Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Jul 07

Citrix Workspace Gets Microapps for Safe Back-to-Work Transition, Teams with HPE

By | Managed Services News

The Citrix Workspace app platform is now available with new tools that let employers implement new COVID-era workplace safety practices.

Citrix originally created the new back-to-office microapps to ease the transition for its own employees returning to the company’s offices.

Now partners can customize and provision these self-service apps, which simplify new workplace processes created to protect employees from infection. These are apps designed to mitigate employer risk and automate processes for HR, facilities, legal and IT.

Likewise, Citrix said the apps facilitate communications and measure employee sentiment to ensure workers are comfortable with returning to work.

Partners can create microapps for customers using design templates and APIs to integrate with existing applications. Citrix officials said the back-to-work microapps specifically focus on facilitating new workplace procedures for ensuring employee safety.

Citrix microapps are lightweight multiplatform app store services designed to integrate with SaaS and legacy back-office solutions. The tooling to create the integrations comes from Sapho, which Citrix acquired in 2018.

Citrix offers 100 workflows as microapps that automatically execute common activities that employees perform. Among them are Workday for PTO requests, ServiceNow to track service tickets and SAP Concur for managing expenses.

‘Truly a Platform Story’

The new back-to-office templates and interfaces now bundle with the Citrix Workspace app.

Citrix's Vishal Ganeriwala

Citrix’s Vishal Ganeriwala

“This is truly a platform story,” said Citrix marketing VP Vishal Ganeriwala, in an interview with Channel Futures. “It provides out-of-the-box things that we have done to bring our employees back to the office. These microapps will be available for all our customers who currently have Citrix Workspace. They can modify these templates for their use case, or they can get a Citrix channel partner to add additional capabilities to these microapps.”

Liz Fuller, Citrix senior director of alliance marketing, said most customers will need a channel partner to integrate their apps.

Citrix's Liz Fuller

Citrix’s Liz Fuller

“Not that a company with a technically savvy team can’t think about how to implement their own microapps,” Fuller said. “But when we’re talking about some integrations from an office standpoint, such as proximity devices and infrared scanners to check people’s temperatures, that’s where we’re going to need the custom touch that the channel partners can offer to customers,” she told Channel Futures.

Because the tools include prebuilt integrations, partners can create customer-specific workflows for workplace environments as employees return, Fuller added.

Ray Wolf, CEO of A2K Partners, who started with Citrix as an early Sapho partner, welcomed the new bundle. But Wolf noted that many vendors have jumped on the back-to-work bandwagon with similarly themed bundles. Wolf has created several back-to-work solutions for his clients.

A2K Partners' Ray Wolf

A2K Partners’ Ray Wolf

“I build a version of back-to-work bundles probably three times a month,” Wolf said. “I have a university bundle, K-12 bundle and a health care bundle. And all I do is put together combinations that I think people going back to work can use.”

HPE Becomes Citrix’s First Back-to-Work Partner

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is the first partner to announce solutions based on the new Citrix Workspace back-to-work offering. The partnership will integrate the Citrix Workspace apps with five “return-to-work solutions” that HPE Pointnext Technology Services launched last week.

Delivered as managed services from HPE Pointnext, its new return-to-work offering is based on the company’s Intelligent Workplace solution. Offered through HPE’s IoT and Intelligent Edge Services organization, the solution consists of networking, digital workspace and IoT services. The services provide integration with HPE GreenLake infrastructure available as a service and Aruba networking equipment.

The five return-to-work solutions from HPE include:

  • Social distance tracing: Tracking that uses video analytics to ensure employees are wearing masks. Also, Bluetooth devices inform employees if they are too close to one another.
  • Touchless entry: Facial recognition for contactless access and multifactor access control for verifying identities.
  • Temperature scanning: Thermal cameras to detect fevers in employees.
  • 3-D visualization: High-resolution image sharing that lets onsite employees collaborate with remote workers where that level of detail is warranted.
  • Dashboards: Information alerts issued in real time.

Additionally, Citrix and HPE will work on customized engagements for customers who want to create touchless offices with IoT-based building systems. That would allow, for example, employees to control IoT-enabled elevators with their mobile devices rather than pushing buttons.

