5 things, Channel partner programs, CSPs, MSP, VAR

5 Channel Partner Observations: 23 Sept 2015

Good morning, channel partners. Here are five technology news observations, insights, chatter, gossip and plenty more to start your day for Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.

Actually, today's channel partner observations involve 11 items for VARs, managed services providers (MSPs), cloud services providers (CSPs) and total service providers (TSPs) to sip on.

11. Citrix Systems for Sale?: The virtualization and cloud software company is trying to sell itself -- as one big business -- before exploring potential asset sales, Reuters reported. The company back in July said it was exploring potential deals for its GoTo brands and services. Also in July, CEO Mark Templeton said he planned to retire once a successor was found. I gotta concede: I thought Citrix was set to die way back in the mid-1990s, when a terminal services deal with Microsoft was set to expire. Templeton proved me wrong -- for nearly two decades.

10. Business Intelligence Partner Program: Metrics Insights, which promotes BI and push intelligence, has launched a partner program for systems integrators and VARs. Early channel partners include InterWorks, BIPB, Decisive Data, CrunchData, Armanino, Agilos and Clarity, the company said. (PS: Is that the same "Clarity" that Jim Lippie is building?) The Metric Insights Partner Program offers referral fees, reselling capability, discounts on training and products, and early access to new releases, Metrics said. Among my questions: Will channel partners also consume Metrics' technology? I think I already know the answer based on Lippie's strategy -- though I could be wrong...

9. Software Defined Storage for MSPs: Northern Backup, a managed storage provider, has embraced NexentaStor to "deliver four times greater performance of IT application and data delivery at 60% of the price," the companies said in a joint announcement. Customers range from small companies storing a "SQL database on a simple server to enterprises that employ large numbers of servers dedicated to sophisticated ERP systems," the duo indicated. I'm always a bit wary when vendors throw around the "software defined" term. But Northern Backup's decision to embrace the technology caught my attention...

8. Compliance and Security Fine: The SEC this week fined RT Jones Capital Equities Management $75,000 for failing to implement proper security policies -- leaving the company open to a hack in 2013. The investment firm failed to perform periodic risk assessments, didn't implement a firewall, failed to encrypt data on its server and didn't maintain a response plan for security incidents, the SEC asserted. To date, there are no indications of  RT Jones customers suffering financial harm due to the cyber attack -- but the SEC still fined the company for its security and compliance lapses.

7. Server Deal: Cisco Systems is set to announce a server partnership with Inspur Group Inc. -- a move that could help Cisco to more effectively serve customers in China, according to multiple reports. I don't know if Cisco will offer Inspur solutions in the U.S. Cisco -- and the broader U.S. technology industry -- have been struggling to address privacy and security concerns raised by the Chinese government, which has repeatedly alleged that U.S. companies leave back doors in their system for U.S.-led spying activities. IT vendors have denied the allegations.

6. One Console for All? Is Console.to a game changer? Really? Any early adopters?

Phil Sorgen

5. Microsoft Office 2016 - A Different View: Microsoft Channel Chief Phil Sorgen (pictured) is touting Office 2016's ability to create "some great opportunities for our partners to reach new and existing customers as well as continue to grow their cloud businesses." But I also think Microsoft should tout Office 2016 for internal use among its partner base. Channel partners that consume the suite will discover more collaboration, business intelligence and project management tools that could help day-to-day productivity within VARs, MSPs and other service providers.

4. Hadoop Partner Programs: Cisco will attend next week's Strata+Hadoop World in New York. Cisco has been promoting its unified compute infrastructure for big data and Hadoop applications, though I don't know how many partners are certified to sell the integrated solution... Still, Hadoop-centric channel partner programs at Cloudera, Hortonworks and MapR are certainly in growth mode.

3. IT Monitoring Meets Analytics: ChannelE2E has covered LogicWorks' new LOGICcards big data tools for MSPs pretty closely. But the wave of analytics and big data tools for IT managers and service providers will only grow larger. A key example: Splunk this week launched IT Service Intelligence (ITSI), which "provides breakthrough visibility into the health and key performance indicators of IT services," the company claims.

Stuart Crawford

2. Marketing Services for MSPs: I caught up with Stuart Crawford, CEO of Ulistic, earlier this week. His company continues to assist MSPs with their marketing, branding and SEO efforts (among other things). For roughly $1,500 to $2,000 per month, Ulistic helps MSPs with a range of marketing activities -- Web and traditional marketing. direct mail, content development, telemarketing (leveraging telemarketing agencies) and more. The goal? Ulistic becomes a virtual chief marketing officer for the MSP. The company typically serves MSPs with at least $1 million in annual recurring revenue, Crawford noted.

1. Want to Meet?: I'm set to attend two conferences next week -- Continuum Navigate (Las Vegas) and Strata+Hadoop World (New York). If you'd like to potentially meet at either event please email me ([email protected]).

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Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.