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SMB Nation Blog

Small business IT and technology news for the SMB channel VAR, MSP, and IT professional.

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Intel 6.20.2014The volume of work that comes with running a small business is enough to keep anyone busy for a lifetime. So when it comes to the technology that powers a small business, it needs to enable productivity without any user coaxing or coercion. For many, a tablet could prove the simple solution to a lot of complex problems. Tablets with Intel® Core™ and Intel® Atom™ processors have the performance and compatibility to power productivity, with the functionality that will allow for a simplified and satisfying user experience.

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Awards in the IT space can be plentiful, especially if you spend any time on the conference circuit: Best Solution, Best Software, Best in Show, etc. All of these awards offer a measure of value, but for some that measure is slightly more significant than others.

When Object Consulting recently won the 2014 Microsoft Cloud Partner of the Year, Small and Medium Business (SMB) Award Kevin Francis knew it was the kind of award that would bring in major revenue for the Sydney, Australia-based solution provider.

Last year the Microsoft Gold partner won Microsoft’s Cloud Partner of the Year award for the enterprise segment and found it really put the organization on the map, says Francis, Object Consulting’s National Microsoft Practice Manager. “We grew our Microsoft business more than 50 percent last year and that’s really a testament to what winning this kind of award does. It gives us instant credibility. And it’s the kind of credibility that brings customers to us. They are calling us and that’s gold. We’re looking at another year of massive growth.”

The most recent award is recognition for a project Object Consulting completed for a two-man startup called Xpreshon which delivers free and subscription-based action sports content to users on Microsoft Xbox, Windows 8 and Windows phones. The media streaming and customer management components of the solution run on Microsoft’s public cloud Windows Azure, which makes it possible for a two-man shop like Xpreshon to manage and scale its business without compromising the time they need to spend on delivering core value.

Xpreshon’s original vision was to develop an offering specifically aimed at gamers however using the Azure platform made it possible to extend feature-rich applications to multiple platforms. “Running our applications on Windows 8 devices using Windows Azure means that our users have access to Xpreshon content wherever they are,” says Jason Webb, director and co-founder of Xpreshon.

The code sets for all three applications overlapped enough to provide an efficiency of scale that made it possible for all three to be released within one year. “We thought it would be great if we could be on multiple Microsoft platforms as a single presence,” says Webb. “The strength of our brand is enhanced by having simultaneous offerings on all three devices.”

This is exactly the kind of project that Object Consulting has specialized in, carving out a narrow niche that mixes specialty media with a variety of delivery platforms. The award they won last year was for a similar project – the creation of SuperFooty Live HQ for News Limited which delivered rich media content including video, images and data visualization to Aussie Rules Football fans on their smartphones, tablets, desktops and TVs.

According to Francis Cloud and Devices are the new frontiers in media delivery. “That combo of cloud at the back end and devices at the front end, that’s our space and it’s a fast growing space.”

Object Consulting was a very early adopter of the cloud and also quickly saw the potential of mobile and the convergence of the two. Today the company is one of the only premier Xbox developers in the APAC region and has also invested heavily building out its mobility capabilities with Windows phone, iOS and Android development.

“It’s been expensive for us to set up. It was a big risk, but it has paid off. Winning awards like this is what happens if your solution is really innovative, if it pushes the envelope then you can win against the big players.”

Next up, says Francis, is geographic expansion. Object Consulting already had plans in place to drive geographic expansion, but winning the Microsoft award will help accelerate that plan.

“We’ve started a move into Southwest Asia and we are actively looking for work globally. We have a unique set of capabilities – less than five partners globally have the kind of focus we have – we’ve found a way to play in a way that few others are doing and Azure helps us go to market globally with our capabilities.”

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The week that was – June 23, 2014

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Your weekly round-up of the IT channel news you don’t want to miss.

Red Hat boosts cloud services offering with eNovance acquisition

redhat-logo1Raleigh, NC-based Red Hat announced its intent to acquire Paris-based cloud services provider eNovance in a cash and stock deal worth 70 million Euros. Founded in 2008, eNovance is one of the largest contributors to the OpenStack community championed by Red Hat. According to the company, the acquisition will add much-needed internal capacity for building and managing OpenStack clouds. Along with a high quality service component that will make it easier for the company to disseminate the open-source technology. Red Hat channel partners will have to wait until after the deal closes and all due diligence is completed for word on whether they will be asked to resell eNovance solutions or if the Red Hat will maintain the managed services component of its newest business unit.

