Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Sep 29

Microsoft Previews Voice Channel for Dynamics 365 Customer Service

By | Managed Services News

Microsoft is also set to release Dynamics 365 Project Operations.

Microsoft has revealed plans to add a first-party voice communications channel to its Dynamics 365 Customer Service offering. Built on the Azure Communications Services platform, the voice capability will bring omnichannel customer support to Dynamics 365.

The native voice integration is among several major new Dynamics 365 features announced at last week’s Microsoft Ignite virtual conference. Now in preview, the voice channels are set to appear in select markets during the first half of next year.

Once enabled, partners can integrate conversational AI with the Common Data Services (CDS) underlying Microsoft’s Power Platform and Dynamics 365. The voice channel will also enable integration of Teams calling or third-party telephony solutions. According to Microsoft, Five9, Genesys, NICE InContact, Solgari, Tenfold and Vonage are among those providing connectors.

Voice communications makes up approximately 80% of customer service interactions, according to Alysa Taylor, corporate VP overseeing Microsoft business applications.

Microsoft's Alysa Taylor at Ignite 2020

Microsoft’s Alysa Taylor at Ignite 2020.

“The challenge for IT professionals has been integrating voice capabilities into their customer service platform,” Taylor told Ignite attendees. “We now removed that barrier. All of your support interactions – including voice – will adhere to a standard data model for simple integration.”

Voice Integration with Power Virtual Agents

Microsoft’s new voice channel will integrate with the company’s Power Virtual Agents, released last year, and its Azure Bot Framework. Microsoft also announced during Ignite updates to Power Virtual Agents and the Bot Framework that will simplify bot development.

Deeana Sparks, a Microsoft product marketing manager, demonstrated Power Virtual Agents with Dynamics 365 Customer Service during Taylor’s Ignite session.

“To enable consistency, virtual agents are quickly becoming a first line of defense to support your service organizations, especially in today’s increasingly distributed environment,” Sparks said.

“Power Virtual Agents work with CDS to harness data from these cross-channel interactions,” she added. “Since Dynamics 365 also uses CDS, you can quickly bring together new and historical customer support data from your entire application portfolio.”

Sparks noted that the forthcoming voice channel will enhance the utility of Microsoft’s virtual bots.

“As you enable voice, your configured workflows, productivity tools and world-class AI can be immediately leveraged across your new voice channel,” she said.

Jeffrey Goldstein, managing director of Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Queue Associates, expects customers will welcome the voice channel.

Queue Associates' Jeffrey Goldstein

Queue Associates’ Jeffrey Goldstein

“Last year, they announced the customer service bot and this is spectacular,” he said.

Taylor noted the preview is now available. She also said that Microsoft is rolling it out for its own customer service and support operations.

Also at Ignite, Microsoft announced previews of two supply chain management add-ins and its new Dynamics 365 ​Project Operations. Microsoft plans to release the previews during this Thursday’s Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform 2020 release wave 2 launch.

Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management

The two new add-ins for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management include Cloud and Edge Scale Unit and Inventory Visibility. The new modules will support high-volume workloads running at remote warehouse or manufacturing facilities to run in tandem.

“The plug-and-play experience delivers seamless scalability during usage spikes to ensure high throughput,” Taylor said.

Taylor said the new Inventory Visibility add-in is great for large retailers and manufacturers that process large volumes of transactions.

“Organizations like Starbucks are using the capability to easily scale to fulfill orders from multiple channels on time, mitigate stock outs and overstocking with seamless integration into third party systems,” she said. “It can scale to millions of transactions per minute and calculate cross-channel inventory in real time.”

Dynamics 365 Project Operations

The release of Dynamics 365 Project Operations integrates the features of key offerings into one. It includes the existing Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation, Microsoft Project for Web, Dynamics 365’s sales and accounting capabilities.

“It provides organizations everything they need to manage their projects end to end from quote to cash in one single application,” said Mohammad Alam, corporate VP for Dynamics 365 at Microsoft.

Goldstein said that customers have long awaited the release of Dynamics 365 Project Operations.

“A lot of our customers are going to be very interested in this because it provides full-blown project management,” Goldstein said. “It does a lot of things that Microsoft Project doesn’t do, like being able to enter time and expenses and determine project profitability. It really pulls everything together. And then with the integration with Dynamics 365, especially finance and operations through Common Data Services, it provides seamless interaction.”

