Tag Archives: launched

Remote monitoring and management: Netgear Insight Pro debuts

Netgear has launched Insight Pro, a cloud-based remote monitoring and management platform that the company said will bring managed service providers more network management capabilities, as well as attractive revenue opportunities when they resell the service.

Netgear executives said Insight Pro is a multi-tenancy platform designed for MSPs that want to manage numerous customers remotely. This is a change from the previous version of the product, called Insight, which was designed to manage the network ecosystem of only one small or medium-sized business.

The networking company, based in San Jose, Calif., introduced Netgear Insight Pro in August in North America and Asia, and it featured the product earlier this month at the CEDIA Expo conference in San Diego.

John McHugh, general manager and senior vice president for Netgear’s commercial business unit, said Insight Pro can help MSPs and their customers build a better business relationship. The aim is to help those parties gain transparency, greater efficiency and control over network operations.

Remote monitoring and management reporting

Once an MSP buys a Netgear Insight Pro subscription at $15 per device, per year, and resells the subscription service, customers that sign on can see a read-only view of their network. The remote monitoring and management offering generates reports that give users details on power usage, data consumption and storage utilization, among other usage statistics that show the health and vulnerabilities that exist across the network. 

“Insight will detect a hardware failure, bandwidth or loading issues and configuration problems,” McHugh said. “It will also help the MSP determine what the ‘peak’ loading is, which is critical to provide customers with guidance on where they might need additional capacity either now or in the future.”

Customers don’t want to commit to a cloud model and then get stuck in an arrangement that’s unaffordable.
John McHughgeneral manager and senior vice president for Netgear’s commercial business unit

To guard against network slowdowns, mitigate the impact of outages and protect the network against security breaches, Netgear Insight Pro is supported by a suite of Netgear products that include apps, firmware, wireless LANs, storage devices, network security tools and switches that run on Amazon Web Services’ cloud computing platforms.

As the cloud subscription model continues to reduce the need for value-added resellers to install hardware at customer sites, the Insight Pro product will help VARs transition to a service provider business, according to McHugh. He said many VARs are intimidated by the idea of managing a customer’s network on a 24/7 basis under a subscription model.

“In the case of a VAR who is becoming an IT service provider, they don’t have to purchase any equipment, and they don’t have to stand up a 24-by-7 data center or call centers to manage their customer’s network. All the notifications and alerts go straight to their phone,” McHugh said.

Netgear Insight Pro: Toggling the cloud

Another feature of the remote monitoring and management product: MSPs using Insight Pro can switch access to the cloud on or off. Once an MSP has authenticated itself and started a subscription, McHugh said, the MSP will have the option to choose whether it wants to manage a customer’s network locally or manage it through the cloud.

“Customers don’t want to commit to a cloud model and then get stuck in an arrangement that’s unaffordable,” McHugh said. “Partners and their customers demand that they have this flexibility as they work through their concerns over user experience and the cost of operations. Customers of Insight Pro only pay for what they use.”

Zoomdata unveils data visualization and analytics channel program

Zoomdata, a data visualization and analytics vendor, has launched a global partner program as it looks to expand its roster of systems integrators.

Unveiled this week, the Zoomdata Application Partner program offers access to support representatives and integrated support systems, training, and sales and marketing resources. Zoomdata’s SI partners can also tap deal registration and tracking through a partner portal, the vendor said.

Zoomdata said in the last year it experienced “3X growth” in channel sales of its data visualization and analytics technology. Much of those sales were derived from SI partners in European and Asia-Pacific markets. About 30% of Zoomdata’s business is international, said Russ Cosentino, co-founder and vice president of channel sales at Zoomdata, based in Reston, Va.

Cosentino said Zoomdata aims to have a global base of about 100 SI partners within the next year. About 30 partners, including global systems integrators Deloitte, Atos, Hitachi INS and Infosys, currently provide the vendor’s data visualization and analytics tools. Zoomdata also has alliances with regional SIs focused on specific geographic and vertical markets such as pharmaceuticals and life sciences, telecom, and financial services.

“For us, a good partner is a partner that brings to the table skilled resources [from] across the big data ecosystem,” Cosentino said.

Quisitive inks blockchain pact with SaaS provider

Quisitive Technology Solutions Inc., a Microsoft national solution provider, is under contract with Jumptuit, a SaaS company, to build a blockchain solution that tracks subscriptions and entitlements.

Jumptuit, based in New York, offers a search assistant service that uses AI to find users’ documents, photos, audio and video files. The SaaS offering supports Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft OneDrive and other cloud services.

Scotty Perkins, senior vice president of product innovation at Quisitive, said Microsoft referred Jumptuit to Quisitive after the SaaS provider approached Microsoft about a blockchain solution. Quisitive met with Jumptuit, held a requirements workshop and is now in the process of completing a proof of concept, he said. 

Quisitive’s propriety blockchain solution, which uses Microsoft Azure, will let Jumptuit track active subscriptions, who they belong to and when they are up for renewal. On the entitlement side, the blockchain offering will determine the level of information access users have based on the terms of their subscriptions.

