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Friday, January 31, 2014

20 Cloud Computing Stats Every CIO Should Know

CIO’s are tasked with the challenge of determining the best way to store massive amounts of data in a safe, easy-to-access, cost-effective manner. Organizations can choose to purchase and deploy on-premises enterprise storage systems, store their data with an external cloud computing service, or they can form hybrid models by combining to two.

In this post, we’ve put our focus on cloud computing and compiled 20 statistics that every CIO should look to store in their memory for future reference or for ground to stand on when bringing a cloud proposal to the rest of their executive teams.

1. By 2015, end-user spending on cloud services could be more than $180 billion
2. It is predicted that the global market for cloud equipment will reach $79.1 billion by 2018

3. If given the choice of only being able to move one application to the cloud, 25% of respondents would choose storage

4. By 2014, businesses in the United States will spend more than $13 billion on cloud computing and managed hosting services

5. Throughout the next five years, a 44% annual growth in workloads for the public cloud versus an 8.9% growth for “on-premise” computing workloads is expected

6. 82% of companies reportedly saved money by moving to the cloud

7. More than 60% of businesses utilize cloud for performing IT-related operations

8. 14% of companies downsized their IT after cloud adoption

9. 80% of cloud adopters saw improvements within 6 months of moving to the cloud 

10. 32% of Americans believe cloud computing is a thing of the future

11. There’s an estimated 1 exabyte of data stored in the cloud

12. More than half of survey respondents say their organization currently transfers sensitive or confidential data to the cloud

13. Cisco forecasts that global data center traffic will triple from 2.6 zettabytes in 2012 to 7.7 zettabytes annually in 2017, representing a 25 percent CAGR

14. Global data center traffic will grow threefold (a 25 percent CAGR) from 2012 to 2017, while global cloud traffic will grow 4.5-fold (a 35 percent CAGR) over the same period 

15. From 2012 to 2017, data center workloads will grow 2.3-fold; cloud workloads will grow 3.7-fold

16. 2014 is the first year the majority of workloads will be on the cloud as 51% will be processed in the cloud versus 49% in the traditional IT space

17. 545 cloud services are in use by an organization on average

18. 56% of survey respondents trust the ability of cloud providers to protect the sensitive and confidential data entrusted to them

19. 59% of all new spending on cloud computing services originates from North American enterprises, a trend projected to accelerate through 2016

20. 38% of enterprises surveyed break out cloud computing budgets, while 60% include cloud-related spending as part of their enterprise-wide IT budgets

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tech 10: Must-See Managed Service Products

New Looks For MSPs

Are you in need of a new tool, platform or program to help your managed services businesses grow?
 Here are 10 offerings from some of the top cloud and systems management software companies, from wireless-as-a-service to managed cloud services, that add new wrinkles to the MSP model.

10. Adtran Wi-Fi As A Service

Adtran's Wi-Fi-as-a-Service is an attempt to convert wireless networking into a cloud service. The networking vendor this summer introduced a new program called ProCloud for both existing MSPs and newcomers to managed services. The program allows solution providers to either offer an Adtran Wi-Fi as a service through ProCloud or brand the Wif-Fi as a service with their own company name through the ProCloud Private Label.

9. Unified Office Total Connect Now

Cloud service provider Unified Office is looking to leverage the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend for MSPs. The company unveiled a new open-systems-based platform called Total Connect Now, which creates a virtual office communications service for SMB clients. The private cloud platform offers voice mail, instant messaging, videoconferencing and virtual receptionist features.

8. Verdasys Managed Service For Information Protection

Security vendor Verdasys is bringing data loss prevention (DLP) to managed services via its new cloud-based managed service. Introduced earlier this year, Verdasys' Managed Service for Information Protection (MISP) is designed for midmarket and enterprise customers with 1,000 employees or more. The managed service is delivered through Verdasys' Secure Cloud and is designed to protect corporate data as well as provide insider threat management, policy enforcement and compliance features.

