Looking for a new channel angle to help business growth? Robert Malone wrote an interesting article for Forbes.com talking about structured and unstructured data and how channel companies can play a role. Malone talks about the fact that as the data streams that are constantly being fed into companies increase, data gets lost, improperly filed away or becomes too difficult to track down.
He mentions two companies — Teradata and Attensity — that are taking on the task of providing the service of sorting, organizing and maintaining these data streams. Sounds like a professional service to me. Will more VARs think about getting on this bandwagon?
Personally, I think they should. How far removed is data management from storage management? Part of the value add could a program or three that will help sort and maintain information before moving it off to be archived and stored. Seems like something that could be bundled into the service.
Experts tout the ability to send voice over an IP network as a plus because telephony and data can be sent on one network, thereby streamlining management of data and voice traffic as well as the network.
That works until users get too enthusiastic about bandwidth-hogging technologies — video and software-as-a-service, for example — and swamp the network, degrading performance and increasing security risks. In many ways, VoIP’s success is putting normal use of networks at risk.
Some VoIP customers have gone from thinking they’d cut corners by converging their networks to finding themselves waiting to complete even simple tasks across an overworked network.
Juniper Networks’ Sanjay Beri, director, product management, says there are three macro trends developing on this front:
The first is the need to appropriately assign bandwidth to specific applications via application-intelligent firewalls and intrusion-prevention systems. Businesses need to determine which applications are business critical and therefore have priority on the network.
The second trend, according to Beri, is a shift in network design; rather than using big pipes to overcome bottlenecks, packet collisions and awkward routing paths, VoIP- and video-enabled networks should be designed for performance, using varying quality-of-service levels to support critical high-performance applications like voice as well as asynchronous applications such as email that tolerate traffic delays.
And finally, data-center consolidation is forcing network managers to accommodate users who need to access high performance, low latency applications over the WAN, says Beri. This is where WAN optimization and application acceleration products come into play.
The demand for VoIP is keeping VoIP specialists busy and pulling in non-specialists as well — VARs who can tune a network to accommodate the voice gear. If the trend continues — and gets even worse as more end users demand video, video chat and telepresence applications — there may very well be a market for the VAR version of the two barber shops joke: A sign in the window of one barbershop said, “Haircuts: $6.” A sign in the other said, “We fix $6 hair cuts.”
— Crystal Ferraro
Companies propose Ethernet/SAN love-in A gaggle of top networking and storage vendors have submitted a new standards proposal that will allow Fibre Channel protocol over Ethernet networks. [TheReg]
NAC attack: today’s products will fail, report says Vendors say modern NAC products will fall by the wayside in favor of software-based technologies that manage risk by integrating endpoint security, access control, identity and risk management. [eWEEK]
Sun’s complaint on chip maker is dismissed Hynix Semiconductor has won a dismissal of claims by Sun Microsystems that it conspired to drive up memory chip prices, overcharging chip buyers. [NYT]
One of the key announcements at Cisco’s Partner Summit 2007 this week was the Cisco Smart Service — a support-and-monitoring service that Cisco described as halfway between its SmartNet break/fix support service and high-end network management and monitoring services many of its channel partners offer.
The service is a pure resale opportunity for partners; Cisco built the software and maintains the network. Partners can add whatever additional services they want, and charge anything they want, because Cisco keeps the price secret from everyone except partners.
Fortunately we were able to glean a few details about the price list (actually, the price list) and the reaction of some partners to the potential downsides of the service.
Microsoft roping more into Longhorn Server release Software maker says it has added to Longhorn Server since the last major test version and that the OS is on track for release later this year. [CNET]
Vista SP1: To be or not to be? This week in Security Blog Log: The owner of The Hotfix.net blog sparks controversy by posting what he claims are 100 fixes slated for Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1).
More Windows patches coming next week In a preview of next week’s monthly patch release, Microsoft said it plans to issue four more Windows updates on top of the ANI fix it rushed out this week.[SearchSecurity.com]
As hackers are developing business models and customer service departments, it should probably come as no surprise that network security is doing well.
According to a recently released Infonetics Research study, the network security sector has continued to grow through 2006 and is expected keep going.
The big winners were the secure router sector, which continued to dominate worldwide sales, claiming a 25% increase through 2005 and 2006 and passing the $1 billion mark. Cisco retained its position as market leader (unsurprisingly), with Juniper and Check Point tying for second.
