5 things

5 Channel Partner Updates: 9 March 2016


Good morning, channel partners. Here are five technology news updates, insights, chatter, and plenty more to sip on for Wednesday, March 9, 2016.

Actually, there are whopping 21 items for VARs, managed services providers (MSPs), cloud services providers (CSPs) and independent software vendors (ISVs) to sip on. Perhaps just for today, you should gulp down the info instead of sipping.

21. This Just In: Lenovo and Juniper Networks have inked a global strategic partnership to build converged, hyperconverged, and hyperscale data center infrastructure solutions for enterprise and web-scale customers. The deal, announced minutes ago, emerges one week after Cisco launched its HyperFlex converged data center platform.

20. Hyperconverged Data Centers: Comstor is the latest IT service provider to support Cisco's new HyperFlex solution. Cisco launched the platform at last week's partner summit in San Diego. Rivals like Nutanix dismissed the launch, but Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins offered this direct reply. Multiple partners including Presidio immediately vowed to embrace the platform for customers.

19. Hosting Mergers & Acquisitions: Diverse Technology Solutions Inc. (DTS), a New York-based cloud hosting service provider, has acquired cloud hosted VoIP telephone service provider Voitual of Delray Beach, Fla. We'll provide more details soon.

18. Data Center Financing: Keystone NAP, a data center operator in in Pennsylvania, has borrowed $15 million from White Oak Global Advisors to finance ongoing business expansion. We're poking around for more details about the funding terms, strategy and more.

Frank Rauch
Frank Rauch

17. Top VMware Partners: The VMWare Partner Leadership Summit in Arizona this week is a mostly closed-door gathering. But some chatter is starting to leak out. Among the tidbits surfacing today: Kovarus received the Americas VMware Partner Innovation Award in the Partner Professional Service Program Partner of the Year category. Also, VMware VP Frank Rauch described some of the key conference themes to ChannelE2E.

16. Aspiring EMC Rival: Infinidat, which specializes in enterprise data storage, is quadrupling its U.S. headquarters size in Massachusetts, BizJournals reported. The company will double headcount at the office to 70 employees by the end of this year, up from a current count of about 35. PS: Just about every storage startup on the plan is an "aspiring EMC rival" but that doesn't mean they'll all succeed...

15. SMB Data Protection Gap: In the past year, nearly one quarter (22%) of small businesses had data loss, with nearly 50% recovering less than half of their lost data, according to Carbonite. Further complicating matters, 63% of small businesses now have to meet some level of regulation, often driven by HIPAA (38%) ISO (32%) and PCI (22%).  Surely, channel partners can leverage that data to promote cloud-oriented data protection services...

14. Top Professional Services Organizations: You know about top-performing IT service providers, thanks to benchmarking organizations like Service Leadership Inc. But what do best-in-class professional services organizations look like? An annual report -- called the 2016 Professional Services Maturity Benchmark -- may provide some answers. The data expands beyond the IT channel to include 549 professional services firms across all verticals. PS: Here are the top 20 professional services firms based on the data.

13. Who Will Replace Tiffani Bova?: Now that Tiffani Bova has exited Gartner to join Salesforce, I'm flooded with emails that all ask the same question: Who will replace Bova as Gartner's top IT channel analyst? Hmmm...

12. Remote Monitoring for SMBs:  CGS, a global provider of business applications, enterprise learning and outsourcing services, has launched an enhanced Remote Monitoring and Maintenance (RMM) dashboard for its SMB customers. In some ways, it sounds like an inverted managed services model -- where the end-customer uses hosted tools to monitor themselves. Hmmm...

11. Managed Services for OpenStack: Rackspace continues to evangelize managed services for OpenStack, a software platform for building public or private clouds. Rackspace has gained momentum in recent months providing managed services for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and other third-party clouds. Clearly, the company wants to enjoy similar success with OpenStack customers. But in that market, I typically watch Mirantis for OpenStack managed services trends...

10. HIPAA Fine: What does a HIPAA legal case and fine actually look like? Check out this overview of the Lincare case from The National Law Review for a blow-by-blow... and potential warning signs for IT service provider customers that manage medical records...

Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell

9. Update - Dell Selling Perot Systems: Multiple sources continue to suggest that Dell is close to selling its IT services business (aka Perot Systems) to NTT Data for about $3.5 billion. Dell has spent the past four months or more soliciting bids for the IT services business. Michael Dell is striving to strengthen his company's balance sheet ahead of the $67 billion EMC buyout, which is expected to close between May and October 2016.

8. Attention Top MSPs: There's still time to celebrate your success and earn some free promotional honors. Complete our Top Vertical Market MSPs survey, and your company could be honored when we unveil results in June.

7. Venture Capital Shrinkage: The sexy world of venture capital and startup funding isn't looking so sexy anymore. In fact, the number of VCs has shrunk by 20 percent over the past 10 years. (Oops. I forgot the source but will try to track it down...) At first glance, that's tragic news for startups seeking funding. But take a closer look and perhaps you'll discover alternative funding resources emerging (ahem... crowdfunding, online lending, etc.).

6. How Global Sanctions Backfire: The U.S. Department of Commerce has hit Chinese smartphone and networking vendor ZTE with import restrictions for violating sanctions placed on Iran, notes Barron's. The unintended fallout: U.S.-based suppliers like Qualcomm could be hurt if ZTE winds up buying fewer chips amid the sanctions...

5. Cloud-based IT Services Adoption: A whopping 93 percent of IT support organizations now use at least one cloud service, and 30 percent of organizations expect more than half of their IT services to be cloud-based in two to three years, according to a Spiceworks survey. Admittedly, the survey could be biased since participants leverage Spiceworks' online tools for IT management...

4. Aruba Wireless Networking: Aruba, part of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, has launched several major product upgrades at the company's annual customer conference. The offerings include new network management, policy management and hardware releases. Partners applauding the launches include Adaptive Communications and Comm Solutions.

3. Cisco Spark Moves: The networking giant has acquired Synata, a San Francisco-based startup that helps business users find files, emails, contacts and other information. Watch for Cisco to connect the dots between Spark and Synata. Cisco also intends to offer Spark (cloud-based collaboration) to Verizon's customers as part of a growing relationship with that service provider giant.

2. Midmarket Cloud Franchises?: PanTerra Networks and CNSG are partnering to promote cloud services to franchise affiliates. I gotta concede: I don't quite understand all the components of the deal. But I'm curious to see how this franchise model rolls out, particularly if it allows smaller MSPs and channel partners to deliver midmarket-quality cloud services.

1. Top 100 Entrepreneurs: Which companies and executives represent the Top 100 entrepreneurs, startups and exits in the IT channel? Find out when we unveil the ChannelE2E 100 during our March 31, 2016 webcast. Register now.

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.