Tag Archives: cloud

Betting on Legacy Distribtuion Strategy for Cloud Future

Throughout the 1990’s Michael Dell was the poster child for IT Channel disintermediation.  His ‘direct’ sales model took the industry by storm.  Leveraging logistical efficiency and a ‘no middle man’ mantra were hallmarks of Dell’s strategy.  Interestingly though, Dell has in recent years given the entire model a rethink.  Nowadays, Dell sells heavily through the channel.

Pioneering giants of cloud computing looked very much like 1990’s Dell in the early days.  And, just like Dell, companies like Rackspace and Google are starting to realize that the Channel plays an important role in the IT service supply chain and broader ecosystem – a horn I have been blowing for years.

The realization of the Channel’s importance to sustained market success creates a rather interesting opportunity for IT channel distribution.  Distribution represents large-scale buying power and market coverage to aggregate the MSP and VAR communities on behalf of vendors.  Leveraging scale efficiency to sell large volumes on thin margins and a better logistical framework than any of the manufacturers allowed distribution to create an important niche for itself during the client/server era of computing.

The emergence of the cloud era represents a fascinating paradox for distribution.  It is not a business delivered through supply chain EDI, warehouses and net 30-day terms.  The cloud is a virtual technology product of sorts.

Companies like Ingram Micro have been very vocal about the channel and the cloud revolution.  But to date I would consider the effort, shall we say, lacking inspiration.

Why?

Because like most big companies in our market that can sense the disruption and fear obsolescence, they revert to what they know.  In the case of IT distribution, what they know is Product Line Cards.  PLC’s basically amount to glossy placards that list the names, descriptions and manufacturers of products they sell.

In essence, early adopters in distribution, like Ingram, have lined up some heavy hitters and they are trying to promote those brands the way they would promote printers, computers and peripherals.    Sure, they put it all under a new division and they wrap some captive managed services in there.  But isn’t that really just a pretty dress on the bearded lady (no offence to ladies with beards intended)?

The line card strategy is fatally flawed because it misfires on what is a volume business model (cloud) with what is needed to exact a volume play (access to markets).

So if the handy line card plays won’t cut it, what exactly is needed to realize the riches for Distribution?   That is a complex question that won’t get answered here.  But I can share some thoughts based on what I know about cloud and the IT service market:

1)   Standardized Skills

The cloud is a nascent and immature world where skillful market execution is extremely hard to produce and the skills to do it are even harder to find. Cloud is missing the underlying foundation of training and certification (think A+, CCNA, MCSE type programs), which buttress efforts to make meaningful market penetration in the IT service business.   Until that happens distribution needs to KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid).   Distribution needs to cast as wide a net as possible without overwhelming the VAR community with scores of technologies for which training is embryonic at best.

2)   Technological Abstraction

Winning at the distribution layer in the supply chain means recognizing what you truly need in order to capture the foundation of a nascent market.   I’ve blogged about this subject before, but what it comes down to is making complex technology simpler to consume.  Giving me brochures for a bunch of cloud vendors is a useful visual, but that’s about it.  Show me how I can reduce vendor sprawl, universalize my customer SLA, and expand markets with as little capital and effort as possible.  That would really raise some eyebrows.

3)   Integration & Interoperability

The cloud is not about selling product silos to your customer base.  That is so 1995.  The cloud is about selling the bridge between legacy IT and the future of IT delivery.  In order to do that you must have tangible and meaningfully integrated solutions that solve real problems for the partners who sell them and the customers that buy them.  I liken the cloud today to what the Remote Monitoring and Management software vendors went through during the early MSP days.  Selling RM&M product is nowhere near as powerful for the VAR partner and meaningful to the customer as selling an IT management solution in an MSP fashion.

All of this makes the early adopters in distribution at risk of either being too early (the market may be ready for line card distribution five years from now) or too late (they are now pot committed just like in a good game of poker and can’t turn back).

Either way, the field of opportunity for distribution is still anyone’s game at this point.  There is a lot of market to be had for the company that steps up with the right model to truly leverage the power of the IT service channel.

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The 6fusion ecosystem gets bigger!

Building the ecosystem is critical for the cloud to thrive. This isn’t just a prediction for us, it is a philosophy – customers want solutions that are designed, tested, and certified to work together.  Recently, the 6fusion ecosystem got even better (and bigger) with the announcement that Network Box USA has been granted Certified Solution status with 6fusion.

For more details, see the announcement here

We are excited to welcome Network Box to the 6fusion family!  Stay tuned for more ecosystem announcements from 6fusion as we continue to build out the premier cloud ecosystem for the channel.

