Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Jan 14

Big Channel M&A Update: 8×8, CDW, ConnectWise, Ingram Micro, More

By | Managed Services News

A global cloud service provider and a boutique IT services and support firm were among those acquired.

M&A news continues to dominate the channel in recent months, and December was no exception. There were some enormous deals, including the much talked about 8×8 acquisition of competitor Fuze. Although that deal was among Channel Futures’ most-read stories, the transaction didn’t have the biggest price tag. At least five of the companies we feature in the slideshow above are deals worth more than $1 billion dollars. And one is valued at close to $30 billion.

However, some channel companies were less about acquisition and more about shedding assets. Ingram Micro sold a division of its company to one of France’s largest companies. The sale is worth billions as well.

Speaking of bllions, CDW closed on its purchase of Sirius, a deal with huge MSP ramifications.

Scroll through the images above to see the latest deals in the channel. Then check out what we thought were the biggest mergers and acquisitions of 2021!

Jan 14

Big Channel M&A Update: 8×8, CDW, ConnectWise, Ingram Micro, More

By | Managed Services News

A global cloud service provider and a boutique IT services and support firm were among those acquired.

M&A news continues to dominate the channel in recent months, and December was no exception. There were some enormous deals, including the much talked about 8×8 acquisition of competitor Fuze. Although that deal was among Channel Futures’ most-read stories, the transaction didn’t have the biggest price tag. At least five of the companies we feature in the slideshow above are deals worth more than $1 billion dollars. And one is valued at close to $30 billion.

However, some channel companies were less about acquisition and more about shedding assets. Ingram Micro sold a division of its company to one of France’s largest companies. The sale is worth billions as well.

Speaking of bllions, CDW closed on its purchase of Sirius, a deal with huge MSP ramifications.

Scroll through the images above to see the latest deals in the channel. Then check out what we thought were the biggest mergers and acquisitions of 2021!

Jan 14

Adobe Creative Cloud PDFs Source of New Threats to Office 365, Gmail

By | Managed Services News

This week’s cloud news roundup also features initiatives from Civo, SADA and Arrow Electronics.

It’s not the most high-profile week for cloud computing news, but there is some activity channel partners need to review. The most significant development comes from a report that shows threat actors have found a way to exploit trust in Adobe Creative Cloud. Cloud managed service providers and managed security service providers must remain on the alert, and the defensive. There are certain precautions you can implement for customers. Read more about all of that below.

Plus, find out what Civo is doing to entice new companies to use the cloud. Learn what Google Cloud-only MSP SADA is doing to accommodate the cloud adoption journey. And find out how Arrow Electronics is helping channel partners adjust to those not-so-simple Microsoft New Commerce Experience changes.

Hackers Target Office 365, Gmail Users Through Adobe Creative Cloud

Cybersecurity company Avanan says threat actors are using Adobe Creative Cloud to attack Office 365 and Gmail users.

The hackers create an Adobe account and then import a PDF file into cloud storage. That file holds links to sites that harvest user credentials. When the hackers share the files through Adobe Creative Cloud, they look legit – “innocent,” Avanan says, because Adobe is a trusted sender worldwide – and they can bypass endpoint protection software. Hackers can also track recipients who open and click in the PDF, Avanan says. (Recipients may get drawn in by the titles that create a sense of urgency, the company warns.)

Avanan first discovered the exploit last month. One way to tell the purported Adobe Creative Cloud PDFs are less than innocent? “Notice the grammatical errors,” Avanan points out.

Cloud and security channel partners should step in with safeguards that use more artificial intelligence and that open PDFs in a sandbox where all links can be safely inspected.

Civo Entices Startups to Rely on Cloud with Cost-Control Promo

U.K.-based Civo, which bills itself as a Kubernetes-powered cloud-native service provider, has kicked off its Startup program. The initiative gives startups one year of free credit to keep cloud costs under control, Civo says.

The company aims to address the ongoing problem of how to prevent unpredictable cloud expenses. As channel partners know, cloud resources can easily eat up the IT budget. Civo says its internal survey of 1,000 cloud developers indicates that almost half (47%) had trouble determining how much they would pay each month. Another 45% said they got an unexpected bill from a cloud provider.