Citrix and HPE will also work on delivering what they describe as touchless and smart social distancing. Integrating video analytics, the companies will enable contactless building entry.

Besides the templates and APIs, Citrix launched a back-to-work resource center, which provides tech demos and best-practice collateral.

Jul 07

Green House Data Uses Zerto to Boost Digital Transformation Tools

By | Managed Services News

Using the latest Zerto 8.0, Green House is improving resiliency and other capabilities for its partners and clients.

MSP Green House Data is boosting its digital transformation services to customers using the latest Zerto DRaaS and other tools.

Zerto introduced its latest flagship data protection, backup and recovery suite (Zerto 8.0) in March. Over the last several months, Green House Data has integrated Zerto 8.0 into what it offers to expand its services.

The two companies have been working together for years, especially with disaster-recovery-as-a-service tools. Now, Green House is expanding its Zerto-based services to take advantage of the broader Zerto 8.0 platform. Green House Data also provides digital transformation consulting for clients and partners.

“We historically used Zerto from a disaster recovery perspective,” Cortney Thompson, CIO of Green House Data, told Channel Futures.

The company has built its own services using the Zerto platform. After starting with DRaaS, Green House added other Zerto tools, such as data migration and other resiliency features.

Green House Data's Cortney Thompson

Green House Data’s Cortney Thompson

“This allowed us to move it to next level and add more services for our customers,” said Thompson. “Now we can take it and make a customer application resilient, and do migrations to and from the cloud. That’s where it’s really allowed us to branch out.”

The improvements in Zerto 8.0 allow Green House Data to provide all the new services, he said. There are now more options to migrate more workloads to the cloud.

Zerto 8.0 has deeper Google Cloud integrations, broader connections with Azure and AWS, and several new features for VMware platforms. The Zerto updates also provide expanded recovery and mobility for hybrid and multicloud environments in a wide range of uses.

“This builds on all of that,” said Thompson. “We service this new solution and have expanded it to all customers and its available now.”

Provides a Good Path for Channel Partners

Jake Sherrill, founder and chairman of Green House Data partner Tier4 Advisors, said the Zerto improvements will help customers. They not only help with cloud needs but also provide Zerto as a service on one service-level agreement, he said.

Tier4 Advisors' Jake Sherrill

Tier4 Advisors’ Jake Sherrill

“Channel partners are faced with an ever-changing landscape of client needs,” said Sherrill. “Historically clients would do business with multiple vendors for multiple things. As the landscape continues to change, vendors are becoming more strategic. They are realizing that clients want to consume more services from fewer vendors.”

Craig Lowery, a Gartner analyst, said Green House Data customers should see tighter integration with the Zerto platform.

“Service providers enter into a partner relationship with technology providers to create more long-term value and expanded availability for their mutually integrated products and services. The channel partner relationship is designed to improve how a provider’s technology is brought to market by the channel partner.”

Benefits typically include faster feature inclusion, quicker issue resolution times and improved pipelines for feedback and requests, he said.

Gartner's Craig Lowery

Gartner’s Craig Lowery

“Partners carry more weight with the technology provider because of the channel partner’s formal relationship,” Lowery noted.

The expanded digital transformation partnership with Zerto is typical for MSPs as they evolve and grow their businesses, said Lowery.

“If done properly, it should provide their customers with more options and confidence in how they use Zerto’s products and services in the context of Green House Data’s offerings,” he said.

Jul 07

The Top 5 Benefits of Infrastructure Refresh with Hyperconverged Infrastructure

By | Managed Services News

Many organizations are turning to hyperconverged infrastructure solutions to combine servers, storage and virtualization into a single appliance.

When considering a new IT infrastructure solution, there are several factors that have to be taken into consideration. Some of these factors include the complexity of the infrastructure, the uptime and the cost. These factors can determine the type of infrastructure a business uses. As a result, many organizations are turning to hyperconverged infrastructure solutions to combine servers, storage and virtualization into a single appliance that can be deployed quickly, managed easily and scaled out seamlessly.