Gartner releases first Magic Quadrant for converged infrastructure

Gartner logoIndustry research firm Gartner published its first Magic Quadrant for Integrated Systems – solutions that include storage, server and network hardware along with management software from more than one vendor and are referred to by most people in the industry as “converged infrastructure.” Nomenclature aside (analysts are always renaming things), Gartner expects the market for “integrated systems,” which includes single-vendor and multivendor converged infrastructures and hyper-converged infrastructures, to grow more than 50 percent in 2014 to reach $6 billion.

Only three vendors were named in the coveted Leader’s quadrant:

  • VCE – a joint venture between EMC, Cisco and VMware, which produces the Vblock solutions
  • The alliance of Cisco and NetApp, which develops FlexPod reference architectures
  • Oracle, which develops "engineered systems," combining hardware with a specific application such as a database.

Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Dell, Nutanix and SimpliVity all placed in the Visionaries quadrant, while other vendors mentioned in the report include Teradata, Fujitsu, Hitachi Data Systems, Huawei and Unisys.

NPD Group offers good news for the channel, predicts increased SMB tech spending

NPD1Port Washington, NY-based industry analyst firm NPD Group has added its voice to other industry observers offering good news for MSPs and resellers by predicting a rise in tech spending from SMBs. According to NPD's Quarterly Tech Monitor, 57 percent of surveyed SMBs expect to invest in technology over the next 12 months, a rise of four percent over the prior quarter. Forty-seven percent say they will make those investments within three months. This investment is being driven by several factors, including a recovering economy, growing acceptance of cloud computing and the end of support for Microsoft Windows XP – the proverbial gift that keeps on giving. The NPD survey suggests that organizations at the larger end of the SMB segment are more likely to spend on technology, with 78 percent of companies with 50 to 200 employees and 79 percent of companies with 201 to 500 employees planning investment over the next year. NPD advises solution providers to make sure they are in regular contact with their clients – and especially those that fit this profile – as they

QLogic rejigs partner program

QLogic-logoAliso Viejo, California-based QLogic released the details on its revamped Signature Partner Program. The high performance networking equipment vendor wants to make the channel program easier for partners to use with changes such as reducing the number of tiers from four to three and a lowering of revenue thresholds between the tiers. The new program begins with Preferred, which doesn’t have a revenue obligation. Premier is the next tier, which comes with a requirement for $100,000 in annual revenue and the top level, Elite, requires $500,000 in sales. Under the old program, Silver partners had no revenue target, while Gold partners had to sell $225,000 and Platinum $800,000. QLogic's acquired Brocade's Fibre Channel and converged network adapter business in January, following that up in March with the purchase of Broadcom's 10-, 40- and 100-Gigabit Ethernet businesses giving the company a tight focus on Fibre Channel and Ethernet network connectivity.

Avaya revamps channel partner program

avaya logoAvayaannounced a major reorg of the Avaya Connect Channel Partner Programaimed at making it easier for Avaya partners to increase the depth of their technical expertise with Avaya products and to differentiate themselves from competitors based on that expertise. Changes to the program include revisions to the requirements for achieving Silver-, Gold- and Platinum-level status and the introduction of half a dozen new Solution Expert designations. Partners can achieve the new solution experts designations by earning specific credentials in sales and design, meeting revenue thresholds and demonstrating customer satisfaction. Silver-, Gold- and Platinum-status appointment will also be based on the number of Solution Expert designations achieved by the organization. Avaya says the new program, which will take effect October 1st, will have a one year transition period over which partners will be expected to meet the new requirements.

D&H partners with Wells Fargo to finance education tech purchases

dandhIt’s no secret that the K-12 education market is exploding for VARs and resellers. New programs like ConnectED have suddenly increased tech spending in the education vertical and solution providers are scrambling to meet the demand. In order to make that easier, Harrisburg, Pa.-based distributor D&H has teamed up with Wells Fargo to provide VARs – and especially smaller VARs – with the ability to make the purchases they need to when they need to to take advantage of the market opportunity. Under the partnership, a special financing program has been created including interest-free financing and extended financing terms for resellers, making it possible for them to compete for the multimillion dollar deals a lot of districts will be tendering.

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blackberry-logo1The Smartphone space got news from an old player and a new player this week with the industry’s creator announcing that it isn’t dead quite yet, while a brand new player entered the market.

