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Authors Posts by James Jones

James Jones

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SAM and Licensing specialist at Crayon.

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Experts in Cloud Economics and Managed Services Provision meet stringent Microsoft requirements around technical expertise & customer delivery.

London July 13th: Crayon, a global leader in Software Asset Management (SAM) and Cloud Economics, has achieved a significant milestone in being recognised as a Microsoft Azure Expert Managed Service Provider (MSP).

As customers move to the public cloud with increasing pace, they need partners with a deep level of cloud expertise and experience to guide them. Inclusion in the Azure Expert MSP program is awarded to partners that meet a stringent set of requirements, including verified proof of excellence in customer delivery and technical expertise, and the successful completion of an independent audit of their managed services, people, processes and technologies.

Only the most high-fidelity cloud managed service providers are awarded the Azure Expert MSP badge, intended to give customers confidence when selecting a partner to help them meet their digital transformation goals.

Inclusion in the Azure Expert MSP program underlines Crayon’s expertise and commitment to delivering its customers the most comprehensive set of managed services based upon Azure technology. This latest accreditation adds to the firm’s burgeoning set of cloud advisory services and solutions that help enterprises to optimise investments in complex technologies as they juggle multiple clouds and workloads.

Says Mike Clinch, VP, Digital & Cloud Services Strategy, Crayon: “Being recognised as an Azure Expert MSP builds on the great work Crayon has been doing around cloud for a significant period of time. Through our managed services we’re helping enterprises to get under the ‘hood’ and fine-tune their Azure environments using strategic cloud economics to deliver real value and performance across the entire business.

Clinch continues, “Enterprises often believe that by moving to the cloud they are automatically saving money. But with strategies and IT estates varying in both complexity and makeup – factoring in existing solutions and perhaps the need for a hybrid environment – the results can differ significantly. As independently audited managed services experts we can take that pain away and allow enterprises to concentrate on core services and objectives while we ensure that cloud supports their growing business needs.”

Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner, Microsoft Corp. says, Having demonstrated continued excellence in delivering managed Azure services to clients around the globe, we’re delighted to recognise Crayon and welcome them to the Azure Expert MSP program.”

About Crayon:
As the global leader in software asset management (SAM), cloud economics and volume licensing, and associated consulting services, Crayon is a trusted advisor to many of the globe’s leading organisations. Through its unique people, tools and systems Crayon helps to optimise its clients’ technology estates within the new mobile-first, cloud-first world.
Experts when it comes to optimising client ROI from complex technologies, Crayon believes passionately that organisations should only pay for the IT resources they actually need and use, but understands that in today’s complex technology landscape that can be difficult to achieve. This is why Crayon has developed a unique methodology to deliver on its belief for its customers. Headquartered in Oslo, Norway, the company has over 1,000 teammates in offices worldwide.

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Crayon Listed on the Norwegian Stock Exchange

Crayon announced its intention to float on the Oslo Stock Exchange last October. At the time, the firm said the public offering would allow it to free up NOK 300m (€32m) in gross proceeds to fuel its future growth strategy.

In a recent article with Channelnomics Europe, Rune Syversen commented on Crayon’s first few months as a public company. Syversen said that it hasn’t all been plain sailing, claiming that several top Microsoft partners took a hit in Q4 of 2017.

“I think we took a small hit together with some of the large Microsoft partners in Q4, which was slightly disappointing to the market. As a result, the stock price has dropped quite significantly and, for investors, that has caused some pain. But investors understand this is a more long-term investment based on the stock price right now. Both myself and my co-founder have acquired more stock because we are pretty bullish about the future and the outlook of the company,” he said.

Crayon was almost completely Microsoft-centric around eight to nine years ago, but has since diversified its portfolio to include other hyperscaler giants AWS and Google.

Read the rest of the article here.

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GDPR is the buzzword of 2018 and it seems like Channel has a whole new area of opportunity to get hold off. Read what Phil Heap has to say to Computer Weekly on the subject.

If partners want to make the most of the GDPR opportunity they need to make sure that their own business “has its house in order and is ready for the new regulations”, says Phil Heap, product and services director at Crayon Group.

“Customers will be extremely insistent that they are dealing with partners who are compliant, as this will reinforce their own commitment to data protection, privacy and security.”

Read the rest of the article here. 

Having several clouds can make hard work for IT departments. Find out what Richard Lockey, UK General Manager told CloudPro on the matter. 

Choice is key for customers looking for the best solution for their organisation, as well as for providers having the choice of services on offer.The Cloud has become a dominant force in IT infrastructure, but we are now seeing organisations adopt different services and several applications from multiple cloud providers. As the strength and depth of services they offer grows and matures, customers are able to choose the best of breed for each and every use case. This emerging trend is known as known as multi-cloud and dealing with multiple cloud environments poses a series of challenges.

“Commercially, managing multiple providers and getting the best value for money is no different to any other multi-source strategy, but it goes without saying that the fewer you have the simpler this task becomes – as long as you have the right provider of course,” says Richard Lockey, UK country manager at cloud consultancy Crayon.