With hyperconverged infrastructure, SAN and NAS storage is no longer required for highly available infrastructure. But, looking more closely, what are the specific benefits?

  1. Easy to Deploy, Easy to Use and Simple to Maintain

One crucial advantage that a hyperconverged infrastructure solution has over traditional infrastructure or DIY solutions is that the hyperconverged infrastructure is easier to deploy, easier to use and does not require a lot of maintenance from the IT team. To make this happen, a hyperconverged infrastructure solution uses automation and machine intelligence to handle many of the daily tasks that used to be managed by the IT team. Now, because automation handles much of the maintenance, IT teams are free to focus on other strategic projects that are vital to the success of the business.

  1. Increased Reliability and Stability

A hyperconverged solution is always going to be more reliable than a traditional or DIY solution. Why? As previously mentioned, all critical components of the infrastructure that used to be on separate platforms are now rolled up into a single box. The self-healing architecture built into hyperconverged solutions monitors and regulates the infrastructure for any issues and automates the fix. Overall, the reliability and stability of a hyperconverged solution mean less downtime and fewer phone calls to your vendor for support.

  1. Lower Total Cost of Ownership

This is one of the better benefits organizations tend to see later down the road after implementation. A key reason that a hyperconverged infrastructure solution can become less costly to own is that it doesn’t require outside software licenses for technologies such as software-defined storage, networking and virtualization. All of those services that were previously handled by outside service licenses are now rolled up into a single, easy-to-use solution that will end up saving your business money. How much an organization is able to save varies, but a solid hyperconverged infrastructure solution is always going to be less costly over a period of three to five years, maybe less!

  1. Requires Less Rack Space

Because hyperconverged infrastructure is an “all-in-one” solution in a single box, it requires less rack space in the storage room. This leaves more physical space to continue building up your IT infrastructure as your business grows.

  1. Greater Data Protection

Data protection has become a hot-button issue for business owners in recent years due in part to the increasing sophistication of cybercriminals and their attacks. With traditional infrastructure, managing data protection requires a multitude of solutions and work from multiple vendors. A hyperconverged infrastructure integrates data protection tools into the stack, making data retrieval easier, and allows you to get back up and running faster.

Overall, a hyperconverged infrastructure solution provides greater flexibility, scalability and reliability benefits for your organization over traditional solutions. Our HC3 virtualization platform combines backup, disaster recovery, storage, virtualization and more into one easy-to-use, affordable solution for enterprises of any size. For more information on how our HC3 solution can benefit your business, please visit our product page .

You can also read what our customers had to say about HC3 from third-party research firms such as TechValidate and Gartner Peer Insights.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

Jul 07

Tech Startups Hemorrhaging Jobs During Pandemic

By | Managed Services News

Many tech startups likely won’t survive COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven especially destructive to tech startups, with more than 69,000 workers laid off.

And what’s worse, many tech startups likely won’t survive the pandemic, says BuyShares, a U.K.-based brokerage firm. Transportation, finance and travel industry startups alone cut 31,000 jobs globally in four months.

In March, the number of laid-off employees was more than 9,600, according to Statista and Layoffs Tracker data. In the next 30 days, this number nearly quadrupled, topping 36,000 by the end of April.

Statistics show the number of job losses reached nearly 62,000 in May. And since then, another 7,600 jobs were lost, with the combined number approaching 70,000 last week.

Hardest-Hit Startups

With more than 14,600 job losses in this period, the tech startups in the transportation industry have taken the hardest hit. The finance industry ranked as the second most-affected sector, with nearly 8,500 employees losing their jobs.

Startup companies in the travel sector laid off almost 8,200 workers due to the outbreak, ranking as the third most-affected industry. Statistics show startups from the retail, food and consumer industry cut more than 19,100 locations in the last four months. The real estate, fitness and marketing industry follow with approximately 3,500, 3,000 and 2,600 displaced workers respectively.

Analyzed by location, San Francisco Bay Area startups are the most affected by the pandemic, with more than 25,500 displaced workers between March and July.

For many startups, surviving the COVID-19 pandemic could be quite challenging, according to BuyShares.