Quisitive, a portfolio company of Fusion Agiletech Partners Inc., focuses on Microsoft technology and has made private blockchain deployment one of its areas of emphasis. Quisitive has offices in Dallas, Denver and Toronto.

Zebra Technologies targets healthcare partners

Zebra Technologies Corp. is offering preferred product pricing to participants in its recently launched healthcare specialization program.

The Lincolnshire, Ill., company targets a number of verticals, but has created a series of purpose-built products for the healthcare industry. Those include mobile computers, barcode scanners, printers, patient wristbands and barcode label supplies.

Bill Cate, vice president of global channel strategy, programs and operations at Zebra Technologies, said healthcare has emerged as the company’s strongest growth opportunity, with the North American market experiencing particularly rapid expansion.

Zebra Technologies’ healthcare specialization, part of the company’s PartnerConnect Partner Program, has four segments:

  • Healthcare solutions specialists — Companies in this category dedicate their entire business model to healthcare. Cate pointed to Cerner and McKesson as examples.
  • Group purchasing organization (GPO) provider specialists — GPOs aggregate purchasing to negotiate vendor discounts for healthcare organizations. This specialization segment is designed for partners that have built healthcare sales groups. Cate cited CDW and Insight Enterprises as examples.
  • Advanced specialists — This segment is for hardware and services integrators that have devoted a large percentage of their businesses to healthcare.
  • Specialists — Partners in this segment include systems integrators that maintain a focus on healthcare, but dedicate a smaller percentage of their business to that vertical compared with advanced specialists.

Benefits for partners obtaining Zebra Technologies’ healthcare specialization include preferred pricing on the company’s purpose-built healthcare products. Other features include performance rebates, deal registration and specialized channel account managers.

Battery tech promises longer flights for drone service providers

Impossible Aerospace has unveiled a drone capable of flying two hours on a single charge, a development the company said dramatically increases the battery-powered flight time available to drone services providers.

The company manufactures the quad-rotor US-1 drones in Sunnyvale, Calif., and plans to begin deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2018. Impossible Aerospace also announced a $9.4 million round of funding, in which Bessemer Venture Partners is taking the lead. The company has raised more than $11 million in funding overall.

Spencer Gore, founder and CEO at Impossible Aerospace, said the two-hour unladen flight time can make an important difference for drone service providers accustomed to fight times in the 20-minute range — or less. Drone missions may be worth hundreds of dollars per hour for drone service providers, but the amount of time such companies spend changing or charging batteries proves an economic drain.

The US-1 drone’s flight time can “help drone service providers counting on more endurance in order to do their work,” Gore said.

Impossible Aerospace is positioning its initial drone as a surveillance product, geared toward law enforcement, public safety and private security organizations. Gore said the longer flight time stems from the company’s engineering approach, which starts with the battery as opposed to the airframe. The company’s design principle is to make sure “everything in the aircraft serves at least two roles,” one of which should be storing, using or transporting electricity, Gore said.

Other news

  • Bomgar’s pending acquisition of BeyondTrust in the privileged access management space could expand sales opportunities for channel partners working with those companies. The combined company will create an integrated channel program. “Based on the sizable scale and mass of BeyondTrust’s channel presence, we will continue to build upon what has already been successful,” said Matt Dircks, CEO at Bomgar. “We expect that the integration process will enable legacy partners to cross-sell both BeyondTrust and Bomgar products by 2019.” The deal is expected to close in October 2018.
  • Adtran, a networking solutions provider, unveiled an enterprise Wi-Fi solution for service providers. The company said the offering features machine learning technology and a cloud-managed IT model.
  • Identity and access management vendor OneLogin has bolstered its partner program. The OneLogin Accelerate program will now feature expanded training programs, new sales tools and incentives, and a partner portal featuring deal management and marketing campaigns, the company said. OneLogin noted that for a limited time it will offer extra margins for enterprise deals.
  • InterVision, a solution provider headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., and St. Louis, expanded its cloud services capabilities with the acquisition of Infiniti Consulting Group. Infiniti, based in Folsom, Calif., will provide InterVision with expertise in AWS and Azure, hybrid cloud, on-premises cloud services, and software design and development, according to InterVision.
  • Green House Data, a company that provides managed services, cloud hosting and Microsoft advisory services, announced an international expansion. The company said it has open positions in Costa Rica and Sri Lanka, noting that it now provides IT services and consulting from six countries.
  • Kofax has entered an alliance with PricewaterhouseCoopers to provide intelligent automation solutions. Kofax offers robotic process automation and digital transformation products.
  • HyperGrid, a hybrid cloud management vendor, announced the closing of a $25 million Series C funding round. The move follows a year of 300% revenue growth across the company’s enterprise and MSP customer base.
  • Software analytics company New Relic revealed a developer program. The program helps customers and partners take advantage of application and infrastructure data, enhance their New Relic data capabilities, and automate New Relic into their workflows, New Relic said.
  • Nonprofit IT trade association CompTIA introduced a member community focused on emerging technologies. The CompTIA Emerging Technology Community will explore opportunities involving a number of developing technologies, such as IoT, 5G wireless, 3D printing and quantum computing, CompTIA said.
  • NetEnrich, a managed cloud services provider, appointed David Dragonetti to vice president of global sales.
  • Convey Services said it added Mango Voice and ComTec Cloud to its roster of vertical market solutions available through its Channel Accelerator program. Mango Voice, a hosted voice provider, specializes in the hospitality and dental industries. ComTec, meanwhile, provides a unified communications voice platform in the healthcare and education markets.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

Microsoft shuts down zero-day exploit on September Patch Tuesday

Microsoft shut down a zero-day vulnerability launched by a Twitter user in August and a denial-of-service flaw on September Patch Tuesday.

