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 »
SAN DIEGO — Day two of the CompTIA Managed Services Summit, which yesterday focused on research and trends for managed service providers, centered mostly around round-table discussions and Q&A sessions among MSPs — or those trying to break into the market.
At the top of priority list for nascent MSPs were questions about pricing and how to market managed services — either to existing clients who might be persuaded to upgrade from product purchases to service contracts, or to new customers altogether. Others asked for advice in effecting internal changes as they move from a more traditional reselling model to managed services.
How do you price a managed service?
There are three main approaches for pricing managed services: a completely à la carte model in which the customer pays different prices for different levels of service; an all-inclusive, flat-price model; or a hybrid that lets customers pick among predefined levels of service.
You know those days when everything just seems too serious? You’re consulting or meeting a customer to pitch the latest addition to your UTM line card, and your stockings or tie just start to suffocate you?
I have the solution. Let your hair down. Breathe a little. Sport a snarky t-shirt underneath that pinstripe suit, and even if no one ever sees it, you’ll know you’ve got it on. It will make you laugh, and help you approach that new security awareness training project with a smile on your face. Wear your gear in just enough to make it look like your standard attire when you don it for show at Black Hat or Burning Man. It might even help you stay cool.
In your busy life as a VAR, you might not have time to seek these garments out, so I’ve done some of the legwork for you. Here are a few of my favorites:
- It’s OK
- Understanding computer technology
- I read your e-mail
- No I will not fix your computer
- There’s no place like 127.0.0.1
- Old School Computer (Represent)
- Picked last in gym class
- I heart spyware
- Packet storm four continents
The moral of the story, of course, is to keep your humor about you. Your customers will appreciate you for it (even if they only see it in your attitude), and your day will be better. I promise.
One of the snags in VoIP installations is how to extend them to small branch offices or home offices (which are getting more common in all industries that rely on knowledge workers). According to IDC, VoIP is growing faster in home offices than in corporate offices.
Connecting a corporate VoIP network across the Internet, to a home office or a hotel (once it’s outside the firewall, does it really matter from where a remote worker is connecting?) so telecommuters and travelling employees can connect with it is daunting. It’s hard enough (and expensive enough) to get acceptable VoIP performance in a corporate setting.
Cisco is offering some corporate/home VoIP configuration guidance, in a document, in a paper that — judging by the rule that the usefulness of any technical document rises in direct proportion to the awkwardness with which it’s written — is very useful indeed: PIX/ASA 7.x: QoS for VoIP Traffic on VPN Tunnels Configuration Example
(Here’s some advice on how to set up a comfortable and productive home office, btw.)
Apple patches security hole in QuickTime QuickTime one of four popular apps currently at risk. [TheReg]
VXers push small coc Trojan on unwilling world It’s not the size that matters [TheReg]
Dell to offer Ubuntu Linux desktops and laptops After months of speculation, Dell Inc. officially announced it will sell pre-installed, 100% certified Ubuntu Linux on its laptop and desktop computers.
[SearchEnterpriseLinux.com] Continued »
EqualLogic, today announced changes to its channel partner program that will further assist partners deploy its technology among midmarket customers who are increasingly adopting iSCSI storage area network (SAN) systems
The Nashua, N.H. – based company is enhancing the way partners communicate with EqualLogic, both by adding more people who will be assigned to work with partners on customer accounts but also via the Web.
In its announcement the company said it has established a channel management team from EqualLogic that will be dedicated to addressing the challenges partners face in a number of areas that go beyond selling technology.
The company will expand its field teams, positioning technical experts based on a regional focus. Incentives are driven by increasing sales through the channel and team members are expected to identify, qualify and close sales deals as well as provide on-site training to partners’ technical staff.
To further assist partners, EqualLogic has developed a field marketing team to help partners gain greater exposure to end customers and to develop plans for co-marketing.
Other improvements include telephone lines dedicated to channel partners who want to resolve issues relating to sales, product, marketing, competitive information. EqualLogic will also offer Web-based training, regular webcasts, and forums where partners can air their complaints and discuss business strategies.
James Tenner, president of Broadleaf Services, said he expects the changes will assist his company as it implements iSCSI technology to midmarket customers, particularly those who lack technical skills.
“A number of these changes help us to educate the marketplace, whether it is the webinars, or the ability of the channel managers to come with us to do seminars in the marketplace or the ability to have the latest reports and data, they all help us give our customers comfort that they are moving to very mainstream, accepted, highly reliable technology,” Tenner said.