5 Channel Ops: Microsoft Launches Azure Stack, Talari Branches Out

Plus: Samsung Partner Summit highlights and the sorry, sorry state of PCI compliance.

Lorna Garey

January 29, 2016

7 Min Read
5 Channel Ops: Microsoft Launches Azure Stack, Talari Branches Out

Lorna GareyDowntime costs customers $700 billion per year in lost productivity and revenue and added costs, yet it’s largely preventable. That’s the finding of a new IHS report (subscription required) based on discussions with IT decision-makers at 400 midsize and large organizations in North America. IHS included server, application and network outages or degradations and found that, on average, survey respondents experience five “events” per month that add up to 27 hours of downtime, for an average cost of from $1 million per year for a typical midsize company, to over $60 million for a large enterprise.

“A small investment in increasing the reliability of ICT systems will provide an outsized return by reducing productivity and revenue losses,” said report author, analyst Matthias Machowinski. His recommendations include monitoring to provide early detection of network interruptions, the biggest culprit in downtime, as well as improving redundancy.

Do You Accept Silicon?

We’re devoting an education session at our spring show to the intersection of mobility and retail, with an emphasis on security, and new data from Ponemon-Gemalto suggests this is an area where customers really, really need help.

More than half of 3,773 IT and security practitioners surveyed for the Global Study on Payment Data Security study, released this week, said their companies had one or more breaches involving payment data — in fact, they’ve been hit, on average, four times in the past two years. Many don’t believe or “are unsure” if their companies’ existing security protocols are capable of supporting new payment methods, and fully 74 percent admit their companies are either not PCI DSS compliant or are only partially compliant.

Meanwhile, IDC says in-store purchases made through mobile wallets are set to jump from just $15 billion worldwide in 2015 to $57 billion this year. If your customers can’t even stay PCI compliant with their existing POS technology, how are they going to accommodate the growth of Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Samsung Pay and the other mobile-wallet contenders?

I don’t know about you, but that sounds to me like opportunity.

PLUS: This week Ingram Micro announced a deal with Cisco to enable Ingram partners to sell under their own brands a trio of FirePOWER Network Threat Assessment services. I previously discussed the Cisco security offerings; having them under Ingram’s Professional Services portfolio is a win for channel partners looking to become IT security experts, said Tim Ament, senior vice president, Advanced Solutions, Ingram Micro, in a statement.

“Managed IT security is a large and growing service model for the channel,” said Ament. “By aligning our Professional Services and Networking and Security teams, we are able to bring to market the advanced IT security services, solutions and expertise our channel partners need to proactively protect and serve today’s businesses.”

PLUS: Security geek/Chrome user alert — check out the new security panel in DevTools.

Bringing Branches Into the Fold

Suddenly, it seems like SD-WAN is everywhere. This week, Talari announced availability of its Adaptive Private Networking (APN) 5.0 operating software and Aware 2.0 centralized management and orchestration system. Together they deliver enhanced routing, better security, centralized cloud-based management, cost-effective redundancy and multi-tenant capabilities. For the company’s partners, the moves help them bring customers’ branch locations into the SD-WAN quickly; the APN software essentially enables you to stack and manage as many as seven broadband or private-line WAN connections. 

“Talari’s APN 5.0 and Aware 2.0 releases expand our target market by further simplifying branch deployments, which opens up more opportunities and engagements for our channel partners,” Talari’s senior director, channels Michele Hayes told me. “The enhancements in these releases specifically address the feedback that we have received from our channel partners and their customers, so we are very happy to be bringing them to market.”

I have an SD-WAN education session queued up in Vegas. Can’t make it? Download our free report to help determine if an SD-WAN is right for your customers.

How Will Azure Stack Up?

This is go-live day for the long-awaited technical preview of Azure Stack, Microsoft’s hybrid cloud platform. While the term “platform” is thrown around pretty loosely, the Azure public cloud and Azure Stack will have a common, standardized architecture and will eventually gain OS images, apps and services that can run in either on-premises clouds or in Microsoft data centers with the same automation and management tools, so in this case, the moniker fits. General release will be later this year.

Mike Neil, Microsoft’s corporate VP, enterprise cloud, says the company is registering nearly 100,000 new subscriptions every month for Azure IaaS. The ability to enable customers to easily shift workloads between private and public clouds and should be a further selling point for Azure. And in fact, Neil said Microsoft is are already collaborating with technology partners; an example is Canonical, which is contributing Ubuntu Linux VMs that enable open-source applications to work well in Azure environments. It really is a brave new world.

Partners can take the technical preview of Azure Stack for a test run today. Hardware requirements are here — Microsoft recommends Dell R630 and HPE DL 360 servers. It has also announced a Feb. 3 webcast hosted by Microsoft Azure CTO Mark Russinovich and Jeffrey Snover, chief architect, enterprise cloud, to fill in more details.

Samsung Partner Summit News

At its annual Channel Partner Summit this week in San Antonio, Samsung Electronics America announced some major enhancements to its channel partner program.

“The resources we are rolling out in 2016 for partners will increase their relevancy in the marketplace and expertise in target markets — ultimately increasing their bottom line,” said Ed Abrams, the company’s VP of marketing, in a statement. By “target markets,” Abrams is referring to Samsung’s focus on verticals, including health care, hospitality, education, retail, financial services and federal government.

The new programs include expanded Marketing Concierge Services that help solution providers and system integrators with co-branded marketing campaigns. Larger partners will have access to content marketing and social-selling expertise. Samsung also introduced the Samsung Business Academy, a new training and certification program that will help partners gain certification on Samsung B2B products, including KNOX security, outdoor displays and offerings in hospitality and health care.

The Samsung Business Academy will launch in the first half of 2016 and be integrated into the current Web-based STEP portal, with mobile support coming in the second half of the year.

Get With The Hyperconvergence Program

At a recent Ingram Micro partner conference I asked Dell channel VP Frank Vitagliano which one trend partners should be watching. His answer: hyperconvergence.

“Basically, it’s the same transition that we through with VMware on hardware,” said Vitagliano. “We’re now going through it from a networking standpoint, and it’s becoming a software-defined kind of an approach. And it’s significant. There are huge productivity and operational cost implications here. It’s a big deal.”

Not all hyperconvergence vendors are committed to the channel; SimpliVity is — it sells exclusively through its partners. And this week, the company announced a bunch of new PartnerAdvantage programs and initiatives, including advanced training to help solution providers capture the growing demand for hyperconverged infrastructure and consumption-based pricing to help customers afford it. There are also new VDI and DRaaS options. Our own James Anderson covers the details in more depth here.

iGadget Alert

Apple iPhone users who are dissatisfied with native recording capabilities – and who isn’t? – may want to get in on the ground floor of a new Indiegogo campaign. The Just In Case iPhone case allows for high-quality recording of both sides of a conversation; no need to connect to an external conference call.  The product is projected to ship in May. Cases will include an omnidirectional microphone, a 2 GB microSD card that should hold 20 hours of recording, and a built in speaker. The software records in MP3. At press time, a special $29 offer was in effect.

Follow executive editor @LornaGarey on Twitter.

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