To combat the issue, Civo says it’s giving emerging businesses up to a year of free credit, plus training and mentorship, access to support and more.

Civo's Mark Boost

Civo’s Mark Boost

“It’s time to put a stop to the surprise billing tactics employed by big cloud providers, and to support businesses by shaping the skills of the teams they have,” Civo CEO Mark Boost said in a press release. “We aim to help those in need circumvent these issues to access the cloud’s full potential.”

SADA Amps up the ‘POWER’

This week, Google Cloud-only managed services provider SADA debuted a swath of new capabilities dubbed SADA POWER.

The portfolio is more than a package of services. Rather, the lineup mirrors the customer journey when integrating Google Cloud, SADA says. To that end, there’s a planning component, followed by …

Jan 13

Nvidia Buys Bright Computing for HPC Cluster Management

By | Managed Services News

The addition of Bright Cluster Manager fills gap in Nvidia’s DGX cloud data center infrastructure platform.

Nvidia has added high-performance computing (HPC) cluster management to its data center portfolio with its acquisition of Bright Computing. Nvidia announced and closed the transaction this week. It isn’t saying how much it paid for Bright Computing.

Founded in 2009 and based in Amsterdam, Bright Computing promises to fill an important gap in Nvidia’s DGX data center platform. Companies in financial services, health care, manufacturing and other industries that have formidable HPC implementations use the company’s Bright Cluster Manager.

More than 700 organizations use Bright Computing’s HPC software including Boeing, NASA, John Hopkins University and Siemens, according to Nvidia. Both Bright and Nvidia have worked together as partners for more than 10 years. Nvidia and its channel partners often integrate Bright’s software with Nvidia’s GPUs and its CUDA parallel computing platform.

Now Nvidia is expanding into the cloud and data center with DGX, systems designed to provide scalable AI infrastructure. Nvidia designed DGX to enable more organizations to model, build and run AI-based solutions, which increasingly require HPC infrastructure.

HPC Embedded Into DGX

Nvidia believes owning Bright Computing and incorporating its software will make it easier to build and sell HPC data centers. That’s because many organizations lack HPC expertise, said Charlie Boyle, VP and general manager of Nvidia’s DGX systems group.

Nvidia's Charlie Boyle“We’re now seeing a lot of enterprise customers wanting to use modern AI applications, whether it’s big language models, recommenders, those types of things,” Boyle told Channel Futures. “All of those systems require a large scale, clustered compute environment to execute those applications. One of the big challenges is that anyone other than a classical HPC user doesn’t really have the in-house experience to run these large clusters that are required for modern AI and other things.”

Bright Cluster Manager is designed to manage large HPC implementations consisting of x86, Arm, various GPUs and most recently DGX. Because Nvidia didn’t have its own cluster management offering, until now the company typically recommended Bright. But Boyle said despite Nvidia’s strong endorsement of Bright, many customers wanted HPC cluster management embedded in its solutions.

“Being a great partner and talking to them over the years, this just made a lot of sense,” Boyle said.

Bright Computing CEO Bill Wagner agreed.

“We’ve got a lot of joint customers, we have strong alignment in complementary products, and we share a common view of the future, which obviously heavily influences product direction,” Wagner said.

Expanding Channel Reach

Almost all of Bright’s channel partners also have partnerships with Nvidia, Wagner added.

Bright Computing's Bill Wagner

Bright Computing’s Bill Wagner

“It doesn’t change any of the reseller relationships that we have,” he said. “In fact, it just opens up an entirely new set of resale relationships for us that are in the Nvidia partner network that we currently don’t have relationships with.”

Nvidia’s Boyle underscored that while most of Bright’s partners are also Nvidia partners, that only accounts for a subset of the potential reach.

“Obviously, we have a lot more partners in our network than Bright had in theirs, so that’s going to open up new opportunities for them,” Boyle said. “But we’re also not changing anything in their current routes to market because they were the same route to market that we use.”