7. Spanlink Communications OnGuard

Top Cisco collaboration partner Spanlink Communications earlier this year introduced OnGuard, a managed services suite for enterprise call center and telepresence videoconferencing. OnGuard also provides switching and router services. The Ciscofocused managed services come in two packages: a basic offering called OnGuard Maintain that provides monitoring and engineering support plus audits, service level agreements and notification services. On Guard Manage includes patch management, desktop and license management and application failure testing.

6. ArrowSphere XSP Central

Arrow Electronics added a new layer to its ArrowSphere cloud aggregation and brokerage platform with a new offering for MSPs. ArrowSphere xSP Central is a cloud services tool designed to assist MSPs in monitoring all the different cloud software licenses inside a customer environment with a central management platform. The xSP Central tool also includes a forecasting capability that can help VARs calculate the total cost of all a customers' cloud services.

5. ConnectWise Integration With OS33

Systems management software maker ConnectWise is looking to assist its MSP customers with their migration to the cloud. To do so, ConnectWise recently announced an integration agreement with OS33, a private cloud services firm, which will give MSPs a single IT solution that can help them deliver both managed services and cloud services. The combined ConnectWise and OS33 solution also enables MSPs to track cloud and data usage, and add more features like security and on-premise services.

4. Panorama9 MSP Interface

Panorama9, which makes a cloud-based IT management platform, recently unveiled new updates to both its MSP Partner Program and its platform. The Panorama9 platform now allows users to assign responsibilities, select user access for clients and add client notes. The update also brings visual enhancements, new notification templates, and advanced integration with Zendesk's customer service software and other help desk systems.

3. Kaseya Traverse

Kaseya is stepping up its cloud game with a new Software-asa- Service tool for performance monitoring. Kaseya's Traverse is designed to give MSPs a predictive analytics, performance monitoring and business service management tool for cloud, onpremise and hybrid environments. Kaseya added Traverse when it acquired software maker Zyrion earlier this year.

2. Synnex ConvergeSolv Secure Networking

Synnex's ConvergeSolv Secure Networking Group, which focuses on networking, unified communications and network security solutions, added managed wireless services and hosted notifications to its service offerings. The managed wireless service will allow MSPs to provide configuration, monitoring and upgrade services, among others, for SMB and enterprise-level wireless networks. The hosted notification service, meanwhile, gives MSPs a subscription-based cloud service that automates notifications and reminders.

1. NetEnrich IT Operations Platform

NetEnrich recently added two new offerings to its IT operations platforms for managed service providers. First, the company added a new customizable dashboard that allows MSPs a complete view of all the hosted services and IT assets in a client's environment. Second is the ability for MSPs to brand the client interface with their own company name. NetEnrich's IT operations platform also includes unified alert monitoring, improved capacity reporting and a Custom Escalation Matrix.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Cisco Services Training

Cisco BYOD Training Module

Understand more about the business and services opportunities made possible by BYOD, and how Cisco Smart Capabilities can help you and your customers meet the challenges of BYOD.

Cisco Smart Services Training Module

Help your customers' networks run more smoothly, with predictable performance, and reduced network complexity-while you accelerate your profitable services business.

Services Opportunity Training Module

Learn how to optimize your services business and fuel profitable growth with Cisco services.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

10 Tips Along The Path To A Managed Services Model

Checklist For Managed Services Migration

Specifics around a move from traditional resale to a managed services model vary by company, by circumstance and by objective. Most channel companies that have moved in this direction have blazed their own trail, to a large extent. But based on interviews with solution providers, certain practices seem to rise to the top. Here is a list of action items that can serve as a helpful starting point in developing your business transformation methodology.

1. Begin With The Customer

What are your customers' opinions of managed services and cloud-based services? Assess their desire and their willingness to move in this direction, as opposed to maintaining systems on their premises. Pay close attention to who within the organization is in favor of the move and who within the organization is not. You may find that some customers will begin this discussion adamantly opposed to a managed services model, but then become more open to the idea after gaining a better understanding of the business case. This can occur within a single discussion or sometimes over the course of several months. But understanding your customers' willingness is your own first step for developing a strategy.

