193 guests all out with MTI

Yesterday was MTI’s annual summer cricket event, which saw 193 MTI guests, including 153 customers join us at The Oval to watch Surrey play Gloucester. And what a match!

Not only was this the hottest day of the year on record, but the tension in the Oval was also at a fever pitch throughout. In the end, it was a blistering finish by Surrey’s own Azhar Mahmoud, who swung the last ball of the match for six. This stroke of genius took Surrey past their visitors 154-5 in the NatWest T20 Blast.

Below is a selection of pictures from the event.

MTI's Oval Scrapbook.001

What’s really nice about this event is the number of people who ask me if they can attend next year. (I will not name names to protect the innocent) We are constantly oversubscribed even though we have increased the number of tickets year on year by 20%. I would also like to thank the knowledgeable people who can name the skyline’s buildings too. Last night I had to find out for one customer that the giant glass tower behind the main stand is the new home  for the American embassy. Thank you, Laura, from our corporate lawyers’ office DAC Beachcroft for being so knowledgeable.

We’ve hosted events at the Oval like this for the last ten years, and for my money this was the most gripping match to date. It’s always good to be able to spend time with those that we work with, away from the business environment. 

 Thank you to all who joined us. I hope you enjoyed the day as much as I did. I look forward to seeing you next year.

EMC World: Global Partner Summit 2014

Well what a week that was. The team here has just returned from the EMC World Global Partner Summit, an event that brought all of EMC’s communities together under one roof.

A pass for 'Keith Clark Clark'

A pass for KC

The event was held at The Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, and I was fortunate enough to attend with MTI colleagues from some of our global offices along with valued customers Babcock Marine, Vocalink, CLS, Publicis, Fraport, Lear Corporation & Mobilcom.

Joe Tucci, chief executive of EMC’s federation, opened the event under the banner of ‘REDEFINE’ and went on to explain what this meant for companies – to redefine themselves from their culture through to their infrastructure and tools, so that they are effectively positioned to develop services that cater for this digital customer.

Holding the keys to this is the ‘Third Platform’ of IT – the post-PC era founded in social, mobile and cloud-based technologies, as well as big data – which allows you to design, develop and deliver cloud services and applications in rapid development cycles, while ensuring all information is fully protected. In other words, building the agility and enablement into your infrastructure that will allow you to thrive in the digital age.

Much more difficult than it sounded...

Much more difficult than it sounded…

Following Joe’s opening address, Ian Parslow and I did our bit for charity – in the form of a water walk! The charity, Charity:Water, supports people in Ethiopia by bringing clean water to areas where it is lacking, and we were tasked with carrying two water cans weighing 50kgs in total. Some Ethiopians have to do this for three hours each day – Ian and I did it for 3 minutes and it was very heavy indeed! But I was delighted to see how much they raised in total.

Then later on that evening, we were delighted to see MTI France SA receive the EMC EMEA Partner Services Quality Award. Our very own Nicolas Naulot, Director, MTI France SA Services, accepted the award alongside Dominique Larrere and Yves Bigliazzi from Publicis.

Nicolas Naulot, Director, MTI France SA Services, alongside Dominique Larrere and Yves Bigliazzi from Publicis

Nicolas Naulot, Director, MTI France SA Services, alongside Dominique Larrere and Yves Bigliazzi from Publicis

Philippe Fosse, the Vice President Channels EMEA, organised a very special Business Partner Executive evening event for a small group of EMEA partners that both Ian and I were delighted to attend.

Ian Parslow took part in a one-hour panel discussion, led by Simon Walsh, the Chief Operating Officer for EMC, EMEA. This was a riveting session that looked at how partners are re-inventing their business models, in order to succeed in a dynamic market, with the help of EMC. We were in great company, with Portugal Telecom and Iomart also sitting on the panel discussing how EMC helps their businesses.

Ian Parslow on stage

Ian Parslow on stage

I was delighted to be able to attend a motivational talk by none other than Bear Grylls during the event. Whilst he may not exactly be the immediate speaker you would associate with an EMC event, it was in fact a hugely entertaining, relevant and rewarding session. One of the key points that really struck a chord with me was when he said: “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is the word “extra”. Always go the little bit extra.’ Something I challenge myself and all my fellow MTI colleagues to do every day!

The MTI ‘A Team’: Paul, Al, Ian and Garry

Bear Grylls in action

Bear Grylls in action

I also attended a partner Q&A session, which had 4000 people in attendance, hosted by Joe Tucci. One of the questions I asked was whether EMC was considering becoming a channel-only company in the future, given that 11 years ago, channel made up a third of EMC’s business, compared to more than 80 per cent today. The answer was a resounding ‘no’, as Joe sought to defend the role of direct sales forces in the business. You can actually read all about it in an article written on the Q&A in CRN.