 

 

Join us for our first webinar of 2011 — “Make your 2011 New Year’s Cloud Resolution Now!”

Make your 2011 New Year’s Cloud Resolution Now!

Make your New Years Cloud Resolution now and sign up to attend this informative session.  6fusion will be sharing their cloud predictions for 2011 and will show you how to drive profit and recurring revenue from the cloud while locking in your customers immediately with no up front capital investments.

This is the first in a monthly series of informative and actionable cloud seminars designed to help service providers add cloud to their services portfolios.

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now!

Join us for a Webinar on January 6

Or for a repeat live presentation on January 13

The IaaS Revolution: Report from the Frontlines

When we read about revolutions historically, they are invariably painted as a momentary epoch during which the world blissfully changes forever and where the victors relish in the glory of positive new direction. Granted, revolutionary ideas are often harmlessly hatched in pubs, coffee shops, online groups, and simple meet-ups. But the revolution itself is anything but blissful or momentary. Revolution is about upheaval. And upheaval only brings uncertainty, panic and divisiveness. Revolution is a mess. It’s ugly and unorganized. And the business of it is bloody. If you want to storm the Bastille you better be prepared for bloodshed because the incumbent regime is not going to go down without a fight. And what’s worse, chances are there will be a cadre of competing revolutionists all bent on their own version of the ideal (Lenin, Stalin, anyone?). You need to watch your back as much as you keep your eye on the prize. Trust me on this one.

The technology business is no different. The grass roots movement to shift the way in which IT is delivered – from single tenancy to a multi-tenant utility – has created an intense battle. The specter of IaaS looms large over the IT industry and nobody in the supply chain is truly immune from its impact. You can see it everywhere you look in the business. Lines are being drawn. Alliances are being formed. The existing regime is deflecting and dissecting. And in the quest for customers (you know, those people that ultimately decide our fate) it is getting ugly. Revolutionists and incumbents alike wantonly steal ideas, poach people, shamelessly rebrand (pretty sure even my car dealer sells cloud now), undercut pricing and might even engage in a little espionage as they ruthlessly jockey for position.

So why revolt? Why do we put ourselves through such madness?

It’s simple really. We initiate change because the will of the people (or the market) demands it. Be you a disenfranchised member of the Proletariat that’s had just about enough of your bourgeoisie counterparts or a private sector business that’s had just about enough of hardware and software lifecycle cost the impetus is the same. We simply get to point where the status quo must go (ok, get your sign, we’re about to picket now!).

So how do we know when the technology revolution is over? Essentially, it will conclude when the market rate of adoption topples the existing regime and the floodgates open. Moore calls this “crossing the chasm.” I call this “the reason I get up in the morning.” It’s basically that point on the technology adoption curve that starts the hockey-stick (eh) looking upward slope.

Despite what you heard at the latest cloud conferences (these things look more and more like political rallies lately, don’t they?!?), IaaS is not yet ready for prime time.

Allow me to elaborate.

I see three common characteristics among every technological revolution that eventually gave way to a brand new paradigm in consumer society. It helps to think of these characteristics within the context of something everyone knows. You can pick pretty much any technology, but let’s consider three very different omnipresent exhibits to illustrate my point: The internet, electricity and the automobile.

Characteristic # 1: Global reach. I can transmit email around the world with the click of a button. I can consume electricity anywhere in the modern world. A car is an acceptable mode of transport pretty much anywhere. In order for a technology to achieve the upward slope of adoption it must be able to scale the globe in a uniform fashion.

Characteristic # 2: Technological abstraction. My 80 year old mother can send an email and she has never even heard of IP. I am not an electrical engineer, yet I can use electricity. My car is a complex piece of machinery, but all I really need to understand are a handful of simple instruments to competently operate it. It is impossible for any technology to permeate society if it is not made simple enough for anyone to use.

Characteristic #3: Universal measurement. A kilowatt is a kilowatt no matter where we live. Bandwidth dictates how many IP packets I can transmit as defined by every service bureau. Gasoline universally powers my car and I pay by the gallon/litre. Imagine how difficult it would be if we had to calculate octane levels and put out an RFP to Shell and Texaco before we made a decision to fuel our cars? Where would the internet be if every ISP had it’s own version of a packet? Where would we be if you had to manually calculate volts and amps for every device in your house to guesstimate your electricity consumption?