A security researcher identified by the Twitter handle SandboxEscaper shared a zero-day exploit in the Windows task scheduler on Aug. 27. Microsoft issued an advisory after SandboxEscaper uploaded proof-of-concept code on GitHub. The company fixed the ALPC elevation of privilege vulnerability (CVE-2018-8440) with its September Patch Tuesday security updates. A malicious actor could use the exploit to gain elevated privileges in unpatched Windows systems.

“[The attacker] can run arbitrary code in the context of local system, which pretty much means they own the box … that one’s a particularly nasty one,” said Chris Goettl, director of product management at Ivanti, based in South Jordan, Utah.

The vulnerability requires local access to a system, but the public availability of the code increased the risk. An attacker used the code to send targeted spam that, if successful, implemented a two-stage backdoor on a system.

“Once enough public information gets out, it may only be a very short period of time before an attack could be created,” Goettl said. “Get the Windows OS updates deployed as quickly as possible on this one.”

Microsoft addresses three more public disclosures

Administrators should prioritize patching three more public disclosures highlighted in September Patch Tuesday.

Microsoft resolved a denial-of-service vulnerability (CVE-2018-8409) with ASP.NET Core applications. An attacker could cause a denial of service with a specially crafted request to the application. Microsoft fixed the framework’s web request handling abilities, but developers also must build the update into the vulnerable application in .NET Core and ASP.NET Core.

Chris Goettl of IvantiChris Goettl

A remote code execution vulnerability (CVE-2018-8457) in the Microsoft Scripting Engine opens the door to a phishing attack, where an attacker uses a specially crafted image file to compromise a system and execute arbitrary code. A user could also trigger the attack if they open a specially constructed Office document.

“Phishing is not a true barrier; it’s more of a statistical challenge,” Goettl said. “If I get enough people targeted, somebody’s going to open it.”

This exploit is rated critical for Windows desktop systems using Internet Explorer 11 or Microsoft Edge. Organizations that practice least privilege principles can mitigate the impact of this exploit.

Another critical remote code execution vulnerability in Windows (CVE-2018-8475) allows an attacker to send a specially crafted image file to a user, who would trigger the exploit if they open the file.

September Patch Tuesday issues 17 critical updates

September Patch Tuesday addressed more than 60 vulnerabilities, 17 rated critical, with a larger number focused on browser and scripting engine vulnerabilities.

“Compared to last month, it’s a pretty mild month. The OS and browser updates are definitely in need of attention,” Goettl said.

Microsoft closed two critical remote code execution flaws (CVE-2018-0965 and CVE-2018-8439) in Hyper-V and corrected how the Microsoft hypervisor validates guest operating system user input. On an unpatched system, an attacker could run a specially crafted application on a guest operating system to force the Hyper-V host to execute arbitrary code.

Microsoft also released an advisory (ADV180022) for administrators to protect Windows systems from a denial-of-service vulnerability named “FragmentSmack” (CVE-2018-5391). An attacker can use this exploit to target the IP stack with eight-byte IP fragments and withholding the last fragment to trigger full CPU utilization and force systems to become unresponsive.

Microsoft also released an update to a Microsoft Exchange 2010 remote code execution vulnerability (CVE-2018-8154) first addressed on May Patch Tuesday. The fix corrects the faulty update that could break functionality with Outlook on the web or the Exchange Control Panel. 

“This might catch people by surprise if they are not looking closely at all the CVEs this month,” Goettl said.

Meraki Go offers channel new small-business Wi-Fi market

Meraki Go, a newly launched small-businesses Wi-Fi offering, will give channel partners an edge with customers who were previously out of reach.

That’s the expectation of Cisco Meraki, Cisco’s division that focuses on wireless LAN, cloud-managed switches and other products. Meraki Go offers indoor and outdoor wireless access points, a Meraki Go app for managing the wireless network, and a subscription for support and security updates.

Kevin Rezai, Meraki Go global sales lead at Cisco Meraki, said the Wi-Fi product is built for small-business organizations with fewer than 50 employees. He also noted a possible “sub-niche” of organizations with fewer than 20 employees.

Small-business owners are in a bit of bind when it comes to Wi-Fi, according to Cisco Meraki research. On the one hand, many small businesses tend to get by with consumer-grade Wi-Fi products. A Cisco Meraki survey of 1,000 small-business owners found 43% use the same Wi-Fi offering in their offices that they use in their homes.

But on the other hand, an enterprise-class Wi-Fi product may not prove viable because of the required IT support. More than 80% of the respondents said they lack a full-time IT resource.