Cybercriminals Target Job Seekers

In the meantime, COVID-19-induced job losses sent people to online job boards looking for work and unknowingly making themselves targets for cybercriminals. That’s according to the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the FBI.

This year alone, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) saw a 20% spike in scam-related complaints, with victim losses exceeding $25 million, or $3,000 per victim.

Fake job or hiring scams occur when criminal actors deceive victims into believing they have a job or a potential job. Criminals leverage their position as “employers” to persuade victims to provide them with personally identifiable information (PII) or to send them money.

Daniel Eliot is the NCSA’s director of education and strategic initiatives. He said the pandemic has created an ideal scenario for cybercriminals.

NCSA's Daniel Eliot

NCSA’s Daniel Eliot

“Mass unemployment, combined with hiring freezes, and the fact that a majority of people are spending their time in lockdown on the internet, has created an environment ripe for criminals to take advantage of people who are online and eager to get back into the workforce,” he said. “In these moments of desperation, they are more likely to fall victim to a criminal’s enticing offer. It really comes down to being hypervigilant and doing your research on the opportunity before submitting any information.”

The NCSA and FBI have issued a list of tips for job seekers to protect themselves from cybercrime. Among the tips:

  • Conduct a web search of the hiring company using the company name only. Also, check for spoofed websites. And if the company is well known, contact it to confirm the legitimacy of the job posting.
  • Never send money, provide credit card or bank account information to an employer.
  • Pause before supplying sensitive information. Before entering PII online, make sure the website is secure by looking at the address bar. The address should begin with “https://”, not “http://.”
Jul 07

5 Myths for IT Cybersecurity Failures

By | Managed Services News

Advancements in IT cybersecurity lag all other areas of tech, which puts applications and data at unnecessary risk.

By most measures, information technology has advanced by leaps and bounds during the past several decades. CPUs are orders of magnitudes faster, less expensive and more focused than they were around 2000. Software reliability is much improved, with Blue Screens of Death fading into memory. The cloud has made our data and applications accessible from anywhere, enabling a level of convenience that folks could barely fathom 20 years ago. Yet, amid all these improvements, one facet of IT stands apart: IT cybersecurity.

This article by Christopher Tozzi first appeared on Channel Futures’ sister site, IT Pro Today.

In most senses, we are no better securing applications and data today than 10, 30 or even 50 years ago. Why is that? I don’t think there’s a single answer. But I do think it’s worth examining the myths surrounding IT security that are often cited as explanations for why systems and applications remain so insecure, even as they have improved markedly in other respects.

IT Cybersecurity Trends: Things Are Getting Worse

Data breach

It’s hard to imagine why, in this day and age, only 5% of companies properly secure their data.

You don’t need to be an IT cybersecurity analyst to sense things aren’t great on the IT cybersecurity front. Anyone who reads the news knows that barely a month goes by without a major IT security breach.

This has been the case for years, and yet things only seem to be getting worse. Consider the following data points:

These trends have emerged despite the fact that the IT cyber security market grew by 3,500% between 2004 and 2017. Clearly, there is a lot of interest in trying to improve IT cyber security. There are few tangible results.

Myths for IT Cybersecurity Failures

It’s easy to point fingers to explain why we’ve done a poor job of improving IT security over the years. Unfortunately, most of the places at which blame is typically directed bear limited, if any, responsibility for our lack of security.

Following are common myths about why IT cyber security remains so weak.

  • Myth 1: Software has grown too complex to secure.

It’s hard to deny that software is more complex today than it was 10 or 20 years ago. The cloud, distributed infrastructure, microservices, containers and the like have led to …

May 13

Larger Premium Dell XPS Laptop Line Gets New 15- and 17-Inch Models

By | Managed Services News

Dell’s new XPS-17 is the first 17-inch version of the XPS in nearly a decade.

Dell is expanding its premium mobile computing line with the rollout of new XPS-15 and XPS-17 laptops.

