Top 12 Stories in June: Layoffs Linger, Verizon SDN, 8×8’s New Chief



The heat of summer brought us a number of hot stories in June and highlighted a few that continue to catch your eye, even though they first hit our site earlier in the year.

Layoffs in the first half of the year at AT&T and CenturyLink once again cracked our list of most-read posts. As the old news saying goes, “If it bleeds, it leads.”

But June also brought us a flurry of new products and services that got your attention, including a new SDN offering from Verizon, as well as new and improved features offered up by SolarWinds.

Here, you’ll also find a controversial CLEC/ILEC rate-hike proposal that Windstream is fighting, and the introduction of a new channel chief at 8×8.

And those are just some of the headlines you’ll find in our top 12 from June. Our rankings take into account both online page views and our weekly newsletter results. (You can sign up for that here.)

Which story was No. 1? Click through our gallery below to find out!

Missed the previous month’s top stories? Click here to see our most-read posts in May.

Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

Datapipe's Robb Allen
#12 — Verizon Adds to SDN Lineup

The competition in software-defined networking (SDN) is fierce, particularly among the carrier giants.

You wanted to know about the software-defined branch offering that Verizon Business Markets introduced to customers and partners.

Versa Networks powers the solution, which is now accessible. Verizon says multilocation businesses, educational institutions and government agencies will benefit from the service.

Get the full scoop here.
Accedian's Sergio Bea
#11 — CenturyLink Confirms More Layoffs

Two months after we first told you about more layoffs at CenturyLink, you're still looking for information about them.

On May 4, we published an article detailing the hundreds of jobs being cut at the company as a result of its Level 3 acquisition, increased efficiencies and automation.

“As a result of our acquisition of Level 3, our customers, from individual consumers to global enterprises, benefit from our expanded, innovative network solutions and our complementary managed services,” said CenturyLink spokesman Mark Molzen. “However, the combination of two large companies also creates redundant positions that must be addressed to remain competitive. In addition, as part of our ongoing efforts to deliver high levels of customer service, we are implementing best practices and increasing automation."

It's a 2 percent reduction in CenturyLink's workforce. Read more about it here.
#10 — SolarWinds Releases New, Updated Features

SolarWinds, the IT management software provider, released a pair of updates it says arms IT professionals with the broad system-management capabilities needed to optimize performance in hybrid environments.

The new version of Storage Resource Monitor (SRM) extends support to solutions from HPE, Dell EMC, INFINIDAT and IBM, while the update to Server & Application Monitor (SAM) provides application-dependency functionality that enables customers to automatically discover network-based relationships, between applications and servers, by correlating communications at the application process level.

Here's where to learn more about the functionality.
#9 — Avaya: 'We Must Shed Legacy Reputation'

In a story published on May 31, Dino DiPalma, Avaya's new president of strategic partners and global accounts, described the philosophy he will bring to his new role.

"We need to shed the reputation of being a legacy company," DiPalma told us. "We and (our) team will work to demonstrate that we are innovative. The work we are doing in [contact centers], cloud, mobility, artificial intelligence (AI) (and) UC are first rate. The world needs to know. We will leverage partners and our go to market team to tell the story."

DiPalma had many insights on Avaya's future.
#8 — CounterTack Takes On Rivals via M&A

CounterTack, the endpoint-security provider, announced the purchase of GoSecure, giving its partners a full cybersecurity arsenal to complete against CrowdStrike, Carbon Black and others.

GoSecure is a cybersecurity managed detection and response (MDR) provider. CounterTack said the acquisition expands its previous partnership with the company to provide a “best-in-class MDR platform-as-a-service” for the company’s domestic and international customers.

No doubt you want more info on how this acquisition will impact partners.
Adam Edwards
#7 — HPE Formalizes 'Complete'

After two years in "beta" mode, HPE officially announced "Complete," a program that delivers integrated HPE and third-party solutions that are preconfigured, integrated, tested and validated.

HPE tech partners such as Zerto, Commvault, Nvidia and Mellanox are among the three-dozen or so members of the program.
Greg Schwem
#6 — Windstream Fights Potential Rate Hike

Windstream and USTelecom are asking the FCC to approve an agreement on wholesale network access with no price increases on unbundled network elements (UNEs) until at least February 2021.

UNEs allow competitive carriers to offer service without having to lay network infrastructure, such as copper wire, optical fiber and coaxial cable.

The proposal included an immediate 15 percent price increase followed by an 18-month transition period. In his blog, Tony Thomas, Windstream’s president and CEO, said it “would have been devastating for competitive providers (CLECs) and their customers.”

Learn more about what Windstream calls a potentially "devastating" rate hike.
Boca Raton
#5 — 20 Top SD-WAN Providers

These lists have legs.

You've been eager to see the companies we highlighted in our 2018 series, "20 Top Providers You Should Know." This one, published in March, focuses on SD-WAN. See who made it and why.

We've also published "20 Top" lists featuring providers of UCaaS, backup and DR, and antivirus software solutions.
Boca Raton
#4 — AT&T Layoffs

Bad news can linger, and in this case, it has in terms of your interest in layoffs at AT&T.

A story we published on Jan. 2 continues to draw eyeballs. The carrier didn't disclose how many people would be let go – or specifically from where – but media reports put the number anywhere from several hundred to a couple thousand.

AT&T downplayed the report, citing that it is adding staff in areas where it's experiencing higher customer demand.

“At the same time, technology improvements are driving higher efficiencies and there are some areas where demand for our legacy services continues to decline, and we’re adjusting our workforce in some of those areas,” the carrier said.
Adam Edwards
#3 — Channel People on the Move

One of our most popular posts every month, our latest Channel People on the Move gallery didn't disappoint in June. We highlighted new hires and promotions in the channel from May.

Among this batch were personnel changes at RingCentral, TBI and CenturyLink.
Telarus Cable Party
#2 — Cisco Takes on Microsoft in UC

As Microsoft migrates the online version of its Skype for Business and Teams into a single communications, messaging and conferencing platform, Cisco is waging a battle for customer and partner wallet with a “Teams” offering of its own.

Cisco’s new Webex Teams brings together Spark and WebEx solutions, which had many overlapping features. The networking giant demonstrated WebEx Teams during last month's Cisco Live in Orlando, Florida.

Click here to learn more about Cisco's UC push.
Adam Edwards
#1 — 8x8 Nabs DeLozier

After two-and-a-half years transforming CenturyLink's channel program, John DeLozier accepted the global channel chief position at 8x8 thanks to "an offer I couldn't refuse."

It's a return to roots for DeLozier, who spent much of his career implementing unified communications, collaboration and contact-center solutions. 

"I couldn't be more super-excited to go to market again with these solutions [at 8x8]," he told Channel Partners.

His goal will be to help partners take a larger piece of the UCaaS pie.

Read more about DeLozier's plans at 8x8.

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