IT consultants have begun to align with the emerging field of green cloud computing, debuting offerings that support corporate sustainability goals.
Accenture this week released Green Cloud Advisor, an extension to its myNav tool that recommends cloud deployment approaches for customers. Green Cloud Advisor creates a baseline of an existing data center's energy consumption and then evaluates the green characteristics of public cloud options.
Meanwhile, ThoughtWorks, a software consulting firm based in Chicago, added Microsoft Azure support for its Cloud Carbon Footprint tool, an open source offering that's part of the company's Green Cloud Optimization service. Cloud Carbon Footprint already backs AWS and Google Cloud. In addition to Azure support, the tool also introduced the ability to estimate carbon emissions from networking and memory use in the cloud, ThoughtWorks said.
The consultancies are not alone in developing practices and tools around green clouds and sustainability challenges.
"Professional services firms are putting together a portfolio of services," said Abhijit Sunil, an analyst who focuses on sustainability for market research firm Forrester. Sunil cited French systems integrator Atos and management consultancy McKinsey & Co. as examples of other sustainability services providers. The latter company in April launched McKinsey Sustainability, a platform that aims to help organizations cut carbon emissions.
The consultants' moves are in step with rising demand for sustainable technologies from enterprises, which increasingly view IT as a key source of carbon emissions. "Information and communications technology has a large carbon footprint and, therefore, it is in the spotlight for sustainability at this time," Sunil said.
Businesses are increasingly paying attention to green cloud computing, consulting executives contended.
"Green cloud optimization is still an emerging topic for many enterprises," said Dan Lewis-Toakley, green cloud lead for ThoughtWorks North America. "However, the level of awareness of cloud computing's carbon footprint has grown rapidly over the last 12 months. As a result, we've certainly seen an increase in interest this year compared to last year."
Dan Lewis-ToakleyGreen cloud lead, ThoughtWorks North America
ThoughtWorks has experienced the most traction among digital natives such as startup and scale-up companies, particularly if sustainability is central to their brands, Lewis-Toakley said. "There has also been some interest among larger enterprises that have carbon neutral target dates and/or robust sustainability goals," he added.
Carbon-neutral objectives and other openly stated sustainability goals have put enterprises on the spot. Some seek help from consultants.
"[Companies] have publicly committed to the public and government -- they have to achieve this," said Kishore Durg, who leads cloud-first global services at Accenture. "They actually reached out, saying, 'Look, we have already made this commitment. What is it that [you] can do?'"
Customers seek outside help to accurately measure where they stand regarding carbon emissions. They're asking consultants to advise them on what kinds of data to measure and what kinds of KPIs they should put in place, Sunil noted.
"They are looking for ways to understand where they are and where they should go," he said.
Links to digital transformation
Sustainability and green cloud projects can exist as standalone efforts or as part of broader digital transformation initiatives. The integration of green cloud computing often depends on the progress customers have made in their digital transformation journeys, Lewis-Toakley said.
"Customers that might be further along -- maybe because they have migrated to the cloud -- are more likely to be in a position to prioritize green cloud optimization," he noted.
That said, companies with ballooning data center costs, and not as far on their transformational journeys, might also express interest in green cloud benefits. Such businesses could try to reduce cost and carbon emissions with a green cloud optimization strategy, Lewis-Toakley said.
For Durg, sustainability adds an extra dimension to cloud transformation. A financial assessment traditionally has been the main component. But adding sustainability and the sovereign cloud, which takes cross-border data migration into consideration, provides a wide-angle view of cloud adoption.
"With these dimensions, I think we are able to navigate the complexity that the clients have in making the right choice," Durg said.
M&A update: More cloud deals
This week's transactions kept the focus on cloud services, with security, Salesforce and IT infrastructure the main areas of interest.
- Deloitte acquired CloudQuest Inc., a cloud security posture management provider based in Cupertino, Calif. The purchase lets Deloitte expand its offerings in cloud security orchestration, automation and response, and marks the company's second cybersecurity acquisition this year. In January, Deloitte acquired Root9B, a Colorado Springs, Colo., company that provides managed services for threat hunting, threat detection and response.
- OSF Digital, a digital transformation services provider and Salesforce partner based in Quebec City, acquired Relation1, a company also in the Salesforce market. Relation1 specializes in Salesforce Marketing Cloud services and operates offices in Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City. OSF Digital, which may acquire as many as seven companies this year, purchased New Zealand-based Salesforce partner Adept Group in May.