What was really great about my time in Las Vegas was the chance to personally reconnect with MTI’s key business supporters in the EMC senior executive team. Having worked closely with this team for more than 11 years, it was great to catch up with them all and spend time with them face-to-face, including:

  • Bill Scannell, President, EMC Worldwide Sales
  • Gregg Ambulos, SVP Global Channels
  • Linda Connly, SVP Global Inside Sales
Myself, Linda Connolly, Gregg Ambulos, Nicolas, Ian and the Publicis guys, and a lovely lady who informs me she is a singer of some sort?

Linda Connly, Gregg Ambulos, Nicolas, Ian and the Publicis guys, and a lady who informs me she is a singer of some sort?

To top it off, we were part of a special select group that were allowed backstage to meet Britney Spears – you can see Britney here with yours truly, with Linda, and a shot of Linda and Gregg – jealous?

MTI Forum an overwhelming success

We recently held our annual MTI Forum event, bringing together our partners, customers and peers from across the datacentre, IT and security sectors.

The event was held at the impressive Beaumont Estate in Windsor, which played host to around 300 visitors keen to learn from a high calibre speaker line-up made up of the leading voices in the UK technology industry.

MTI Forum

Ian Parslow welcomes MTI Forum delegates

We held an exclusive dinner event at the venue on Tuesday evening (April15) for 20 of our VIP customers. Special guests Michael Vaughan, the former England cricket captain, and sports leadership coach Steve Bull, who has worked with the England cricket team and the British Olympics team, commanded the crease as our guest speakers on the evening. Vaughan was a hugely inspirational speaker, discussing the difficulties of managing while playing, including in his case big personalities like Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen, and gave us his pre-match team talk: “This is what we have prepared for. This is what we have waited for. Now go out and enjoy the game.”

Michael Vaughan MTI

Michael Vaughan and Steve Bull entertain VIP customers at the MTI Forum dinner

Vaughan also provided insight into his mentality and the professional motivation technique he uses called ‘the man in the mirror,’ which really resonated. It essentially boils down to: can you look in the mirror at the end of every day and say you’ve done the very best job possible? That is what I demand of myself and ask of everyone at MTI – as long as we can all say we’ve done our best everyday then we will continue to be successful.

I then spent the latter part of Tuesday evening being educated on the finer points of Sat Nav technology and IP protection wherever you are working in the world by Andrew Ralston, Director of Information Services and Security at one of our newer customers Wolfson Microelectronics.

The MTI Forum itself, on Wednesday (April 16), was a great community event for companies to share ideas and take inspiration from expert speakers. The series of talks covered a variety of topics, from cybercrime and hacking techniques through to the future of the datacentre, the new generation of mobility and the Internet of Everything.

MTI Forum

The MTI team welcomes guests to MTI Forum

The day began with a gracious welcome and introduction by MTI’s own Ian Parslow, followed by an overview of EMC’s take on the market from Chris Gould, Director of Sales and Strategy UK&I.

The speaker sessions then kicked into full force, with Websense’s Jonathan Wood giving an illuminating introduction to the ‘7 stages of a hack,’ and our own Rob Buckton and Ian Reynolds discussing who companies to trust to manage their data and how to pass the PSN IT Health Check, respectively.

The rest of the morning saw experts explore a wide range of security issues, courtesy of RSA’s Bob Griffin, Palo Alto Networks’ Tim Kirk and MTI’s PCI-DSS expert Pauline Brace. Morning sessions also saw Cisco’s Roger Ian Dickinson take us through the finer points of the future of the datacentre, a review of IT operations and analytics from Extra Hop’s Owen Cole and insight into the power of virtualisation from WatchGuard’s Martin Lethbridge. We also enjoyed further vision into EMC’s offering from Simon Stevens, Tony Alder and Mark Galpin.

During a very nice lunch on the sunny terrace I had the delight of spending time with Terry Beale, EMC’s Director of Channel UK&I, Alex Jenkins, CISO at long-term MTI customers Babcock International, and John Singh, a partner at our legal firm DAC Beachcroft.

Moving into the afternoon we had an introduction to life after Blackberry in the new age of mobility with MobileIron’s Graeme Jenkins, security analytics insight from CyberArk’s Tobie Kottmann a look at big data with Matt Lock from Varonis. Imperva’s Andy Harcup talked us through how to tackle the modern data security threats, while Phil Keeley from Aerohive Networks had us all hooked on the next generation of wireless networking.

The afternoon sessions also saw MTI’s managed services experts Simon Walters and Asad Malik deliver a workshop on how to take the journey to the cloud, while Trusted IA’s Dave Williams gave a hands-on workshop on how to achieve a PSN pass at the first time of asking.

Next up Cisco’s Ian Foddering took us through the fascinating world of the Internet of Everything, James Walker of TrendMicro explained why traditional security is no longer enough and VMware’s Ian Little discussed managing virtual environments.

A hugely enjoyable day was rounded off in style with MTI’s Ian Reynolds delivering his popular Anatomy of a Hack presentation, which took us through the intricacies of a cyber attack.