Bright will help Nvidia offer more complete enterprise data center platforms, noted Karl Freund, founder and principal analyst of Cambrian-AI Research.

“Strategically, Nvidia has been checking off all the boxes needed to be considered a full-range supplier of computing solutions for cloud and the enterprise, including servers, networking, and software solution frameworks,” Freund noted in a post on Forbes. “Now they can add cluster management to the list.”

 

Jan 13

Carl Katz: TCG ‘Not Beholden’ to Private Equity

By | Managed Services News

“… We’re not using MDF as a cost center,” Katz told Channel Futures. “Instead, we’re spending it for the benefit of the partners.”

TCG differs from its peers in the technology solutions brokerage (TSB) market with its approach to private equity and MDF.

So says Carl Katz, who recently moved to the Florida-based firm to work as its executive vice president of partner sales and chief operating officer. Katz explained that TCG’s decision to refuse outside funding and avoid using market development funds (MDF) as a cost center helps the company stand out among its rivals.

Katz, Carl_TCG

TCG’s Carl Katz

“There are companies who started in technology, went to the large tech brokers and were nickeled and dimed to the point where they couldn’t even function,” Katz told Channel Futures. “That’s because it’s upward of six figures in sponsorship dollars to get any visibility with the channel managers and partners.”

Katz previously worked for Nextiva and ThreatProtector, which both partnered with TCG. He shared how his tenure at those companies will shape his mindset at TCG. He also spoke extensively about the relationship between private equity and MDF usage in an interview with Channel Futures.

We have edited the transcript for length and clarity.

Channel Futures: Why did you choose to move to TCG?

Carl Katz: I moved to TCG for several reasons. First, I’ve been friends with [TCG partner] Dan [Pirigyi] and [co-founder and CEO] Lew [Rubin] for about 24 years. I really like that they’re entrepreneurial, ethical and pragmatic in their approach to business. That’s hard to find these days. I also like that TCG is privately held and hasn’t accepted any private equity money, which gives us the ability to focus on the partner while not having to tailor every program for profitability. That’s huge. Other technology brokers are more beholden to these private equity companies, which really clouds their decision-making and how they approach the market and their partners.

TCG and national technology brokers as a whole have been experiencing tremendous growth during the past few years, and this is only the tip of the iceberg. TCG’s partner program is simple. We provide partners with high residuals. 100% SPIFF pass-through, local and regional channel managers, an excellent in-house support and order processing team, and the opportunity to sell over 230 suppliers providing various technology solutions. I like to say TCG is the right place at the right time.

CF: What are some examples of how your competitors are beholden to private equity in day-to-day processes?

CK: Some of our competitors are owned by publicly traded companies, and some of our competitors have recently received quite a bit of private equity money. This clouds judgment. Instead of looking out for the partner and creating programs to benefit the partner, these larger brokers are beholden to the bottom line and meeting operational goals and growth goals. TCG is not beholden to those goals. If we want to run programs and do projects with the partners that are unique in the marketplace, we don’t have to …

Jan 13

Windstream Enterprise Hires GTT, XO Vet as Head of Channel

By | Managed Services News

The new channel chief will lead the next evolution of Windstream Enterprise’s channel partner program.

Windstream Enterprise has hired GTT vet Rob Westervelt as its new senior vice president and head of channel.

He will be working with Brad Smith, senior vice president of strategic channels, in Windstream Enterprise’s channel organization.

Windstream Enterprise's Rob Westervelt

Windstream Enterprise’s Rob Westervelt

Westervelt was with GTT for nearly five years and most recently was senior vice president and channel chief at GTT America. Before that, he was vice president and general manager of global solutions at NTT America.

In addition, he served in channel leadership roles with Broadview Networks and XO Communications.

Layne Levine, president of Windstream Enterprise and Wholesale, announced Westervelt’s new role on LinkedIn.

In a Q&A with Channel Futures, Westervelt talks about the challenges ahead in his new role.

Channel Futures: Why did you want to take this role as head of channel with Windstream Enterprise? What are your responsibilities in this new role?