Sep 29

Addressing Customer Endpoint Security Challenges

By | Managed Services News

Since remote work became the norm, many organizations have seen increased threats facing endpoints. Learn how partners can help customers address endpoint security challenges.

The recent increase in remote workers has shifted considerable attention on endpoint resilience, especially as vulnerable endpoint devices continue to be added to enterprise networks. And these ongoing work-from-home conditions will be around for the foreseeable future, with some organizations expecting this to become a permanent strategy.

In the first half of 2020, the FortiGuard Labs team observed an increase in malicious activity targeting end users, browsers, email systems and home networks. As might be expected, ransomware was high on the list of these attacks. And, according to the most recent Global Threat Landscape Report from FortiGuard Labs, no industry was spared from this ransomware activity, with the most heavily targeted sectors including telcos, MSSPs, schools, governments and technology organizations.

The rise in ransomware, including hybrid attacks and the growing availability of RaaS (ransomware as a service), suggests that things are likely to worsen before they improve. Remote workers and their home networks represent a new and fertile attack surface that cyber criminals are highly motivated to exploit. And as more devices get added to the network, IT teams will continue to struggle with increased complexity and a lack of visibility and control, all of which can weaken their organizations’ endpoint security posture.

For this reason, IT and security teams must prioritize endpoint security to protect their growing remote workforce and related digital transformation efforts from attackers. And, because this is an area overwhelmed IT teams are struggling to address, it is something for which partners are in a prime position to help.

Ransomware and the Endpoint

During the first six months of the year, FortiGuard Labs saw a widening range of malicious activity involving the use of COVID-19-related attacks, including phishing and business email compromise schemes, along with nation-state backed campaigns and ransomware attacks. Ransomware activity targeted at enterprise organizations, in particular, was particularly severe.

Attackers continue to attempt to leverage endpoints, or devices that remote users employ to connect to the network, to try and gain entrance to enterprise resources. Once they have gained access to a device, they use it as a launching pad into the network, where they not only lock organizational data but steal it, as well, posting it to public servers and then threatening a widescale data breach release as further leverage to extort ransom payments from their targets. One example of this is the use of Cobalt Strike, a penetration tool that cyber criminals have exploited and made available on the black market. By leveraging this tool, malicious threat actors can deploy payloads in the form of ransomware or a keylogger within the compromised network, ultimately resulting in data theft.

Ransomware hidden in COVID-19-themed messages, attachments, and documents, specifically, was a widely noted threat during the first six months of 2020. The FortiGuard Labs team tracked three specific samples during that time: NetWalker, Ransomware-GVZ and CoViper. The last of the three, CoViper, was especially malicious, as it was used to rewrite the targeted systems’ master boot record (MBR) before encrypting data. Ransomware combined with an MBR wiper can completely paralyze target computers, making these attacks much more severe.

Because of the pernicious nature of ransomware attacks, especially in light of the rapid transition to a teleworker business strategy, organizations need to make endpoint resilience a top priority during the coming six months and beyond as they work to secure their increasingly distributed organizations.

The Challenge: Endpoint Devices Are Treated Separately from The Network

One of the biggest challenges with endpoint resilience is that it is often isolated from the rest of the network security framework. Because of this, visibility and control over network security only begin at the point at which an endpoint device joins the network. This is not ideal, especially with a remote workforce and highly mobile end users.

Research shows that 63% of organizations are unable to monitor endpoint devices when they leave the enterprise network. An additional 56% of surveyed IT professionals admit that they are unable to verify compliance for endpoint devices. And an alarming 70% state that they have a “below average” ability to minimize losses related to endpoint failure.

This challenge is compounded by the fact that today’s networks span multiple ecosystems, including multi-cloud infrastructures and numerous cloud-based services, including shadow IT. Applications and workflows now often span multiple ecosystems to accomplish their tasks. At the same time, a growing number of endpoints are connecting to resources distributed across the network, making the point at which each device connects to the network–whether to the WAN edge, LAN edge, data center edge or cloud edge–increasingly difficult to ascertain and defend. In addition, many of these devices combine personal and professional profiles and information, heightening the chances of exploitation. With this in mind, enterprises looking to protect data against ransomware threats can no longer

Sep 29

Tech Data Leadership Team Now Includes Longtime Lenovo Channel Head

By | Managed Services News

He brings more than 20 years of experience in IT and distribution.