2. Assess Your Customers' Technology Readiness

Take a look at how each customer is using information technology at the customer premises and begin to draw parallels between those configurations and how the cloud and/or managed services might be used. Develop your own recommendations for what technologies can be easily and safely moved into the managed services model, and be prepared to articulate both the risks and advantages of doing so.

3. Review Your Capabilities

Once you have completed your assessment of customer readiness, look to your own company's capabilities and differentiators. Develop cloud and managed services alternatives for as many of your offerings as possible. It's best for customers to see that your service line includes everything for which you are familiar to them. Develop the capability to function as an evangelist for managed services and cloud-based services. Familiarize yourself with the business case, and understand where it is best deployed, and where on-premise remains the legitimate choice for customers.

4. Assess Your Solutions

Although many established, traditional IT vendors are developing software and services specifically to support the cloud and managed services model, there may be instances in which new vendors that specialize in cloud technologies can be added to your mix. Evaluate everything in terms of fixing business problems by way of technology, rather than selling technology for the sake of technology. Develop underlying methods for becoming familiar with customer business problems that can then be extrapolated to specific solutions.

5. Assess Financial Impacts

Recognize that the move toward cloud and managed services will extend revenue over a lengthy period of time but will reduce the up-front revenue with which traditional resale is associated. Therefore, it is important to make sure that expenses are timed commensurate with the rate at which revenue is collected in order to avoid critical cash flow problems.

6. Establish Management-Level Buy-In

This may be more of an issue at some companies than at others, but the champion of managed services and cloud services within your organization undoubtedly will need support from the executive suite in order to realize the business model migration. A detailed cost/benefit analysis can be augmented by articulating how industry trends are forcing much of the channel in this direction. Therefore, buy-in may not be difficult to achieve. Nonetheless, the executive team will need to see sufficient data to support the move, as well as an efficient and workable strategy for execution.

7. Establish Sales-Level Buy In

Most solution providers familiar with the VAR/integrator business model have sales teams that are highly attuned toward building profitability through the sale of products. A move toward managed services and cloud-related services will force these individuals to reassess their tactics for presenting the value proposition and eventually closing the deal. Some may see this shift as a threatening development. Others will acknowledge the industry trend and actively seek to shift their approach to doing business. Build sales strategies that reflect the new model, and execute those strategies either through your existing sales force or through a new sales force dedicated to managed services. Finally, assess your back-end systems to make sure they can handle a business model based on monthly recurring revenue.

8. Establish A Managed Services Tiger Team

Regardless of how carefully you plan your transition into managed services, there inevitably will be certain factors and developments that were unforeseen or otherwise overlooked. It is important to have a specific "tiger team" charged with navigating and executing the transition's components, regardless of whether they are planned or unplanned. Management representatives should be joined by all the major groups within the organization, including sales, engineering, marketing and operations.

9. Develop A Marketing Strategy

As you near the formalized rollout of your new business model, develop a comprehensive marketing strategy aimed at articulating the benefit to your customers while also demonstrating that your company is the right choice to help them down this path. Very often, solution provider organizations are launched by technologists who understand how to leverage products and services, but are not necessarily experts in the marketing field. It will be important to have such talent on board in order to capture the attention of your customers.

10. Set Benchmarks

Establish a list of key metrics that you intend to track in evaluating the relative success of your transition. Aspects such as customer retention, cost of acquisition and profitability will obviously factor heavily into this equation. But it is also important to see to what extent managed services and cloud services are helping you to extend your footprint, both geographically as well as into new technologies. Make sure to set reasonable benchmarks and objectives.