- Upstack, a web platform that sells cloud services through cloud sales agents, bought Cloudwirx Inc., a technology infrastructure solutions provider. Berkshire Partners earlier this year invested $50 million in New York-based Upstack, fueling its acquisitions of independent agencies.
Partner program launches and updates
- Telos Corp., a security solutions provider based in Ashburn, Va., launched a channel program for consultants, security resellers, MSPs and managed security services providers, among other partner types. The Telos CyberProtect Partner Program offers education, pre-and post-sale support, certification, and co-op or investment funds. The program's launch partners include DLT Solutions, a Tech Data company; and Presidio Government Solutions, which does business as Presidio Federal.
- Aleada, a privacy and data protection consultancy based in San Francisco, unveiled a partner program. Initial participants in the Aleada Partner Program include 1touch, Bishop Fox, Good Research, OneTrust, Privacy + Security Academy, WireWheel and Zeguro. Aleada is a women- and minority-owned company.
- Nutanix extended its Elevate Partner Program to support managed and cloud services providers. The Nutanix Elevate Service Provider Program offers two new partnership levels: The Authorized Service Provider category covers partners new to Nutanix or Nutanix partners focusing on SMBs, while the Professional Service Provider level includes companies that "deliver differentiated services for enterprise organizations," according to Nutanix.
- Commvault, a data management software provider based in Tinton Falls, N.J., revamped its channel programs for MSP and aggregator partners. The company added in-region support, expanded training and marketing resources. In addition, Commvault said it plans to add Metallic for MSPs to its Partner Advantage Program later this year.
Tools for MSPs
- Datto Holding Corp., based in Norwalk, Conn., updated its Virtual SIRIS data protection offering, which the company said is geared to SMBs' data protection requirements. MSPs -- Datto's channel to the market -- can install vSIRIS remotely and run it as a virtual machine in VMware ESX or Microsoft Hyper-V, the company said.
- N-able, a Durham, N.C., company that provides technology for MSPs, launched MarketBuilder, a platform that provides campaigns MSPs can brand and use in their sales and marketing activities. The company also added three staffers to its Head Nerds team, which advises MSPs: Stefanie Hammond, head sales and marketing nerd; Lewis Pope, head security nerd; and Jason Murphy, head N-central nerd. N-able was formerly SolarWinds MSP.
- InterVision, an IT service provider based in St. Louis and Santa Clara, Calif., will offer AWS' omnichannel contact center, AWS Connect, to state and local governments. The company will provide AWS Connect through its contract with the California Department of Technology's California Network and Telecommunications (CALNET) program. NWN Corp., Carousel Industries, which NWN recently acquired, Aspen Technology Group and Lumen are also CALNET-approved vendors for contact center services.
- Pythian Services Inc., a data, analytics and cloud services company, added FinOps to its managed services portfolio. The company's FinOps services and tools are initially available for Google Cloud users. The cloud financial management offering includes data collection, visibility, interpretation through dashboards, cloud optimization and governance.
- Nexthink, a digital employee experience management company with headquarters in Boston and Switzerland, will partner with Atos in the Middle East. Atos aims to accelerate digital transformation for organizations in that region, according to Nexthink.
- Ingram Micro expanded its Advanced Solutions organization on the back of what the company describes as a multi-million-dollar investment. New components include a custom program for emerging enterprise technology providers, such as robotic process automation vendor UiPath. In addition, the distributor launched a Unified Communications and Collaboration Center of Excellence in EMEA, augmented its data center managed and professional services offerings, and created an IoT Innovation Lab and Virtual Experience team in Irvine, Calif.
- Unified Office Inc., an MSP based in Nashua, N.H., rolled out an integrated communications service for the automotive industry. The service combines with a business analytics system and can integrate with automotive vertical software such as Elead, a CRM system for auto dealers.
- Peak-Ryzex, a solutions provider based in Columbia, Md., rebranded as Peak Technologies Inc. In April, the supply chain and mobile workforce specialist was acquired by private equity firm Sole Source Capital and has since purchased three companies.
- Foresite, a SaaS cybersecurity solutions provider based in Overland Park, Kansas, appointed Matt Gyde as chairman and CEO. Gyde was previously president, CEO and board director at NTT Security. Robin Mayo, the Foresite co-founder who Gyde replaces as CEO, will stay with the company, according to Foresite.
- Softchoice, a technology services and solutions provider based in Toronto, named Cheryl Stookes as vice president of marketing. Stookes joins Softchoice from AWS, where she was head of channel and partner sales for Canada.
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