Sammy Kinlaw, previously Lexmark’s channel chief, has joined the Tech Data leadership team as senior vice president of endpoint solutions for the company’s Americas region.

Tech Data's Sammy Kinlaw

Tech Data’s Sammy Kinlaw

Kinlaw brings more than 20 years of experience in IT and distribution across multiple Tech Data vendor partners. He will lead relationships and strategic operations for Tech Data’s endpoint solutions vendors.

“Sammy’s experience and depth of knowledge across a host of technologies and vendors, as well as his deep understanding of the channel make him a perfect fit for Tech Data,” said John O’Shea, Tech Data’s president for the Americas.

At Lexmark, Kinlaw served as vice president of channel and OEM sales. Prior to joining Lexmark in 2018, he spent 13 years at Lenovo, most recently as vice president of North America channel and U.S. SMB.

Kinlaw began his career with IBM with his last role being a business unit executive.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Tech Data throughout my career as a vendor,” Kinlaw said. “And I’m thrilled to now join the company at a pivotal time in its transformation.”

As part of the Tech Data leadership team, Kinlaw said he looks forward to bringing his experience from the vendor side to help the company better serve all of its stakeholders.

Earlier this month, Vendasta and Tech Data launched a new partnership. The move will help bolster Vendasta’s security solutions stack within its reseller platform. In turn, vendors get access to a new network of selling opportunities, which involves 30,000 resellers serving 4 million SMBs. The new ecosystem will allow NexVen vendors to grow their revenue and eventually circle back into the Tech Data fold.

Sep 29

VMware VMworld 2020 News Includes SaltStack Acquisition

By | Managed Services News

Attendees learned more about Project Monterey that addresses an increasingly complex application landscape.

VMWARE VMWORLD — VMware on Tuesday unveiled new solutions for the distributed workforce and security for digital infrastructure. Also new are an expanded Tanzu portfolio and partnerships, insight into Project Monterey and more. The announcements come via the company’s VMworld 2020 (virtual) event.

The vendor also announced its intent to acquire SaltStack, an infrastructure automation software provider. VMware’s interest in SaltStack is to extend its automation capabilities beyond infrastructure to applications, and advance its cloud automation capabilities.

VMware's Ajay Singh

VMware’s Ajay Singh

“Once closed, SaltStack will help us complete our automation story, enabling us to extend our automation capabilities beyond infrastructure to the entire application stack,” Ajay Singh, senior vice president and general manager, cloud management business unit at VMware, wrote in a blog. “This will include the software ad packages inside virtual machines and containers. These software configuration management capabilities will help us address the full spectrum of customers’ automation needs and further strengthen customers’ ability to automate the deployment and configuration of infrastructure platforms both on premises and in the cloud with VMware vRealize Automation.”

Future Ready Workforce Solutions

VMware’s new Future Ready Workforce solutions aim to improve the distributed workforce experience. They also offer end-to-end zero-trust security controls and simplified management, the company said.

The Future Ready Workforce solutions combine VMware secure access service edge (SASE), digital workspace and endpoint security capabilities for secure access to any app, on any cloud, from any device.

VMware Workspace Security Remote combines unified endpoint management (UEM), endpoint security and remote IT support into an integrated solution. And VMware Workspace Security VDI integrates VMware Horizon and VMware Carbon Black Cloud into a unified solution to deliver secure virtual desktops and applications.

VMware Workspace Security Remote and VMware Workspace Security VDI are available today. VMware Edge Network Intelligence is expected to be available before the end of next month.

The vendor also announced VMware Cloud Web Security. This is a new service that integrates Menlo Security’s secure web gateway (SWG), cloud access service broker (CASB), data loss prevention, sandbox and remote browser isolation capabilities natively into VMware SASE solutions.

Furthermore, VMware announced that it will integrate its NSX Firewall into the VMware SASE platform. It is delivered as a service in single-tenanted or multi-tenanted deployment option.

Expect VMware Cloud Web Security availability in the first quarter of the company’s 2022 fiscal year, which begins Jan. 30, 2021. NSX Firewall as a Service for the VMware SASE platform should be available sometime later in the year.

More Tanzu

VMware expanded Tanzu portfolio support across VMware Cloud on AWS, Azure VMware Solution and Oracle Cloud VMware Solution. The vendor also announced a partnership with GitLab.