Cisco UCS 2.0: Flashy new data center servers revealed

Cisco this week unveiled the second generation of its successful data center server system with versions that incorporate solid state flash memory designed to speed data access and cut power usage.
At the same time, Cisco enhanced a management platform for its Unified Computing System (UCS) servers, and extended its line of Nexus data center switches to address requirements in the access and small core layers.
The new and enhanced products are intended to solidify Cisco’s entrenchment in data center networking, while continuing to build on and broaden the momentum it’s realized in data center servers since entering that market in 2009. Cisco says it now has 28,000 customers for the UCS server system and that the product line is growing at 60% per year, the fastest rate of any Cisco product.
The new UCS servers – dubbed the Invicta Series – employ flash memory technology obtained last year through the acquisition of a company called WHIPTAIL. Cisco says that solid-state memory systems situated closer to the workloads that need it enable faster access to data, and reduce power and space compared to traditional data center memory and storage methods.
“This is a good first step for Cisco” into storage, says Henry Baltazar of Forrester Research. “With convergence and software-defined IT, you need storage.”
The new offerings include the UCS Invicta C3124SA Appliance, for I/O acceleration in medium-scale environments; the Invicta Scaling System, a rack enclosure for the appliances that’s designed for scale and capacity; and integration with the UCS Director management system for single pane control.
The C3124A appliance can support 250,000 IOPS and 1.9GBps bandwidth while the Scaling System can support up to 4 million IOPS and 40GBps bandwidth.
The UCS Invicta Series is designed to improve the performance of data intensive workloads like analytics and intelligence, batch processing, email, online transaction processing, video, virtual desktops, database loads, and high-performance computing. Cisco says such solid-state memory systems can extract, integrate and analyze data 10x faster than conventional methods, run batches with interrupting workflow, break bottlenecks between servers and memory, and compress more video files faster.
“A key area for flash is performance sensitive apps,” Baltazar says. “It’s also good in virtualization [where it’s] easier to consolidate workloads with high performance flash. It’s really, really good at random access.”
In multi-tenant environments, Invicta can enable big relational databases to co-exist with virtual desktops on the same server platform.
Broader UCS management reach
Invicta’s integration with UCS Director is but one enhancement to the UCS management platform Cisco unveiled this week. Others include scale, extensibility, and support for heterogeneous environments.
UCS Director automates the converged IT infrastructure, Cisco says. This is different from UCS Manager, which controls a single UCS domain; UCS Central, which governs multiple UCS domains; and Intelligent Automation for Cloud, which is a cloud service orchestrator for private, hybrid and platform-as-a-service cloud services.
Each management layer can share information with the other, however.
For scale, UCS Director supports management of 50,000 virtual machines in large data centers, Cisco says. It also now includes a software developer’s kit for extensibility to the applications of third-party software vendors, and support for HP, Dell and IBM servers. It also supports management of network equipment from Brocade and F5, and Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisors in addition to those from VMware.
Cisco extends Nexus switching line
In switching, Cisco unveiled a six-slot, 9RU chassis for the Nexus 7700 line. The Nexus 7706 is targeted at small core, aggregation and data center interconnect applications, with a switching capacity of 21Tbps, 192 ports of 1/10G, 48 ports of 40G and nine ports of 100G Ethernet.
The existing Nexus 7718 and 7710 support switching capacities of 83Tbps and 42Tbps, respectively, and 1/10G densities of 768 ports and 384 ports.
Cisco also rolled out a 10G “F3” module for the Nexus 7700 line that is designed for core, spine, leaf, data center interconnect and SAN connectivity. It features programmability via OpenFlow, Cisco’s onePK, Python and XML APIs, and consumes 35% less power than previous generation “F2” modules for the Nexus 7000 line.
Cisco also unveiled its eventual successor to the Nexus 5500 access/leaf switches with the Nexus 5600. The 5672UP features 48 10G and six 40G ports. Sixteen of the 5672UP's 10G ports are so-called Unified Ports – ports that support Ethernet, Fibre Channel, or Fibre Channel-over-Ethernet.
The 56128 supports 48 fixed 10G and four 40G ports, with expansion slots for 24 10G Unified Ports and two 40G ports. The 5600s feature 1 microsecond latency, VXLAN bridging and routing, OpenFlow, onePK, Python and XML programmability, and can scale to 1,152 ports through fabric extenders, Cisco says.
Some analysts believe Cisco should explain which APIs and protocols to use with certain applications or requirements when programming the switch.
“This should become a workhorse switch for them,” says Zeus Kerravala, principal at ZK Research.
“But when should users use one programming method vs. the other? Cisco offers the broadest toolkit out there, but when to use what?”
Unified Ports have also now been added to the Nexus 6000 40G switching line. The Nexus 6004 can now support 20 ports of 2/4/8G Fibre Channel, or 1/10G Ethernet, or 10G FCoE, Cisco says.
Cisco also added a new member to the Nexus 3100 access/leaf line of switches, which are based on merchant silicon. The 3172TQ supports 72 10GBase-T ports and can function as a VXLAN top-of-rack switch. It also supports OpenStack orchestration and provisioning, Cisco says.
Support for OpenStack (an open source cloud computing platform) has also been added to the Nexus 1000V virtual switch, which now supports KVM hypervisors in addition to its current VMware and Hyper-V support.
Lastly, Cisco added Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) partners. They write applications for Cisco’s APIC controller, which delegates and enforces application policies in an ACI fabric comprised of Cisco’s new Nexus 9000 switches.
New partners include A10 Networks, Palo Alto Networks, Cloudera, MapR and Catbird. They join
some 28 partners Cisco introduced at ACI’s launch late last year.
Cisco says it has over 305 customers for its Nexus 9000/ACI product line, three of which could be $40 million to $100 million deals.
The Nexus 7706 and F3 10G module are currently shipping. Everything else will be available later this quarter.
The Nexus 7706 switch starts at $65,000. F3 modules start at $44,000. The Nexus 5600 ranges in price from $32,000 to $36,000. A 24x10G, 2x40G expansion module for the 56128 switch costs $12,000. The Nexus 3172TQ costs $21,000.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Investor To Juniper: 7 Changes You Should Make Right Now

