7 Channel Ops: Dell, EDB Take On Oracle, Cisco Ups Spark Search, Google Opens Fi

Plus: Do you compensate your star talent well enough to keep them?

Channel Partners

March 11, 2016

8 Min Read
7, seven

Lorna GareyHow does your compensation compare with peers? Is your company paying market rates for talent? It’s difficult to know, but interviews and research for my recent story on 5 Ways To Crack The Skills Ceiling showed that this information is critical, especially for in-demand specialties.

To help you benchmark, we’re partnering with the 451 Alliance on a new 2016 U.S. Channel Compensation Survey, running now. Our plan is to make the survey an annual event to track changes in the availability of skills in the indirect channel, controlling for company type, focus and geography. Please take part, and point your staff to the survey here: 451alliance.com/CPsurvey.

While you might receive an Amazon gift card, the bigger win is knowledge that can translate into power when negotiating salaries.

We’ve been writing a lot lately about taking your business global. CSG International recently surveyed 135 service providers in Asia Pacific, from Australia to Vietnam, about their views of the digital economy. Upwards of 80 percent of respondents were senior-manager level and above, and they came from a variety of industries, primarily ICT (information, communications and technology) but also content providers, retail, manufacturing and entertainment.

CSG asked about 10 digital products. The top three offered now are communications and collaboration, digital marketing and enterprise mobility. Not too surprising. What is interesting, though, is that the bottom three choices now — M2M and IoT, big data and analytics, and eHealth, become the top three when respondents are asked to look ahead. The only initiative that stayed relatively stable is security. Another surprise is the popularity of while-labeling. Respondents source their digital offerings in-house (65 percent) and/or buy from third parties but sell under their own brands (55 percent).

Dell, EnterpriseDB Forge Database Deal

Got customers looking to trim database and data-warehousing costs? Channel-focused, open-source relational database company EnterpriseDB announced this week an initiative with Dell to enable high-performance replication and data integration from Oracle databases to the EDB Postgres platform. The new Dell SharePlex for EDB Postgres solution supports on-premises, geographically dispersed and cloud deployments.

“Our customers often deploy EDB Postgres alongside existing Oracle deployments, so we seek complementary technologies for the propagation of data from Oracle to EDB Postgres,” said Lenley Hensarling, EnterpriseDB’s SVP of product management and strategy, in a statement. Bill Brunt, global product manager for Dell Software, added that he sees customers looking for enterprise-class open source alternatives to traditional databases. The potential savings are just too significant to ignore, especially given the advances in formal support options for databases like Postgres. These are not lab projects anymore.

What’s smart about the Dell SharePlex for EDB Postgres solution is that the companies don’t expect a wholesale cutover from Oracle. SharePlex 8.6.3 supports gradual replication of OLTP transactional data from Oracle to EDB Postgres Advanced Server, versions 9.4 or 9.5, as licenses expire.

PLUS: Microsoft is also targeting database expense by announcing SQL Server for Linux, in preview now with general availability in mid-2017. “This will enable SQL Server to deliver a consistent data platform across Windows Server and Linux, as well as on-premises and cloud,” wrote Scott Guthrie, Microsoft’s executive VP, Cloud and Enterprise Group.

PLUS: Dell released this week its first Data Security Survey that compiles responses from more than 1,300 business and IT decision makers across seven countries. Some top-line findings: Sixty-seven percent of IT teams feel execs are not budgeting enough for security (tell us about it); 60 percent say their businesses are adversely affected by a lack of security pros on the market (uh huh); and 82 percent try to enhance security by limiting access to data (always a winning plan).

You may have missed it in the big coverage of Cisco’s Cliqr deal and Partner Summit, but the company also announced it has bought search technology developer Synata for an undisclosed sum and plans to use the tech to enhance rooms and content searching within the Cisco Spark business collaboration service.

This makes sense to me — I used Spark quite a bit at the recent summit, and while the product has come a long way since I last tried it out in April, it’s not always easy to find what you’re looking for. Add improved search to new messaging, meeting and call capabilities, and Spark is well worth considering for customers looking to lessen their dependence on email and improve employee collaboration.

PLUS: Speaking of collaboration, Microsoft this week also announced that Office Online (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote) and OneDrive users can chat with Skype contacts while in those apps. Redmond also extended improved Skype Outlook integration to all Outlook.com users.