VMware and Gitlab are committed to uniting application developers and operations teams around the shared goal of fast and more secure releases. GitLab delivers a DevOps platform as a single application.

Tanzu is a portfolio for building, running and managing …

Sep 29

IT Glue Unveils New Features for Workflow Needs at GlueX

By | Managed Services News

These new product innovations emphasize enhanced IT operations through increased efficiency.

More than 500 MSPs and other customers braved the heat in Scottsdale, Arizona, this week, for IT Glue’s third annual user conference, GlueX. Stemming from the conference, the company just announced several new product features and integrations.

The pandemic has created a unique set of challenges for the IT industry, particularly by asking IT teams to support newly remote workforces with the same resources as before — only now with tighter budgets. IT Glue’s newest features address the workflow needs of technicians to deliver more efficiency, time savings and productivity to MSPs and internal IT teams that continuously have to do more with less.

These new enhancements focus on giving MSPs and internal IT teams easier access and greater functionality with their most critical asset — IT documentation.

Product Highlights

  • BMS Live Ticketing inside of IT Glue: Technicians can now address Kaseya BMS tickets directly within IT Glue. The integration allows IT pros to work on tickets and log time. It also allows them to ccess suggested documentation and leverage all critical PSA functionality within IT Glue.
  • Archive assets: Users can archive configurations, passwords and more within IT Glue. As one of the most requested features from IT Glue customers, this enables MSPs to scale more easily. This happens by segregating managed assets currently in use from legacy ones within their IT Glue instances. The result is leaner documentation and more efficient search results.
  • IT Glue in the Kaseya Fusion mobile app: By integrating IT Glue into the Fusion mobile app, Kaseya has placed the core components of IT Complete – RMM, PSA and IT documentation – into the hands of onsite technicians. This gives them access to vital information when working on the go at client sites. Fusion allows technicians to view, create, update and resolve service tickets wherever they are. 
  • Automated virtualization documentation: This new feature for Network Glue gives MSPs greater visibility into virtual networks. This helps them identify virtual machines and hosts to automate the documentation of all virtual network machines.
  • Unitrends MSP backup coverage report: By integrating Unitrends MSP and IT Glue, MSPs can now produce on-demand PDF reports of their configuration backup coverage for Unitrends. With these reports, MSPs can identify additional revenue opportunities in real time. They can also suss out unprotected assets in their clients’ backup environments.
  • MyGlue Help Center: The MyGlue Help Center introduces a shared knowledge base for MSPs and their MyGlue customers. It allows the greater community to benefit from collective experiences and knowledge as well as enhanced collaboration as a service.

Best Practices in Uncertain Times

IT Glue's Nadir Merchant

IT Glue’s Nadir Merchant

“The last few months have created unique challenges for everyone in the IT industry. Many of our customers have come to us looking for solutions, best practices and strategies to help them navigate these uncertain times,” said Nadir Merchant, CTO and GM of IT Glue. “[Our] newest product innovations were developed specifically around the workflow needs of our technicians. By helping MSPs and internal IT teams drive more efficiency, time savings and productivity, IT Glue is enabling these businesses to meet the demands of always having to do more with less.”

These new product features strategically address the most pressing issues facing the industry today, said Merchant.

Sep 29

HPE Channel Chief George Hope Fills Executive Position Vacancy

By | Managed Services News

He has worked in the channel for more than 20 years.

HPE channel chief George Hope is the new top dog for partners at the technology giant, the company announced today. The search for a new worldwide head of partner sales was on when Paul Hunter moved into a new position at the company.

Hunter, a 15-year HPE veteran, was the company’s channel chief for about three years. He is now the managing director for North America. Hope’s most recent position at HPE was vice president, worldwide distribution, a job he took on in November 2017. Hope joined HPE when it acquired SimpliVity almost four years ago.

HPE's George Hope

HPE’s George Hope

“I am deeply committed to HPE’s partner community — I consider them our own team members and aim to bring the same ‘partner-first’ philosophy I’ve held for the past two decades into my new position. I look forward to working with our channel to capture market trends and opportunities, and deliver better outcomes to our shared customers,” Hope wrote in a blog.

Hope will continue to lead worldwide distribution for the time being. He will “prepare the ground for a further evolution of the role of HPE distributors that will expand opportunities for all of our partners,” he said.

