Universe 2021: High Content – Low Drama

Planet Earth: 23-25 March 2021

Over 9000 people registered for Micro Focus Universe 2021, which again was a virtual event but running in follow the sun mode across the three business regions: EMEA, North America and Asia-Pacific.

The event started in Europe on 23 March with the keynote address featuring Stephen Murdoch, the CEO of Micro Focus. It wasnt long before Stephen re-iterated what appears to be the new Micro Focus byline of High Tech: Low Drama. (The majority of speakers took this too heart as most presentation sessions were certainly low drama.) Stephen briefly discussed MiroFocus strategy: Run and Transform balancing todays needs with tomorrows opportunities. He said that one result of the global pandemic had been to accelerate digital transformation within many organisations, one of which was Micro Focus. 90% of staff are now home working (thats out of 12000 staff). New video collaboration technologies have been deployed (MS Teams) and the company has had to revisit its own cyber resiliency plans as its now working in a much more complex threat environment.

Stephen Murdoch also made a point of highlighting the significant patent portfolio that Micro Focus holds which is certainly in the top 10 of software companies in the world. It is actively building on this as well with upwards of 170 patents applied for in the last year.

Micro Focus has recently partnered with Jaguar Racing as their Digital Transformation partner and James Barclay their Team Principal provided a short introduction. Key to their performance is real-time analytics and Micro Focus will be helping to make improvements using Vertica and IDOL. Micro Focus is also helping Jaguar Racing to improve the cyber resilience remember that the team moves from location to location and data has to be secured wherever they are. The third area Micro Focus is assisting is to help make continuous improvements to the Jaguar code-base, again critical to success. In terms of numbers, analytics monitor over 700 car parameters with over 15TB of archive data.

IM&G Keynote

This followed immediately after and was introduced by Scott Richards the General manager of the IM&G portfolio. He was joined by Derek Britton and Christina Wood who is Director of Product Development for archiving products.

Scott pointed out the vast size of the global datasphere which is currently approximately 45 ZettaBytes and 50% of this is now stored in the cloud. (Remember that a ZettaByte is one billion terrabytes: contemplate that in the form of 1TB disk drives!) By 2025 global data is predicted to grow to 175ZB.

This provides more than enough content for Micro Focus key data management products: Vertica, and IDOL for analytics and Data Safe/Retain for archiving. Content Manager can be used to control file access and Data Protector is a comprehensive backup and restore solution.

For the purposes of Universe the Collaboration product set (Enterprise Messaging, iPrint, Filr and OES) were bundled with Unified Endpoint Management (the ZENworks suite and Connected MX) into a Remote Worker grouping, which given current circumstances was appropriate. The keynote mentioned small step advances in all of these solutions and hinted at a new ZENworks Desktop Containers and App Streaming product to be released soon.

Managing and Protecting Remote Users, Devices and Data

Darrin VanDenBos in this session also briefly discussed this new ZENworks module which will be available for Windows, iOS and Android devices.

In discussing Unified Endpoint Management, the ZENworks vision is for:

  • Id based
  • Onprem, Cloud or both
  • Unbeatable ROI
  • Integration with MF analytics
  • Increased security offerings

Vikram Goyal reviewed the key strengths of ZENworks Configuration Management; highlighting how ZENworks is empowering users (a key conference phrase) through the use of inbuilt vpn etc and for the organisation managing the lifecycle of all devices while controlling licensing costs.

Ed Gavin recapped on the features of Connected MX as a solution for protecting data on endpoint devices where 50% of critical customer information resides.

In his session Mike Bills provided a run through of the short term development plans for the collaboration product set, which brought the day to a close for IM&G followers. Off to the bar if only!

Day 2

This started with the regional keynote: for EMEA-International hosted by Guenter Blendinger (Marketing Director) and Gonzalo Usandizaga. The International region covers 110 countries, and this means you have to be adaptable to the different languages and customs Micro Focus aims to be a company that is easy to deal with. Customer trust is key and MF is committed to sustaining success. In many cases the company is embracing cloud technology to offer more SaaS solutions. Micro Focus is also working closely with Amazon Web Services to move mainframe workloads to the cloud. The move to cloud now consumes 1/3 of all IT spending. Hybrid cloud provides speed and agility but also complexity.

Gonzalo Usandizaga discussing key trends

One pandemic trend encountered in the last 12 months is the doubling of weapons grade hacking against, particularly, the banking and medical sectors.

Further sessions on Content Manager and IDOL followed. Content Manager 10 was released earlier in March with an enhanced user interface, better integration with Microsoft collaboration services (OneDrive, Sharepoint and Office Online) and improved performance and precision (achieved through tuning of the Elasticsearch engine). Think of Content Manager as a solution for business problems that include content (mainly text based). Content Manager is moving forward to a full web experience, a mobile app and added deployment options to cloud services.

Content Manager integrated into MS Outlook

The Closing keynote brought together a number of key product managers, chaired by Rick Carlson the VP for IM&G. A short review led onto a Q&A session. To recap IM&G consists of:

  • Collaboration Solutions
  • Unified Endpoint Management
  • Secure content Management
  • Information Archiving
  • Data Protection
  • with Advanced Analytics at the centre.

Universe provided in excess of 230 sessions in addition to those described in this article so please check them out athrough Universe On Demand which is now available. Universe also offered demo sessions located at the exhibition booths (virtual of course) and the opportunity for one-to-one discussions with business managers and technical experts. While these facilities may not have been well used they certainly added depth to the event.

And so we move on while virtual conferences do have some advantages I hope that next year a physical event may be possible once again. Face to face conversations remain the gold standard. Until then stay safe!

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