An Investor's Call To Action

On Jan. 13, one day before Juniper Networks kicked off its third annual Global Partner Conference in Las Vegas, hedge fund and Juniper Investor Elliott Management filed a report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. That report, at its most basic level, called for Juniper to make some serious changes -- and soon.
Elliott Management, which holds a 6.2 percent investment stake in Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Juniper, outlined several steps Juniper should take to reduce operating expenses, streamline its product portfolio, and, overall, become a leaner, better version of itself. "Our conclusion from [our] analysis is that Juniper's assets are valuable and strategic and that the business possesses several fundamental upside drivers over the medium-term but that its future will be increasingly difficult if Juniper continues with its existing strategy," Elliott Management wrote in a PDF presentation accompanying the SEC filing.
Here are 7 steps Elliot Management said Juniper should take now to put it "back on the path towards

Take A Serious Look At Security

As Elliott Management sees it, Juniper needs to make some serious decisions regarding its security strategy. As a whole, Juniper's security story is one beset with "missteps and distractions," Elliot Management wrote, not the least of which was Juniper's "mis-executed" product transition away from its legacy NetScreen products. The investment firm also said the recent exit of Bob Muglia, executive vice president, Software Solutions Division, spells more bad news for Juniper's security business. "Juniper's board should undertake a strategic review of the security business, which is underperforming and now lacks a leader after Bob Muglia's recent resignation," the filing read.
Juniper admits that its security business has been a pain point. In 2010 and 2011, it faced significant backlash from partners and customers, who felt it was too slow to respond to customer complaints about its flawed SRX services gateways. "Given the security business' underperformance and dilution to Juniper's year-over-year growth profile, [Wall] Street analysts have repeatedly asked management if the business can be divested or de-emphasized," Elliott

Enterprise Switching, QFabric Need Attention, Too

Juniper's security strategy isn't the only one that needs to be shaken up a bit, Elliott Management urged.
Juniper's enterprise switching line -- and, especially, its QFabric data center fabric -- needs to be revisited, Elliott Management said, particularly as Juniper's overall switching share continues to sit at about 3 percent in a market "dominated by Cisco."
According to Elliott's report, Juniper has "overpromised and underdelivered" on the development and sales of QFabric, a product it spent two years and more than $100 million to make. The delayed launch of QFabric also gave Juniper competitors, including Cisco, Brocade and Arista, ample time to roll out their own data center fabric offerings, Elliott said.
"QFabric fell under scrutiny as a product that had failed to live up to its initial hype," the PDF reads.