BlackBerry reported a small profit for the fiscal period ending on May 31. The $23 million worth of black ink the waterloo, ON-based company announced both beat the street’s expectations and turned around losses of $423 million in the preceding quarter and $84 million in the same quarter last year.

Revenue came in at $966 million, down from $976 million in the prior quarter ahead of analysts' expectations of $963 million. Ultimately this meant a loss of 11 cents a share after adjustments – also ahead of analyst projections of a loss of 26 cents a share.

“Our performance in fiscal Q1 demonstrates that we are firmly on track to achieve important milestones, including our financial objectives and delivering a strong product portfolio,” said Executive Chairman and CEO John Chen, who took over the reins of the embattled mobility vendor in November, in a statement. “Over the past six months, we have focused on improving efficiency in all aspects of our operations to drive cost reductions and margin improvement. Looking forward, we are focusing on our growth plan to enable our return to profitability.”

BlackBerry also announced what appears to be one of the steps in that plan: a deal with Amazon that will make BlackBerry apps available through the Amazon Appstore. Through the deal, which will become relevant with the release of BlackBerry 10.3 in the fall, BlackBerry hopes to dramatically revitalize BlackBerry World, the vendor’s moribund app store. This certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing, however some observers may question what appears to be a primarily consumer play from a vendor that might be better served focussing on the Enterprise space.

BlackBerry also hopes to foster the development of BlackBerry 10 apps and said it will unveil an enterprise application partner program for corporate developers, ISVs and systems integrators over the coming months.

Amazon had news of its own with the introduction of its first smartphone.

The Amazon Fire features a new 3-D dynamic perspective technology, four front facing cameras and Firefly – an app that will recognize objects including artwork and music and then streamline the shopping experience through Amazon’s retail portal.

Amazon-logo-2The new device, which is available for pre-order online from Amazon and AT&T and through brick and mortar retail shops, has a 4.7-inch HD display and runs the proprietary Fire operating system on a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.2GHz processor and 2 GB of RAM. AT&T will be the exclusive distributor of the device, making it available to AT&T Partner Exchange members, but limiting its overall market reach (as does the proprietary OS). Pricing for the new device, which will ship July 25th, comes in at $199 for the 32-GB model and $299 for the 64-GB model, with an AT&T contract.

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Harry on MSPtvAs many of you know, Harry has been on a traveling streak these past few months. After completing a worldwide tour, Harry took the time to visit with our partners in the lovely city of Boston, MA (check out one of his blogs on this visit here), where he was able to meet with Continuum in time for the filming of its weekly MSPtv series.

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Intel PC Cost InfographicThe phrase “Time is money,” coined by inventor Benjamin Franklin, can often ring too true for small business owners around the world. The global nature of today’s business landscape means that even though an organization is a small business, it is competing against large corporations for a global audience. How do small businesses keep up? The answer lies in small business owners being resilient, efficient, and economical–but unfortunately outdated tools and technologies can hold small businesses back.

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Aditazz Appoints Deepak Aatresh as CEO

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Deepak Aatresh, co-founder of Aditazz, Inc., was appointed CEO of the Silicon Valley technology company earlier this week and will continue to serve on the board of directors.

Deepak, who has a Master’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Arizona State University, holds eight patents and worked at Intel Corporation, Yago Systems, Riverstone Networks and Lucent Technologies before co-founding Aditazz.

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FlexPrint Named to 2014 SP500 List

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FlexPrint ranked as #371 in The Channel Company’s 2014 Solution Provider 500 list of the top revenue-generating technology integrators in the United States and Canada. Companies are chosen for this list not only based on their ability to generate revenue but also their approach to the technology channel that allow them to succeed in the modern era of IT.

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LogMeIn LogoLogMeIn announced the release of AppGuru, a cloud app management product that can assist IT professionals in regaining monitoring and management capabilities for employee cloud app use. The ‘bring-your-own app,’ or BYOA, trend, as many of you may see in your business today, makes a management and monitoring system for employee cloud app use necessary to maintain security.

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tdsTDS Telecom announced yesterday it achieved Platinum level status in the Polycom Choice Partner program for its fifth year. To qualify for this honor, TDS demonstrated expertise in handling project needs with exceptional service and quality solutions.

The organization credits this achievement to its relationship with its customers. “The Platinum designation is a testament to the partnership we’ve established with our customers,” said Matt Loch, vice president of Commercial Marketing at TDS. “By working closely with each of our customers, we’re able to really understand their needs and help them leverage the power of hosted VoIP technology.”