The upgraded models with 15-inch and 17-inch displays were both long overdue for refreshes. While Dell upgrades its compact 13-inch XPS-13 at least once per year, the company left the 17-inch model for dead. Dell said its last XPS-17 came out nearly a10 years ago. Likewise, the company hasn’t released a major new XPS-15 system in five years.

Dell’s XPS is the high end of its consumer portfolio, but the vendor sells them through both retail and commercial channels. Targeted at content creators, given its starting price is well over $1,000, the XPS appeals to business users and executives.

The smaller XPS-13 is popular among traveling professionals since it is small and lightweight.. Now that most professionals work at home, it appears Dell is betting many may want heftier, more powerful systems.

Based on the specs and descriptions Dell revealed Wednesday, the new XPS-15 and XPS-17 laptops should deliver.

At the high end, Dell is billing its XPS-17 as its most powerful XPS laptop to date. It runs Intel’s 10th Generation Core processors and is available with up to 64GB of RAM and with NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card and its Max-Q design.

Dell XPS-17

The Dell XPS-17. The picture at the top of this page is the XPS-15.

“Packing this much performance into a laptop this size required unparalleled engineering ingenuity,” said Donnie Oliphant, Dell’s senior director of client solutions, in a presentation shared with media and analysts. “Under the hood, you’ll find a brand-new thermal design that allows more airflow and more performance to ensure you can tackle your most demanding workloads.”

New Dell XPS Laptop Specs

Set to ship this summer, the XPS-17 is just 19.5 mm thick and offers the portfolio’s hallmark razor thin bezels. A new design featuring dual opposite outlet fans to expand airflow lets it run up to 92 watts of power.

The XPS-17 is available with HDR displays, 500-nit panes, Dolby Vision and 4k resolution. Although it has a 17-inch display, Dell claims it is smaller than almost half (48%) of 15-inch laptops available today. It includes four USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, two DisplayPorts, a full-size SD card reader and a 3.5 mm headphone/microphone combo jack. Depending on configuration, the XPS-17 models can weigh between 4.65 and 5.5 pounds.

Meanwhile, the Dell XPS-15, available immediately, is also equipped with Intel’s 10th Generation Core processor and an option for NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics accelerators. It is thinner than the XPS-17, measuring 18mm, and can support up to 55 watts of power. It starts at $1,299. Weighing more than four pounds, the XPS-15 comes with one USB-C 3.1 port with power delivery, a full-size SD card reader, 3.5-inch audio jack and two Thunderbolt 3 displays. The USB-C and Thunderbolt ports include DisplayPort support.

The new systems also support the recently upgraded Dell Mobile Connect tool, which integrates smartphones with Dell’s newer XPS models. It originally only worked with Android phones, but Dell recently added support for iOS devices as well. The software lets users dial and receive calls, handle texts, see notifications and move files between the phone and PC.

Dell is also offering software that will let partners or tech-savvy customers migrate older Windows PCs to the new systems.

The new Dell Migrate tool moves data and system settings from any Windows 8 PC to new Dell PCs. It specifically works with new XPS, Inspiron and Alienware systems. Available immediately, the tool costs $39.

May 13

Recruiting and Retaining Security Leadership Rests on Deepening Your Bench

By | Managed Services News

Here are tips on recruiting and retaining CISOs.

Recruiting and retaining qualified CISOs and their lieutenants is challenging in the best of times. It’s even more difficult during a pandemic when the new work-from-home environment often impedes work relationships and dampens company loyalties.

A new report by Kudelski Security and its Client Advisory Council (CAC), a cybersecurity think tank, illuminates several skills to help identify prime new recruits or to develop in existing personnel to build and deepen the successor bench.

Among the report’s top findings:

  • CISOs should have a 50/50 balance of technical and soft skills like communication, relationship building and executive presence. But the report found this talent mix to be extremely rare.
  • In terms of key CISO skills, 82% of those interviewed say communications skills are critical. That compares to just 52% who believe hands-on technology experience is critical.
  • The highest percentage of respondents (29%) say governance, risk and compliance positions are the best pre-CISO role. But the report lists a wide range of previous jobs that can also lead to a CISO position.

