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Google cloud partners cite Anthos as key Next '19 technology

Partners said the new Anthos technology is a game changer and gives Google a competitive edge over its public cloud rivals; other channel news from the week.

Google cloud partners cited Anthos -- the vendor's newly unveiled hybrid and multi-cloud technology -- as a key development that could open cloud opportunities for partners and their customers.

Google debuted Anthos this week at its Google Cloud Next '19 conference in San Francisco. The offering lets organizations deploy and manage applications on Google Cloud Platform and third-party cloud platforms, such as AWS and Microsoft Azure. Applications can run unmodified in the public cloud or in private data centers, according to the company.

"Anthos is a game-changing product that allows you to write your code one time and, without change, be able to automatically run that workload in Google Cloud, Amazon cloud or on your local infrastructure," said Brian Farrar, partner and founder of Maven Wave, a Google Cloud premier partner based in Chicago.

The technology supports rapid modernization of applications, Farrar said. The tasks involved in modernizing applications for use in the cloud have proven a major hurdle for enterprises attempting to move workloads off of on-premises IT, he noted.

"Google, with Anthos, has eliminated a lot of those challenges," he said.

Tony Safoian, CEO at SADA Systems Inc., a Google Cloud premier partner based in Los Angeles, agreed Anthos lowers the barriers to entry for enterprise customers. He said Anthos will help organizations get the most efficiency out of DevOps, as they can develop an application "once and not again."

Aric Bandy, president at Agosto, a Google Cloud premier partner in Minneapolis, called Anthos a "purposeful open source strategy that allows Google to go to market and say, 'You should be able to run your stack on whatever cloud you choose.'" Anthos is built on open software frameworks such as Kubernetes, Istio and Knative.

Customers adopting AWS and Azure are getting "a lot of lock-in" along with the innovation those clouds provide, Bandy noted. The more open-source-friendly stance, he added, will help Google go toe-to-toe with the other public cloud providers, which Google currently trails with regard to market share.

"That's a pretty strong way to get aggressive growth happening and take market share from AWS and Microsoft," Bandy said.

Google Cloud Next 2019: Focus on managed services

Another important theme at Next '19 was managed services, according to Google cloud partners, who cited growing customer demand for cloud management. Farrar said organizations moving to the cloud encounter new challenges and need help in a range of areas, including billing, support and administration.

"You can't just walk into the data center and hit the restart button," he said.

Against that backdrop, Maven Wave unveiled its Google Cloud Platform Managed Services offering, which includes ongoing account management, active monitoring and incident response. In addition, systems integrator Atos and CloudBees, an automated software delivery specialist, launched an application-development-oriented managed service offering for Google Cloud Platform.

Google got into the act, as well, disclosing cloud managed services partnerships with MongoDB, Redis, Elastic, DataStax, Neo4j, InfluxData and Confluent -- all open source software providers.

Google, meanwhile, appears to be revamping its relationships with managed service providers. Bandy said the cloud provider has been working to put the right kind of program in place, with the appropriate tooling, to encourage managed service providers (MSPs) to build out Google-based practices.

"Clients need to have a partner ecosystem that they can turn to for managing assets in the cloud," he said.

HPE makes use of partner advisory board

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is deriving numerous benefits from running a partner advisory board, according to the vendor.

HPE advisory board meetings generally convene about 30 leaders from global partner firms with HPE executives. The most recent meeting, held this week, was conducted over a day and half. It focused on HPE's hybrid cloud portfolio and the transformation of customer experiences at the edge. As with most HPE partner advisory meetings, attendees were given face time with the vendor's CEO, Antonio Neri.

"The intent of the partner advisory board ... is we are looking to get feedback," said Paul Hunter, worldwide partner sales leader at HPE.

One of the attendees at the recent meeting was Steinar Sonsteby, CEO of Atea ASA, a European systems integrator based in Oslo, Norway. HPE is among Atea's top strategic vendor partners.