The crux is a lot of the Wi-Fi solutions today don’t meet the needs of small businesses.
Kevin RezaiMeraki Go global sales lead at Cisco Meraki

“The crux is a lot of the Wi-Fi solutions today don’t meet the needs of small businesses,” Rezai said.

Pricing is another consideration in the small-businesses Wi-Fi space. Meraki Go aims to lower the price point to make the technology more accessible. An indoor access point is priced at $129, compared with around $600 for the low end of Meraki’s enterprise Wi-Fi access point.

The more affordable price point enables partners to “address their customers in a way they haven’t been able to before,” Rezai said.

Kaseya committed to ‘one-stop-shop’ strategy

IT management vendor Kaseya shared plans to further expand its software platform for managed services providers (MSPs) through yet-to-be-announced acquisitions.

Kaseya’s platform, IT Complete, currently offers a broad suite of integrated MSP products, including remote monitoring and management, professional services automation, and security software.

This past year, Kaseya added backup and disaster recovery software to its portfolio through a buyout of Unitrends. And this week, the vendor purchased RapidFire Tools, a managed services software provider that will operate as independent business under Kaseya. The company provides assessment, internal threat detection and compliance products.

In a recent podcast by market research firm The 2112 Group, Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola revealed more acquisitions to augment the IT Complete platform are on the way.

“I think two of the three announcements that we are going to make are really going to send positive shock waves through the MSP community,” Voccola said in The 2112 Group’s podcast about the upcoming acquisitions.

Voccola said Kaseya is committed to its strategy of becoming a one-stop shop for MSPs — versus a provider of a point product that MSPs can stitch together with other vendors’ products — because the approach meets the needs of how MSPs operates today.

In MSP organizations, a technician typically has multiple functions, which may range from configuration and network management to backup and even service desk work, he said. As result, technicians want a comprehensible “product, one that is deep enough to do what they need to do in the time they need to do it.”

Point products, meanwhile, are more suitable for enterprise IT departments, which usually dedicate entire teams to single functions, Voccola noted. For example, an enterprise IT department might have 500 people focused only on network management, while another 200 do only backup and disaster recovery, he said.

“So much of the tooling and the infrastructure management products [enterprise IT departments] use are frameworks that they have customized substantially with their own internal development teams to augment [and] add company-specific functionality,” he said.

“What is more important [for MSPs] is they accomplish their objective and their task in the quickest, most efficient way possible, and they can move in and out of five or six different functional groups at a fraction of the cost, because that’s what their customers are demanding from them,” Voccola said.

SUSE schools SAP Business One resellers in Linux

SUSE, an open source software provider based in Nuremberg, Germany, has trained 500 SAP partners in an effort to push SAP HANA to more midmarket customers.

The joint SAP-SUSE program focuses on SAP Business One resellers. Business One is an ERP system for small and midsize businesses that grew up in the Windows environment, but now it also runs on SAP HANA and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Dirk Oppenkowski, global alliance director for SAP at SUSE, said SAP aims to gradually move its customer base to Linux and HANA.

As part of the SAP-SUSE program, about 2,500 individuals from the 500 partners went through SUSE’s training academy to become familiar with Linux, Oppenkowski said.

In addition to training, the program also provides profit sharing via deal registration rebates and access to the SUSE Installation Wizard. That tool lets partners deploy SAP Business One running on SAP HANA with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, according to SUSE.

The vast majority of the 500 Business One resellers participating in the program are net-new partners for SUSE. Oppenkowski said, in the past, Business One resellers have been mainly Windows and SQL Server partners. The result is little overlap with SUSE’s reseller channel, he added.

The midmarket program is an offshoot of an ongoing relationship between SUSE and SAP that goes back about seven years.

Other news

  • Security vendor Netwrix Corp. unveiled a technical certification program for its Netwrix Auditor software platform. The Partner Technical Certification Program is designed for technical teams at MSPs, value-added resellers and distributor partners, Netwrix said. By completing online training, partner engineers can achieve two levels of Netwrix Engineer certification: Certified and Pro.
  • ConnectWise is taking applications for a business-expansion idea contest and a merger-and-acquisition matchmaking event. The business-expansion contest, dubbed Pitch IT, offers the first-place winner up to $100,000 to execute its business plan. Runners-up will receive $50,000 and $25,000. ConnectWise’s M&A Deal Crawl event, meanwhile, will bring a number of qualified buyers and sellers together for an in-person meeting Nov. 8 at the IT Nation Connect conference in Orlando, Fla.
  • Broadvoice, a provider of hosted voice, unified communications and SIP trunking services, introduced its Public Sector Program. Through the program, partners can receive help for targeting government, education and nonprofit markets. Partner resources include training, marketing collateral, lead sharing, request-for-proposal tools and technical response assistance, Broadvoice said.
  • Unified Office Inc., an MSP focusing on communications services and business analytics, has launched an offering for the dental industry. The company’s Total Connect Now Dental Management Suite is a voice communications system that integrates with dental practice management software platforms, such as Dentrix, Open Dental and Eaglesoft.
  • Cloud distributor Pax8 has named Ken Patterson as its director of community. Patterson joins Pax8 from Techevolution, a Boston-based MSP, where he served as executive vice president. In his new role, Patterson will oversee Pax8’s community outreach program, partner relationships, and MSPs’ access to education, tools and support, the distributor said.
  • Commvault, a backup and recovery vendor based in Tinton Falls, N.J., has appointed Wenceslao Lada as vice president of worldwide alliances.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

Dell EMC HCI and storage cloud plans on display at VMworld

LAS VEGAS — Dell EMC launched cloud-related enhancements to its storage and hyper-converged infrastructure products today at the start of VMworld 2018.