Now translate this to our very own IaaS revolution:

  • IaaS today is regional at best, not global. Can I build a workload and deploy it anywhere I want in the world, from anywhere I want in the world? No. IaaS clouds are being stood up in silos by software peddlers capitalizing on hype and FUD.
  • Can the average business user tap into any of the pioneering IaaS platforms and completely self-serve their computing needs? No. Using IaaS is complex and limited only to engineers and sophisticated software developers.
  • Can I measure my compute utilization the same way whether I operate it in Chicago, London or Tokyo regardless of the local service bureau? That’s a pipe dream for most customers and even service providers. IaaS metering and billing is painfully done in private sandboxes and vacuums today.

The next phase of the revolution is upon us. As reach, abstraction and measurement become more uniform; more pervasive, simple to use, you will begin to see the light at the end of the path.

Take it from a self-proclaimed revolutionist: Only then will a truly new era of IT delivery emerge.

 

6fusion To Integrate UC6 Cloud Platform with ConnectWise PSA Business Operating System

Integration will help service providers manage their customer cloud systems more simply and easily by centralizing customer information and lower the cost of cloud systems support

Durham, North CarolinaNovember 3, 20106fusion, the leading provider of utility billed Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) for the channel, today announced participation in the ConnectWise Developer Network program.  6fusion will deliver integration between the UC6 cloud platform and the ConnectWise PSA business operating system, offering service providers an integrated workflow and user experience.

The integration between UC6 and ConnectWise PSA will focus on providing integrated workflows and reducing duplication of effort and data by allowing service providers to import customer and user accounts from ConnectWise into the UC6 platform.  This will help service providers centralize their customer information, improve the process for keeping customer information up to date and reduce the duplication of effort.

“With the UC6/ConnectWise PSA integration, service providers can drive additional growth and profitability from the cloud by lowering operating costs and improving organizational scalability,” explained Rob Bissett, Vice President of Product Management for 6fusion.

Additionally, UC6 will export all workloads to ConnectWise as managed configurations, which will improve the service provider’s ability to offer their customers exceptional service as well as to include cloud workloads in ConnectWise reports.

“We are excited to be working with 6fusion to provide improved operational support for cloud-deployed workloads,” said Jeannine Edwards, Director of ConnectWise Community.  “We are committed to partnering with leading vendors to drive additional value to our community.“

To learn more, visit www.6fusion.com or stop by Booth #422 at the ConnectWise IT Nation 2010 event in Orlando, Florida, November 4-6, 2010.

Contact: John Cowan, 919-917-5150

6fusion Announces the General Availability of its Cloud Computing Platform UC6 Version 3.0

New release provides an end-to-end cloud management platform for external, internal and hybrid clouds in a single console powered by the Workload Allocation Cube

Durham, North CarolinaOctober 26, 20106fusion, the leading provider of utility billed Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) today announced the general availability of its latest cloud computing platform UC6 Version 3.0.  The new release builds on the company’s core utility metering technology and includes a multi-tenant cloud management console, self-service workload creation and management and improved features to help customers orchestrate workload migration to the cloud.

Leveraging 6fusion’s unique metering algorithm – the Workload Allocation Cube (WAC) – the UC6 platform turns the cloud into a billable utility.  Users can meter cloud resource usage and either cost allocate or bill based on actual computing resource consumption.  Paying for Infrastructure as a Service using the WAC is like paying for electricity by the kilowatt, ensuring customers are only charged for what they actually use and providing improved transparency into cost and resource allocation.  “With the release of UC6 Version 3.0, service providers and enterprises now have the tools necessary to turn the cloud into a truly utility based model, regardless of whether they are using external, internal or hybrid cloud services,” said 6fusion CEO John Cowan.

6fusion’s UC6 Version 3.0 provides an end-to-end cloud management platform for internal, external and hybrid clouds.  “UC6 3.0 creates a single pane of glass through which enterprise customers, service providers and data center operators can provision and manage compute resources on a global basis,” explained Rob Bissett, 6fusion’s VP of Product Management.  Through the UC6 user interface, customers can instantly deploy new cloud workloads to their own private infrastructure or infrastructure that belongs to multi-tenant service providers anywhere in the world.

Another key feature is the Profiler module.  Initially released as a stand-alone tool in 2009, Profiler comes fully integrated with UC6 3.0.  “Profiler is a critical tool for our business because it unlocks valuable insight into the cost performance of an application, the number one barrier to cloud-based adoption,” said Greg Onoprijenko, Managing Director of Sales for e-ternity Business Continuity Consultants.  “Our customers depend on Profiler to help determine and prioritize their cloud migration strategies.”

