5 things

5 Channel Partner Updates: 22 March 2016

Good morning, channel partners. Here are five technology news updates, insights, chatter, and plenty more to sip on for Tuesday, March 22, 2016.

Actually, there are 13 entries for VARs, managed services providers (MSPs), cloud services providers (CSPs) and independent software vendors (ISVs) to sip on.

13. CompTIA AMM: ChannelE2E arrived at CompTIA Annual Member Meeting yesterday, and caught up with a range of sources last evening. Among those in the house: Artisan InfrastructureHTG Peer GroupsIntronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda (notice the new branding?) and Relyenz, among many other businesses to know.

12. Managed Security Services: Keep a close eye on Secure Designs Inc., which is managing thousands of firewalls and Dell SonicWall devices. CTO Ron Culler shared some growth details with me last night during a CompTIA AMM cocktail hour. And growth is the word of the day. I look forward to talking with Culler and the team more extensively in the days ahead.

11. Catching Up Today: Quite a few sources from ConnectWiseContinuum, DattoGet Channeled and PassPortal also are on hand here. More updates soon.

10. Software M&A:  Micro Focus has acquired Serena Software -- which makes DevOps tools for enterprises -- for $540 million. Micro Focus already owns the former Novell.

9. Partner Programs: Two updates for you...

  • IQMS, which develops ERP software for the manufacturing vertical, has expanded its channel strategy to encompass both domestic and international partners.
  • MineralTree, an accounts payable (AP) and payment automation solution provider, has expanded its Partner Program for Resellers and Business Process Outsourcers (BPOs).

8. SQL Server for Linux: Roughly 8,000 customers including 25 percent of the Fortune 500 have signed up to beta test Microsoft's SQL Server for Linux. It sounds like the core SQL Server code (though not the entire product line) will be available on Linux starting in 2017, according to ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley. While customer interest sounds strong, it's unclear how many of those 8,000 testers will lead to net new business -- and how many are actually existing Windows Server customers extending onto Linux.

7. Cloud Price Wars (Really?): Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform have resumed their cloud price war, according to Investors Business Daily. My reaction: The price wars never stopped. AWS price cuts arrive every few months like the changing of the seasons. In some ways there is no price war.  Just continued cuts.

6. Late Cloud Arrival: GoDaddy Inc., which claims to be the world's largest technology provider dedicated to small businesses, has launched cloud Servers and Bitnami-powered Cloud Applications. Some of the cloud technology is built on OpenStack. It's sort of ironic. GoDaddy arrives to the cloud market just as big telcos like CenturyLink and Verizon rethink their overall cloud strategies and data center ownership plans...

5. Enterprise Mobility Management: What has IBM been doing with MaaS360 since acquiring the enterprise mobility management company? Brian Madden's blog offers some answers and updates. But I wonder: How many of those milestones involve channel partners? Hmmm...

4. IBM and Continuum: Speaking of IBM, keep a close eye on Continuum's relationship with the technology giant. In addition to a MaaS360 partnership, Continuum's backup and disaster recovery (BDR) team has a close relationship with IBM SoftLayer. And Continuum was one of the few MSP-oriented software companies to attend IBM PartnerWorld a few weeks ago in Orlando...

3. Vendor Management: Rewind to 2012 or so (perhaps earlier). At the time, ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini was telling partners to specialize in vendor management for customers. Now, CIO Magazine is finally raising the vendor management issue with its readers. The topic is particularly hot as small and midsize businesses struggle to manage dozens of cloud-oriented relationships, many of which can lead to runaway OpEx costs.

2. Midmarket Succession Planning: Midmarket Baby Boomers in the financial services market are struggling to find successors for their businesses. In the next 10 years nearly 70,000 advisors will retire, yet a 2015 State Street Global Advisors report contends that two-thirds of advisors who own their own firms have no succession plan in place, notes Financial Advisor IQ. We believe the same general metrics hold true in the IT service provider markets, with the vast majority of boomer owners lacking a succession plan.

1. MSP & VAR Succession Planning: Building on the item above, join us for our March 31 webcast, which will feature actual MSPs that have purchased and sold businesses. We'll also tackle some succession planning tips while unveiling the ChannelE2E 100 -- the top entrepreneurs, startups and exits in the IT channel over the past year.

More: Read all of our daily 5 Channel Partner UpdatesPlus: Subscribe to our daily enewsletter. Thanks to those who already have.

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.