The Dell EMC HCI and storage product launch includes a new VxRail hyper-converged appliance, which uses VMware vSAN software. The vendor also added a cloud version of the Unity midrange unified storage array and cloud enhancements to the Data Domain data deduplication platform.

Dell EMC HCI key for multi-cloud approach?

Dell EMC is also promising synchronized releases between the VxRail and the VMware vSAN software that turns the PowerEdge into an HCI system – although it could take 30 days for the “synchronization.” Still, that’s an improvement over the six months or so it now takes for the latest vSAN release to make it to VxRail.

Whether you’re protecting data or storing data, the learning curve of your operating model — regardless of whether you’re on premises or off premises — should be zero.
Sam Grocottsenior vice president of marketing, ISG, Dell EMC

Like other vendors, Dell EMC considers its HCI a key building block for private and hybrid clouds. The ability to offer private clouds with public cloud functionality is becoming an underpinning of the multi-cloud strategies at some organizations.

Sam Grocott, senior vice president of marketing for the Dell EMC infrastructure solutions group, said the strong multi-cloud flavor of the VMworld product launches reflects conversations the vendor has with its customers.

“As we talk to customers, the conversation quickly turns to what we are doing in the cloud,” Grocott said. “Customers talk about how they’re evaluating multiple cloud vendors. The reality is, they aren’t just picking one cloud, they’re picking two or even three clouds in a lot of cases. Not all your eggs will be in one basket.”

Dell EMC isn’t the only storage vendor making its storage more cloud-friendly. Its main storage rival NetApp also offers its unified primary storage and backup options that run in the cloud, and many startups focus on cloud compatibility and multi-cloud management from the start.

Grocott said Dell’s overall multi-cloud strategy is to provide a consistent operating model experience on premises, as well as in private and public clouds. That strategy covers Dell EMC and VMware products. Dell EMC VxRail is among the products that tightly integrates VMware with the vendor’s storage.

“That’s what we think is going to differentiate us from any of the competition out there,” he said. “Whether you’re protecting data or storing data, the learning curve of your operating model — regardless of whether you’re on premises or off premises — should be zero.”

Stu Miniman, a principal analyst at IT research firm Wikibon, said Dell EMC is moving toward what Wikibon calls a True Private Cloud.

Wikibon’s 2018 True Private Cloud report predicts almost all enterprise IT will move to a hybrid cloud model dominated by SaaS and true private cloud. Wikibon defines true private cloud as completely integrating all aspects of a public cloud, including a single point of contact for purchase, support, maintenance and upgrades.

“The new version of the private cloud is, let’s start with the operating model I have in the public cloud, and that’s how I should be able to consume it, bill it and manage it,” Miniman said. “It’s about the software, it’s about the usability, it’s about the management layer. Step one is to modernize the platform; step two is to modernize the apps. It’s taken a couple of years to move along that spectrum.”

Algolia partners with integrators, digital agencies

Algolia, which offers search technology for websites and mobile apps, has launched a partner program targeting systems integrators, consultants, digital agencies and e-commerce platforms. Algolia partners include Accenture Interactive’s Altima business unit, digital agency Wunderman and e-commerce platforms Magento and Shopify.

At launch, the Algolia Partner Program has 20 certified partners. The program aims to create an ecosystem of Algolia partners that can help enterprises customize Algolia search technology, according to the company.

The program’s launch follows rising interest among customers in working with partners, said Alexandre Popp, director of channels and alliances at Algolia.

“Over the past year, we saw increasing demand from enterprises to leverage the support of partners like systems integrators, consultants and agencies,” Popp said. “So we made the decision to dedicate resources to building out partner engineering, account management, and marketing teams to support our partners in the field and meet customer demand.”

The partner program is part of the company’s enterprise customer initiative.

Alexandre Popp, director of channels and alliances at AlgoliaAlexandre Popp

“Our motion to move upmarket comes with partners and multinational brands purchasing our product in tandem with partner solutions, and deployed with consulting firms’ team[s],” Popp said. He noted the program’s objective is to support partners as they “build or sell digital products” that embed Algolia.

Algolia’s partner program offers technical enablement and certification; go-to-market and sales enablement; and marketing support, including co-marketing events, webinars and campaigns. The company, founded in 2012, said it has more than 5,700 customers.

Cloud service providers launch offerings

Cloud service providers Faction and 2nd Watch rolled out new services this week.

Over the past year, we saw increasing demand from enterprises to leverage the support of partners like systems integrators, consultants and agencies.
Alexandre Poppdirector of channels and alliances, Algolia

Faction, a Denver company that focuses on multi-cloud services, said it is working with VMware to provide cloud-attached storage for VMware Cloud on AWS deployments. Faction said its Cloud Control Volumes offering provides a scalable storage platform for VMware Cloud on AWS customers who need more storage capacity.