UC6 3.0 can be deployed to create multi-tenant IaaS or within the private confines of an Enterprise data center.  “We believe the future of the IaaS business rests with the capability to seamlessly bridge the business requirements of Enterprise customers with the technical capabilities of service providers,” said Cowan.  Phil Santoni, CEO of Net Direct Systems, agrees. “We chose to partner with 6fusion because they built a platform that addresses many of the challenges facing cloud adoption within the Enterprise market,” said Santoni.  “Net Direct System’s cloud service strategy is based on 6fusion’s ability to not just meter and bill compute resources, but also safely and securely permit the customer to outsource workloads on-demand to external data centers.”

To learn more about UC6 3.0, try the platform for free, or to get more information about joining the cloud, visit www.6fusion.com.

Contact: info(at)6fusion(dot)com, 888-492-4408

PR: IaaS Leader 6fusion Launches Comprehensive Cloud Computing Platform for Data Center Operators and IT Service Providers

June 7, 2010 — 6fusion today announced the launch of UC6 3.0 beta for data center operators and IT service providers. The new release includes a number of important new features, including:

– Building, controlling and maintaining cloud workloads running on 6fusion’s iNode Network or privately within the customer’s own data center
– Integration of the light weight 
UC6 Profiler agent, released in 2009, into the UC6 Console dashboard, giving service providers the capability to perform deep pre-migration analysis
– Capability for data center operators and customers to launch new 6fusion Infrastructure Nodes anywhere in the world from a centralized NOC
– Instantly ‘unplug’ workloads from the cloud and redirect them elsewhere
– True metered utility powered by 6fusion’s patent-pending Workload Allocation Cube algorithm
– Integrated granular charge back capability for enterprise resource segments
– A rich set of integrationg capabilities to allow external programs to take advantage of the highly modular design of UC6.

UC6 is a software platform that converts virtualized servers, network and storage into a billable utility and makes the utility computing resources accessible to external users. 6fusion federates independent third party data centers, which comprises its iNode Network. The iNode Network is used by IT Service Providers and Independent Software Vendors to deploy cloud based solutions on behalf of their customers, paying only for the compute resources consumed. 6fusion is the only 100% channel-only focused IaaS enabler in the market.

UC6 can also be deployed inside a private enterprise by 6fusion Solution Partners, which 6fusion has been quietly doing for the past several months. “The ability to create a single interface for Enterprise customers to deploy workloads internally or externally onto the iNode Network is in very high demand in the cloud industry,” said 6fusion co-founder and CTO Delano Seymour, the principal architect behind UC6. “Using UC6 3.0, customers can deploy workloads to either their own private data center or one of our multi-tenant data center partners in a matter of minutes,” he added.

UC6 3.0 was also designed to be hypervisor independent, a key feature for the future of IaaS. “There is a lot of debate going on right now over the viability of virtualization vendors offering full cloud management solutions, but our customers don’t want to be locked in to one vendor,” said 6fusion co-founder and CEO John Cowan. “UC6 3.0 architecture will allow the customer to use their choice of hypervisor without compromising the richness and functionality of the cloud or getting locked in,” he said.

The new 6fusion platform also features the UC6 Profiler, which was introduced to the market a year ago. Since launching the free tool, customers and partners have been using it to analyze the potential cost of moving to the cloud before conducting any actual migration. “Profiler allows our partners to gain valuable insight into the cost performance of customer applications they are thinking about migrating to the 6fusion iNode Network,” said 6fusion Director of Partner Development Doug Steele. “With our new release, the Profiler agent can be deployed directly from the UC6 Console,” he added.

Data residency control and self-service provisioning were considered high on 6fusion’s priority list for UC6 3.0. “When we started our company customers gravitated to us because we could assure them control over where their data sits,” Steele explained. “Now, customers in one geography can ensure that some data remain local and other data can be processed in a completely different geography, without ever having to leave 6fusion’s console to accomplish the task,” he added.

UC6 3.0 usage is based on 6fusion’s patent-pending algorithm, called the Workload Allocation Cube (WAC). The WAC algorithm dynamically blends the critical compute resources required to operate practically every x86 based software application, yielding a single unit of measurement. “The Workload Allocation Cube is the most granular unit of measurement for cloud infrastructure on the market,” said Mr. Seymour. “Our customers have been using the WAC for over three years to meter cloud infrastructure because of our unique ability to simplify the cloud consumption experience,” he added.

UC6 3.0 is first being made available for existing partners and customers, followed by a general public release scheduled for later in the year. For more information about 6fusion UC6 3.0 or other 6fusion related technologies, email info(at)6fusion(dot)com or visithttp://www.6fusion.com