Hold Off On M&As

According to Elliott Management, Juniper should pump the breaks when it comes to acquisitions -- especially if it wants to cut costs.
The investment firm said Juniper has spent over $7 billion on acquisitions since 1999, amounting to 111 percent of Juniper's overall enterprise value at the time Elliott began to "buy material amounts" of Juniper stock. That kind of spending needs to stop, according to the firm.
"Juniper should give strong consideration to halting its acquisition program while it focuses on execution in its existing businesses," the report said.
Elliott Management also slapped Juniper on the wrist for having moved forward with acquisitions in December (when it bought WANDL, a maker of network analysis and management software, for $60 million), especially with a new CEO starting in just two weeks, and Muglia having just left.

Cost-Cutting Is A Must

Elliott Management is urging Juniper to reduce its operating expenses by $200 million in 2014, a goal it said Juniper can achieve by focusing more on its "main business" and eliminating "lower risk-adjusted ROI projects."
Investors at Elliott said a $200 million reduction in operating expenses alone could increase Juniper's stock price between 24 percent and 41 percent, putting it somewhere between $28 and $32.
"Realization of a clearly articulated and meaningful cost savings plan can restore confidence in Juniper by communicating that the Company is prudently reducing spend while making targeted investments in an effort to maximize shareholder value," Elliott wrote in the PDF.

Ease Up On R&D Spend

Elliott Management called Juniper's R&D spend "excessive" compared to competitors like Cisco, HP and Riverbed, and urged the company to scale back on R&D investments as part of an overall cost-cutting plan.
"Juniper's R&D spend is significantly higher than its peers relative to revenue and per R&D employee, representing a significant source of savings as part of the recommended cost realignment plan," the PDF said. Elliott's analysis shows that Juniper spends roughly 27 percent more on its R&D employees compared to its competitors. If Juniper spent at the "average level" of its rivals, the investment firm said Juniper could save roughly $200 million each year.
Elliott's report also shows that Juniper's R&D spend represented roughly 21 percent of its overall revenue for the past 12 months. Cisco was the next biggest spender at 16 percent. Elliott said Juniper has invested more than $7.7 billion in R&D since its founding.

Stop Paying Engineers So Much

Not only does Juniper spend too much on its R&D employees -- it spends too much on its software engineers, too, according to Elliott Management.
The PDF said that Juniper pays the highest average base salary to its software engineers compared to its competitors, many of which, Elliott pointed out, have larger revenue bases and market caps.
Citing 2013 data from, Elliott said in the filing that Juniper spends more on its software engineers than tech giants, including Facebook, Google, Amazon and Yahoo. It also spends more than direct competitors, including Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, Brocade and Arista. The average base salary for a Juniper software engineer, according to the report, is somewhere around $159,990. LinkedIn is next in line with $136,427.
Cisco, the PDF stated, pays its software engineers an average base salary of $109,491.

Make A Comeback In Service Provider Routing

Elliott Management was blunt in its PDF about Juniper losing "significant market share" in the service providing routing market -- but not all is lost yet, according to the firm.
As Elliott sees it, if Juniper can refocus on its main service provider routing marketing by eliminating the "distraction" caused by its nonrouting R&D projects and "failed efforts" in security and switching, the company could potentially regain the 6 points in market share it's lost in the edge router market since 2005. What's more, Elliott said Juniper could regain the 12 points it's lost in the core routing market since 2005 -- if, again, it can push those "distractions" aside.
According to Elliott's filing, which cited market share data from Infonetics, Juniper's market share in the service provider edge router market in 2005 was 20 percent, compared to 14 percent in 2012. In the service provider core router market, Juniper's market share in 2005 was 36 percent, compared to 24 percent in 2012.