To gain these insights, the researchers said they surveyed C-level and VP-level security leaders from companies. Those include Aaron’s, AES Corp., BKW, Blue Cross Blue Shield, BNP Paribas, Capital One, Technicolor, Urenco and Zebra Technologies.

Michael Zachman is CSO, Zebra Technologies, and one of the contributing Council members.

Zebra Technologies' Michael Zachman

Zebra Technologies’ Michael Zachman

“Given the current challenges we face, CISOs and CSOs need to work both internally and externally to build a pipeline of new security leaders,” said Zachman.

While today’s pandemic environment might make recruiting and retaining security talent more challenging, it’s also making more trainable talent available.

Dismal Employment Numbers

According to Janco Associates, a management consulting firm, COVID-19 cost 102,300 IT pros their jobs in April alone.

“IT pros who do not have a job are finding it difficult to even find contract work,” said Victor Janulaitis, CEO of Janco.

Janco's Victor Janulaitis

Janco’s Victor Janulaitis

“Many companies are directing IT functions to facilitate the support of non-IT professionals with new and enhanced internet driven applications for telecommuters,” Janulaitis added. “The demand for contractor help in this effort was high initially, but now is nonexistent. All of this has put IT professionals the same state as the rest of the labor market.”

Companies can look to that pool of workers to develop more security talent, as IT professionals have experience in both technical and security work.

But this available talent pool will shrink some too. Janco predicts IT hiring will resume by the end of the year, but has cut its forecast for overall IT job market growth to just over 40,000 for 2020.

“Regardless of how you choose to staff teams, it is important to identify employees with institutional knowledge, communication skills and some ambition for career growth who can become security leaders with the right training and mentorship,” said Zachman.

May 13

VDI Solutions Improve Support for Remote Workers

By | Managed Services News

Scale Computing and Leostream are partnering to support organizations’ adoption of VDI solutions.

Recent world events leading into 2020 have reinforced many of your customers’ needs for more flexible computing options for their remote workers. Organizations around the world have been taking the necessary steps to support a distributed workforce for an indefinite future. Many organizations that had previously implemented virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions found themselves better prepared to support their workers remotely. Those that have not yet implemented VDI should now give it proper consideration.

Last quarter, Scale Computing, in cooperation with Leostream, introduced a work-from-home strategy using some VDI solution components that allowed IT administrators to quickly react to the immediate need to connect users remotely to their existing corporate workstations. Many of those who adopted that strategy are now taking a step back to look more strategically at how they may best support work-from-home employees in the future.

A full VDI solution done correctly requires forethought and planning. Now that most organizations have met their immediate needs in providing remote work options for employees, a closer look at VDI can be taken. Scale Computing is here to help. We have partnered with Leostream to provide VDI solutions to organizations of all sizes. Our experts are ready to help you understand how VDI can be deployed successfully and at a lower cost for nearly any size organization.

To help ease the transition from traditional desktop solutions to VDI, Scale Computing is currently offering a free hyperconverged infrastructure appliance with the purchase of three appliances of equal or greater value. This offer allows organizations to acquire a powerful, highly available, easy to deploy and easy to manage infrastructure for their VDI solution. In addition, Scale Computing is offering Leostream VDI licenses at a 25% discount on top of the free appliance offer. Our partners are welcome to make this same offer of a free appliance and the 25% discount on Leostream VDI licenses.

We believe lowering the acquisition cost of our VDI solution will make it easier for organizations to make the decision to adopt a VDI solution, but the real value is far beyond the discount we are currently offering. Our HC3 infrastructure solution lowers the total cost of the solution compared to competing virtualization technologies by being easier to deploy, easier to manage and easier to scale out when needed. VDI solutions have traditionally been complex to deploy and manage because of the underlying infrastructure required. Scale Computing HC3 simply makes it easier and more accessible for organizations of all sizes.

Not only can VDI on HC3 make remote working easier, but it can enhance data security by keeping sensitive data within the corporate network and not exposing the corporate network to employees’ private networks through VPN connections. BYOD support can provide flexible options for workers on the devices of their choice while maintaining data security for their desktop workloads.