In fact, Hope is attending HPE’s third annual Distribution Partner Conference (virtual), where he introduced initiatives, based on partner feedback, to better enable distributors and partners monetize their as-a-service strategies.

Channel Experience

Hunter said this about his successor:

HPE's Paul Hunter

HPE’s Paul Hunter

“I have worked very closely with George Hope over the past three years. I can definitely say that our partners could not be in better hands. He is an incredibly talented leader who lives and breathes channel. He played a key role in helping HPE deepen its collaboration with partners with a One Team approach — listening to and understanding their most pressing needs and using their feedback to design initiatives and programs. Congratulations on a richly deserved appointment, George!” he wrote on LinkedIn.

Before Hope joined HPE in 2017, he was vice president, global channels at SimpliVity. He soon moved up to vice president, worldwide SMB. He held this job for six months before leading moving into his distribution role.

Prior to that, he worked at EMC for 16 years, in multiple senior channel-related roles.

Sep 29

McAfee IPO Means ‘Getting Itself Back on Track’

By | Managed Services News

McAfee’s reported plan last year to go public never materialized.

A McAfee IPO could raise up to $2 billion and once again bring the company public.

McAfee, which Intel owns part of, has filed plans to go public with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It hasn’t disclosed the number of shares it will offer or the price range for the stock at its debut.

McAfee has applied to list its Class A common stock on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “MCFE.”

Last summer, McAfee reportedly planned to once again become a public company, after the success of CrowdStrike and other cybersecurity IPOs. It would raise at least $1 billion and value the company around $8 billion. But those plans never materialized.

Renaissance Capital estimates the just-filed IPO could raise up to $2 billion. McAfee booked $2.7 billion in sales for the 12 months ending in June.

McAfee isn’t commenting on the proposed transaction.

Investors ‘Thirsting’ For More IPOs

Eric Parizo is senior analyst with Omdia. He said the U.S. stock market has been up and down this year; however, equity investors are “thirsting” for more IPOs.

Omdia's Eric Parizo

Omdia’s Eric Parizo

“And we’ve certainly seen that enthusiasm in successful tech IPOs of late, including Snowflake and JFrog, and security-specific IPOs from last year such as CrowdStrike and Cloudflare,” he said. “There’s no question the McAfee IPO is intended to take advantage of the same favorable market conditions.”

The move is also a sign that McAfee is getting itself back on track, Parizo said.

“After languishing within Intel for years, McAfee was spun out as an independent company again in 2017, and was steadily making much-needed gains in revamping its dated product portfolio under CEO Christopher Young,” he said. “However, the decision to replace Young back in January with veteran technology industry executive Peter Leav was a signal that McAfee’s investors … had run out of patience with the vendor’s multiyear transformation effort.”

Young “ultimately paid the price” for uneven results following his 2018 acquisition of cloud access security broker (CASB) Skyhigh Networks, Parizo said. The purchase was critical to the creation of the MVision line that has revitalized McAfee’s product portfolio. However, the ROI was believed to be far below investors’ expectations.

“It is understood that McAfee has struggled to sell Skyhigh’s technology into its existing customer base, in part because many customers already had purchased CASB technology from competing vendors, while others buyers have shifted their focus to alternative approaches based on concepts like zero trust access,” he said.

McAfee Turning Around

Leav specializes in resuscitating struggling companies and ultimately preparing them for a sale or IPO, Parizo said. Leav has likely made further progress in lowering McAfee’s operating costs, particularly in regard to customer acquisition costs.

“McAfee still has work to do to prove it has overcome its past struggles, and that its products meet the demands of enterprise buyers that now require cybersecurity solutions to support distributed, cloud-centric organizations,” he said.

Ovum's Rik Turner

Ovum’s Rik Turner

Rik Turner, principal analyst at Omdia, said there’s pros and cons to going public.

“A major pro is, of course, the ability to raise money by issuing shares rather than having to take venture capital funding and have some venture capitalist sitting on your board,” he said. “A major con is having Wall Street on your back every quarter, particularly when you are engaged in some projects of a longer maturation; for example, ones that will take longer to come to fruition. Indeed, Wall Street may even force you toward more short-termism.”

Sep 29

At HPE Distribution Partner Conference, As-a-Service Strategy Shines

By | Managed Services News

HPE is putting a focus is on selling to SMBs and midmarket companies.