Have VMs, Will Travel. No, Really

Partner-focused cloud workload mobility company Velostrata announced this week general availability of its flagship software that decouples compute from storage. That means companies can more easily move production workloads to the cloud and back again, without tweaking applications or shifting the associated storage. The company signed John Donnelly, previously SVP of sales at MobileIron and sales VP at Symantec, as its channel chief. Velostrata is targeting 40 percent channel versus 60 percent direct.

CEO Issy Ben-Shaul says he sees a great channel opportunity in hybrid cloud, since customers have so much difficulty migrating workloads away from existing infrastructure.

“Our ideal partners are those who are working with enterprises that want to move workloads to the cloud, specifically Infrastructure as a Service targets like AWS,” said Ben-Shaul. He adds that Velostrata speeds cloud adoption – which in turn accelerates how partners are compensated – by reducing the time and cost it takes to move workloads. Leveraging Velostrata, partners can complete more projects with higher utilization.

Right now, cloud targets are limited to AWS, and workloads must be on VMware vSphere, but the company says support for additional clouds will be coming soon. It’s also not for small shops; the minimum purchase is a 50 VM bundle at an annual list price of $40,000. However, for larger customers that have standardized on vSphere and want to “burst” applications into AWS to handle demand spikes, it’s worth investigating. Cloud expert Charlie Babcok has a nice technical rundown here.

Google Fi Opens To All

In June, Google launched its Project Fi cell service by invitation only. This week, it announced that anyone in the U.S. can now sign up. (Fi offers calling to120 countries at the same rate as U.S. calls.) The venture makes Google a mobile virtual network operator, with a little help from T-Mobile, Sprint and public hotspots.

Interestingly, Google is offering data-only SIM cards “to help Project Fi subscribers connect to data from devices other than their phones with no additional fees or restrictions. Since then, we’ve seen SIMs used everywhere from tablets to cars,” writes Project Fi Product Manager Simon Arscot.

Fi isn’t for everyone — VentureBeat’s Jordan Novet has been testing it and found a lot to like, but call quality and device support are downsides. Still, it’s worth watching, especially for Nexus owners who travel internationally.

Avaya Feels The Breeze

Avaya this week announced new capabilities in its enterprise customer engagement/contact center solutions as well as two new offerings: Avaya Breeze, a platform to develop business communications applications, and the Avaya Snap Store, an e-commerce marketplace for those applications.

For contact centers, Avaya Pod Fx (formerly Collaboration Pod), provides the components for a virtualized contact center (applications, compute, storage, networking & management) all pre-racked, stacked, cabled and configured.

The Breeze technology platform is an open development platform that Avaya says allows rapid creation of new workflow-based applications; these apps, aka “Snap-ins” can then be delivered through the Avaya Snapp Store.

For Avaya partners, the company told me the payoffs are that the core communications platform is fully virtualized and software-defined, meaning easier deployment, lower TCO and better cloud-readiness since Avaya uses the same code base for premises-based and cloud deployments. A Snap-in might enable one-on-one video to a customer service rep from an app on the end-customer’s smartphone. Partners can also develop apps that can be sold through the Avaya Snapp Store, with a small fee added for hosting.

Bits & Bytes

Funny Name, Cool Product: Got customers who are curious about how their customers access various sites? Users of Splunk, Tableau, Talend, Informatica PowerCenter and IBM DataStage BI products can now identify more than 40,000 devices, analyze Web trends and traffic and identify problems that impact mobile users with ScientiaMobile’s WURFL InSight. Data on device form factor and model, operating system and more should help customers fine-tune their mobile Web strategies. Check out ScientiaMobile’s partner program here.

Malware for Macintosh: KeRanger is only the second ransomware variant that targets OS X, but it’s particularly sneaky, say Palo Alto researchers. KeRanger-infected transmission installers are signed with a legitimate certificate issued by Apple; the malware, like most ransomware, uses social engineering to trick end users into clicking an attachment. As we’ve said before, ransomware is as much a test of a customer’s backups as their security, maybe more so. If you’re considering adding DRaaS but are unsure which system is best for your business, come by our Microsoft Cloud Migration Lab next week at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo. We’ll have four sessions on our lab stage and plenty of experts on hand to walk through options. Hope to see you in Vegas!

Follow executive editor @LornaGarey on Twitter.

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