This free appliance offer is available through June 30. We would like to talk to you at your convenience to understand how you can help your customers meet their needs with VDI. We welcome you to contact us at [email protected] or 877-722-5359.

If you prefer to research on your own first, you may like to start with one of the following resources from Scale Computing:

White Paper

Introduction to Virtual Desktop Infrastructure – VDI with Scale Computing HC3®

Webinar

HC3 and Leostream: VDI for the Rest of Us

Web Page

Scale Computing Partner: Leostream

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship

May 13

Juniper Networks Vet Promoted to Lead Nutanix Channel Partner Program

By | Managed Services News

Also unveiled are new features for its hyperconverged infrastructure platform, including built-in disaster recovery.

Hired last year to run Nutanix’s Americas channel sales, Christian Alvarez will now lead the global Nutanix channel partner program.

Alvarez came to Nutanix from Juniper Networks, where he was worldwide head of channels and distribution. He worked for Juniper for four years.

As the new senior vice president of worldwide channels, Alvarez is in charge of the company’s channel community and strategy. That includes developing global sales and distribution programs for VARs, distributors, OEMs, global system integrators, telco partners and others.

Nutanix's Christian Alvarez

Nutanix’s Christian Alvarez

Alvarez said he wants to lead Nutanix’s worldwide partner organization through its next phase of growth.

Alvarez joined Nutanix in September as vice president of channel sales for the Americas. Just five months later, the company named him interim head of worldwide partner sales. As the COVID-19 pandemic struck, he has helped partners and customers react to help their redistributed work-from-home users. He also led the development of a special financing program to help partners alleviate cash flow concerns during the crisis.

Chris Kaddaras is Nutanix’s executive vice president of worldwide sales. He’s all-in on Alvarez.

“Christian is an innovator and a strategic thinker, spearheading new offerings and contributing to collaboration across the organization,” said Kaddaras. “Christian is ideally suited to execute on our global mission to help both our partners and customers adapt to and enable virtual work.”

Until Nutanix hires a new Americas regional channel sales leader, Alvarez will continue to lead that effort as well.

Nutanix endured some growing pains in 2019. A year ago, the company saw its global channel chief leave after only 15 months on the job. In addition, its chief revenue officer also left after lower than expected revenue guidance was reported. Those developments came nine months after the company’s president departed to head a big data vendor.

Nutanix HCI Gets Platform Upgrades

Nutanix on Wednesday also announced several enhancements to its hyperconverged infrastructure platform, including built-in multisite disaster recovery tools. Also included is advanced automation for recovering applications and data, as well as support for synchronous replication for AHV workloads. And it also supports near-zero data loss with near sync replication for recovery point objective (RPO) times of 20 seconds.

The Nutanix platform’s ability to support multisite DR allows enterprises to recover faster from simultaneous data center failures. The synchronous replication of data between multiple locations now is natively supported on the Nutanix AHV hypervisor. AHV works with a wide range of critical workloads, including virtual desktop infrastructure, databases and general server virtualization.

Nutanix's Greg Smith

Nutanix’s Greg Smith

The new built-in disaster recovery capabilities make things easier for partners and customers. So says Greg Smith, product marketing VP at Nutanix, told Channel Futures.

Business continuity is now more important than ever and, with this release, Nutanix partners will be able to deliver a native, comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery solutions to their customers,” Smith told Channel Futures. “Before, customers looking to implement strong disaster recovery plans for critical applications had to deploy complex, often disparate technologies that demanded specialized, ongoing administration. Now, with the new capabilities in Nutanix HCI, AHV customers can deliver disaster recovery applications with significantly less complexity and without real-time management.”

Naveen Chhabra, analyst with Forrester Research, said the updates will allow a Nutanix channel partner to solve customer needs more easily.

“They can new confidently sell a single packaged solution,” said Chhabra. “Up until now, if a client needed data replication, they would have to rely on other companies. Now partners can sell one solution from one vendor.”

That is helpful for managed services providers (MSPs), particularly those who standardize on the Nutanix platform, he said.

“This makes a lot of sense. There will be fewer integration needs. And integrations break, and then things don’t work,” said Chhabra. “This simplifies that and removes those potential problems.”