Cisco Revamps CCNP Certification, Adds Cybersecurity Specialist Designation

Cisco Systems (NSDQ:CSCO), under pressure to respond to the adoption of cloud services and increasingly porous corporate networks, has revamped its career certification program. It will focus less on specific networking gear and instead on threat control, secure access and mobility.
The firm said its Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) career certification program has been completely redesigned to address mobile implementations, remote workers and cloud-based services. The company said the changes, which have been in the works for 18 months, will help networking professionals understand security "more holistically."
"Twenty years ago, the network was confined to one building, one location and one lab," a Cisco spokesperson told CRN in an interview. "Twenty years later, we're now looking at an environment where everyone is in the cloud and mobility is becoming huge."
The program still will consist of four exams and the ability to attend instructor-led training courses, but rather than focusing on core network security products, such as firewalls, VPNs and intrusion-prevention systems, the training will be bucketed into technology areas, such as edge network security, threat control protection for monitoring, and secure access and mobility security.
In addition, the company also introduced a Cybersecurity Specialist certification, targeting network security analysts in charge of monitoring threat-prevention appliances and security information event management systems.
Cisco stressed that the certification is not an entry-level course. The company has a prerequisite for networking professionals to hold a Cisco Associate certification. The training is lab-intensive and extremely hands-on, given by Cisco's advanced services education team. It consists of event monitoring, security event alarm, traffic analysis and incident response.
Solution providers welcomed the certification changes, calling it a good way to modernize the training program. Having staff that hold certifications helps demonstrate that a partner is serious about the technology they are implementing, said Dori Spade, Eastern Region director of Concord, Mass.-based service provider and network management consultancy EveryNetwork.
"We would be very interested in new certification offerings," Spade said. "With the pervasive use of cloud platforms and SaaS-based solutions, and the well-documented data security breaches, our clients increasingly rely on us to safeguard their data, giving this more pronounced emphasis."
Four Cisco product training courses are available and cover implementing Advanced and Core Cisco ASA Security; Cisco Bring Your Own Device Solutions; and implementing and configuring Cisco Identity Services Engine for Wireless Engineers

The 10 Biggest Managed Services Stories Of 2013

With the market for managed services expected to double in the next five years to $256.05 billion, it was an area ripe for growth in 2013 and beyond. The past year brought acquisitions, a rise in software-as-a-service offerings, management platforms, cloud services and more to help MSPs adapt and thrive in a rapidly growing marketplace. Take a step back through the year with CRN to take a look at the 10 biggest managed services of the year.

10. MSPAlliance Unveils MSP Guidelines

To help bolster end-user clients' confidence in MSPs, the International Association of Cloud & Managed Service Providers, or MSPAlliance, a professional association with more than 20,000 members worldwide, introduced a set of guidelines in June for MSPs based on the group's own rules and the rules of the Unified Certification Standard for Cloud & Managed Service Providers (UCS). To become certified, MSPs would need to get audited to see if they meet standards of data protection, transparency, ethics, finance and public and private cloud.  The guidelines were designed to help protect the unregulated MSP market's reputation from bad apples that aren't living up to industry standards. The program appealed to MSPs looking to bolster customer confidence, remedy business problems or satisfy customer compliance issues, the MSPAlliance said.

9. FusionStorm Sells Managed Services Business To Synoptek

Information technology delivery company FusionStorm spun off its managed services division in August to Synoptek, forming Synoptek LLC. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The spinoff combined the former FusionStorm managed services division with Synoptek's own managed services business, as well as its cloud. The reason for the split, FusionStorm said, was to allow the company to focus on its data center and systems integration business.  "The deal provides cash for us to invest in the things we do best, which is data center infrastructure and integration. At the same [time], we found a dedicated home for our managed services operation," Ed Korenman, vice president of marketing at FusionStorm, told CRN at the time.
Although FusionStorm had dreams of an IPO a year prior, the company said the spinoff had nothing to do with the IPO, which fell through this May, but instead was a move focused on growth going forward for the company.

8. Panorama9 Rolls Out MSP Program For Cloud-Based Management Platform

In a move tailored to the growing complications for managed service providers in an increasingly cloud-based world, Panorama9 rolled out a partner program to specifically address the needs of the MSP in regards to its management platform. The partner program, launched in March, helps MSPs move to a recurring revenue model by offering either volume discounts when the partner bills the customer or commission if sold directly.  "The MSP partner program is designed to make it easy for managed service providers to offer, bill and get paid for delivering our services to end customers. We want to make it easy for them to get paid on a recurring revenue basis," Panorama9 CEO Allan Thorvaldsen told CRN at the time.

