Insight Enterprises, an IT solutions provider based in Tempe, Ariz., has developed an infrastructure as code offering that aims to help customers establish a cloud operating model.
The company delivers the offering as part of its managed public cloud service, initially focusing on Microsoft Azure. Infrastructure as code (IaC), also referred to as software-defined infrastructure, lets operations personnel manage and provision cloud resources via software code, rather than manual processes.
Phil O'Konski, national practice director at Insight's Cloud + Data Center Transformation division, said the company's IaC solution provides the management, monitoring, event management and correlation and automation components that have traditionally resided in private data center infrastructure. Insight's offering lets clients avoid having to build those tools as they roll out a cloud operating model.
O'Konski said infrastructure as code benefits include a reduction in the cost of duplicated resources in the public cloud and the ability to free organizations to focus on higher-level business activities and strategic initiatives.
"It's a way to accelerate their ability to leverage the cloud and accelerate their maturity around it so they don't have to reinvent the wheel," O'Konski said.
Insight provides its software-defined infrastructure offering as a managed service. The solution is based on a combination of third-party products and Insight's own intellectual property. ServiceNow provides IT service management and the automation engine, while Insight developed the orchestration and infrastructure as code components.
O'Konski said the IaC offering has been available for two quarters, noting Insight has a handful of clients on the technology with more in the pipeline to roll out. Subsequent releases will offer additional infrastructure as code benefits, including more self-service capabilities and automation throughout the cloud operating model. Insight's technology roadmap also includes plans to extend its infrastructure as code offering to AWS and Google Cloud Platform.
Channel business challenges in 2019
Industry watchers are expecting 2019 to be a pivotal year for the channel. In a recent webinar by PartnerPath, a channel research firm based in Menlo Park, Calif., PartnerPath CEO Diane Krakora and Jay McBain, principal analyst of global channels at Forrester, discussed several trends that vendors and their partners will likely grapple with in the year ahead.
Phil O'Konskinational practice director, Insight's Cloud + Data Center Transformation division
Partners should take note of the following four shifts highlighted in the discussion.
Customers are demanding hyperspecialized skills. McBain and Krakora emphasized that line of business (LOB) executives are seeking channel firms capable of addressing their specific problems. Buyers aren't looking for generalists anymore. "I want [channel partners] to know my line of business," McBain said.
He also noted the trend of partnering among partners as a way of gaining vertical market expertise. Vendors like Microsoft and IBM have launched enablement programs that encourage partners to partner together for vertical opportunities, he said. "You are going to see in 2019 a flood of these enablement programs around partnering with partners ... [and] getting people in the room that haven't traditionally worked together to solve customer problems."
Partner types will diversify. Traditional channel partners can expect to see nonstop growth within what McBain calls the shadow channel -- the ecosystem of unconventional partner types. Shadow channel partners include cloud consultants, accountants, digital agencies, born-in-the-cloud firms and ISVs.
He also expects cloud ecosystems to continue flourishing. For example, AWS will likely have 100,000 partners by the end of 2019, he said.
IT solutions become increasingly complex. Krakora and McBain cited the growing need for partnering among partners to assemble complex offerings. "When we are talking about IoT, we are seeing that the end customers that want very hyperspecialized skills also want a full solution to [fit] their business needs and outcomes," Krakora said.
Vendors will need to approach their channel partners differently, segmenting them by "those that transact and those that do not," McBain noted. The nontransacting partners, he said, act more like influencers or advocates and require unique incentives, training and education, co-selling, and marketing tools.
Managed service providers (MSPs) will look to increase margins. The managed services space has matured and consolidated, with margins having thinned to about 17%, McBain said. This has pressured MSPs to look for new ways to build back margin, such as providing cybersecurity services.
He pointed to cloud computing as a prime avenue for margin growth, noting "there is a whole set of downstream services that the channel is skilled to do. ... Those services are between 40% and 75% margins."
- Mphasis Stelligent said its 60-plus employees have all been certified on the AWS cloud platform. The company, based in Reston, Va., said the scope of AWS certification includes its sales, operations and marketing personnel, as well as engineers. Mphasis Stelligent offers DevOps automation professional services on AWS.
- CloudJumper, a cloud workspace software and services company in Garner, N.C., said it has accelerated its growth in the Canadian market through a partnership with TNG, an IT solution provider based in Toronto. TNG uses CloudJumper's Cloud Workspace Management Suite to offer customers with workspace-as-a-service solutions.
- The Henson Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner based in New York, has joined CAST's Highlight Partner Program. The Henson Group is now able to use CAST's Highlight, a SaaS digital readiness platform, to conduct cloud migration assessments.
- Mobile data technology firm Sito Mobile named Matt Murphy as its senior vice president of channel partnerships. Murphy will oversee the company's partner program and channel sales. Murphy previously served as Sito Mobile's vice president of product marketing.
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