Meanwhile, 2nd Watch, a managed service provider based in Seattle, said its Cloud Migration Cost Assessment service aims to help large and midmarket firms get a handle on the cost benefits of moving on-premises IT infrastructure to the cloud. The cloud migration assessment involves a six-week engagement in which 2nd Watch cloud personnel evaluate a customer’s IT estate and “map current resources to the most cost-effective cloud solution,” according to the company.

Other news

  • Silver Peak launched its Authorized Deployment Partner (ADP) Program, which will train, certify and authorize a group of services partners. Partners receiving authorization are deemed capable of managing the design, deployment and management of the Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN offering. Program participants include Cavell Group, FireOwls Corp., Geode Networks, Traversa Solutions and Velociti.
  • Arcserve, a data backup and availability vendor based in Minneapolis, unveiled a new channel program dubbed Arcserve Accelerate. The program targets North American MSPs, value-added resellers, large-account resellers and original equipment manufacturers. Program features include re-developed e-learning courses, partner certification, individual and corporate SPIFs, marketing development funds and access to cloud-native products with support for private and public clouds such as AWS and Microsoft Azure, according to Arcserve.
  • Matrix Integration, an IT infrastructure company in Kentucky and Indiana, has opened its new Louisville regional office. The company said the expansion provides a hub for modernizing the IT infrastructure of public and private sector entities in the Louisville area.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

ClearSky Data launches service for VMware Cloud on AWS

ClearSky Data launched a new service that will enable VMware Cloud on AWS customers to protect their data in inexpensive object storage.

The new ClearSky Data service gives VMware Cloud on AWS customers the chance to keep their existing backup applications and use Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) as the back-end storage repository. The startup’s software can transform the block- and file-based data from the certified backup applications to an object format to enable data protection and archiving in Amazon S3, according to Laz Vekiarides, CTO and co-founder of ClearSky Data.

VMware Cloud (VMC) on AWS users can choose certified backup options from vendors such as Commvault, Dell EMC, Druva and Veeam. But those vendors typically offer repositories in Amazon’s Elastic Block Store (EBS). Commvault is the only certified VMC option to back up natively to Amazon’s more economical object-based S3, according to Bryan Young, a group product manager of vSphere external storage at VMware.

“Customers are generally wed to their particular backup vendor. And they do not like to change because they want a common backup application across the enterprise,” Young said. “But they also want the lowest cost storage for their long-term backups.”

Extends on-premises virtual server environments

The VMware Cloud on AWS on-demand service lets customers extend their on-premises server virtualization environments to Amazon’s cloud. The service is based on VMware Cloud Foundation, which integrates vSphere server virtualization, vSAN software-defined storage, NSX software-defined networking and security, and vCenter management software.

VMware Cloud customers create a virtual private cloud (VPC) to run their application workloads on vSphere VMs in Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) bare-metal infrastructure. VMware’s vSAN creates the local storage on SSDs in the host server cluster to keep the data.

“Part of the issue with the cloud inside of Amazon EC2 is that at any given point in time, if you decide to shut any of these [servers] down, all the data that’s inside of them gets lost,” Vekiarides said. “So, obviously, you need a place to keep all of your data when you’re not using your VMware cluster.”

ClearSky Data service for VMware Cloud on AWS
ClearSky Data service for VMware Cloud on AWS architectural diagram.

A third-party backup proxy runs in a VMware Cloud on AWS software-defined data center and copies data using the vSphere Storage APIs for data protection (VADP). The backup proxy copies data to an EC2-based backup repository that typically uses Amazon’s EBS.

Cache 64 TB per backup volume

ClearSky’s Cloud Edge appliance can connect to the backup application and cache up to 64 TB of data per VM guest-attached volume to enable fast access to frequently accessed data. Vekiarides said ClearSky can have many such volumes online, up to 4 PB total. On the back end, the Cloud Edge appliance connects to the ClearSky Data Network’s Amazon S3 storage via AWS Direct Connect to protect and archive all the data.

ClearSky supports a recovery point objective of less than 10 minutes for point-in-time snapshots and a recovery time objective of less than a minute once the customer’s applications are running.

In addition to the cloud-based deployment option, customers could run VMware virtual servers, third-party backup applications and ClearSky Edge Cache appliances on premises. The Edge Cache appliance’s software would deduplicate and compress the data and convert it to object format for archiving in ClearSky Network’s Amazon S3. The data from the on-premises Edge Cache and off-site Cloud Edge appliances would be stored in a common Amazon S3 repository.

ClearSky Data used the VMware Cloud on AWS service to build out a server cluster to test its new service. Vekiarides said ClearSky engineers made minor changes to the deployment software to ensure it works and meets performance targets in the AWS cloud environment.

Pricing for the ClearSky Data service ranges from 6 cents to 20 cents per GB, per month depending on the use case, quality of service and data capacity.

ClearSky Data does not charge fees for replication and customers do not incur AWS egress charges to restore their data, according to Vekiarides. He said egress charges generally do not apply because nearly all of the data is cached either inside AWS’ cloud or somewhere in ClearSky’s network.