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Grandstream Networks introduced the GXV3275 IP Video Phone earlier this week, which is a 3-in-1 voice/video communication and business application solution.

The GXV3275 offers the same features as Android smartphones and tablets in a 7-inch touchscreen. SMBs using the GXV3275 have access to Android Apps in the Google Play Store and can sync contacts and transfer calls between the GXV3275 and mobile phones or Bluetooth headsets.

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Hey BDR Establishment – Heads Up!

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Harry at CarboniteStarting today, Carbonite is shipping an SMB on-premises hybrid backup and recovery solution that threatens to disrupt the SMB BRD oligopoly, that is effectively limiting channel partner choice to just a few high-end solutions. I liken Carbonite in the BDR space to Uber, a company currently breaking up the regulated taxi industry, and this is exciting stuff. Having met with Carbonite last week at its Boston headquarters (see photo right), I can see that it thrives on and embraces the role of being a disrupter.

And its good news for SMB channel partners. By my simple calculation, having more choices will lower prices. That’s what free and competitive markets do. Carbonite lands at about 50% less than the “Big Four” BDR solutions on the market. It all starts at $99/month with no upfront fees (hardware, program or license). And Carbonite further disrupts the status quo by introducing greater duration flexibility. There’s even is a 30-day refund period upfront. As of this writing, there is no annual commitment, so you can use this month-to-month and return if needed, though Carbonite reps said that they will be offering an annual option for clients who prefer that model.

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lenovoLenovo announced the release of the ThinkServer RS140 on June 10, a new powerful, inexpensive entry-level single-processor 1U rack server. According to Lenovo, the server is ideal for SMBs because of its versatility, compact size, and expansion options.

“The Lenovo Enterprise Group is aggressively expanding its server offerings in the rack segment by adding a new 1P rack to our portfolio,” said Darrel Ward, vice president, Enterprise Product Group, Lenovo. “The new ThinkServer RS140 1P rack offers a remarkable combination of SMB friendly features and options, at an attractive, budget-friendly price point, that our customers have been looking for.”

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dandhjpgD&H Distributing recently announced that it will be hosting its 2014 Mid-Atlantic Technology Show on June 26. This event is slated to take place at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center in Hershey, PA, with over 100 manufacturing partners expected to attend.

Here’s a look at the June 26th Agenda:

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ibm logoA new research report from Gartner found that IBM leads the worldwide flash storage market based on its 2013 revenue. According to the report results, IBM has a 25 percent market share of Solid State Array revenue.

As many of you are aware, Flash, or Solid State, is an important memory technology in improving application performance and analytics for businesses in the Big Data era. IBM has embraced this growing tech trend and it currently offers a variety of flash storage technologies as systems that are all-disk, all-flash, or a hybrid of disk and flash to best suit client needs.

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dentalWhile some SMB technology resellers cater to a wide range of clients and requirements,
others have found greater success servicing specific market verticals.

Demonstrating impressive sales growth over the past quarter, Compass Network Group (www.compassnetworkgroup.com ) is one such example that sticks to a simple philosophy; they focus exclusively on dental clinics to deliver the highest standards of IT integration and compliance. Servicing more than 400 clients, Compass Network Group streamlines dental office networks to meet HITECH and HIPAA requirements for electronic protected health information (ePHI).

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pronto 6.17.2014Apps and gadgets have changed the way we live. Access to information has become so convenient that telephone directories, Rolodex and calling cards have become a thing of the past. Nowadays, people consult their tablets and mobile devices to find the trendiest bars and clubs, gastronomic bites and the most happening places in any new place.

We have embarked on an age where people substitute old-fashioned face-to-face conversations with instant messaging, social media, interactive chat, and other digital means. The traditional word-of-mouth, which is the oldest form of publicity, has gone digital too. People share, check-in and tweet their experiences and latest discoveries online. This movement spawned the term “SoLoMo” which is short for Social, Local and Mobile to describe how people search, review and share information about local businesses while on-the-move. As an effect, small businesses are left with no choice but to open up their digital doors and let the World Wide Web see inside.

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bob vogel augustBy Bob Vogel, B2 Marketing

If you’re running a service-based company, you’ll relate to one of my favorite quote-jokes: “This would be a great business if it didn’t require having clients!”

