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Here’s why Azure Stack will only run on certain hardware

Microsoft made a divisive announcement last month when it revealed that Azure Stack will be delayed until the middle of next year and that the private cloud software will only run on a set of integrated hardware systems rather than a wide variety of hardware. 

Now, the company is trying to explain that change to customers. On Thursday, Microsoft Principal Group Program Manager Vijay Tewari makes the case for shipping Azure Stack on a small variety of hardware in a video interview. His main point is this: constraining the software to a small set of hardware leads to a better product that’s more useful right out of the gate.

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Inside sales companies have raised only $150 million this year and may soon face consolidation

Image Credit: RIngDNA

With seven transactions totaling $ 150 million, including the $ 90 million financing for new unicorn Anaplan, the first two months of 2016 have been quiet on the funding front for inside sales. The future will tell us if it is a reflection of the overall technology slowdown, or if we have reached an investment peak that precedes industry consolidation.

Inside Sales Landscape

A high-resolution version of the VB Profiles Inside Sales landscape is available here. (Disclosure: VB Profiles is a cooperative effort between VentureBeat and Spoke Intelligence.)


The $ 30 million funding from NewVoiceMedia is the largest financing from a pure-play Inside Sales Technology. This externally led round was smaller than the last one, which totaled $ 50 million. NewVoiceMedia scored a second big win with the addition of Moni Manor, former Five9 CTO, as chief product officer. With a total $ 140 million raised since inception, NewVoiceMedia has captured the market’s attention. Originally a Contact Center cloud software provider, NewVoiceMedia has expanded into the Inside Sales space by first repackaging its core technology and later by adding gamification capabilities.

Social Engagement received some attention with two small financings. Insightpool sits at the crossroads of Sales and Marketing, mining social networks to find influencers and prospects. Initially targeting the B2B market, it has been expanding its efforts to encompass B2C. Socedo is a pure-play sales company focused on lead generation on Twitter.

Although not an event of the previous month per se, I came to recognize the growing importance of coaching. You can expect it to become a dedicated category in the next iteration of my Inside Sales technology landscape.

Coaching importance grew because many of the inside sales roles are entry positions into the sales profession. It is also a way to address the high learning and growth expectations of younger generations. Inside Sales initial successes were fueled by email communication, which is text-based. As the market matured, companies have rediscovered the importance of engaging in-person with prospects. It hinges on good conversation skills that are best taught by coaching.

It is not a surprise that voice solution vendors have experienced strong customer demand for recording and coaching. RingDNA, for example, made it a central theme of its roadmap, introducing a Coaching module in its latest release. It departs from legacy recording offerings that target compliance by making sales behavior the focal point. We have also seen the emergence of pure-play providers such as ExecVision trying to innovate the market with a mobile application to make coaching on the go easier. Their vision is to make coaching pervasive in the organization by enabling anyone to listen to his/her calls and mark the important moments.

Nicolas De Kouchkovsky is the principal of CaCube Consulting. You can track his 340+ company Inside Sales Landscape on VBProfiles.com.



Gartner Magic Quadrant Report Shows Only a Race Between AWS and Azure

Gartner Gartner Magic Quadrant Report Shows Only a Race Between AWS and AzureThe annual report of research firm Gartner the market for IaaS cloud computing shows that no clear leader (Amazon Web Services) and someone who clearly defies (Microsoft Azure). And then there are all the others. The market is dominated by only a few suppliers, especially by Amazon Web Services, but also increasingly by Microsoft Azure.

Gartner’s interest is in computing power, storage and network available to customers. Amazon Web Services is distinguished by a capacity 10 times greater than that of its 14 largest competitors combined. AWS and Azure are the only two suppliers in the quadrant leaders of the report, which clearly states AWS has the leading role.

Other providers (Google, CenturyLink, Rackspace, VMware, Virtustream and to a lesser extent, IBM SoftLayer) received good grades, but none of them have the clouds to rival those of the big two. However, between AWS, Azure and all other providers, there are significant differences, Gartner says it is important to choose the best way to align with your needs.

AWS was the first to market with an IaaS offer, based on Xen virtualized servers and has not stopped since. AWS has a diversified customer base and the broadest range of use cases, including in business and mission critical applications. With its overwhelming dominance, it attracted a wide ecosystem of partners and software vendors. It remains the industry leader, extremely innovative, exceptionally agile and very responsive to the market. Although it begins to face more competition from players like Microsoft and Google, it retains a lead of several years after the others, says Gartner.

However, AWS can become complex. Pricing structures can be confusing and not transparent; individually charged for some services that other providers don’t charge. This means that many users employ AWS external management providers to help in the management of costs and deployments.

The significant market share of Microsoft in the enterprise IT market, combined with its continued investment in Azure, making it the main competitor of AWS. The company has a mandatory packaged offer – the public cloud is integrated closely with its management tools on the premises, such as Windows Server and Systems Center. Microsoft has a beautiful hybrid offering, but Azure had been struggling lately with considerable interference, something AWS years ago had to do with it. Gartner recommends to make critical applications on Azure; customers need to consider a non-Azure disaster recovery backup plan.

Gartner states that the IaaS market is dominated by Amazon Web Services, followed by Microsoft Azure and Google Compute Engine. And according to the study, these three giants continue to provide the majority of contracts to supply IaaS services in 2015. Gartner warns businesses that, given the competition in terms of price and scale of investments needed, many IaaS providers may have to interrupt their offer during the year.

Note that companies like HP are not even mentioned. HP continues to work on its IaaS offer (HP Public Cloud) but seeks only to promote and sell the service as part of a hybrid solution. With respect Google, the report says that Google needs to expand its sales capabilities, engineering solutions and support. Google lacks many important features for companies looking to migrate legacy workloads to the cloud.

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