As-a-service expertise is in the spotlight at this week’s HPE Distribution Partner Conference, held virtually this year. The vendor wants to help partners grow their businesses with as-a-service initiatives, the company said on Tuesday.

But that’s not HPE’s only focus for partners. The company wants them to grow their sales in the SMB and midmarket. The HPE Distribution Partner Conference, in its third year, is attracting more than 1,000 virtual attendees from 300 distribution partners worldwide.

HPE's George Hope

HPE’s George Hope

“The initiatives we’re announcing today stem from key partner feedback and aim to better enable distributors of all of our channel partners to monetize their as-a-service strategy,” said George Hope, HPE worldwide head of partner sales. “We see our distribution partners not as an extended sales force, but rather as team members. As HPE advances along our journey to becoming an edge-to-cloud platform-as-a-service company, we see an opportunity for our distributors to strengthen relationships with our shared partners and become their trusted advisers, helping them embrace and accelerate HPE’s as-a-service business.”

Hope, HPE’s new global channel chief, replaces Paul Hunter, the company’s new managing director for North America.

Sets Strategy and Initiatives

The HPE Distribution Partner Conference aims to define a clear strategy and new market opportunities for channel partners. More than 80% of HPE’s partner business moves through distribution.

Here are some new initiatives partner can expect from HPE and its distribution partners.

In its 2021 fiscal year, HPE will increase support for HPE GreenLake specialists and dedicated enablement initiatives. At the HPE Partner Growth Summit in June, GreenLake was the focus. At that time, the company announced HPE GreenLake Cloud service offerings. Those new cloud services for distributed environments included cloud services for containers and virtual machines, storage and compute, as well as cloud services for data protection and networking.

HPE enablement initiatives for partners include workshops to help partners with their as-a-service strategies. Solution providers and distributors will also be able to work with HPE Storage Rangers. These pros are outcome-based solution selling experts with deep technical skills.

Partners will also see HPE debut the SMB FlexOffers program. It provides distributors and solution provider partners the ability to customize their built-to-order products, and more.

Also addressed at the conference is an enhanced partner onboarding process for the HPE Partner Ready Program. Distributors will be at the core of the new initiative. This improvement beefs up the onboarding process with end-to-end visibility and partner referral.

HPE also enhanced its Pro Series learning, training and networking program. Beginning in fiscal year 2021, which starts Nov. 1, 2020, partners can earn HPE sales certifications in a new modern, interactive learning environment via the HPE Sales Pro Learning Center. Additionally, enhancements to the HPE Demo Program give partners new options to demonstrate HPE solutions virtually, at customer locations or in their own offices.

Sep 29

Typical Vendor Partner Portal ‘Ineffective, Outdated and Inefficient’

By | Managed Services News

One CEO claims vendor engagement with channel partners hasn’t evolved in decades.

Vendor engagement with the IT channel has failed to evolve beyond the 1990s partner portal. So says Richard Rodriguez, founder and CEO of partner engagement platform KickPost.

Rodriguez believes vendors are failing to keep pace with modern communication methods like social media and messaging platforms. He describes traditional vendor portals as “ineffective, outdated and not efficient for your partners.”

KickPost's Richard Rodriguez

KickPost’s Richard Rodriguez

“The channel has a default mindset or checklist that says a portal is a standard for partner management,” he said.

“Channel teams point to the fact that their competitors have one, so ‘we must have one too.’ It’s a ‘follow the leader’ mentality. But they often don’t stop to check it if is being used. If so, how much is it being used, who is using it and what are they using it for?”

Rodriguez points to the vendor portal adoption rate industrywide being just 17%.

Reliance on the Partner Portal

Rodriguez also believes a reliance on partner portals affects both vendors and partners negatively.

For vendors, he says there is information never even seen by their partners. Additionally, information can be delayed getting to partners and often outdated when it does reach them. Indeed, Rodriguez maintains that vendors might spend more time trying to deliver information than engaging on sales-generating activities.

Conversely, he argues it’s not efficient for partners to get information from many vendors from many different sources and formats.

“Companies tend to forget that their channel partners are their customers and tend to think about them as employees. They forget these customers have hundreds of vendors to work with every day,” said Rodriguez.

“The No. 1 rule for partner engagement is to make it easy for your partners to do business with you. The easier it is to do business with your brand, the more sales you’ll generate throughout your channels.”