May 13

Might Apple Take On AWS, Azure and Google in Cloud?

By | Managed Services News

Speculation is rampant that Apple could be the next big public cloud provider.

This early-in-the-week cloud news roundup highlights a range of activity. First, the question of a possible leap into the cloud game by one of Silicon Valley’s most vaunted companies. Then, a partnership featuring a Google Cloud-only MSP. We wrap with highlights from a China-based cloud computing vendor.

Apple Getting Into the Cloud Game?

Is Apple preparing to launch a cloud computing platform to go up against AWS, Azure and Google?

That’s the question posed over at tech site Protocol, which spotted a recent trend: Apple has hired several software engineers known for their expertise in containers and Kubernetes. Plus, the company has posted dozens of cloud-centric jobs over the past few months, as well as this week.

The new hires of note include Michael Crosby, who used to be at Docker and has proven integral to container development; Arun Gupta, who came from AWS and now leads Apple’s open-source efforts as senior engineering manager; Maksym Pavlenko, also from AWS, who now works as a software development engineer; and Francesc Campoy, from Google, who is working on Apple’s Kubernetes efforts as engineer manager – developer experience.

Apple may just be interested in supporting its applications and other services through its own private cloud platform, rather than continuing to use AWS and Azure. Or, it could be gearing up to compete for its share of world’s lucrative cloud revenue. And if so, that sounds like more opportunity for the channel.

Maven Wave Adds Snowflake’s Data Analytics to Portfolio

Managed service provider Maven Wave and cloud data warehousing vendor Snowflake have joined forces.

Todd Truesdell is managing director, data analytics at Maven Wave.

Maven Wave's Todd Truesdell

Maven Wave’s Todd Truesdell

“We view Snowflake as one of the go-to platforms for cloud data analytics,” said Truesdell.

The deal, of course, adds another revenue stream for Maven Wave. But the bigger picture is that teaming with Snowflake helps Maven Wave customers avoid cloud vendor lock-in, Truesdell told Channel Futures.

“Snowflake technology offers clients an alternative to the native cloud data analytics platform that the three major clouds provide,” Truesdell said.

Because Snowflake runs on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud (as of February), enterprises can reduce reliance on a single vendor, Truesdell said.

There’s more to the partnership as well.

“We also see ‘data exchanges’ having significant growth as more companies share their data with their other business partners,” Truesdell said. “Snowflake is on the forefront of this with its data exchange, which offers clients a mechanism for monetizing on their data with other business partners, suppliers and so on.”

Maven Wave says it’s the first Google Cloud partner to launch such a partnership with Snowflake. The MSP’s clients will get access to Snowflake’s training and support, as well as a certification program.

Katie Ecklund is director of SI partnerships, Americas at Snowflake.

“It’s the perfect fit, given Maven Wave’s deep expertise in Google Cloud and data analytics,” said Ecklund. “This partnership will elevate their ability to help enterprises realize the true value of their data.”

For its part, Snowflake achieved general availability on Google Cloud in February after months of initial legwork; that pairing combines Snowflake’s platform with Google Cloud’s AI, machine learning and analytics capabilities, the companies said. Snowflake already worked with AWS and Microsoft Azure. The company serves more than 3,000 users worldwide, including eight of the top 10 Fortune 500 firms.

Tencent Cloud Eyes Expansion in Japan

Tencent Cloud, part of China’s internet services behemoth Tencent holdings, aims to triple its sales in Japan this year, according to a Japan Times report.

This could bode well for the channel; Tencent distributes through resellers, consultants, developers and service providers.

Tencent has targeted Japan since last year but now wants to broaden its focus beyond gaming enterprises.

“We want to develop together in the fields where Japan leads the world, including games, cars and medical services,” Zhao Jiannan, managing director of Tencent Cloud for Northeast Asia, told Japan Times.

Such a strategy will more directly pit Tencent against AWS, Azure and Google. Indeed, recent statistics from Synergy Research Group show Tencent gaining significant traction in the cloud computing market. This may put more pressure on the vendors while also giving channel partners more options.

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