Microsoft and Amazon sync AI voice assistants Alexa, Cortana

Microsoft and Amazon have launched the first phase of a long-awaited integration between Alexa and Cortana. Although currently targeted at consumers, the partnership could boost adoption eventually of AI voice assistants in the workplace.

The link between the two platforms lets users access some basic Cortana features through Alexa-enabled devices, and vice versa. The public preview works on Amazon Echo speakers, Windows 10 computers, and Harman Kardon Invoke speakers.

Both vendors appear poised to benefit from the partnership, which brings together Amazon Alexa’s large footprint in the consumer market with Microsoft Cortana’s link to office productivity tools, said Werner Goertz, analyst at Gartner.

“Alexa and Cortana can address my needs as a private individual and as a professional knowledge worker,” Goertz said. “That is a very important and winning combination.”

If Microsoft and Amazon decide to pursue a long-term partnership, the deal could pose a challenge to Google and Apple, the two other big players in the market for AI voice assistants.

But Microsoft and Amazon will likely approach the relationship cautiously given that they compete against each other on many fronts, said Jon Arnold, principal analyst of Toronto-based research and analysis firm J Arnold & Associates.

“They will know in time if it’s a good idea or not,” Arnold said. “And if they get the synergies, then they will do more of it. And if not, then they will put the walls back up.”

One possible stumbling block is Alexa for Business, which is excluded from the integration with Cortana launched this week. Released by Amazon in late 2017, the platform connects Echo speakers to enterprise messaging and meetings software.

The absence of a link between Cortana and Alexa for Business — at least for now — suggests their creators are targeting the partnership primarily at consumers, said Juan Gonzalez, analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

“While it may seem that both companies can gain and benefit from this agreement, it’s still not clear who will grab the lion’s share of it,” Gonzalez said. “Will this initiative be the beginning of a long-standing partnership where both companies can combine forces against Apple and Google? Only time will tell.”

Cortana-Alexa integration starts off small  

For now, users need to command their smart devices to open the alternative AI voice assistant software: “Hey Cortana, open Alexa,” or “Alexa, open Cortana.” The two vendors said they were planning for a more seamless link between the two platforms in the future.

Until then, office workers could use an Echo speaker to have Cortana check their morning emails and meetings. At work, they could access Alexa through a Windows 10 work computer to monitor package shipments or control smart home devices.

But many advanced functions, such as music streaming, are not yet available across platforms, as Microsoft and Amazon seek customer feedback during the public trial. The two tech giants first announced plans to sync their AI voice assistants in August 2017, initially promising a paring by the end of last year.

“It’s still very clunky. … In the end game, that should look a little bit different,” Goertz said. “There should be some intelligent mechanism that determines which of the two personal assistants would be the ideal one in any given circumstance to respond to the user’s command.”

Dell EMC midrange storage systems nudge a little closer

Dell EMC today launched operating-system upgrades for its two main midrange storage arrays, and the vendor hinted it may eventually converge the platforms.

The storage market leader added data protection and mobility features to Unity Operating Environment (OE) 4.4 and capacity and performance improvements to SC Series Operating System (SCOS) 7.3.

Dell’s $60 billion-plus acquisition of EMC in 2016 left the combined vendor’s new enterprise IT division with multiple Dell EMC midrange storage platforms. Dell EMC has resisted phasing out either of its two main midrange systems, the EMC Unity and Dell SC (Compellent) brands, despite calls from industry experts to consolidate its product lineup.

Both Dell EMC midrange storage product lines are sold as all-flash or hybrid arrays. The Unity line integrates block and file support on a single array. It was launched in 2016 to replace VNX and VNXe midrange appliances. SC arrays provide a lower-cost midrange alternative. Dell EMC is winding down support for its midrange P Series storage arrays, formerly known as Dell EqualLogic.

In the near term, SC and Unity will run separate operating software, although Dell EMC has hinted at plans to consolidate them on a single management platform. Foreshadowing possible consolidation is an HTML 5 management interface and remote management added to SCOS, mirroring a similar user interface in Unity OE versions.

“Product transitions like this don’t happen overnight,” said Sean Kinney, a Dell EMC senior director of product marketing. “There may be a next-generation platform at some point in the future, but it will be a nondisruptive migration path for all of them.”

The latest Unity and SC upgrades are nondisruptive to customers, Kinney said, meaning the systems will remain available during the upgrades.

Unity bolsters data migration, replication and security

Dell EMC claims shipments of Unity have exceeded 1 EB of raw flash capacity since the product launched in 2016.

“We’re seeing continued quarter-on-quarter adoption of flash, as [an increasing] percentage of our total storage capacity shipped with Unity and SC. As the economics of flash come more in line with traditional spinning disk, more and more customers are saying, ‘Hey, I’m going to go with all-flash,'” Kinney said.

Product transitions like this don’t happen overnight.
Sean Kinneysenior director of product marketing at Dell EMC

Data protection in Unity OE 4.4 includes MetroSync array-based asynchronous and synchronous replication for transactional file applications. The feature is in addition to Unity’s existing block-based replication. MetroSync enables disaster recovery across long distances, using data aggregation and distribution to accelerate data recovery objectives.