It’s a sad fact that even the most discriminating IT service companies sometimes end up with some clients that are ridiculously demanding, others that don’t appreciate or value the service they’re getting, and still others who are simply a royal pain.

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Autotask: Everyone Has an Opinion

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Harry on MSP TVA week ago at Autotask Live, Autotask reported it was being acquired by Vista Partners, an $11.5B private equity firm. The short press release, specifically brief and lacking details, roared across the MSP community. As I researched this topic over the past week, it was apparent that everyone has an opinion ranging the full spectrum. I’ll start with my own:

I was already scheduled for an MSP TV session, which was to be filmed at Continuum’s Boston offices (see photo), so that was a natural forum to discuss the Autotask acquisition. I offered that:

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Object Consulting LogoObject Consulting, a Sydney, Australia-based IT Consultant, announced yesterday that is has received the Microsoft Cloud Partner of the Year Award in the Small and Medium Business Space. This organization, which was founded in 1989, provides high-level Cloud services, including those based on Open Source, .NET, Enterprise Java and Salesforce technologies, to customers across Australia.

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The week that was – June 13th, 2014

Posted by on in News

Your weekly roundup of the IT and channel news you don’t want to miss.

Report: cybercrime costs $400B each year and that will only grow

csisIt’s another week, so it’s time for another Cybercrime study. This time we are being provided with a picture of the actual cost of cyber attacks – $400 billion and as many as 350,000 jobs in the US and Europe. Despite the fact that we seem to be getting this kind of report almost constantly these days, it still makes for compelling – and somewhat chilling – reading. Almost half a trillion dollars is nothing to sneeze at. The report, Net Losses – Estimating the Global Cost of Cybercrime, crunched open-source data about security incidents including corporate network attacks and intellectual property theft, and associated losses and then officials in 18 countries were interviewed to calculate its numbers. Conservatively, annual losses are at least $375 billion, but they could reach as high as $575 billion! The report was conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C. think tank and commissioned by Intel Security (formerly McAfee) and includes information about driving factors and security weaknesses. The study also highlights data from Framingham, Mass.-based research firm IDC, which projects a major increase in security spending, including on such elements as digital forensics tools, next-generation firewalls, and identity and access management software. Ironically, the report suggests that such increased spending may be negatively effecting the global economy as companies shift spending from innovation to security. It’s well worth reading for anyone in the IT space concerned with providing or provisioning security applications for themselves or clients.

Google to acquire Skybox for $500 Million

google logoGoogle announced plans to expand its mapping services with the purchase of satellite image provider Skybox Imaging for $500 million. The Search-engine giant plans to use Skybox to add more accurate imagery to its Google Maps and Google Earth services. “Skybox’s satellites will help keep Google Maps accurate with up-to-date imagery,” the company said in a statement. “Over time, we also hope that Skybox’s team and technology will be able to help improve Internet access and disaster relief—areas Google has long been interested in.”


ZyXEL unveils next-gen UTM firewalls for SMBs

Zyxel logoZyXEL launched a new line of Unified Threat Management products. The new products address a couple of major issues the Anahiem, CA-based company says SMBs are running afoul of: The need to maintaining high system throughput, even with security services turned on, and simplifying systems management with a new, easy-to-use interface. The new UTMs improve performance and add an integrated management interface that simplifies security provisioning for both solution providers and their SMB clients. Key features for new UTM series include:

  • Gigabit throughput with multi-core processer
  • Redesigned management interfacethat consolidates all security policies in a single location to deliver a single point of control for firewall, IDP, anti-virus, content filtering and application control.
  • Application intelligence identifies, categorizes and controls over 3,000 social, gaming, productivity and other Web applications and behaviors to boost productivity and prevent bandwidth abuse.
  • An integrated WLAN controlleris integrated with security management to help SMBs set-up a secure WLAN network.
  • SSL inspectionprovides deep packet inspection for SSL traffic

Barracuda releases new Mobile Device Manager for K-12

Barracuda NetworksBarracuda Networks Inc. has launched the Barracuda Mobile Device Manager, a free cloud-based mobile device and application management service designed to simplify management of iOS devices from a centralized console for K-12 educational institutions. “We believe mobile device management is an integral part of this broader security solution, particularly for educational institutions looking to leverage mobile technology in the classroom,” said Stephen Pao, GM Security, for the Campbell, CA-based provider of cloud-connected security and storage solutions. The new service allows administrators to:

  • Set device security policies including revoke access and device restrictions such as passcode policies and global proxy settings
  • Deploy and manage applications including other Barracuda mobile applications such as Safe Browser, Copy, and SignNow to enforce browsing policies, to help improve workflow between teachers and students, and manage the document signing process for parents
  • Remotely manage and monitor mobile devices

Mobile Device Manager is a free add-on for existing Barracuda customers and can be accessed through the Barracuda Cloud Control portal.