Rob Westervelt: It’s an exciting time to be joining Windstream Enterprise, given the momentum the company has already established in the partner channel. I will be strategically leading the next evolution of the channel partner program with an emphasis on partner collaboration, innovation in SD-WAN, secure access service edge (SASE) and unified communications (UC).

CF: How will your previous experience with GTT and more come into play in this new role?

RW: I have been focused on the channel for over 25 years. So my experience across multiple companies will be helpful in this new role. During my time at GTT, my channel team led the America’s enterprise division selling SD-WAN, which will be a major focus of mine, along with UC, a solution that GTT did not have.

CF: What’s your take on Windstream Enterprise’s channel strategy and partner program? Will you be making any changes?

RW: Windstream Enterprise’s channel partner program offers best-in-class voice, network and security solutions on an impressive and efficient nationwide network that covers 170,000 fiber route-miles through an indirect sales and operations channel. My team will continue to invest in our strategic growth products and support customers in their transition away from legacy systems.

Our objective is to ensure that our customers have the best modern and innovative solutions, while partners are rewarded for their commitment and expertise. We have an integrated program where channel and direct sales work together, which is very favorable to partners.

CF: What’s at the top of your to-do list as head of channel at Windstream Enterprise?

RW: Our priority is getting the word out that Windstream Enterprise is the place for agents to come to and that we are incredibly partner-friendly. We are investing heavily in the channel, and have a channel integration strategy with direct and indirect sales. And we have one of the best compensation plans in the industry, and pay large bonuses on renewals and conversions.

CF: What are the biggest issues facing Windstream Enterprise partners? What will be your role in addressing those?

RW: We are always dedicated to understanding our offerings in an ever-evolving business environment, and how to position Windstream Enterprise with our customer bases, along with engaging our channel integration sales reps.

Jan 13

2022 M&A Is Mind-Boggling. What’s Fueling All the Activity?

By | Managed Services News

Every day, there’s another channel-centric deal. We look at four main trends driving the momentum.

2022 M&A is off to a mind-boggling start. Not even two full weeks into the new year, Channel Futures is reporting on yet more transactions every day — and that’s just within the indirect channel. Whether vendor or partner, companies are eager to combine strengths, augment weaker areas and beef up presence in new regions.

As for the amount of money companies are throwing at each other, that’s a bit of a question mark. Most of the deals are private, so the amounts are not disclosed. Behemoth advisory firm PwC says there’s a “significant increase” in volume among “not-quite-mega” deals, a category that likely houses much of the channel’s M&A. 2021 saw more than 800 transactions totaling between $500 million and $5 billion in value, PwC says in its Deals 2022 Outlook. That number compares against a typical year featuring 400-500 such deals, the firm notes. The stats indicate that 2022 M&A could rise even higher. Given the transactions already wrapped thus far, activity that outpaces 2021 looks more than possible.

“[M]any companies are navigating the competition for assets in different ways, including through smaller and midsize transactions that could still deliver solid proceeds and ultimately be scaled for larger deals,” PwC says.

Of course, there are no guarantees. Certain headwinds could start blowing harder and snuff out the flames of any nascent M&A arrangements. One of the most prominent potential headwinds? Inflation. In fact, 71% of respondents told M&A industry SaaS provider Datasite that inflation impacted an M&A deal they worked on in 2021. They expect that obstacle to carry over in 2022 (no surprise, given the 7% rate at which inflation already has risen). Law firm Hinckley Allen concurs with this observation.

“Rising inflation is a macro-economic concern for all business owners and operators,” legal experts write in the company’s 2022 M&A Market Forecast.

Still, 48% of the dealmakers polled by Datasite said they expect M&A to increase this year.

Another headwind that could put a stop to any 2022 M&A comes in the form of ongoing supply chain problems. Indeed, 14% of Datasite’s respondents cited this as a key obstacle. GDP growth, unemployment, tax rates and a more aggressive antitrust environment in the United States also could impede progress.

Underlying all of this is, no shocker, COVID-19.