Dell EMC enhanced its SAN Copy data mobility technology to let customers migrate their storage to Unity from other vendors’ block arrays. The addition of two-way Network Data Management Protocol helps to boost NAS backup by eliminating the need to go through the network to reach backup servers.

Kinney said performance enhancements for Microsoft include Active Directory and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol to boost searchability and security.

SC Series: Dell EMC midrange storage for ‘price-sensitive’ customers

SCOS 7.3 is based on re-engineered code that Dell EMC claims doubles the maximum IOPS of each SC array. The latest software boosts SC array performance to as much as 100,000 IOPS on mixed workloads, Kinney said.

Data-in-place upgrades in SCOS 7.3 allow customers to double the raw storage of SC arrays by adding larger enclosures and higher-capacity drives. For example, the high-end SC9000 can expand from 3 PB to 6 PB in 2U and is rated to deliver 2.2 million IOPS.

Support for 25 Gigabit Ethernet and 100 Gigabit Ethernet iSCSI has been made standard on SC arrays. Distributed sparing on SC arrays can increase I/O efficiency and accelerate RAID rebuilds, Dell EMC said.

According to a report in June by analyst firm IDC, Dell EMC midrange storage increased its market share by four percentage points over second-place Hewlett Packard Enterprise in the first quarter of 2018. IDC estimated Dell EMC’s first-quarter overall storage systems revenue at more than $2 billion.

Dell EMC executives said the quarter that ended in March saw its first storage market share gains since the 2016 merger. Midrange storage sales were cited as a sore spot in previous quarters.

Startup Arrcus aims NOS at Cisco, Juniper in the data center

Startup Arrcus has launched a highly scalable network operating system, or NOS, designed to compete with Cisco and Juniper Networks for the entire leaf-spine network in the data center.

Arrcus, based in San Jose, Calif., introduced its debut product, ArcOS, this week. Additionally, the startup announced $15 million in Series A funding from venture capital firms Clear Ventures and General Catalyst.

ArcOS, which has Debian Open Network Linux at its core, enters a crowded market of companies offering stand-alone network operating systems for switching and routing, as well as systems of integrated software and hardware. The latter is a strength of traditional networking companies, such as Cisco and Juniper.

While Arrcus has some catching up to do against its rivals, no company has taken a dominating share of the NOS-only market, said Shamus McGillicuddy, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), based in Boulder, Colo. The majority of vendors count customers in the tens or hundreds at most.

Many companies testing pure-open source operating systems today are likely candidates for commercial products. Vendors, however, must first prove the technology is reliable and fits the requirements of a corporate data center.

“Arrcus has a chance to capture a share of the data center operators that are still thinking about disaggregation,” McGillicuddy said. Disaggregation refers to the separation of the NOS from the underlying hardware.

ArcOS hardware support

Arrcus has built its own routing stack that is highly scalable, so it’s ideal for covering the entire leaf-and-spine network.
Shamus McGillicuddyanalyst, Enterprise Management Associates

Arrcus supports ArcOS on Broadcom chipsets and white box hardware from Celestica, Delta Electronics, Edgecore Networks and Quanta Computer. The approved chipsets are the StrataDNX Jericho+ and StrataXGS Trident 3, Trident 2 and Tomahawk. Architecturally, ArcOS can operate on other silicon and hardware, but the vendor does not support those configurations.

ArcOS is a mix of open source and proprietary software. The company, for example, uses its version of router protocols, including Border Gateway Protocol, Intermediate System to Intermediate System, Multiprotocol Label Switching and Open Shortest Path First.

“Arrcus has built its own routing stack that is highly scalable, so it’s ideal for covering the entire leaf-and-spine network,” McGillicuddy said. “The routing scalability also gives Arrcus the ability to do some sophisticated traffic engineering.”

The more sophisticated uses for ArcOS include internet peering for internet service providers and makers of content delivery networks, according to Devesh Garg, CEO at Arrcus. “We feel ArcOS can be used anywhere.”

ArcOS analytics

Arrcus is also providing analytics for monitoring and optimizing the performance and security of switching and routing, McGillicuddy said. The company has based its analytics on the control plane and data plane telemetry streamed from the NOS.

Because a lot of other NOS vendors lack analytics, “Arrcus is emerging with a more complete solution from an operational standpoint,” McGillicuddy said. According to EMA research, many enterprises want embedded analytics in their network infrastructure.

Today, a hardware-agnostic NOS is mostly used by the largest of financial institutions, cloud service providers, and internet and telecommunication companies, analysts said. Tackling networking through disaggregated hardware and software typically requires a level of IT sophistication not found in mainstream enterprises.

Nevertheless, companies find the concept attractive because of the promise of cheaper hardware, faster innovation and less dependence on a single vendor. As a result, the use of a stand-alone NOS is gaining some traction.

Last year, for example, Gartner included NOS makers in its Magic Quadrant for Data Center Networking for the first time. Big Switch Networks and Cumulus Networks met the criteria for inclusion in the “visionaries” quadrant, along with VMware and Dell EMC.