Additionally, Rodriguez says channel management is evolving, not only because of external forces like COVID-19, but because of structural changes. He cites “the explosion of marketplaces, and partners that now include influencers, affiliates and MSPs, in addition to traditional distributors and VARs.”

The CEO argues in favor of doing away with the branded domain portals “that plague” channel partners.

“The best ideas for most business to business innovation often start with our personal lives,” he said. “Taking the benefits that aggregators, social media platforms and apps have created for our personal lives and applying them to our channels — this provides us a road map for making partner management more flexible, easy and scalable.”

Sep 29

New Dell Technologies-VMware Integrations Raise the Bar

By | Managed Services News

Dell Technologies is mum on a VMware spinoff.

New Dell Technologies-VMware integrations for HCI, cloud, storage and data protection, announced Tuesday, confirm the tight alliance between companies. This is amid speculation of a potential VMware spinoff.

The latest Dell Technologies product releases for the VMware environment coincide with this week’s VMworld 2020 (virtual). The product updates fall into three buckets: cloud updates, support for VMware Tanzu, and storage and data protection for VMware.

Dell Technologies' Varun Chhabra

Dell Technologies’ Varun Chhabra

“Collaboration between Dell Technologies and VMware continues to be very strong,” said Varun Chhabra, vice president, cloud and edge, at Dell Technologies. “As you look at the entire portfolio at Dell Technologies, starting with servers, HCI, networking, storage, data protection and going on to the cloud business as well, we continue to invest in joint engineering with VMware. This is to create products that help our customers take advantage of VMware products in the best way possible.”

Next Generation

Beginning with cloud, Dell Technologies announced two enhancements. These include VMware Cloud on Dell EMC 4th generation and VMware Cloud Director on DTCP (Dell Technology Cloud Platform).

What’s new in VMware Cloud on Dell EMC are enhancements in regulatory compliance and certifications, Tanzu Kubernetes Grid verification, new nodes for advanced and data intensive workloads, multiple clusters per rack to isolate resources, and HCX-based workload migration.

Regarding the new compliance certifications, they include global and vertical industry-specific certifications such as ISO, CCPA, EU GDPR and SOC-2.

“The goal here is to make sure that customers can use the platform and rest assured that they’re meeting the compliance needs for their industry or their geography,” said Chhabra.

The second enhancement targets cloud service providers (CSPs). VMware Cloud Director for DTCP makes it easier and faster for CSPs to build and scale hosted cloud environments through this new integration. VMware Cloud Director now integrates and is certified on the DTCP.

“We see tremendous interest from our customers to leverage cloud service provider environments. So this helps them and CSPs provide a consistent experience between what customers are running on-premises and in the cloud service provider environment,” said Chhabra.


The Dell Technologies Tanzu updates include extended support of VMware technologies across the Dell Technologies infrastructure portfolio with tightly integrated solutions for Dell Technologies Cloud, Dell EMC VxRail, Dell EMC PowerProtect and Dell EMC PowerEdge. These updates align with the latest releases of vSphere, vSAN and VMware Cloud Foundation to support Tanzu.

“Dell Technologies is all in when it comes to helping our joint customers deploy Tanzu easily,” said Jon Siegal, vice president, integrated products and solutions, at Dell Technologies.

HCI options for Tanzu include Tanzu Architecture for VxRail, vSphere with Tanzu on VxRail, and VCF with Tanzu on VxRail (DTCP). These options give customers choice in deploying VMware Tanzu whether through a validated architecture, VxRail cluster and/or the DTCP.

Tanzu Architecture for VxRail is available today. vSphere with Tanzu on VxRail and VCF with Tanzu on VxRail (DTCP) will be available in October.

VMWare launched Tanzu at VMworld in 2019. VMware Cloud on Dell EMC, a data-center-as-a-service offering, has been available for about one year.

Storage Support

Here’s a closer look at Dell Technologies storage and data protection updates around Tanzu.

Dell Technologies storage platforms support the VMware Tanzu. Dell EMC PowerMax replication now integrates with VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes (vVols) and VMware Site Recovery Manager. This simplifies management and improves access to mission-critical applications. The new Cloud Mobility for Dell EMC PowerMax feature helps move data from on-premises to public clouds.

In preview only, Dell EMC Object Scale is the next generation, Kubernetes-based object storage platform. Object Scale allows developers to …