“The impact of [COVID-19] and its many variants remain a real concern,” Hinckley Allen’s experts say. “For companies that struggled during [COVID-19], the fear of pandemic disruption is worrisome.”

Yet in spite of these potential deterrents, observers remain upbeat about 2022 M&A. Last year’s boom “looks set to continue,” said Duncan Smithson, M&A expert at advisory firm Willis Towers Watson. “M&A activity in 2022 looks poised to match the peaks of 2015,” Smithson added.

With all of that as context, Channel Futures wanted to explore the trends that are making 2022 M&A so attractive. We did so in the slideshow above. Keep these patterns and issues in mind as more companies announce more deals. Because they will.

Jan 13

Trace3 Expands Executive Team with Tech Data Vet as President

By | Managed Services News

The new president was with Tech Data for more than 14 years.

Trace3 has expanded its executive team by adding Tech Data vet Joe Quaglia as president.

As part of the Trace3 executive team, Quaglia will work alongside regional sales teams to expand sales and solution capabilities to support Trace3 clients and partners. Trace3 provides consultation services and advanced technical solutions.

Trace3's Joe Quaglia

Trace3’s Joe Quaglia

Prior to Trace3, Quaglia was with Tech Data for more than 14 years. He most recently was president of the Americas and global services. He led sales, operations and client success across the region and globally.

Last September, Synnex and Tech Data completed their $7.2 billion merger to form TD Synnex. The merged entity created a mega-distributor with more than 150,000 customers in more than 100 countries.

Strong Value Proposition

“I’ve been a partner of Trace3’s for many years and admire the company’s business model,” Quaglia said. “It has one of the strongest value propositions in the industry and a true client-first culture. I am pleased to join the team for this exciting next phase of growth.”

Rich Fennessy is Trace3’s CEO.

“Joe has been in the industry for 34 years and brings tremendous experience that will assist Trace3 in continuing to grow and expand its role in the industry,” he said.

Last fall, American Securities, a U.S. private equity firm, announced its acquisition of Trace3. Fennessy said with the new ownership, Trace3 will continue investing in its talent and expanding its service capabilities. American Securities purchased the IT consulting firm and Microsoft Azure cloud partner from H.I.G. Capital.

Trace3 specializes in cloud, data center design, security and business intelligence. The company also has a venture capital (VC) CXO briefing program, which provides IT research and trend analysis to customers.

It’s managed services span cloud, managed network, network operations center (NOC), and infrastructure capabilities.

Jan 13

2022 M&A Is Mind-Boggling. What’s Fueling All the Activity?

By | Managed Services News

Every day, there’s another channel-centric deal. We look at four main trends driving the momentum.

2022 M&A is off to a mind-boggling start. Not even two full weeks into the new year, Channel Futures is reporting on yet more transactions every day — and that’s just within the indirect channel. Whether vendor or partner, companies are eager to combine strengths, augment weaker areas and beef up presence in new regions.

As for the amount of money companies are throwing at each other, that’s a bit of a question mark. Most of the deals are private, so the amounts are not disclosed. Behemoth advisory firm PwC says there’s a “significant increase” in volume among “not-quite-mega” deals, a category that likely houses much of the channel’s M&A. 2021 saw more than 800 transactions totaling between $500 million and $5 billion in value, PwC says in its Deals 2022 Outlook. That number compares against a typical year featuring 400-500 such deals, the firm notes. The stats indicate that 2022 M&A could rise even higher. Given the transactions already wrapped thus far, activity that outpaces 2021 looks more than possible.

“[M]any companies are navigating the competition for assets in different ways, including through smaller and midsize transactions that could still deliver solid proceeds and ultimately be scaled for larger deals,” PwC says.

Of course, there are no guarantees. Certain headwinds could start blowing harder and snuff out the flames of any nascent M&A arrangements. One of the most prominent potential headwinds? Inflation. In fact, 71% of respondents told M&A industry SaaS provider Datasite that inflation impacted an M&A deal they worked on in 2021. They expect that obstacle to carry over in 2022 (no surprise, given the 7% rate at which inflation already has risen). Law firm Hinckley Allen concurs with this observation.