GFI Software adds Integrated Remote Access and Control to GFI Cloud

GFI LogoGFI Software has expanded its GFI Cloud Suite IT platform for SMBs with remote control and access capabilities. GFI Cloud is designed to provide IT administrators with the ability to manage and secure servers, workstations, laptops, and mobile devices from a single Web-based interface. Pricing for Remote Control for GFI Cloud starts at $24 per computer, per year. Multi-year and service bundle discounts are available. To learn more visit http://www.gficloud.com/. To sign up for a free 30-day trial, go to https://signup.gficloud.com

Intronis launches new BDR platform with fixed-fee pricing, partner resources

intronis logoIntronis was especially busy last week, announcing a new platform, fixed-fee pricing model and the availability of new partner support resources. First, the cloud backup and data recovery vendor launched its new Intronis ECHOplatform – offering a single solution for data recovery and cloud backup, while folding a range of existing services under the new platform for simplified delivery, including: imaging, VMware and Hyper-V, SQL and Exchange backup, BMR, and file sync and share. Intronis then announced it was reengineering its pricing model for cloud backup storage. Under the new Intronis U2 Plan partners will pay a monthly flat fee for unlimited cloud storage for all their clients rather than paying by the Gigabyte. Finally, Intronis announced the release of a new Partner Toolkit which will provide the channel with marketing materials, sales tips, and technical content such as onboarding instructions.

Israeli startup SiSense Raises $30 million, to launch channel program

SiSenseLogoSmallBig data analytics startup SiSense says it’s planning to invest a portion of the $30 million it just received in Series C financing to build a channel program and accelerate its go-to-market. SiSense develops business analytics, reporting and dashboard software that enables nontechnical staffers to combine, analyse and visualize data from multiple sources. The company, which added the ability to analyse data from mobile devices with the launch of SiSense 5 in February, is one of several next-gen analytics developers (including Tableau Software and QlikTech) looking to take a piece of the big data market away from established giants like SAP's Business Objects and IBM's Cognos. According to the company, which is based in Tel Aviv, Israel and opened a US sales HQ in New York, it is looking to recruit a channel management team and launch a full channel partner program complete with partner training, a formal pricing plan, and sales and marketing resources. Several ISVs are already designing SiSense products into their offerings.

VMware makes NSX software-defined networking tech available to the channel

VMware logo blk RGB 72dpiPalo Alto, CA-based VMware has added its NSX software-defined networking technology to its general price list, making it available for resale through the company’s channel partners. NSX was initially released last November, but VMware restricted sales to a specially trained internal sales team but the company is now looking for the channel’s help to compete with Cisco for marketshare. NSX can be sold with either perpetual or term licenses. List pricing for a perpetual license starts at $5,996 per CPU, while a term license starts at $34 per virtual machine per month. VMware also is offering volume discounts for the technology. So far, VMware has around 10 partners selling NSX through an early adopter program launched in February. Channel partners can expect VMware to launch a new channel program competency for NSX at VMworld in August, which will establish the requirements for partners that want to resell the technology. Cisco, which takes a hardware based approach to its SDN technology, has started actively bashing VMware and it’s software-based NSX – possibly prompting VMware’s move as the company needs the push NSX from early-adopter phase to general market availability in short order to keep up.

DLT Solutions releases new procurement tool for government customers

DLTlogoDLT Solutions, an integrator focussed on the federal government market, launched of DLT Cloud Navigator, a new cloud solution designed to help public sector client procure products and services. According to Rick Marcotte, president and CEO of DLT, "The goal is to help (federal government clients) develop a practical cloud strategy." The new offering is built on products and services from a number of DLT partners, including Oracle, Red Hat and Amazon, and folds in procurement support for various government procurement processes. Users will also have access to a new managed services offering, architectural support, and pay-as-you-go billing. Marcotte added that he expects government investments in cloud – which are slow now as IT spending is trending downwards across the fed – to grow significantly over the next five years as departments try to lower costs.