7. Continuum Rolls Out New Programs For MSPs

Boston-based Continuum had a dual rollout in January to enhance its support of customer needs and legacy infrastructure. Announced first, the BDR Revive Solution allows for a simple USB stick install of Continuum's backup and disaster recovery solutions. The significance of the solution, Continuum said, was that it could be installed on existing hardware, meaning hardware investments already made didn't have to be scrapped to install BDR software. The second, Tech Advantage program, lets MSPs access Continuum's Mumbai, India-based operations center team to resolve problems and cost-effectively work on projects around the clock.


6. Trend Micro, Tech Data Partner To Simplify Account Management

Trend Micro and Tech Data in January announced a partnership aimed at helping managed service providers simplify their accounts through a platform integration between the two companies. More specifically, the integration linked Tech Data's Solution Store with Trend Micro's Licensing Management Platform (LMP). The move is meant to help MSPs streamline accurate billing, especially for SaaS security products, instead of auditing the end user to determine their usage.
"On the partner side, it eliminates the administrative chores associated with this business function. As customers move towards the cloud model, there are a few days every month when people are just scrambling to gather data on usage in order to invoice the customers," Bharath Natarajan, director of product marketing at Tech Data, said of the announcement. "This has been a painful thorn in the sides of all the providers, and we believe that we have just removed that thorn."

5. SolarWinds Buys N-able

In order to expand its SMB service portfolio, SolarWinds made a $120 million cash acquisition of N-able, an Ontario-based RMM and service automation software company. N-able also brought security, backup, patch management, automation and reporting tools to the table for SolarWinds.
"We are not very successful in that part of the MSP market where relatively small companies are providing services to a bunch of small businesses around the world. N-able gives us the ability to do that," CEO Kevin Thompson told CRN at the time. "So this opens up a market we have not been serving directly in the past, a market that has not been included in our view of the addressable market because we haven't had a good way to get there in the past."

4. Arrow Enhances Cloud Services Platform With New MSP Tool

After announcing the release of its ArrowSphere cloud brokerage and aggregation platform to North America in June, Arrow said it was extending the offering in August to add xSP Central, a cloud service tool to help MSPs monitor licenses from a single platform. The tool helps MSPs predict and automate future cloud operation costs for their customers, as well as white label and build clouds more effectively, Arrow said at the time. Partners cheered the release, saying the ability to aggregate the cloud vendors into a single pane helped accelerate their entry into the cloud.

3. Kaseya Eyes Cloud, MDM With New Acquisitions

Kaseya clearly had its eyes set on cloud and mobile device management in July as it acquired cloud software and services vendor Zyrion as well as Rover Apps, a software maker that specializes in mobile device management for BYOD. Both companies were acquired for an undisclosed amount. With the acquisition of Zyrion, Kaseya said it planned to combine Zyrion's Traverse monitoring software with its own systems management software for both public and private clouds, which it upgraded to a SaaS offering in October. At the time, Kaseya said it also planned to integrate Rover Apps' Secure Container Suite for mobile devices with its systems management software, and in December, the company rolled out the Kaseya BYOD Suite, an enterprise-class platform for corporate mobile device management based on the technology it gained from its Rover Apps acquisition.

2. HP Launches Partner-Owned Contract Managed Print Program

As part of a much-anticipated move, Hewlett-Packard unveiled a managed print services program at its June Discover conference. The move by HP gave control of the customer contract to the partner for the first time. Solution providers cheered the HP Managed Print Specialist Resell Program, saying it would bring higher margins and better account advantages.
At the time, estimates predicted that 80 percent of partners already in the HP agent program would take advantage of the new program.

1. Dimension Data Moves IT Support Maintenance Into Cloud Services Era

To help more MSPs move into the cloud, Dimension Data announced a new managed services offering in January to help MSPs move break/fix support into the cloud. The offering, called Global Uptime, was extended to Dimension Data's 6,000 clients worldwide and gave them access to cloud-based IT asset tracking, with proactive uptime mobile monitoring. The move is part of the company's aggressive push toward cloud-based managed services, Dimension Data said at the time, and will help MSPs cut costs and consolidate operations under a single managed service.

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