The HPE advisory board is unique, because it creates an opportunity to network with partner CEOs from around the world, Sonsteby said. "I think one of the reasons why everybody comes all of the time is because that network is important to us," he said.

The HPE partner advisory board also provides face-to-face access to Neri, who is a regular presence at the meetings, Sonsteby said.

One of Sonsteby's takeaways from this week's meeting is that the advisory board attendees agreed on "the fact that HPE has never been better positioned from a technology point of view." He said there had been a couple of years that had been "a little bit painful. But, right now, everybody feels very good about the positioning, the technology -- everything from servers to storage to Aruba and the networking side."

Advisory board members also agreed HPE could be more aggressive in its sales strategy, he added.

"We are making progress, but there will certainly be more to come," Hunter said of HPE's sales organization. 

Additionally, Hunter and Sonsteby said the advisory board gives HPE and its partners a chance to address business areas that are proving challenging -- namely, the transition to consumption-based models. Atea, like many of its peers in the channel, have grappled with the transition.

"Partners are struggling with the shift to consumption on multiple dimensions," Hunter noted.

KSM Consulting enters 'next phase of growth'

KSM Consulting, a technology services and data analytics consultancy based in Indianapolis, plans to hire 30 new employees within the next four months and expand geographically in light of an ownership change.

Capital Partners, a private equity firm, has acquired a majority interest in the company, which was previously owned by accounting firm Katz, Sapper & Miller. The accounting firm will retain a minority stake in KSM Consulting. KSM Consulting's president, Mark Caswell, will now take on the role of CEO.

"I think the primary significance [of the ownership change] is that it points to the next phase of growth for us," Caswell said.

The company, which has grown from 25 to around 130 employees in the last five years, now seeks to bring on 30 new hires in the next 90 to 120 days and a total of 50 to 60 new hires by year's end.

Caswell said he also plans to expand the company's geographic reach in addition to strengthening its Indianapolis headquarters. He said he anticipates the company will be able to achieve its growth plans organically, but noted the relationship with Renovus could support growth via acquisition, as well.

Other news

  • Cask LLC has split into two stand-alone businesses, with one focusing on ServiceNow solutions and the other focusing on government services. The ServiceNow business, Cask NX, based in San Diego, will design, develop and implement digital transformation projects using ServiceNow. Cask Government Services, based in Stafford, Va., will provide program management, cybersecurity, logistics, business analysis and engineering services.
  • Corporate investment in the digital future frequently fails to produce a return on investment in the present. That's one observation from research published by Accenture's Industry X.0 group. The industrial companies in the survey spent a bit more than $100 billion on digital innovation between 2016 and 2018, but 78% of those firms said they fell short of achieving the expected earnings. The Accenture survey polled 1,350 global C-level management executives.
  • Security vendor Tripwire has revised its channel program to build out its global partnerships. Additionally, the program now features an invitation-only Platinum tier for key strategic alliances, Tripwire said. Tripwire provides security technology for enterprise, industrial and government customers.
  • Information Builders, a business intelligence, analytics and data management vendor, is partnering with Techblocks, an IT consulting company based in Toronto.
  • Nerdio, a company that specialized in Microsoft Azure IT automation, has launched Nerdio for Microsoft Azure Core. The company said the product lets MSPs offer Azure cloud solutions "while on the path to complete virtual desktop-centric IT environments in the cloud."
  • Managed detection and response vendor eSentire said partner bookings contributed significantly to the company's 50% year-over-year growth in 2018. The company credited 40% growth to partner bookings last year.
  • MSP software vendor Datto cut the ribbon on a new office in East Greenbush, N.Y. Datto noted that East Greenbush was the former global headquarters of Autotask, which Datto merged with in 2017. Datto said its New York-based employees make up about 30% of its 1,500 employees worldwide.
  • Serenova, a contact-center-as-a-service and workforce optimization vendor, has appointed Brandon Knight as its senior vice president of channel sales. Knight joins Serenova from distributor and master agent Intelisys, where he served as cloud evangelist.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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