African hub in Nigeria.” – Frederic                                                 He adds that for smaller corporate clients,
                                                                                               EMC will do up to 70 per cent of its business
   Dussart, EMC                                                                                through the channel and its smaller
                                                                                               commercial business will all be done
                                                                                               through the indirect model.
                                                                                                  On the African front, the company has
                                                 At present, the company has 40 per cent       been busy cementing its presence in countries
                                             market share in SA compared to 50 per cent        including Kenya, Ethiopia and, more
                                             in the US and 30 per cent globally.               recently, Angola. It has been working in
                                                 Van der Merwe explains that the South         these regions hand in hand with Dimension
                                             African operation’s focus for this year will be   Data, Business Connexion and Dell, and
                                             on the South, East and Central African            sees telecommunications and financial
                                             (SECA) region, where it has identified            services as sectors in which it will make the
                                             opportunities in the telco, public sector, oil    most revenue.
                                             and gas markets.                                     Even with the current state of the global
                                                 He states that all the SECA business will     economy, Van der Merwe says, that there are
                                             be done exclusively through the channel,          certain initiatives in the African region that
                                             adding that partner training in alliance with     will continue to go ahead with such as
                                             BCX, Dell, Cisco and Dimension Data has           ‘green computing’ and is confident that it will
                                             been completed.                                   help partners to save money by allowing
                                                 “In SA, our focus on the enterprise side of   them to do smarter business.
                                             the business will be on the telco, financial         “Realistically speaking, business will never
                                             services, public and industrial sectors,” Van     be the same as it used to be so we have
                                             der Merwe says. “On the corporate and             to become smarter in how we do our
                                             commercial side of the business, the focus is     business and sell our solutions. However, the
                                             on manufacturing and retail. We also aim to       information explosion will continue to drive
                                             double our existing 25 per cent market share      the need for EMC solutions because we
                                             in the coastal regions this year.”                provide intelligent information management
                                                  The company is confident of delivering       solutions,” he explains.
                                             solutions to the market by working closely           He is confident that because the company
                                             with its partners to provide end-to-end           provides total hardware and software
                                             virtualisation projects encompassing              solutions, and has the ability to automate
                                             hardware, software services and consulting.       certain processes it has great potential to
                                                  Van der Merwe says EMC sees major            grow in the public sector.
                                             growth coming from its content management            “The majority of our business in 2009 will
                                             products. “There will be a big drive around       come from the telecoms and public sector.
                                             security and storage products. We also            Other sectors will continue to invest in
   Gerhard van der Merwe, EMC                intend opening a division called Resource         technology, but we think they might be

                                                                                                                                  COVER     STORY:     EMC
                                                                                                SOLUTION        PROVIDERS

