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D&H Distributing grows cloud with ConnectWise, SkyKick

D&H Distributing's cloud strategy aims to help VARs adopt the managed services model and sell bundled cloud offerings around platforms such as Office 365 and Azure.

D&H Distributing is partnering with ConnectWise and SkyKick as part of a broader initiative to help resellers adopt the managed services model and book business on cloud platforms such as Microsoft Office 365.

The distributor, which is based in Harrisburg, PA and offers SMB and consumer technologies to the channel, has been bolstering its cloud presence in recent months. Jason Bystrak joined D&H Distributing in January to head the company's cloud business unit, having previously directed partner enablement at Ingram Micro Cloud.

Jason BystrakJason Bystrak

D&H Distributing ran a modest cloud practice for a number of years, largely based on Microsoft's Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program. The company, however, has decided to "go deeper and broader with cloud," Bystrak noted. Bystrak helped launch a formal cloud business unit, staffed with sales, vendor management, marketing, operations and technical enablement personnel.

The distributor's research showed many of its partners are value-added resellers (VARs) and not set up to wrap services around cloud offerings or manage their businesses on a monthly recurring revenue basis. Bystrak said D&H Distributing's aim is to "help existing VARs transform to the MSP [managed service provider] model and start recruiting more MSPs to do business with D&H."

Bystrak estimated that around 15% of the distributor's channel partners have adopted the managed services model. "We think a couple thousand [resellers] are looking for help to transform into the MSP and cloud model," he noted.

ConnectWise, SkyKick contributions

D&H Distributing's partnership with ConnectWise will make the latter company's entire MSP software suite available to the distributors' partners. That offering includes remote monitoring and management, professional services automation and remote control software.

"As they make the transition, they need to invest in a toolset to run a managed services business," Bystrak said.

As they make the transition, they need to invest in a toolset to run a managed services business.
Jason BystrakVice president of cloud, D&H Distributing

He noted channel partners will also be able to take advantage of ConnectWise integrations with vendors such as backup and disaster recovery provider Axcient. D&H Distributing also works with Axcient.

SkyKick is contributing its cloud management software. Under the D&H Distributing arrangement, SkyKick's offering will aim to help partners migrate clients to Office 365 and then back up and manage the platform. Bystrak said SkyKick addresses partners that have clients still using on-premises email and productivity products and want to migrate to Office 365. Partners "can charge migration professional services fees to clients to do that work for them," he said.

SkyKick's backup and archival capabilities offer additional profit opportunities, Bystrak added.

Cloud clusters

The SkyKick alliance plays into D&H Distributing's cloud cluster approach. Bystrak said many partners have been selling cloud offerings such as Office 365 on a standalone basis. The lack of a second or third piece of an overarching solution has led to slimmer profit margins, he noted. The distributor, however, has selected vendors and created bundled cloud offerings around core platforms.

An Office 365 cloud cluster, for example, includes SkyKick, Dropbox, Eset and Webroot. Clusters also encompass MSP software from vendors such as ConnectWise and Axcient as well as Microsoft Azure and an associated migration service from Plumchoice.

Barracuda bolsters RMM platform

Security vendor Barracuda Networks has rolled out the first major update of its remote monitoring and management product, Managed Workplace.

Barracuda acquired Managed Workplace from security company Avast in February 2019. The latest version of the software, Managed Workplace 12, builds out the platform's patch and software update management features and integrates with Barracuda Intronis Backup. The enhancements reflect a broader strategy of integrating Managed Workplace with other areas of the Barracuda portfolio, with the aim of providing a security-focused RMM platform for managed service providers.

Brian Babineau, senior vice president and general manager of the Barracuda MSP division, said the new Advanced Software Management feature lets MSPs deliver patch and software update management for products from more than a hundred software vendors, including Microsoft, Mozilla and VMware. Advanced Software Management "is a fairly sizable step for us because not only is it helping MSPs improve the security posture of their clients, it adds a level of automation to what is still today a very manual, time-consuming and typically unbillable task for MSPs," he said.

The Intronis Backup integration kicked off Barracuda's plans to integrate the RMM with other areas of its portfolio. Babineau said the vendor has an extensive roadmap for further integrations. He suggested logical next steps would include tapping into Barracuda products for mobile and desktop devices security as well as Office 365 email security.

