As resellers feel the pressure of increasing competition from other resellers, they’re turning to managed services as a means of expanding their businesses. But doing so introduces another set of challenges, both technical- and business-related. Luckily, there are resources available to help.
Garden Grove, Calif.-based service provider Intelligent Enterprise Inc. is in the business of helping their customers and other potential service providers succeed. Intelligent Enterprise is the parent company of Managed Services Provider University. MSP University offers a year-long course on how to become a services provider. Their webcasts, teleseminars and live workshops cover topics like transitioning existing clients, marketing for new clients, restructuring a sales strategy and more.
Would-be service providers can also find help from MSPAlliance, a professional association for the managed services industry. Their two-day services conferences feature business, educational and technical training courses. And MSPAlliance members have access to other resources such as white papers and online forums.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the resources you can find on our very own SearchITChannel.com. Visit our Managed Services Topic Center for advice from other MSPs, market analysis, how-tos and more.
First announced last November, Microsoft and Dell are following up on their promise to make Linux easier to use on their boxes. The details of the agreement allow corporate customers the chance to license SUSE Linux.
Looks like the Linux server virtualization trend is really starting to pick up some steam. Between VMware teaming up with Linux and this latest news, VARs should start getting up to snuff on installing and supporting Linux. Selling should never be easier. VMware is on board with Linux. Microsoft and Dell are on board now, too. For those non-technical customers who don’t know what Linux is or how it works, this news should provide some leverage for pro-Linux VARs.
Make sure you check out our Linux server virtualization learning guide. It’s got the latest news and technical advice for making an installation easy. Bear in mind, that taking over a company’s servers may be a good foot in the door to landing a managed services contract.
TSA loses hard drive with personal info The Transportation Security Administration has lost a computer hard drive containing Social Security numbers, bank data and payroll information for about 100,000 employees. [AP]
Lax security led to TJX breach Security pros left windows open. [TheReg]
Windows activation Trojan can catch the unwary Watch out – the bad guys have stepped up their Trojan creation nastiness by creating Trojans that look like real Windows alerts which wouldn’t fool experts but could easily catch novices. [ITWire] Continued »
According to Technology research giant, Gartner, Inc. application integration trends are pointing at service oriented architecture (SEO). Interoperable, customer-centered systems are becoming the norm, giving end-users more choice and power.
In 2006, a Gartner press release identified five application trends that would change business applications: service oriented architecture (SEO) and event driven architecture would be the dominant design style; enterprise service bus (ESB), which provides secure interoperability between enterprise applications, would become the dominant communications service; integration logic would be separated from presentation; middleware appliances would impact the market – sometimes competing and sometimes complimenting; and event processing would improve real-time analysis and insight into business operations.
Recently, SearchSystemsChannel.com interviewed Gartner analyst, Darrell Plummer, about what these trends mean to the channel. He said interoperability opportunities and customer empowerment present resellers opportunities to work directly with vendors on specific operations, or create new products by adding to existing systems, based on what end-user needs. A more detailed article about application integration trends will be posted on the site in the near future.
This trend seems to be blanketing other IT industries, too. It mirrors business intelligence (BI) and analytic trends. Last year, SearchDataManagement.com posted a Q & A with Howard Dresner, the self-proclaimed “father of business intelligence” in which he talked about coining the term, “information democracy” and defines it as getting information into the hands of constituents.” Today, many BI tools such as dashboards that track performance and up-sell opportunities, are embedded into user-friendly software programs
Web sites such as Ebay, UTube and MySpace have set the tone for internet culture in general, it seems time for the enterprise to join the choir. How do you plan to turn this trend into an opportunity? We’d love to hear from you.
Spammers use fresh technique to evade filters Taking advantage of an inability common to most anti-spam systems, spammers and malware purveyors are sneaking into e-mail inboxes via encrypted or password-protected file attachments. [Computerworld]
Juniper beefs up security appliance software As part of its strategy to give organizations more visibility into what’s going on in their networks, Juniper Networks this week launched new versions of the software that runs its security and intrusion prevention and detection appliances. [ChannelWeb]
Microsoft to release DNS patch Tuesday In addition to a fix for the DNS Server Service flaw, Microsoft plans to patch critical flaws in Windows, Office, Exchange, CAPICOM and BizTalk.
[SearchSecurity.com] Continued »
SAN DIEGO — Ingram Micro plans to announce on Monday a set of back-end services, including a managed network operating center (NOC), helpdesk, and email hosting including anti-virus and anti-spam filtering, a company executive told attendees at the CompTIA Managed Services summit today.