Nimble Storage releases new hybrid array, flash expansion shelf

Nimble-StorageSan Jose, Calif.-based Nimble Storagereleased a new enterprise model hybrid disk and its first-ever all-flash storage expansion shelves. The new CS700 hybrid array and flash shelves are part of the company’s Adaptive Flash management platform and are aimed at meeting end user needs for both storage capacity and performance in the data center. According to the company, most current offerings focus on one or the other, leaving a meaningful market opportunity. The CS700 hybrid array has the same form factor as the company’s CS200 and CS400 arrays and is configurable with 12 hard drives and four SSDs to provide more than 125,000 IOPS of performance in a single node. The new all-flash expansion shelves ship with up to 12.8 TB of SSD memory. When combined with the CS700's 3.2 TB of flash, each CS700 node delivers as much as 16 TB of flash storage. The solution is managed through the Nimble Storage Adaptive Flash management platform, which is built on the company's CASL file system and its InfoSight cloud-based management and support tool.

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dandhjpgD&H Distributing recently announced that its Canadian division has moved to its third, and largest, location. The move took place on May 19th and allows the Canada division to have two times more space, while keeping the same backup systems that allows same-day shipping in the event of power loss.

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Pronto 6.10.2014With the help of 'Googling' and Internet research, consumers are more clued-up and savvy about products and services than ever before. On the Web they can get instant results and useful information to help them weigh up whether they want to get in touch and make a purchase. Instead of reaching out to customer services or sales reps for answers they may consider online reviews before they do anything else.

While technology is paving the way for exciting innovations, this tech jungle can pose a real challenge to the small to medium sized business with limited time and resources. The answer is to take positive steps that are not only going to help you survive, but thrive; helping you turn leads into quality clients.

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Autotask acquired by private equity firm

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autotask ceo-mark-cattiniMark Cattini, president and CEO of East Greenbush, N.Y.-based Autotask Corp., kicked off his keynote address at the Autotask Community Live conference in Miami this morning with the news that the professional services automation (PSA) vendor is being acquired by Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm.

The future ownership of the market’s leading PSA vendor has been a popular topic of speculation for months, with most industry experts betting on the company being picked up by an RMM player. Such a move would have been logical given the evolution of the RMM/PSA space over the past few years – including the marriage of LabTech to ConnectWise and the acquisitions of N-Able by SolarWinds, Level Platforms by AVG and Kaseya by an equity group.

The financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close later this summer, were not disclosed however Cattini did say that Autotask will continue to operate as a private company.

“We are still private and still independent,” he said, adding that remaining so will allow Autotask to “continue our mission of delivering smart IT to you. If you liked Autotask version one, you will love Autotask version two.”

He then said users could expect to see an accelerated product roadmap and increased innovation leading to “a bigger and better Autotask.”

With Cattani at the helm, Autotask has aggressively expanded its market reach, recruiting more partners in North America and opening sales offices in Chicago, Beijing, London, Munich and Sydney, Australia. All this despite the fact that many industry reports suggest the managed services market is cooling off with growth projections falling off.

In a prepared statement, Cattani spoke about accelerating the value Autotask delivers. “We are devoted to our clients’ ongoing success and are confident that our partnership with Vista will drive innovation and growth and deliver dynamic solutions as the traditional IT landscape evolves.”

“Autotask has a long history of dedicating itself to customer-centric solutions and has built a strong foundation for sustained, long-term growth,” said Alan Cline, Principal at Vista Equity Partners in the sme statement. “We are very pleased to be working with the Autotask team to expand and enhance the company’s solutions to help IT service providers more efficiently and effectively meet their clients’ changing needs.”

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The week that was – June 6, 2014

Posted by on in News

Your weekly roundup of IT news for the channel

LabTech creates App Exchange for RMM with open source Synergy Platform

LabTech-logoLabTech Software announced the launch of new capabilities that will allow third party developers – from software vendors and MSPS – to build onto the company’s RMM platform, customizing for the needs of their own businesses and potentially opening up new revenue streams. The Labtech Synergy Platform, which has been in beta for a year, will include fundamental APIs and an app exchange where MSPs and ISVs can sell the solutions they’ve developed to other users. “If you can imagine something in LabTech that you want to do, you can create it,” LabTech Software CEO Matt Nachtrab said at the Automation Nation 2014 conference in Orlando. “Anything you can imagine in LabTech you can turn into innovation.”

