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5 Channel Ops: Microsofts Mobile Moves, HP Helion Rack, Cloud Cash Flow Advice

Lorna GareyMarch Madness seems to have spread from the parquet to Amazon’s storage cloud. Are you ready to defend against customer questions on the cost of enterprise-class offerings?

Business Is Thicker Than Litigation

Less than two month after settling a nasty patent suit, Microsoft is on a roll with Samsung bundling deals. As new EVP for business development Peggy Johnson wrote in a blog Tuesday, the company this week announced an expanded partnership with Samsung to deliver Microsoft mobile productivity services to both consumer and business customers. Johnson also noted strategic agreements with Dell and a number of regional OEMs to pre-install Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive and Skype on Android devices coming to market later this year.

Resellers in Samsung’s business-to-business sales channels may offer three versions of Office 365 – Business, Business Premium and Enterprise – coupled with Samsung’s Knox EMM product; Samsung includes a setup service to help get customers up and running. Knox is Samsung’s hardened Android platform that provides mobile management capabilities, including trusted boot to block unauthorized apps at startup, kernel monitoring and the ability to set up a container to keep business data completely isolated.

Meanwhile, Parallels recently announced that the latest version of its Office 365 APS package will support Microsoft partners participating in its Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program (CSP). The CSP APS package for Office 365 will be available in early Q2 2015.

Plus: Want to learn more about EMM? Check out MobileIron’s webinar, “Enterprise Mobility Management in the Cloud Just Got Better,” on March 31. MobileIron Director of Product Marketing Abby Guha will discuss the company’s cloud EMM offering.

Cash Flow & Cloud

Speaking of cloud education, if you’ll be in San Francisco at the end of the month, check out Aria Systems’ Monetize 2015 conference on transitioning to a recurring revenue model. The event brings together CFOs, CIOs and industry experts including Satish Bhagavatula, CTO of cloud solutions provider Crexendo, who will look at how his company updated its billing system to effectively monetize cloud services. Also on deck: SunGard AS CTO Josh Crowe, CEO of Technology Service Industry Association J.B. Wood, and Aria president and CEO Tom Dibble.

TSIA’s Wood will discuss transforming to a new “B4B model” where suppliers play an active, ongoing role in helping their business customers get the most from technology investments.

Plus: Cisco is ramping up for its annual partner summit in Montreal next month by prereleasing hashtags, apps and other info. Are you attending? Tell me in comments.

HP Joins Private Cloud Party

HP this week announced April availability dates for its pre-integrated OpenStack Helion Rack private cloud stack. The system incorporates Cloud Foundry open PaaS software, ProLiant DL servers and the same version of OpenStack used in HP’s IaaS offering. Helion competes with other “private clouds in a box,” including Rackspace Private Cloud, IBM Blue Box and AMD/Canonical (OpenStack) as well as Microsoft/Dell Cloud Platform System (Azure). What’s different about Helion is that it’s optimized for developing, designing and deploying cloud-native applications. The system will include onsite installation by HP; channel partners provide support for migrating existing cloud services into the system, scaling out as needed and ongoing operations.

Before recommending, solutions providers need to get a handle on the scale of the system. Given the overhead of the base installation – 10 servers, half just for the OpenStack control plane and two for cloud system “seeding” and management (see graphic below) – MSPs will likely suggest it only for large enterprises that need to own and operate their own private cloud infrastructures, says Channel Partners contributor Kurt Marko.

Courtesy HP 

“An honest assessment would find most organizations don’t fall in that category, particularly for the development and test systems Helion Rack is designed for,” said Marko. “Smaller organizations using Cloud Foundry are better served by a public PaaS, like HP’s Helion Development PlatformPivotal Web Services or ActiveState Stackato. Others are probably already using AWS or Azure and wondering why they would want to spend six figures on infrastructure and incur the operational headaches of operating a private cloud.”

Providers serving larger organizations that want more control over the development environment may also consider layering the customer’s PaaS stack of choice on a private hosted IaaS, like Rackspace Private Cloud or equivalent.

Vertical Assets

Solutions providers serving the healthcare and hospitality markets may want to check out these free new reports:

  • Premera Blue Cross and Anthem breaches, which disclosed about 90 million customer records, have drawn media attention to health-care security. FireHost’s free guide, HIPAA Compliance & Risk Management: A Proactive Approach to Data Security, is designed to help develop a security strategy that will hopefully head off data breaches before they occur.
  • Hospitality Trend Magazine’s 2015 Restaurant Technology Study reveals some good news on technology budgets and spending allocations across a variety of projects. For example, just 13 percent of restaurant execs say they don’t embrace tech, down from 23 percent in 2014; 37 percent of respondents say they plan to roll out mobile wallet tech in 2015; and 85 percent of operators say having a disaster recovery plan for technology systems is a top technology priority for 2015.

How Low Can Storage Prices Go?

Amazon made a splash this week when it announced its consumer Unlimited Everything Plan, where $59.99 per year buys storage space for “an infinite number of new and existing photos, videos, files, documents, movies, and music in Cloud Drive.” That deal (for now) handily beats offerings from Dropbox, Google and Microsoft, which all impose a cap — you’ll pay between $84 and $120 per year per terabyte.

Mathematicians might quibble over the use of “infinite,” but solutions providers selling enterprise-class storage hardware, software and services may want to get set for questions on margins. Amazon not only doesn’t limit the amount of data customers may store, the service offers access from mobile devices as well as the desktop and auto-backup from Android and iOS. Before you get any ideas on reselling, the fine print stipulates that the service is for personal, non-commercial use; storing, transferring or distributing content of or on behalf of third parties and operating or reselling a file storage application or service is verboten.

Not that it’s not a tempting thought.

Follow executive editor @LornaGarey on Twitter.


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