Many thanks to all those that spoke at the event and everyone who attended the show, it was an excellent show that gave us all food for thought and we hope to see you all again next year.

MTI hosts EMC VNX launch event at Chelsea FC

20130924_170014 - Panorama

This week MTI hosted an event to introduce our customers and partners to the benefits of EMC’s new VNX series, as described in my previous blog from Milan earlier this month. My colleague Tony Conway, our Vice President Customer Services, attended the event so I invited him to write a guest blog. Over to Tony…


Tony Conway guest blogs for KC in Conversation

Chelsea Football Club’s Stamford Bridge stadium was the venue of the MTI Speed2Lead event on Tuesday (September 24), which provided our customers with further insight into EMC‘s recently refreshed VNX series.

The event saw our technical experts Steve Wiggs and Andy Dean discuss the ins and outs of the benefits of the new storage offerings. We then received an EMC perspective on the future of backup from Mark Galpin, EMC’s EMEA Product Marketing Manager, and insight into the bespoke Managed Service wrap that MTI provides to the new EMC portfolio from our own Rob Buckton. Following the informative introductions we were treated to a special tour of the fantastic facilities available to Chelsea’s footballers.


A packed crowd soaks in Steve Wiggs’ introduction to EMC’s VNX refresh

From our day-to-day conversations with customers it’s clear that they are being asked, or rather told, to increasingly do more with less. They are having to increase revenues, lower operational costs and reduce risks – all meaning they need to be more agile in how they manage their IT infrastructures. Throw into the mix the fact that speed of business and data growth are rising exponentially, and it’s clear that businesses need some assistance to maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

EMC’s new VNX range provides this helping hand, with a whole host of advanced features that really blow the storage industry out of the water. We can now offer customers up to four times higher levels of performance, 60% less latency and block deduplication, in addition to file deduplication. The very pinnacle of the new product range, the VNX 8000, is capable of running between 6,000 and 8,000 Virtual Machines, can be fitted with up to 1,500 4TB drives and boasts the capacity to do an impressive 1 million IOPS.

Virtualisation, and more specifically cloud technology, is transforming the way that IT works, and IT providers now need to be proactive and innovative to best utilise this technology.

Chelsea FC

The Chelsea FC home changing room

In partnership with EMC we now offer our customers the extra horsepower, enhanced protection of data and, possibly most importantly, greater flexibility to take their IT to the next level.

To learn more about the new EMC VNX range, what this means for the future of IT infrastructures, and how we can benefit your business, visit http://mti.com/solutions/emc-vnx-series or give us a call on 01483 520200.

Chelsea FC

MTI expands into northern England to drive growth and innovation

It’s official – MTI has opened its Manchester office and we’re now offering our services to businesses across the north of England from this new base. Following the successful expansion of business operations into Scotland in 2011, it was the natural next step for MTI to continue its growth and innovation.

The expansion gives northern businesses access to our best-of-breed technology and our services including penetration testing, backup and recovery and all aspects of IT security and data centre design and implementation. MTI has always had a service presence in northern England, however we are now reaching out further to organisations in the mid-market and the Public and Higher Education sectors in the North West and North East.

Since MTI established business in Scotland at the end of 2011, we have seen a huge increase in demand for our solutions and services from businesses across the region. There are many organisations, both large and small, that feel not enough is being done to support them because they are not in the South East.

We are investing heavily to redress this balance. We now have the capability to be close to our northern customers and better understand their specific IT requirements.

MTI waxes lyrical about EMC VSPEX

So faithful are we in EMC’s VPSEX architecture that we’d take any opportunity to talk up its benefits, therefore were happy when EMC invited our Marketing Director Richard Flanders to do so in a video on its website.

Click the image to watch MTI’s Marketing Director Richard Flanders detailing the benefits of EMC VSPEX on EMC’S website

Click the image to watch MTI’s Marketing Director Richard Flanders detailing the benefits of EMC VSPEX on EMC’S website

VSPEX fills us with the utmost confidence; we can take it to customers as a proven, highly flexible architecture that has been rigorously tested and trusted. A recent example of us doing this was with CarExpert, an insurance assessment company for the automotive industry based in Germany. In the case of a car accident, CarExpert reviews the situation and processes claims based on insurance policy. It handles around one million transactions a week and needed a quicker and higher capacity IT infrastructure to meet the demand.

CarExpert chose MTI because we were able to integrate the best-of-breed components for the company’s set of circumstances. MTI used VSPEX alongside our deep in-house technical expertise in large system deployments to deploy the system to the highest quality standard.

As an EMC Velocity partner we were able to deliver up to 10-times performance improvement in a much simpler, more easily managed stack. This enabled CarExpert to move on to more strategic thinking within its IT environment by allowing the business to deploy people elsewhere and reducing sales cycle time in some cases up to 70% – that’s a huge impact.

If you want to know more about MTI and VSPEX here is a good place to start.