Before channel pros pop the corks on their champagne bottles over their network security appliance and software accounts, they should know that appliance revenues are expected to slow significantly in the face of rising content security gateway demands.
Between now and 2010, content security appliance revenues are projected to grow 168% worldwide, reaching $2.3 billion in 2010. Content security software is also expected grow steadily, though the lack of interest from small and midsized businesses will keep those numbers from jumping off the charts.
You only have to go to Hell once.
The world is divided into two kinds of people: those who love Las Vegas, and those who go there for conferences; again and again and again. Snippets from Cisco’s Partner Summit 2007 at the Venetian hotel and Sands convention center:
IRS rapped for missing laptops Blog: The nation’s dedicated tax-collecting agency raised eyebrows about five years ago when it discovered more than 2,300 of its computers. [CNET]
Google thwarts al-Qaeda kamikaze strike on US embassy
London consulate cunningly disguised [TheReg]
Software AG gobbles up WebMethods Consolidation in enterprise software continues as two more infrastructure providers combine. [CNET]
Susan Don has an unusual message for the thousands of value-added resellers (VARs) and assorted other partners at Cisco’s Partner Summit in
Las Vegas this week: stop selling security.
As security lead for worldwide channels, Don’s job is to help those partners sell security products, so it’s a message likely to (designed to) make the 4,000 or so attendees sit up and take notice, despite their hangovers, Vegas-born regrets and toxic overdoses on smoke, blue lights and performing executives on the main stage.
Her opening line is only an attention-getter, though. Her intent is to urge Cisco partners to sell security as part of every deal, not as a separate part that may or may not be included, depending on the situation. She won’t get much time on the main stage, but she hopes to go into more detail in breakout sessions later on.
By including the appropriate parts of Cisco’s security product line in every pitch, Don said, Cisco partners will “change the competitive landscape” for Cisco’s other products by offering secure routing instead of routing, secure wireless instead of wireless.
Other networking companies offer security with their products, or bundle other company’s security products with their own. How selling security as part of a wireless deal rather than as the security on top of a wireless deal isn’t entirely clear. No new products or incentives are involved at this point.
Don’s effort right now is to get partners to stop looking at security as a separate, stovepiped practice like networking or managed services or unified communications.
Network storage software developer FalconStor Software Inc. has announced changes to its channel program that it hopes will encourage partners to sign more deals and invest in certification programs in return for lucrative rebates, greater marketing dollars and assistance with lead generation, among other incentives.
The Melville, NY- based company will segment its 130 channel partners into a three-tier program based on revenues and certification. In the elite tier, the company requires partners to post $750,000 in revenues, which include income from net new business as well as licensing renewals. Elite partners must have two certified technical employees and three or four certified on the sales side. Partners achieving this goal will get a rebate of up to 4% on revenues. They will also qualify for the market development fund (MDF) program which gives them dedicated marketing assistance.
Premier partners must earn $350,000 and must have one certified technical employee and two or three certified on the sales side. Premier partners qualify for the MDF program, but they won’t receive a rebate.
Associate partners have revenues under $350,000. They must have one certified technical employee and one or two certified in sales. However, associate partners won’t qualify for either the MDF or rebate programs.
“The drive is to get partners all the way up to the elite program,” said Camberly Bates, FalconStor’s chief marketing officer.
Solution providers contribute 60% of the company’s revenues while 40% is through the company OEM’s like Sun and EMC.
In the area of training the company has developed online training as well as offering a four day course at its New York headquarters. Partners will be trained in two tracks: one on virtual tape libraries and the other on IPstore platform which includes disk based backup, continuous data protection, virtualization and replication software.
In recent months the company has expanded its outbound telemarketing and inside sales staf and executives said it’s committed to generating leads that match a partner’s skills and location. Partners registering deals will receive on average a 30% discount.
While FalconStor won’t refuse new channel partners, Tony Salvia, director of channel marketing, said the latest adjustments are geared toward improving the performance of its current channel partners.
“The enhancements that we’ve made in this partner program are directed toward enabling the partners that we have, making them more productive and helping them to meet the aggressive growth goals that FalconStor has,” Salvia said.
— Nicole Lewis