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Top 10 news stories of 2011

Cloud computing and virtualization made big waves in 2011, and some of the industry leading vendors shifted strategies in preparation for a mobile workforce and more emphasis on data storage. Find out what stories were most popular with the channel audience.

Interesting developments and trends in the world of virtualization and cloud computing continued to affect the IT channel market in 2011. Several big name companies, including Microsoft and Dell, stepped up their presence in the market while others, like Hewlett-Packard, sought to diversify and restructure. In fact, HP made headlines monthly in 2011 here at, starting with the release of a WebOS tablet, personnel departures and firings and ending the year with a new CEO and some backtracking on changes to the company’s Personal Systems Group.

Our top 10 news list of 2011 captures these key developments in the industry and takes a look back at other events that made VARs and MSPs stop and take notice.

VMware charges partners for solution enablement toolkits
VMware partners saw the company introduce a charge for its previously free Solution Enablement Toolkits. These changes to VMware’s pricing policies will see partners pay up to $1,099 per year for all toolkits or $499 dollars per year for individual toolkit libraries.

Adrian Jones leaves HP
Hewlett-Packard again hit the headlines with the departure of well-known executive Adrian Jones from the company. Jones was credited by partners for greatly improving HP’s channel relationships and programs. His departure added to the personnel reshuffle that has taken place at the IT giant since Leo Apotheker was installed as CEO in October 2010. Jones later appeared at Oracle, which added to the controversy -- and readers’ interest.

HP VARs wary of Apotheker’s cloud vision
In what was an eventful year of transition for Hewlett-Packard, the company rolled out its cloud computing strategy at the HP Summit in March. Some VARs were concerned  about HP’s plans to create a self-hosted market of products and services, citing similar moves by the company in the past that ultimately ended in failure.

HP TouchPad seeks to exploit iPad Achilles’ heel
Continuing its busy year, Hewlett Packard Co. attempted to market its new TouchPad tablet as a more business friendly alternative to the omnipresent iPad. HP was banking on its more flexible, cloud-based WebOS system to entice businesses away from the iPad and its heavy reliance on the iTunes marketplace.

Dell vStart bundle draws VAR interest
Dell Corp.’s vStart virtualization appliances garnered significant interest in April 2011, two months before they were even available to the channel. Dell’s newest virtualization bundles were predicted to compete directly with FlexPods, backed by Cisco Systems and NetApp.

Dell killing partners … with kindness
Dell Inc., long seen as a thorn in the side of PC VARs, made steps to repair this tentative relationship. The company’s change to its PartnerDirect program drew praise from some VARs, while others continued to see Dell undercut them through direct deals with customers.

Attachmate plots new future for Novell
Attachmate Corp.'s purchase of Novell Inc. was finalized on April 27 of this year. Attachmate aimed to breathe new life into Novell’s franchises and assured partners and current users of Novell products that they would receive their continued support.

Hyper-V Replica, Windows Server 8 debut at Microsoft WPC 2011
The public got its first glimpse of Hyper-V Replica and Windows Server 8 at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2011 in Los Angeles. Launched on the same day VMware Inc. unveiled its vSphere 5 product, Microsoft sought to challenge VMware’s dominance in virtualization, pitching Hyper-V as a more affordable platform choice for customers and more profitable for partners.

HP partners blast tablet, PC decision, Autonomy buy
August 2011 saw Hewlett-Packard signal the spin-off or sale of the PSG (Personal Systems Group) and downsize its product line. This decision, combined with HP’s takeover of U.K.-based provider of search services, Autonomy Software PLC, caused some market watchers to question the direction CEO Leo Apotheker was taking.

Hard drive shortage ripples through the channel
Flooding in Thailand in mid-October caused a huge disruption in the manufacturing and supply of hard drives. Big players in the market such as Western Digital Corp. and Seagate Technology LLC were affected, and the shortage caused a huge spike in the price of hard drives, with some smaller firms paying up to 70% more as a result.

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