IBM said its latest push into the hybrid and multi-cloud market is setting the stage for new channel opportunities.
The company this week revealed IBM Cloud Paks, a new set of IBM software offerings containerized on Red Hat OpenShift. According to IBM, Cloud Paks aim to help customers migrate, integrate and modernize applications in multiple-cloud environments.
Those environments include public clouds such as AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Alibaba and IBM Cloud, as well as private clouds. The Cloud Paks launch follows on the heels of IBM closing its $34 billion Red Hat acquisition in July and is part of a broader strategy to make its software portfolio cloud-native and OpenShift-enabled.
"The strategy has been to containerize the middleware on a common Kubernetes platform. That common Kubernetes platform is Red Hat OpenShift," said Brian Fallon, director of worldwide digital and partner ecosystems, IBM Cloud and cognitive software.
For IBM business partners, Cloud Paks offer a modular approach to solving common problems faced by customers in their journeys to cloud, he said. The company released five Cloud Pak products, addressing data virtualization; application development; integration of applications, data, cloud services and APIs; process automation; and multi-cloud management.
IBM Cloud Paks can be mixed and matched to address different customer scenarios. For example, the Cloud Pak for Applications and Cloud Pak for Integration "together represent a great opportunity for partners to help their clients move and modernize workloads to a cloud environment," Fallon said.
Dorothy Copeland, global vice president of programs and business development for the IBM partner ecosystem, said IBM's push into hybrid and multi-cloud products is creating new opportunities for IBM and Red Hat partners, respectively.
"We are enabling the market to drive hybrid, multi-cloud solutions and, in that, enabling our business partners to be able to do that, as well. ... There is a huge opportunity for partners, especially around areas where partners can add specific knowledge, services and management of the deployment," she said.
Cloud Paks may also serve as an entry point for Red Hat partners to build IBM practices. Copeland noted that Red Hat partners have shown increasing interest in joining the IBM partner ecosystem since the acquisition was announced. IBM has stated it intends Red Hat to operate independently under its ownership.
Logically acquires New York-area IT services company
Logically, a managed IT services provider based in Portland, Maine, has acquired Sullivan Data Management, a 10-employee outsourced IT services firm located north of New York City.
Launched earlier this year, Logically formed from the merger of Winxnet Inc., an IT consulting and outsourcing firm in Portland, and K&R Network Solutions, a San Diego-based managed service provider (MSP).
Christopher Claudio, Logically's CEO, said in an April 2019 interview that the company was looking for additional acquisitions. The Sullivan Data Management deal is the first of those transactions. Claudio said two or three acquisitions may follow by the end the year.
Sullivan Data Management fits Logically's strategy of focusing on locations outside of top-tier metropolitan areas, where MSP competition is thickest. The company is based in Yorktown Heights in Westchester County, an hour's drive from New York. Sullivan Data Management services customers in Westchester and neighboring counties.
Christopher ClaudioCEO, Logically
"This is the type of acquisition we are looking for," Claudio said.
He also pointed to an alignment between Logically's vertical market focus and Sullivan Data Management's local government customer base.
"We do a lot of work within the public sector," Claudio said, noting the bulk of Sullivan Data Management's clients are in the public safety and municipal management sectors.
Barracuda reports growth in email security market
Barracuda Networks said its email security business is booming, with a $200 million annual revenue run rate for fiscal year 2019, which ended Feb. 28.
For the first quarter of its fiscal year 2020, Barracuda said its email security product, Barracuda Sentinel, saw 440% year-over-year growth in sales booking. In the same time frame, its email security, backup and archiving package, Barracuda Essentials, saw 46% growth in sales bookings, the vendor said.
Meanwhile, Barracuda's business unit dedicated to MSPs reported the annual recurring revenue for its email protection business increased 122% year over year for the first quarter of fiscal year 2020.
Ezra Hookano, vice president of channels at Barracuda, based in Campbell, Calif., cited conditions of the email security market as one driver behind the company's growth. Phishing attacks have become more sophisticated in their social-engineering tactics. Email security threats are "very specific and targeted to you and your industry, and [no one is] immune -- big or small," he said.
Hookano also pointed to Barracuda's free threat scan tool as an important business driver. He said many Barracuda resellers are using the threat scans to drive the sales process.
"We, to this point, have never run a threat scan that didn't come back with at least some things that were wrong in the [email] network. ... About 30% to 40% of the time, something is so bad that [customers] have to purchase immediately."
Barracuda is looking to differentiate itself from its pure-play email security competitors by tapping into its portfolio, he noted. The company's portfolio includes web filtering and firewall products, which feed threat data into Barracuda email security.