“Finding an intermediary to manage the platforms on your behalf may also be a viable option. One of the biggest challenges when deploying a multi-cloud strategy will be managing the security implications with data held in multiple locations and traversing multiple networks. So, a solid security policy and the implementation of this is critical,” he adds.

Read the article here and see how this emerging trend is bringing both advantages and disadvantages to organisations.

Partners and customers of the ICT distributor and service provider Komsa can now activate and manage Microsoft software from the cloud for their customers via Crayon’s Cloud-iQ platform. The license specialist and the Hartmannsdorf-based distributor have agreed on a deal that will see Cloud-iQ integrated into Komsa Cloud Services.

“With the Microsoft software packages, suitable hardware and the services from our range, our partners can offer a complete workstation from the cloud and thus meet the increasing market demand,” says Steffen Ebner, Sales Director B2B at the Komsa Group.

The company has integrated Microsoft cloud services into Komsa Cloud Services via the Cloud-iQ portal, a proprietary development of the licensing specialist Crayon.

“Through the cooperation with Komsa, we enable a completely new target group of telecommunications experts and system houses to enter the world of Microsoft cloud and offers such as Microsoft 365 and Azure”, explains Merlin Bauer, Director Sales at Crayon.

The entry into the Office 365 and Azure environment is complex for system houses with little experience in Microsoft Cloud Business. Finding the right licensing for the requirements of their customers, maintaining an overview of an offering that is constantly expanding, managing licenses and last but not least, automated invoicing, presents businesses with considerable challenges.

“This is where Cloud-iQ comes into play, adds Bauer. The system is simple and intuitive to use, helps to find the appropriate license plan and displays all licenses clearly, so that even businesses that support several large customers with many workstations always have an overview.”

“Our partners receive access to Cloud-iQ after registration via Komsa. It was very important to us that the portal reflects the multi-level nature of our sales channel so that our partners do not lose control of their customers and their margins,” emphasises Ebner.

“Cloud-iQ is an interesting tool for companies that require cloud licenses or are considering digitalisation. With the integration into Komsa Cloud Services, Komsa makes its partners fit for the cloud business and gives them an advantage over their competitors and an interesting unique selling proposition,” adds Bauer.

 

About KOMSA Cloud Services
With KOMSA Cloud Services, the ICT distributor and service provider from Hartmannsdorf in Saxony launched a partner program two years ago that is aimed at system houses and specialist dealers that support small and medium-sized companies. Resellers receive everything from a single source: KOMSA offers a complete package, from broadband connection and SIP trunk, through the communication solution, data centre performance, terminal devices and gateways to peripherals such as headsets. Retail partners can use it to create customised and secure cloud solutions for their business customers. From the very beginning, KOMSA accompanies its partners in their projects, trains them, provides support during project planning and installation and is always at their side during operation. The advantage? The contractual relationship with the business end customer is retained and maintained by the system house or specialist trade partner.

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Crayon’s Facepalm 3 Afterparty 2018 – The Hottest Ticket in Vegas.

Tuesday 17th July 9pm – 1am.

Crayon are delighted to invite you to the hottest, CRAZIEST event at this year’s Inspire, taking place on Tuesday 17th July.

Not only will we be at a world-class Vegas venue BUT you can expect…

Back by popular demand, the winner of ‘Last Comic Standing’, star of ‘Wait Wait…. Don’t Tell me!’, Headline act at ‘It’s showtime at the Apollo’ and previous celebrity guest on ‘The Tonight Show’, Alonzo Bodden will be tearing it up all over again!

Plus travel back to the glory jazz and swing years of Las Vegas with Singin’, Drinkin’ and Swingin’ with the one and only Rat Pack.

World-class location…The Stratosphere!

Drinks, Laughs and Live Music!

For further information take a look here

Register your attendance here

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Supercharge your Business in just 90 minutes!

Join us for this power briefing, specifically designed for both established ISV’s as well as start-ups, to learn how to Leverage Digital Transformation to Scale and Grow your Business.

Hear how Crayon’s Global Investments in People, Platforms and Processes can help you and your Organisation.

 

Date: Tuesday 17th July
Time: 1.30pm – 3.00pm

Location: Viking Lounge, Mandalay Bay Convention Centre, Border Grill

Arrive early to avoid disappointment…!

For further information, take a look here

and to let us know if you want to join, register here

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Grab Your Helmets and Join Crayon at the Viking Lounge!

Do Inspire #likeaviking and learn how you can CONQUER & DOMINATE the Cloud.

Hear from our experts from 11am – 5pm daily (Monday 16th July – Wednesday 18th July) at The Viking Lounge – Mandalay Bay Convention Centre, Border Grill.

Not sure how to find us? Follow the Vikings!

Believe us when we say that every hour is happy hour.

Still not tempted? Well, get a FREE Viking Drinking Horn if you’re one of the first 50 New Partners to sign up to the Intelligent Cloud!