very cautious about how they spend. For            differentiate their business model and offer           2009 and the security and content
example, the retail space is questionable          additional value to their customers by delivering      specialities will be rolled out in the first
because certain sectors like automotive are        complete end-to-end solutions combining                quarter of this year.
definitely heading for a major slowdown,”          hardware, software and services skills.                  Amid its partnerships and acquisitions last
he explains.                                          Velocity2 Partners can become part of the           year, EMC also invested in Waymark ECM (a
    Meanwhile, the company recently                Velocity2 Authorised Service Network (ASN)             subsidiary of Waymark Infotech), a South African
announced enhancements to its Velocity2            Program and receive advanced technical                 company with specialisation in enterprise
Partner Programme with a big drive to make         training from EMC and have access to its               content management solutions (ECMS).
its partners more self-sufficient through
improved accreditation and certification
    Frederic Dussart, EMC’s VP and regional        “In the short to medium term, EMC sees more revenue
country manager for Europe South, Middle
East and Africa, says: “We plan on building
                                                   coming out of the African region than SA projecting that
internal and external cloud computing              through its channel partners, it should see South African
environments within SA’s telco, financial
services and industrial sectors. We will do this
                                                   business growing between 20 per cent and 25 per cent,
by partnering with industry leaders such as        while African business is projected at potential growth of
Cisco, Dell and VMWare.
     “In addition, an increasing number of         50 per cent.” – Gerhard van der Merwe, EMC
African countries are becoming more resilient
to the global economy, which has led us to
open an east African hub in Kenya and a
west African hub in Nigeria.”                      proprietary service methodologies and tools                With the investment, EMC established a
     Van der Merwe believes that 2009 will         that are also used by EMC services specialists.        specialised content management solutions
have a very strong virtualisation focus, saying       According to EMC, this level of                     division in SA and Africa, thereby strengthening
he views server virtualisation as the most         certification will allow partners to engage            its skills and resources to meet the content
substantial shift in IT so far this decade.        with customers on a deeper level, enabling             management and archiving needs of
    According to Van der Merwe, adoption is        them to deliver the highest quality customer           businesses throughout the region.
high and organisations are virtualising            satisfaction. Speciality certifications will be            The move is seen as testament to the fact
mission- and business-critical applications.       grouped around a set of products, software             that EMC South Africa is committed to black
    “As a result, enterprises need to work         and services relevant to each solution area.           economic empowerment (BEE).
with a partner like EMC SA to select the              Partners will receive an advanced set of                “This important investment gave EMC an
appropriate storage networking approach            benefits associated with their Speciality area         expanded and stronger channel that can
and system.”                                       such as performance-based rebates and                  help deliver ECM solutions to the South
     According to recent press reports, EMC        demand-generation support. The Speciality              African and African markets. With Waymark,
will invest approximately US $1.4 billion in       logo displayed by partners will allow                  we are creating a specific competence
research and development during 2009, as           customers to clearly identify the best ‘go-to’         around content management and archiving,
a way of demonstrating its commitment to           partner in their region for their selected             an area of information management which is
remaining one of the leading IT services and       solution requirements.                                 recognised as essential to almost every
solutions providers globally.                         “As mid-market customers become more                company,” says Van der Merwe.
    Early last month, EMC announced new            sophisticated they are looking for a solution              To further extend its local development, the
partner specialities that combine hardware,        provider who can deliver an entire solution.           company has appointed a new business
software and services skills as a way of           The speciality areas introduced into the EMC           development manager who will work closely
enabling partners to further differentiate their   Velocity2 Partner Program will ensure that our         with its big system integrator partners like
business model and bring additional value to       partners are qualified to offer a complete             Accenture, Deloitte and T-Systems.
their customers.                                   solution based on the customer’s needs. The                In the short to medium term, Van der
    The company did this by announcing             additional services skills set will allow the          Merwe says that EMC sees more revenue
significant enhancements to the EMC                partner to own the customer relationship               coming out of the African region than SA,
Velocity2 Partner Program with the                 from the initial sale through to implementation        projecting that through its channel partners, it
introduction of Partner Specialities in five       and ongoing support,” comments Prem                    should see South African business growing
solution areas – consolidation, back up,           Pather, channel manager EMC South Africa.              between 20 per cent and 25 per cent, while
archiving, security and content.                      The consolidation, back up, and archive             African business is projected at potential
    This move enables Velocity2 Partners to        specialities will be available from 1 July             growth of 50 per cent.

                                                                                                       CRN SOUTHERN AFRICA • MARCH 2009 •            37
                                                                      Reviews by: Dominic Khuzwayo
  Highly Recommended

       Creative Inspire M5300 speakers
       Talk about magic sound.
       The first time I heard the Creative speakers pumping was at a                  I did not waste time, I played jazz all the way and adjusted the
       friend’s place, I felt jealousy spreading through me like a computer       bass knob on the subwoofer; the room was instantly filled with great
       virus (how I wished the speakers were mine).                               and booming bass.
           I now know the speakers were from one of the world leaders in              The wired volume control made me forget about my neighbours
       digital entertainment products for the personal computer (PC) and          but to keep scrolling until some stuff fell from the computer stand.
       the Internet, Creative. And I guess Creative has a hold on magic           That’s when the thought of watching a movie came to me; I
       sound in the Inspire M5300 speakers.                                       watched some old movie (too embarrassed to mention the name).
           Let me first take you back to the day the speakers were delivered.     The Inspire speakers are not a hassle to plug in; I switched easily
       It was a Monday morning and I was greeted by a huge box on my              from iPod to laptop to PC.
       table with a picture of stylish speakers on the outside that made me           The sound from the Inspire M5300 speaker shows that Creative
       not want to waste time before opening the box. I have to admit that        doesn’t play around and knows its story very well. My advice is that
       I was a bit disappointed to find that the speakers are not wireless, I     if you are looking for sound to make your friends jealous, Inspire
       guess I was deceived by the picture on the box.                            M5300 speakers are the answer.
           But that did not stop me from connecting the speakers to my iPod           In addition to stylish design, the speakers’ 5.1 add-in or built-in
       and playing an Anita Baker song. Since I was in the office, I couldn’t     sound card does its job well and the 17-watt subwoofer provides
       turn the volume high but the quality of the sound left my editor who is    enough bass for any purpose, be it music, voice or movie playback.
       into hip hop, tapping and claiming to be an Anita fan.                     Gamers will also love these speakers.
           I tried to put some hip hop on to please him and to also check             The 3D surround sound works very well, especially if the speakers
       the powerful 17-watt subwoofer, but that didn’t last long as my            are all well placed because this speaker set is designed for dramatic
       colleagues started complaining about the noise.                            sound effects and explosive bass.
           I then decided to take the speakers to the real test station – my          These speakers also boast a stylish metallic look within a small
       place. With the stylish design and wall-mounting options, the              footprint design, but they could have done without the ‘70s-looking
       speakers gave my room a huge facelift.                                     wired remote control.