"If I'm a pure-play email security vendor now, I no longer have the ability to be as accurate as a portfolio company," Hookano said.
Data from Barracuda's remote monitoring and management product, Managed Workplace, which the vendor acquired from Avast earlier this year, also bolster email security capabilities.
"Our goal in the email market ... is to use all of our other products and the footprint from our other products to make our email security signatures better and to continue to build on our lead there," he said.
Equinix cites channel in Q2 bookings, customer wins
Equinix Inc., an interconnection and data center company based in Redwood City, Calif., cited channel sales as a key driver behind second-quarter bookings.
The company said channel partners contributed more than 25% of the bookings for the quarter ended June 30. And those bookings accounted for 60% of Equinix's new customer wins during the quarter, according to the company. Equinix's second-quarter revenue grew 10% year over year to $1.385 billion.
In a statement, Equinix said it has "deepened its engagement with high-priority partners to drive increased productivity and joint offer creation across its reseller and alliance partners."
Those partners include Amazon, AT&T, Microsoft, Oracle, Orange, Telstra, Verizon and World Wide Technology, according to a company spokeswoman. New channel wins in the second quarter include a deal in which Equinix is partnering with Telstra to provide cloud connectivity at Genomics England.
Equinix has also partnered with Assured DP, a Rubrik-as-a-service provider, in a disaster recovery offering.
- Microsoft partners could see a further boost in momentum for the company's Teams calling and collaboration platform. Microsoft said it will retire Skype for Business Online on July 31, 2021, a move that should pave the way for Skype-to-Teams migrations. Microsoft officials speaking last month at the Inspire conference cited Teams as among the top channel opportunities for Microsoft's 2020 fiscal year. Partners expect to find business in Teams training and governance. The Skype for Business Online retirement does not affect Skype Consumer services or Skype for Business Server, according to a Microsoft blog post.
- Google said more than 90 partners have obtained Google Cloud Partner specializations in the first half of 2019. Partners can earn specializations in areas such as applications development, cloud migration, data analytics, education, work transformation, infrastructure, IoT, location-based services, machine learning, marketing analytics and security. Partners that acquired specializations during the first half of the year include Accenture, Agosto, Deloitte Consulting and Maven Wave Partners. The specialization announcement follows the launch of the Google Cloud Partner Advantage Program, which went live July 1.
- Mimecast Ltd., an email and data security company based in Lexington, Mass., unveiled its Cyber Alliance Program, which aims to bring together security vendors into what it terms a "cyber-resilience ecosystem." The program includes cybersecurity technology categories such as security information and event management; security orchestration, automation and response; firewall, threat intelligence and endpoint security. Mimecast said the program offers customers and partners purpose-built, ready-to-use integrations; out-of-the-box APIs; documented guides with sample code; and tutorials that explain how to use the integrations.
- Two-thirds of channel companies said they have changed their customer experience tactics, with 10% reporting a move to an omnichannel approach for customer interaction in the past year. Those are among the results of a CompTIA survey of more than 400 channel companies. The survey cited customer recruitment and customer retention as areas where the most respondents reported deficiencies.
- CompTIA also revealed this week that it will acquire Metacog, an assessment, certification and training software vendor based in Worcester, Mass. CompTIA said Metacog's technology will be incorporated into the upcoming release of its online testing platform. Metacog's technology uses AI, big data and IoT APIs.
- Naveego unveiled Accelerator, a tool for partners to analyze data accuracy across a variety of sources. Accelerator "is a great starting point for our partners to get a feel for just how ready a customer's data is to participate in [data-based projects]. In general, that makes the projects have a higher degree of success, as well as go much more smoothly," said Derek Smith, CTO and co-founder of the company. Naveego works with about 10 partners, recently expanding its roster with Frontblade Systems, H2 Integrated Solutions, Mondelio and Narwal.
- US Signal, a data center services provider based in Grand Rapids, Mich., said its DRaaS for VMware offering is generally available. The offering, based on VMware vCloud Availability, provides disaster recovery services for multi-tenant VMware clouds.
- Synchronoss Technologies Inc., a cloud and IoT product provider based in Bridgewater, N.J., is working with distributor Arrow Electronics to develop and market an IoT smart building offering. The IoT offering is intended for telecom operators, service providers and system integrators.
- Distributor Synnex Corp. inked a deal with Arista Networks to provide its data center and campus networking products.
- Peerless Networks, a telecom services provider, named Ryan Patterson as vice president of channel sales. Patterson will oversee the recruitment of new master and direct agents for Peerless' national channel program, the company said.
- Nintex, a process management and workflow automation vendor, hired Michael Schultz as vice president of product, channel and field marketing, and Florian Haarhaus as vice president of sales for EMEA.
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