 

For further information take a look here

or to register to hang out with the Vikings, click here

Crayon accredited as one of first AWS Machine Learning Competency EMEA partners.

London May 10th – Amazon Web Services (AWS), the world’s largest cloud technology provider, has awarded Crayon the status of being one of the first Machine Learning Competency Partners in EMEA. This accreditation means that the Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) specialists from Crayon will work closely with the Machine Learning teams at AWS to drive mutual business advantage.

Crayon Group is already an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner and this APN ML Competency accreditation accelerates and deepens the organisations’ relationship with the world’s largest hyper-scale cloud partner. This will allow Crayon to deliver additional ML services to customers using the AWS Cloud.

One company already benefiting from the advanced capabilities offered by Crayon and AWS around ML is Tine, Norway’s largest producer, distributor and exporter of dairy products.

Explains Harald Volden, director of systems and analytics at Tine Rådgivning: “Tine is on journey to strengthen our analytical capability and competence within in the field of AI. We have started an AI and Machine Learning program together with our partner Crayon Group to harvest the full potential of machine learning throughout our business and we are convinced that AI and machine learning will significantly alter and improve the way we run our business and operations going forward.”

Adds Torgrim Takle, CEO of Crayon Group: “We are very proud to be appointed as one of the first Amazon Web Services (AWS) Machine Learning Competency Partners in EMEA. This supports Crayon’s global ambitions within the strategically important AI and Machine Learning market and demonstrates that the investments we have made in building a world-class AI & Machine Learning Practice are being rewarded by the leading hyper-scale cloud and AI partners.”

With databases being the cornerstone of businesses, a successful migration to Azure is essential.

Today, more and more companies are adopting big-data and cloud-based architectures to meet growing business demands as firms look to derive even more value from their investments. As a result, IDC sees the market for commercial purchases of big data and business analytics-related hardware, software, and services eclipsing $210 billion within just two years.

However, while these new technologies offer a number of operational benefits, there are some key problems which must not be overlooked. So, let’s look in more detail at what these problems are and how they are overcome.

It’s fair to say that many businesses IT systems and workload applications are underpinned by a type of database. This means that before moving a database to Azure, you need to make an assessment of the range of applications you have, how they are used and how they interact with the backend databases. Indeed, it is critical to understand how these services can function in Azure.

Of course, there are many challenges when migrating databases to Azure but these are in most cases dependent on how services are used today. For many organisations, they have developed years of bespoke code and inter-dependent communications between databases and systems, so assessment and planning are critical prior to any migration.

The largest, more established public cloud providers, such as Azure, have hosting centres in different locations around the world. However, the features and options supported might differ depending on the physical location. Furthermore, the legal framework in those locations might be not be the same as in your own jurisdiction. You may even have obligations to retain data within a specific territory, like the EU.

There may be clear advantages of both scale and licensing – for example, with Microsoft SQL Server PaaS on Azure the database license is included and your payment is calculated in terms of database processor units.

How to successfully migrate to Azure

It is essential to have a full comprehension of what the databases are doing today, how they are licensed, what purpose they serve to the associated application and what they require in future.

Therefore, ensuring compatibility and making sure security is considered around the data is an integral and critical part of any planning. The information collated will help to define any remedial actions plus will help narrow the choice of database services available from the cloud providers.

Microsoft has the new Data Migration Assistant that will help to assess where SQL in Azure could work. Use such tools to analyse the schema and data of your on-premise databases, as these will give you advice on the right database engine to use.

It is worth noting that if looking to migrate a database that the service is not live as part of the migration. There are tools that can be used as part of this process, but it is best to cut over to a cloud database in a controlled state to ensure data integrity and consistency is maintained.

Another problem when migrating databases to the cloud is that the process requires significant downtime. To mitigate this, companies should migrate apps that can afford downtime of a few hours as a first port of call.

Lastly, as challenges commonly arise as in complex environments, the entire database schema should not be migrated into the cloud at once. The schema should instead be applied in parts. There are also schema, data tables and primary keys created by database conversion tools offered by large cloud providers, such as Azure, which can greatly aid migration.

Maintaining security

There can be a number of issues when migrating databases to the cloud. Indeed, security, data confidentiality and controls against threats such as SQL Injections can all present major challenges.

These can be overcome by initially only migrating those databases and applications which are not mission critical, and which require lower levels of security. In addition, businesses can deploy security assurance tools in the cloud that give visibility into the effectiveness of the cloud provider security controls, enabling them to monitor and protect the entire environment.

After migration

Once the migration is complete, you should monitor the performance of your new Azure-based infrastructure, and compare the metrics of the migrated database with the agreed KPIs. This comparison should be done often.

Then is time to look at the rest of your enterprise application landscape and identify databases and systems that could be targets for your next migration. If those are not ready for an outright “lift and shift” migration, it may be wise to contemplate transforming large, tightly coupled applications and databases and re-platform them using a micro-services architecture.