SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

The week that was – June 6, 2014

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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HP Releases Updates to Entry-Level Storage Solutions, Partner Program for SMBs

hpEarly yesterday morning, HP announced a series of new storage systems designed for SMBs. I had the chance to speak with Brad Parks, HP’s senior manager, GTM strategy and messaging, who went over the new storage devices, which have all been wrapped around a program designed for the company’s SMB IT Pro resellers.

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Parallels Releases Parallels Cloud Server for Use with HP Moonshot

Parallels logoEarlier this week, Parallels announced the release of its Parallels Cloud Server, a virtualization solution for use with the HP Moonshot server. According to Parallels, this is the first workload-optimized solution of its kind in the industry.

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Avnet Technology Solutions Releases Application-Based Solutions for HP’s US and Canada Partners

AvnetYesterday, Avnet Technology Solutions released a new suite of application-based solutions designed for the HP ConvergedSystem portfolio. This new suite will be offered to HP’s MSP and VAR partners in the US and Canada.

The new app-based offerings include two solutions for VDI Environments and Microsoft Exchange Server 2013, as well as an Avnet Technical Army solution. The VDI solution includes tools to help users properly size and deploy virtual desktops to their clients, and this particular offering includes instructions for the configuration, design and sizing. The Avnet Exchange Server 2013 solution enables MSPs and VARs to deploy large messaging mailboxes. This solution is flexible, and can be used with the pre-sized setting to work with the HP ConvergedSystem or it can be sized to fit the users’ needs.

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HP Releases New Desktops, Print Solutions for SMBs

hpEarlier today, HP announced a series of additions to their personal computing device and printing lines to better meet the needs of SMBs. I spoke to Page Murray late last week, who also mentioned that HP has done a major overhaul of their partner program, which can be found here.

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Tech Data to Offer Installation, Startup Services for HP Partners

tech data logoThis past Friday, I had a chance to sit down with Amanda Lee, Public Relations Manager at Tech Data, and Sheri Hedlund VP of HP at Tech Data. They were pretty excited about a new service offering from HP that the distributor will be able to provide to the MSP community. Tech Data partners will now be able to sell a piece of technology knowing that the distributor has a SKU for on-site set up and installation. Yep—you heard that right--certified experts will provide the work on your behalf.

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Industry Convenes at ChannelPro East Coast Event in New Jersey

Rich Mike EdRight now, as we speak, I am live and on site at the ChannelPRO SMB Forum event in New Jersey. If you remember, the group hosted its spring event this past April in California, which Harrybbb attended.

Pictured (L to R): Rich Papaioannou of HP, Michael Siggins of ChannelPro, and Ed Mana of Technology on Demand, on the show floor at today's ChannelPro event in New Jersey.

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Oops…My Bad! 5 Blogs We Missed Last Week

Here we go again! As I do each week, I am really enjoying bringing our readers a quick round-up of the blog coverage I didn’t manage to get to during the week prior.

 In addition, here at SMB Nation, we are already gearing up for our annual fall event to be held Oct. 10-12 in Las Vegas at the Rio! We have been hard at work designing a brand new Web site specifically for this event, which you must check out today: For additional information on the new Web site and our fall conference, check out our blog post here.

Speaking of live events, yours truly will be attending this week’s ASCII Group Summit stop at Caesar’s in Atlantic City, NJ. I will be working the booth on the show floor, promoting both our Fall Conference and newly announced SMB Nation Peer Groups. Stop on by, and give a shout if you are attending, and let’s chat!

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D&H Distributing : We want to Teach VARs How to Take a Strategic Sales Stance

D&H Distributing said that it wants to teach its SMB resellers to take a strategic sales stance, offering a roster of products that can save time, money, energy and physical resources for small business environments.  The distributor currently carries a multitude of merchandise that can create efficiencies and decrease total cost of ownership in the SMB office space.  This caters to the conservative budgets typically associated with the small business sector.

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IDC: Lenovo Boots HP out of Top PC Vendor Spot; US Shipments Stabilize

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 75.6 million units in the second quarter of 2013 (2Q13), down -11.4% compared to the same quarter in 2012 but slightly better than expected, according to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. Total shipments were effectively right on forecasts of 75.4 million and growth of -11.7%, although Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan)(APeJ) were a few points below expectations with the difference made up in the United States.

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HP Makes Changes, Enhancements to PartnerOne Program

HP today announced enhancements to its flagship PartnerOne program, helping HP partners to accelerate growth and profitability, while strengthening their competitive differentiation in the market.

According to a press release issued today by HP, the changes to the program will be effective Nov. 1, 2013.

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HP, Google Collaboration Features Google Apps for Biz via “HP SMB IT in a Box”

HP today announced the first phase of HP SMB IT in a Box—a “one-stop shop” technology solution for SMBs.

Marked by HP’s entry into the Google Apps Reseller program today, HP SMB IT in a Box will leverage existing innovative HP hardware, including PCs and printers, with Google Apps for Business, Google’s cloud-based communication and collaboration tools. HP SMB IT in a Box can now simplify customers’ IT environment and help reduce their operating costs and infrastructure requirements while improving their workflows and workforce productivity.

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HP’s Managed Print Specialist Reseller Program to Deliver Cloud-Based Solutions

HP today announced new cloud solutions that help organizations improve efficiency and productivity while helping to ensure secure access to business information virtually anytime, anywhere.  

The company also introduced a new offering that enables channel partners to enhance their customer service and deliver on their own business objectives.

The HP Managed Print Specialist Resell program delivers cloud-based tools and sales options that help qualified partners control the managed print services (MPS) selling process and retain direct contract ownership without making a substantial investment in new infrastructure.  

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IDC: Cisco, Aruba, HP, Ruckus all Experience WLAN Growth in Q1 2013

The combined consumer and enterprise worldwide WLAN market segments experienced year-over-year growth of 12.5% in the first quarter of 2013 (1Q13). According to the results published in the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly WLAN Tracker, the enterprise segment continued to grow at a healthy rate of 19.3% over the same period last year. The first quarter of 2013 was the thirteenth consecutive quarter with annual growth greater than 15%. The consumer WLAN market also started the year 2013 on a relative high note, growing 6.2% year over year.

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HP Chairman Ray Lane Steps Down

It was reported this morning by various news outlets that Ray Lane, HP’s Chairman of the Board, has resigned his post, effective immediately. His replacement, for time being, is Ralph Whitworth, until a permanent Chairman can be found.

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Breaking News: Margaret Dawson Leaves Symform to Join HP’s Cloud Start-Up Biz

Margaret DawsonWe heard this morning that Margaret Dawson, formerly the VP of Product Management and Marketing at Seattle-based cloud provider Symform, has left her position to take on a new role as VP of Product Marketing & Cloud Evangelist with HP Cloud Services—a start-up within the tech giant’s conglomerate.

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Intel Says it will Exit PC Biz…who is Next??

This morning, while doing my usual online news scouring to see what is going on in our industry (and of course what my competitors are up to), I came across a few online posts discussing how Intel is set to leave the traditional desktop PC business. While this is not “new news” with HP last year saying they would do the same (and then backpedaled that it wouldn’t), and also with many speculating that Dell is planning the same path, I felt it was important to bring forth this trend and what it could possibly mean for our industry.

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Microsoft blog highlights four new Windows 8 Pro-enabled PCs

Microsoft LogoYesterday, Jay Paulus, Microsoft’s Director of Windows Small Business Marketing, posted a blog covering the new Windows 8 Pro PCs featured at this year’s CES 2013 event. These devices include both tablet and laptop options.

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