The services, part of Ingram Micro’s Seismic program, will be sold to managed service providers (MSPs) and value-added resellers (VARs) who will be able to rebrand them as part of their portfolio to end users, said Justin Crotty, vice president of Ingram Micro’s North America services.
The program will essentially create a virtual NOC VARs and integrators can sell to their own customers, but the service is even more virtual than that. Ingram isn’t building the NOC itself; those will come from Network Synergy — a network services and design company in Trumbull, Conn.
Ingram will resell Network Synergy services to VARs and integrators, who can rebrand and resell the same services themselves.
The arrangement is the next step in the commoditization of managed services that some MSPs have worried about even as they started their migration out of a traditional break-fix model. Crotty said MSPs should focus not on the services themselves, but the consulting and business-specific relationships built around them.
“The tools are commoditized today,” Crotty said. “If you’re competing at the tool level, yeah, you’re going to have a problem.”
Cisco Systems Inc. is making the rounds of press outlets with NDA briefings on its new partnership with Salesforce.com, so most of it is hush-hush (actually all Cisco has said about it is that it will be announcing a hookup).
But the tool itself has already appeared — on April 20. It’s listed as the third-most-downloaded telephony integration app on Salesforce.com’s AppExchange site: the Cisco Unified CallConnector for Salesforce.com. (An embarassed Cisco PR guy said the page would be pulled down by the time you read this, but we made sure to make a copy of the data sheet (cisco-salesforce-callconnector.pdf).
It’s also listed on Cisco’s own page listing products with which its Unified CallConnector will integrate. Cisco’s version is a lot more subtle, tho. The link just relaunches the page of other CallConnector versions. Continued »
Microsoft unveiled two new security and IT management products at a customer event today in Los Angeles.
Senior vice president Bob Muglia introduced Forefront Client Security, software designed to protect desktops, laptops and servers from external threats, and System Center Essentials 2007, a unified management console that lets administrators monitor and manage appliances on their networks. The two products can work together, allowing IT managers to more effectively manage their security, Muglia said.
Forefront Client Security licenses will cost $12.72 per user per year, and the management console’s price is $2,468. System Center Essentials starts at $2,000 for 50 clients and 10 servers with add-ons for up to 500 clients and 30 servers available for an extra cost.
Microsoft is streaming Muglia’s announcement on its Web site.
SearchNetworkingChannel.com recently published a tip on the promising new draft of IEEE 802.11n, just approved by the 802.11 Working Group, and what its significantly increased bandwidth potential has to offer resellers. The tip’s conclusion, essentially, is that the only drawback we can see at this point regarding the new wireless standard is that nobody’s making equipment that’ll carry 802.11n yet.
Hopefully you’ve had a chance to start planning a transition with your customers already, because the arrival of Draft 2.0-compliant equipment seems to be fast approaching. Wireless network vendor Meru Networks has announced a new line of access points (APs), wireless controllers and software that will be able to carry the estimated 300 Mbps (maximum) data flow.
This is all good news for resellers and integrators as, according to industry expert David Jacobs, the transition too 11n “will require a far more extensive set of equipment replacements than the earlier move from 802.11b to 802.11g.” Where upgrading from 11b to 11g was a (relatively) simple process of replacing APs and interfaces, 11n will frequently demand changes to customers’ entire wireless architecture in order to handle the increased data rate.
To add some perspective to this upgrade, the maximum data rate for standard wireless today (11a,b and g) is a respectable 54 Mbps. The minimum data flow for 11n is two to three times that at 100 to 200 Mbps. Rewriting the DNA of an entire wireless architecture is more than justified with that kind of performance increase. And with Meru Networks’ unveiling of their 11n-compliant line of equipment of software (set to be showcased at Interop later this month), resellers (and their customers) are one step closer to realizing the new standard’s full potential.
DDoS attacks fall as crackers turn to spam Baron Samedi and chums redeploy zombie armies. [TheReg]
Microsoft users sticking with third-party security vendors IT pros are pleased with Microsoft’s security advances, including those found in Forefront. But don’t expect them to drop their third-party security vendors. [SearchSecurity.com]
Server virtualization: Figuring out costs, ROI and chargeback Figuring out virtualization ROI and chargeback, i.e., who’s going to pay, puzzles many IT managers. IT finance consultant John Hayes offers advice on handling these issues, plus offers tips on using VMware Capacity Planner.[SearchServerVirtualization.com] Continued »