Dell Technologies partners deliver mixed sales results

Dell Technologies said its channel strategy is weathering the challenging conditions of the COVID-19 economy, with storage sales taking the biggest hit; other IT channel news.

Dell Technologies partners continue to deliver varied sales results as they contend with the complex business environment.

Dell Technologies in late November released its financial earnings for its fiscal 2021, revealing strong growth in the client solutions segment of its portfolio but a drop in storage sales. Revenue generated by Dell Technologies partners increased 1% globally, a slight improvement compared with partners' second-quarter performance.

Cheryl Cook, senior vice president of global partner for embedded and edge solutions marketing at Dell Technologies, said the company is satisfied with partner performance considering the challenging economic situation. "We did see a better Q3 than we did Q2 obviously, when [in Q2] everybody was absorbing a bit of the shock and awe of" the pandemic's economic fallout, she noted.

Dell Technologies partners' client sales, one of the bright spots of Dell's third fiscal quarter, increased 6% year over year, Cook said. She noted sales were largely driven by "the ongoing need and demand for work-from-home solutions, distance learning and remote schooling."

Partners' server sales also grew 6% year over year. "I believe our customers and our partners are really focused on … critical and essential projects, but there is a fair amount of infrastructure and data center need and solutions to support," she said.

Partners' storage sales failed to fare as well. Storage sales decline 10% year over year in Dell's third fiscal quarter. Cook said the losses aligned with an overall slowdown in the storage market, but noted that Dell's PowerStore midrange storage offering, released in May, presents strong "growth potential" for partners.

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Additionally, Dell saw sluggish sales for its VMware business. While strong overall for fiscal year 2021, partners' VMware sales dropped 1% for the third quarter.

"All and all, I would say our partners continue to lean in with us," Cook said. "I think the breadth of our portfolio is paying dividends and shining through in times like this when you look at the types of solutions that customers are engaging to … drive forward."

Dell Technologies partners can expect the vendor to remain firmly committed to its channel strategy as economic circumstances change, Cook said.

"We continue to stay the course of our strategy," she said.

Lemongrass offers SAP disaster recovery via AWS

Lemongrass, a professional and managed services company based in Atlanta, is using technology from AWS company CloudEndure in a newly launched SAP disaster recovery service.

The service brings together Lemongrass' DR processes with CloudEndure's DR software tool for enterprise applications like SAP as well as databases. CloudEndure eliminates manual DR tasks, which lets Lemongrass "automate failover a lot quicker," said Jake Echanove, senior vice president of solutions architecture at Lemongrass.

In addition, CloudEndure provides block-level replication to a secondary site, operating similarly to familiar DR tools such as Zerto and VMware's Site Recovery Manager. "Customers feel more comfortable when they hear how CloudEndure works," Echanove added. AWS acquired CloudEndure in Jan. 2019.

For Lemongrass, services are central to the SAP disaster recovery offering. The company provides an upfront assessment to understand the customer's environment. Considerations include identifying which SAP systems to protect, how the systems interface with each other, and whether they need to recover in a certain order or are part of recovery group. Lemongrass also puts together a DR plan and a runbook, implements the DR architecture, and provides testing.

For SAP customers already in AWS, the Lemongrass service uses CloudEndure to replicate data from one AWS region to another. Customers with on-premises SAP workloads can make the AWS cloud their DR target, while maintaining the SAP production environment in their own data centers, Echanove said. The latter approach is a new opportunity for Lemongrass, which had previously offered cloud-to-cloud DR.

Lemongrass' DR offering for SAP is available in the AWS Marketplace, which expanded earlier this month to let partners offer professional services around software. The company also offers an SAP application archiving service in the professional services marketplace. A customer that wants to clean up data before migrating its HANA database to the cloud can use the service to offload and archive that data so it's not taking up more expensive storage. In another use case, customers that must maintain systems for an indeterminate amount of time for audit purposes can keep them in the cloud, where they can be spun up on demand, as required for auditing or reporting.

Leidos deal to boost 1901 Group's market access

Leidos Holdings' pending purchase of 1901 Group, an MSP and cloud solutions provider based in Reston, Va., could help the latter company extend its market reach and bid on larger deals.

"We feel a combination of scale and access to market and technical talent … will provide a lot of opportunity for our team," said 1901 Group CEO and founder Sonu Singh. "And the most important thing is we are very culturally similar."

Leidos on Dec. 10 agreed to purchase 1901 Group for $215 million. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021. Leidos, also based in Reston, generated $11.09 billion in revenue for its fiscal year ended Jan. 3, 2020. The company, which employees 38,000 people, provides IT, engineering and science offerings and services.