“Rising inflation is a macro-economic concern for all business owners and operators,” legal experts write in the company’s 2022 M&A Market Forecast.

Still, 48% of the dealmakers polled by Datasite said they expect M&A to increase this year.

Another headwind that could put a stop to any 2022 M&A comes in the form of ongoing supply chain problems. Indeed, 14% of Datasite’s respondents cited this as a key obstacle. GDP growth, unemployment, tax rates and a more aggressive antitrust environment in the United States also could impede progress.

Underlying all of this is, no shocker, COVID-19.

“The impact of [COVID-19] and its many variants remain a real concern,” Hinckley Allen’s experts say. “For companies that struggled during [COVID-19], the fear of pandemic disruption is worrisome.”

Yet in spite of these potential deterrents, observers remain upbeat about 2022 M&A. Last year’s boom “looks set to continue,” said Duncan Smithson, M&A expert at advisory firm Willis Towers Watson. “M&A activity in 2022 looks poised to match the peaks of 2015,” Smithson added.

With all of that as context, Channel Futures wanted to explore the trends that are making 2022 M&A so attractive. We did so in the slideshow above. Keep these patterns and issues in mind as more companies announce more deals. Because they will.

Jan 13

2022 M&A Is Mind-Boggling. What’s Fueling All the Activity?

By | Managed Services News

Every day, there’s another channel-centric deal. We look at four main trends driving the momentum.

2022 M&A is off to a mind-boggling start. Not even two full weeks into the new year, Channel Futures is reporting on yet more transactions every day — and that’s just within the indirect channel. Whether vendor or partner, companies are eager to combine strengths, augment weaker areas and beef up presence in new regions.

As for the amount of money companies are throwing at each other, that’s a bit of a question mark. Most of the deals are private, so the amounts are not disclosed. Behemoth advisory firm PwC says there’s a “significant increase” in volume among “not-quite-mega” deals, a category that likely houses much of the channel’s M&A. 2021 saw more than 800 transactions totaling between $500 million and $5 billion in value, PwC says in its Deals 2022 Outlook. That number compares against a typical year featuring 400-500 such deals, the firm notes. The stats indicate that 2022 M&A could rise even higher. Given the transactions already wrapped thus far, activity that outpaces 2021 looks more than possible.

“[M]any companies are navigating the competition for assets in different ways, including through smaller and midsize transactions that could still deliver solid proceeds and ultimately be scaled for larger deals,” PwC says.

Of course, there are no guarantees. Certain headwinds could start blowing harder and snuff out the flames of any nascent M&A arrangements. One of the most prominent potential headwinds? Inflation. In fact, 71% of respondents told M&A industry SaaS provider Datasite that inflation impacted an M&A deal they worked on in 2021. They expect that obstacle to carry over in 2022 (no surprise, given the 7% rate at which inflation already has risen). Law firm Hinckley Allen concurs with this observation.

“Rising inflation is a macro-economic concern for all business owners and operators,” legal experts write in the company’s 2022 M&A Market Forecast.

Still, 48% of the dealmakers polled by Datasite said they expect M&A to increase this year.

Another headwind that could put a stop to any 2022 M&A comes in the form of ongoing supply chain problems. Indeed, 14% of Datasite’s respondents cited this as a key obstacle. GDP growth, unemployment, tax rates and a more aggressive antitrust environment in the United States also could impede progress.

Underlying all of this is, no shocker, COVID-19.

“The impact of [COVID-19] and its many variants remain a real concern,” Hinckley Allen’s experts say. “For companies that struggled during [COVID-19], the fear of pandemic disruption is worrisome.”

Yet in spite of these potential deterrents, observers remain upbeat about 2022 M&A. Last year’s boom “looks set to continue,” said Duncan Smithson, M&A expert at advisory firm Willis Towers Watson. “M&A activity in 2022 looks poised to match the peaks of 2015,” Smithson added.

With all of that as context, Channel Futures wanted to explore the trends that are making 2022 M&A so attractive. We did so in the slideshow above. Keep these patterns and issues in mind as more companies announce more deals. Because they will.

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