                                                                 Reviews by: Stanley Chishala                        Highly Recommended

LG KT610
It’s OK but…

Being a fan of Symbian smartphones, I
was happy to find LG’s KT610 on my
desk last month but even with the great
features the handset comes with, I
couldn’t help noticing the size of the
front screen.
   At first it looks like one of those early
cellphones but thank goodness it opens
up to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard
and a larger screen, and looks much
more like a modern-day device.
   Besides the front screen size, the
KT610 is very well designed and feels
good in your hand and is quite light-
weight. The design is fashionable and
will have great youth appeal.
   The handset is GPS-enabled with
downloadable maps of 150 countries,
which are easy to navigate on the 2.4-
inch VGA flip screen using the QWERTY keypad. Being that satellite             not missing out on this feature with its mid- to high-end handsets.
navigation is the current killer application, it is no surprise that LG is        If you have been experiencing problems with Windows Mobile-
                                                                               based handsets you’ll be happy with the ease of use that comes with
                                                                               Symbian OS v9.2 and S60 third edition feature pack 1.
                                                                                  This means you are guaranteed a reasonable experience from the
                                                                               suite of multimedia features and applications that come with the
                                                                               somewhat simple-looking device.
                                                                                  With HSDPA connectivity the phone can download at speeds of
                                                                               up to 3.6 Mbps and it supports full HTML browsing, just like a Web
                                                                               browser on a regular computer.
                                                                                  To make sure you get the best out of the QWERTY keypad, the
                                                                               phone also has handy features such as push email functionality,
                                                                               video MMS, email and a very easy-to-use Google package.
                                                                                  Although the platform is very stable, I found that loading some
                                                                               applications took longer than I am used to. Good examples are
                                                                               turning the phone on seemed to take a long time; deleting
                                                                               messages also seemed to take longer than I am used to on older
                                                                               model LG phones; and navigating between different screens had a
                                                                               bit of lag.
                                                                                  However, I was very impressed with the connectivity speeds; even
                                                                               the Web browsing was very fast when accessing full HTML websites.
                                                                                  The phone is well put together, has a solid feel and comes
                                                                               packed with a host of good applications, although I don’t like the
                                                                               fact that you have to pay for games.
                                                                                  This is a perfect entry- to mid-level phone and is not bad value
                                                                               for what it offers and, if my assumption is correct, it is perfect for its
                                                                               target market. Not for the business user but well worth getting for
                                                                               ‘domestic’ users.
                                                                                  The LG KT610 is available in South Africa from all cellphone
                                                                               phone networks. Recommended retail pricing is R3 999.

                                                                                                        CRN SOUTHERN AFRICA • MARCH 2009 •                  39

         DILBERT             by Scott Adams

  Company: Eaton Power Quality
  Position: Country Manager SA
  Age: Late forties
  Best personal achivement: Moving to SA
  Management style: Results driven
  Most admired company: Any successful one
  Most admired executives: As above
  Best IT product: Blackberry or iPod
  Most pressing local business issues: Pushing the
  Eaton Brand
  Key to success: Never say no
  Favourite car: Porsche
  Your car: Audi
  Favourite authors: Clive Cuessler
  Where do you live: Bedfordview
  Birthplace: Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire, England
  Hobbies/sports: Reading
  Favourite periodicals: One doesn’t spring to mind
  Pet hates: Tardiness


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