Singh said being part of Leidos will open opportunities for the company, which has more than 400 employees. "As a smaller company, you have to be targeted and focused on the markets that you serve," he noted.

Leidos' presence in defense and civilian agencies, for example, has the potential to help 1901 Group expand in those markets, where the MSP already is active. 1901 Group could also see expansion in the healthcare and intelligence sectors, where Leidos has numerous customers. Singh said 1901 Group currently works with a handful of clients in those markets. 

In addition, the acquisition would let 1901 Group offer Leidos' capabilities to its customers, while also providing an opening to bring 1901 Groups' resources to Leidos' clients. 1901 Group's portfolio includes a FedRAMP-authorized monitoring and management offering that covers government-owned and commercial data centers as well as cloud service providers.

It has yet to be determined how 1901 Group will operate within Leidos. The company could, for instance, be nested under a particular Leidos business unit, such as its Defense Group, Singh noted.

Zoom expands channel initiative

Zoom Video Communications earlier this month launched a program for systems integrators, capping a year of channel expansion.

The Zoom Phone Certified Integrator Program lets participants provide value-added services around Zoom Phone, a cloud-based phone system that includes PBX features. The scope of services includes design, deployment and management of the Zoom Phone platform, according to a blog post. Certified partners can tap a Zoom Certified Integrator logo to brand their service offering and have a listing on Zoom's partner locator.

The company in March 2020 unveiled partnerships with AVANT Communications, Intelisys, Pax8 and Telarus, which marked the first time Zoom's channel partners could market Zoom Phone to customers.

As for Zoom's broader channel ecosystem, which includes VARs, distributors, carriers and ISVs, the company saw "substantial growth" in international markets, according to Laura Padilla, Zoom's head of global business development and channel. For example, Zoom has developed alliances in Japan with partners such as SB C&S/Softbank, NESIC, CTC and Nissho. It also expanded further into Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

In EMEA, Zoom expanded its partnerships with VARs and distributors in key markets such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Australia and Switzerland, Padilla said. Carrier partnerships include BT, Deutsche Telekom, Lumen and Orange Business Services.

Other news

  • MSPs approaching prospects with a cost-reduction and security message are in luck: An Infrascale report published this week cited those two areas as the top reasons businesses work with service providers. Infrascale, a disaster recovery and cloud backup company based in Reston, Va., polled more than 1,200 executives at small or midmarket businesses that currently work with or have previously engaged MSPs. In other findings, survey respondents identified data protection (53%), data and analytics (48%) and cloud services (45%) as the top three MSP services they use. Next on the list are specific data protection services, with 43% of the executives citing backup and recovery and 41% citing cybersecurity.
  • A cyberattack revolving around SolarWinds' Orion monitoring and management software has not extended to its service provider offerings, according to the company. In a message to customers, SolarWinds MSP president John Pagliuca said his company is "not aware of an impact to our SolarWinds MSP products including RMM and N-central."
  • In other cybersecurity news, Datto launched a FireEye Red Team Countermeasure Scanner that the company said lets MSPs detect indicators that "stolen [FireEye] tools are being, or have been, used on managed systems." Suspected nation-state hackers stole FireEye's Red Team tools. The scanner is free to Datto RMM partners and available in the company's ComStore, which houses Datto RMM components, policies and scripts. 
  • DataBank, a colocation, connectivty and managed services provider based in Dallas, acquired zColo data center assets from Zayo Group Holdings. The deal follows the company's $30 million investment in EdgePresense, which operates modular data centers. Edge data center expansion is expected to continue as a colocation trend in 2021.
  • NTT Data Services, a digital business and IT services company in Plano, Texas, agreed to acquire Hashmap, a managed services and cloud consulting firm.
  • Gigamon, a network visibility and analytics company based in Santa Clara, Calif., released an ROI value calculator for its channel partners. Partners can use the calculator as an assessment and engagement tool to discuss with their customers what is and what isn't working to optimize their infrastructure, said Larissa Crandall, vice president of worldwide channels and alliances at Gigamon. The company also offers an a la carte menu of digital demand generation programs, using market development funds, Crandall said. Gigamon's marketing team and third-party demand generation specialists created the programs in response to its partners' shift from in-person events and traditional marketing to 100% digital marketing, she added.
  • Anexinet Corp., a digital solutions provider based in Philadelphia, hired Brian Glahn as president of infrastructure and cloud. Glahn will be responsible for expanding the company's infrastructure cloud, managed and automation services business through mergers and acquisitions and organic growth.
  • Ensono, a hybrid IT services provider based in Downers Grove, Ill., appointed Clint Dean as vice president of state and local government for North America. Dean was previously vice president of public sector at Atos.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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