Managed Workplace also features a range of third-party integrations with professional services automation software and other tools. "We built the architecture to not only integrate with Barracuda products but to give us the opportunity to [integrate with other vendors] when it makes sense," Babineau said.

He noted that Barracuda is looking to differentiate Managed Workplace from other RMM products by making it security-driven. "The workflows inside the product [and] the integrations that we do will all have a security lens to them," he said.

Barracuda was acquired in 2017 by private equity firm Thoma Bravo, which also owns MSP software vendors ConnectWise, Continuum and SolarWinds.

Other news

  • Distributor Ingram Micro has added Nerdio's Azure offering for MSPs to its cloud marketplace. Nerdio for Azure lets MSPs automatically deploy a complete IT environment in Azure within two hours, according to the Chicago-based company.
  • Channel partners focused on traditional disaster recovery approaches may need to encourage customers toward resiliency instead. PwC's Digital Trust Insights study, which polled 3,500 business and IT leaders, identified the characteristics of what it describes as high resilience-quotient companies. According to the survey, 91% of the highly resilient companies maintain an accurate inventory of assets, 73% have identified their critical business services and 61% have mapped impact tolerances to both critical and non-critical business services. The "high-RQ" companies "have shifted their mindset away from the traditional -- and myopic -- disaster recovery/business continuity model to 'resilience by design,'" the PwC study noted.
  • Logically, meanwhile, found a disconnect between how businesses value data and how much they are able to spend on IT. In the MSP's 2019 Small and Midsize Business IT Study, 60% of the business decision makers said they would rather lose half their company's revenue growth for the next year than lose half their data. Two-thirds of the respondents, however, said their companies' investments in IT "are not keeping pace" with growing technology needs. Many SMBs are looking to external sources to meet their IT requirements. Logically's survey noted 33% of companies currently outsource some of their IT functions, while 40% plan to pursue outsourcing. Logically, based in Portland, Maine, commissioned Wakefield Research to poll 250 small business leaders.
  • Tufin and Turbonomic have tapped channel partners to market to federal agencies through the General Services Administration schedule. Tufin, a security policy automation vendor, is partnering with Network Runners Inc., a systems integrator. Network Runners will provide Tufin products to federal customers through the integrator's Women-Owned, Small Disadvantaged business contracts as well as via GSA Schedule 70 and the GSA Professional Services Schedule. Value-added distributor Lifeboat Distribution, meanwhile, has added Turbonomic's application resource management technology to its GSA Schedule 70 contract.
  • Distributor Avnet signed an agreement to purchase Witekio, a provider of embedded systems and IoT product development services. Avnet said the acquisition is expected to close before the end of the year.
  • ConnectWise said it has added more than 1,000 new channel partners to its roster since March 1.
  • BigID, a data privacy automation vendor, unveiled a global program for VARs. The BigID Momentum VAR Program provides deal registration, training, sales management tools and joint marketing program support, the company said. Launch partners include Optiv, SHI, Navilogic, NextID, GDM Sweden, Optimitri Mexico and Dunalp, Bennett & Ludwig.
  • Cloud distributor Pax8 expanded its partnership with workspace-as-a-service vendor CloudJumper. Pax8 will now offer CloudJumper's Cloud Workspace for Azure.
  • Intermedia, a cloud communications vendor, inked a deal with distributor Jenne to provide its portfolio.
  • Storage vendor Veritas Technologies named Mike Walkey as its vice president of global channel sales, strategic partners and alliances. Walkey will oversee Veritas' global channel ecosystem and partnerships with cloud providers such as AWS, Google and Microsoft, the company said.
  • High Wire Networks, a Chicago-based managed security services provider (MSSP), has partnered with West Sealand Digital (WSD), an MSSP in Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands. Under the partnership, WSD will help High Wire expand its managed security platform-as-a-service offering, Overwatch, to SMBs in EMEA, High Wire said.
  • Codeless Platforms and D3 Security have tapped international partners. Codeless Platforms said TG Consulting, an SAP partner based in Ukraine, is the first partner in that region to offer its BPA Platform and Applications Platform products. D3 Security, a security orchestration, automation and response vendor, is partnering with Vistas Global of Qatar and 2B Innovations of the United Arab Emirates, citing opportunities in the Middle Eastern market.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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Distributors such as Ingram Micro and D&H Distributing are branching out to the cloud. What advantages do you see in sourcing cloud offerings from distributors?
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