Staples takes pre-orders for new Microsoft Tablet

staples logoStaples is taking pre-orders for the new Microsoft Surface Pro 3 – the new 12 inch tablet that Microsoft is hoping will give a major boost its tablet business when it hits the streets June 20th. The Surface Pro 3, which will be priced in the $800-plus range, is driven by a fourth gen Intel Core processor and comes with Windows 8.1 Pro pre-loaded and includes the full Microsoft Office suite and a new Surface Pen. The target market is small businesses and students – users who might want a laptop-type experience in a more mobile form factor. According to research from research analyst firm Gartner, tablets based on the Windows operating system, make up about 2.1 percent of the global market – well behind Android (61.9 percent) and iOS (36 percent).

And in related news…

HP unveils Windows-based HP Pro x2 612 Tablet-Notebook

HP-logo2Hewlett-Packardhas announced the HP Pro x2 612, a full-featured Windows-based notebook with a detachable tablet screen. The new device, which is a major move in the fight for the notebook tablet market, features a 12.5-inch screen and comes with an HP Power Keyboard that gives the product 14 hours of battery life. The HP tablet will use Intel Core i3 and i5 processors with options for Intel Celeron and Pentium and will ship in early September. HP didn’t reveal pricing for the system however it is expected to sell for several hundred dollars less than the Surface Pro 3. While the HP product beats the Surface Pro 3 in all these areas, the biggest advantage it has in the SMB market may be the broad channel community that will be able to sell it. The Microsoft product is available only through select retailers (like Staples), from Microsoft itself and 10 Large Account Resellers.

Fonality launches New Partner Marketing Program

fonality-01Dallas, TX-based Fonality, a vendor of open-source VoIP and Unified Communications, announced Marketing 360 – a new partner marketing program that it hopes will help boost its channel business to hit 50 percent of overall revenue by the end of the year. Marketing 360 is an online resource that includes numerous new partner resources, incentives and marketing tools, including co-branded email campaign templates, monthly marketing webinars, sales presentations, and end user case studies and testimonials. This is just the latest of several changes Fonality has made to its partner program over the past few months. Other moves included a new compensation model that lets partners receive an up-front commission, in addition to monthly recurring revenue, on sales of hosted UC services so partners can pay off their salespeople quickly, and the Fonality Partner Exchange online community. Currently Fonality does about 45 percent of its business through the channel and has roughly 2,500 partners worldwide.

Amazon adds Windows Server 2012 R2 to AWS

Amazon web servicesAWS is shoring up the functionality of its cloud, this time by introducing its main rival’s own newest operating system – Windows Server 2012 R2. Offering Microsoft’s most advanced server OS eliminates a significant competitive advantage that Microsoft Azure enjoyed over AWS and levels the playing field between the two public cloud players. Windows Server 2012 R2 added new features and functionality to Microsoft’s popular server operating system including tiered storage capabilities through which the OS shuffles data between the fastest memory devices available on the system, improving overall performance. The new OS option will be available to all AWS customers, including those who fall in the Free Usage Tier, according to Amazon.

Yorktel acquires MultiSense, Expedite VCS

Logo-Yorktel-Tagline-RGB-LARGE.ashx Eatontown, NJ-based Yorktel, a global unified communications vendor, has acquired two video service providers increasing its market share in crucial industries: MultiSense Communications, a British firm with a focus on the health care vertical, and Expedite VCS, which delivers a solid public sector customer base including distance learning, corporate communications and telejustice. Yorktel’s VideoCloud delivers videoconferencing-as-a-service, with its cloud infrastructure situated mostly at Equinix data centers in the U.S., U.K. and Singapore. According to Greg Douglas, Yorktel’s executive vice president of sales, multipoint videoconferencing is a natural fit for health care and government – markets that mix demand for high quality face to face distance communications but have significant security demands. Last year Yorktel began offering channel partners white-label solutions and support, allowing them to resell videoconferencing solutions under their own brand. These new acquisitions will broaden the solutions channel partners can brand as their own, says Douglas.

WAN Op startup Aryaka expands global channel

Aryaka logoWAN optimization startup Aryaka is recruiting partners and expanding its global channel footprint while continuing to take aim squarely at chief competitor Riverbed Technology. Currently Milpitas, Calif.-based Aryaka does about 25 percent of its business through about 30 channel resellers, but the goal is to get as close to 100 percent as possible. The company also said it's received $10 million in Series D funding from existing investors InterWest Partners, Presidio Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners, Trinity Ventures and Mohr Davidow Ventures, bringing total VC investments to $64 million.

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