6 Channel Ops: Cisco Collateral, Sprint Inks Femto Deal, Microsoft Flow Goes Public


Lorna GareyThere was plenty of news out of EMC World this week; our own Craig Galbraith was on site and filed several roundups, including this state of the EMC channel report and what partners can expect from the new Dell Technologies.

Unity systems start at less than $18,000 for all flash and under $10,000 for hybrid.Two items that flew a bit under the radar: A new EMC Unity family of affordable all-flash storage arrays manageable through the also new EMC MyService360 cloud-based dashboard. The Unity systems – which start at less than $18,000 for all flash and under $10,000 for hybrid – are appropriate for SMB and branch/departmental deployments, where customers need storage that can handle multiprotocol big data and hybrid cloud. The devices can scale up to 80 TB in a 2U form factor, and partners can set up snapshots and remote synchronous or asynchronous replication, then keep an eye on everything through the MyService360 portal.

If this is a glimpse into EMC’s offerings under the Dell Technologies banner, partners who considered the company’s storage gear out of customers’ reach may want to take another look.

Cisco Opens Campaign Assets to Partners

Cisco announced this week that it will give partners access to brand campaign assets as well as a range of training, expert advice and best practices under the banner of “There’s Never Been a Better Time.” In announcing the program, senior director of global partner marketing Michelle Chiantera cited the example of a joint Cisco and Dimension Data program to save African rhinos by deploying advanced surveillance to track the movements of anyone who enters a protected reserve, so authorities can stop poachers.

The integrated campaign, accessible through Partner Marketing Central, includes social media posts, digital assets and suggestions of how to use them. Other assets:

Viptela Introduces Affordable SD-WAN Router

Verizon partner Viptela introduced this week the Viptela vEdge-100 SD-WAN router. The device natively supports any mashup of MPLS, 3G/4G/LTE, broadband, Ethernet, SSL and IPsec connections, and is aimed at bringing into the SD-WAN fold branch offices, remote sites that rely on mobile/cellular connections and retail/ATM branches that want to use wireless as a backup circuit. The vEdge-100 sports many features found in the larger, and pricier, vEdge-1000 and -2000 models and is integrated with the Viptela Secure Extensible Network cloud-based management platform.

Viptela says the vEdge-100 router needs no onsite configuration and supports OSPF, BGP, QoS and ACLs. The devices automatically determine the best WAN transport path for traffic based on policies and service levels. While the company is not publicly disclosing pricing, Lloyd Noronha, director, global marketing at Viptela, told Channel Partners that affordability is a goal.

“We have a license tier targeted towards the needs of small sites,” says Noronha. “The pricing model is based on a small capex, and recurring software license based on bandwidth and capabilities.”

Sprint Inks Femtocell Deal

CommScope S1000 Small CellSprint partners that support traffic-intensive small and midsize customers and retail locations may want to inquire about new CommScope S1000 converged small cells. The two companies announced this week a deal to use the cells as part of Sprint’s network densification plan.

“The CommScope S1000 small cell, with its support for 2.5 GHz LTE and managed Wi-Fi, is a highly cost-effective way for us to give customers even faster data speeds indoors,” said Jay Bluhm, vice president of network development and engineering at Sprint. “Femtos are an important part of our densification and optimization strategy, enabling us to more efficiently support new services and meet the growing demand for data.”

Besides LTE, the S1000 femtocells support dual-band 802.11ac, making them suitable for managed Wi-Fi hotspot services at retail and restaurant sites —especially given the unobtrusive design. They’re based on Qualcomm chipsets and can be installed by customers, then managed by partners via a hybrid self-organizing network (SON) that combines automated provisioning via CommScope’s Device Management System and Qualcomm UltraSON technology embedded in the device. This simplifies management and as a result, says CommScope, the S1000 cells have a very low total cost of ownership.

Barracuda Beefs Up Intronis MSP Solutions

Hot on the heels of last month’s European expansion, Barracuda Networks this week announced that the Intronis MSP Solutions backup and data protection products now bundle Barracuda Essentials for Office 365, a cloud-services suite that combines email security, archiving and backup.

Barracuda says that the Essentials for Office 365 suite supplements Microsoft’s own built-in security features and can be combined with Intronis’ other data protection solutions: Intronis ECHOplatform, which enables service providers to protect physical and virtual data through a rebrandable central management console, and Barracuda Backup – Intronis MSP Edition, a subscription-based data protection system that simplifies business continuity and disaster recovery.

Disti Cloud Harmonics Signs Big Switch

Full-service distributor Cloud Harmonics announced this week a technology partnership with hyperscale data-center provider Big Switch Networks. The agreement gives Cloud Harmonics’ 400 North America channel partners access to Big Switch’s virtualization technology portfolio. Doug Chalmers, COO for Cloud Harmonics, called out the relatively low cost of Big Switch’s offerings.

“When it comes to what a distributor can do for [its] technology partners, Cloud Harmonics has really raised the bar,” said Matthew Russo, head of global strategic alliances and channel sales for Big Switch, in a statement. “Their high-touch approach and deep technical understanding of the market means they can offer the training, services and support the channel needs to quickly adopt and profit from next-generation technologies.” 

Big Switch, which also has a strategic deal with Dell, in January announced an additional $48.5 million in financing, for a total of $94 million since 2010. The company has seen 40 percent sequential growth for eight quarters, adding up to more than 300 percent growth in 2015 across verticals including financial services, government and higher education.

Big Switch’s product line is relatively straightforward. While its Big Monitoring Fabric is geared more toward carrier-class facilities, the Big Cloud Fabric enables partners to construct a private cloud using inexpensive whitebox or britebox switches and Big Switch’s SDN controller.

Cloud Harmonics’ VARs can sell Big Switch’s Big Cloud Fabric and Big Monitoring Fabric now. The distributor says it will offer training, certifications, virtual demo and testing environments, and pre- and post-sales services and support.

Plus: Jenne announced this week that it’s partnering with Avaya to offer its VARs a new turnkey UCaaS solution. OnAvaya, which is hosted on the Google Cloud Platform, provides the full capabilities of Avaya IP Office and IP Office Contact Center through a monthly subscription model. Jenne says partners familiar with Avaya software can add new revenue streams and increase margins with minimal additional investment. The distributor is now offering pre- and post- sales support, quoting assistance, and training and education and more.

Microsoft in the Flow

Last week, Microsoft moved its free Flow service into general availability. The idea is to let users of 35+ cloud or social apps consolidate notifications in a highly customizable manner. We’re talking OneDrive, SharePoint, Slack, Twitter and, with more being added every week. For example, this tutorial explains how to have Flow send a text whenever an email from a specific person lands in your inbox. Check it out. I think this could make life a lot simpler, not to mention the potential to build customized notification Flows for customers.

Finally, speaking of data overload, I’m told that 20 percent of Americans forget to call their moms on Mother’s Day. As insurance, Zang is offering a free Forget Me Not service, which allows you to pre-record a voice message to mom and have it delivered on Sunday, or whenever you select.

Or, you could use the service to send yourself a reminder to call your mother.

Follow editor in chief @LornaGarey on Twitter.

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