Linksys: Cloud platform lets channel make more Wi-Fi money

Small business Wi-Fi market: A new, no-cost Linksys cloud management offering has hit the market, targeting channel partners and their clients; other news from the week.

Linksys this week unveiled a cloud-based Wi-Fi management platform for the small business market and will not charge a subscription fee for the hosted offering, a move the company said lets channel partners make more money on the sale of its wireless offerings.

Resellers and managed service providers (MSPs) can use the company's Linksys Cloud Manager to centrally manage clients' wireless networks. The cloud management offering may be used to remotely monitor and manage single-site small business locations or customers with wireless networks distributed across more than one site.

The small business Wi-Fi management platform also offers zero-touch provisioning, a feature through which access points can connect automatically to networks and configure upon activation. A browser-based dashboard affords network provisioning from laptops, tablets or mobile phones.

Linksys Cloud Manager is preinstalled on access points including the company's LAPAC1200C and LAPAC1750C models. The cloud offering will be added to the LAPAC2600C access point in November 2018. Linksys Cloud Manager is included with those products at no extra cost. Prices range from $200 for the LAPAC1200C to $500 for the LAPAC2600C.

Wayne Newton, director of commercial business at Linksys, said the approach contrasts with other wireless networking vendors, which he said charge a subscription fee for cloud management in addition to the acquisition cost of an access point.

Newton called the Linksys pricing plan "disruptive" and said channel partners can charge customers for remotely managing their Linksys access points, but make more money than with other vendors' offerings since Linksys Cloud Manager is included in the acquisition cost of an access point.

Wayne Newton, director of commercial business at LinksysWayne Newton

The pricing also makes business-class Wi-Fi products more affordable for small businesses. Most small businesses, Newton said, can't afford the price of a cloud management subscription on top of the hardware cost.

"We don't charge for cloud," he said. "We think that should be included."

Anthony Pham, senior product manager at Linksys, suggested Linksys Cloud Manager fills a gap in the small business Wi-Fi market for an affordable, easy-to-use cloud management platform.

MSPs using a remote monitoring and management product can expect to see integration with Linksys Cloud Manager in the future. That capability won't be available at launch but is on the product roadmap, Newton said.

Meta Networks launches channel program

Network-as-a-service startup Meta Networks has rolled out its inaugural partner program in a shift to an exclusively indirect sales model.

We don't charge for cloud. We think that should be included.
Wayne Newtondirector of commercial business, Linksys

The Meta NaaS Channel Program provides resources and support to partners such as MSPs to sell software-defined perimeter technology for secure remote access, according to Meta Networks, which emerged from stealth in April. Meta Networks' offerings are aimed at the small and midsize enterprise market.

"Software-defined perimeter is a new category of products that, most simply put, is an alternative to conventional VPNs," said Amy Ariel, chief marketing officer at Meta Networks, headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel. "The security challenge with VPNs is that once you log in to the network, you have very broad network access. ... The idea with software-defined perimeter products is to move to zero-trust principles, which say that you should have a very finely segmented network and each user should only have access to the very limited number of applications and resources that they actually have to use for their work, and nothing else."

The other principle of zero trust is that the authentication mechanism should be continuous, she added.

Through the program, partners can access training and certification, financial rewards and incentives, sales tools, and market development funds. Meta Networks has structured the program in three membership tiers: Silver, Gold and Platinum.

"We are aiming to be a vendor that is working through ... partners and not direct. We already have direct sales, but now that we are launching this program, the focus of the company is going to be [indirect sales]," said Royi Barnea, director of sales at Meta Networks.

In addition to IT services providers, Meta Networks is targeting value-added resellers, distributors and integrators. Barnea said the company wants to sign up 10 partners by the end of 2018 and about 35 partners in 2019.

"We are working at the beginning with a relatively small number of partners to ensure they get the hands-on assistance that will ensure they are successful," Ariel noted.

Scale Computing, APC rollout turnkey system

Scale Computing and APC by Schneider Electric are targeting distributed enterprises with a hyper-converged turnkey system, which distributor Ingram Micro will take to the North American channel.

The system, dubbed Micro Data Center in a Box, offers virtualization, compute, storage and power management resources in an integrated platform that will sell as a single SKU. Scale Computing provides its HC3 HyperCore operating systems software to the joint platform, while APC contributes an enclosure.

Doug Howell, senior director of global alliances at Scale Computing, based in Indianapolis, said the turnkey offering aims to reach customers beyond its traditional base of smaller IT shops employing a couple of IT generalists. While Micro Data Center in a Box is available to such customers, the product is geared more to customers with bigger technology rollouts or distributed enterprises with tens or hundreds of locations, he explained.

Howell pointed to Idaho Farm Bureau Insurance, a Pocatello, Idaho, company that has deployed more than 20 Scale Computing hyper-converged appliances, as an example of the new customer profile his company is coming across.

Cissy Walker, global director of IT alliances at APC, said Ingram, for now, will serve as the exclusive North American distributor for the turnkey offering. Katie Boeh, director of channel marketing and communications at APC, said the product bundle gives channel partners an opportunity for easily repeatable deployments.

Howell, meanwhile, said Scale Computing plans to work with Schneider Electric's EcoStruxure internet of things platform as a follow-on to the current turnkey offering.

Other news

  • Rubrik, a vendor of cloud data management products, unveiled a global partner program for resellers. The Palo Alto, Calif., company's Velocity Partner Program is built on three tiers: Authorized, Select and Elite. Classifications are based on competency and performance, according to the company. In addition, Rubrik is launching Rubrik Academy, which offers accreditations for partner sales, presales and post-sales. The company's partner program also offers a rebate for Elite-level partners, lead sharing and joint marketing funds, as well as incentives for partner sales and sales engineer representatives in the highest program tiers. Program benefits will roll out in February 2019.
  • IT Glue added new features to its documentation platform, unveiled this week at its first user conference, GlueCon. Updated capabilities include GlueFiles, a way for users to upload, store, access and preview files within the software, the vendor said. IT Glue also now integrates with Office 365, Cisco Meraki and Auvik network monitoring and management technology, as well as Syncro's remote monitoring and management (RMM) product.
  • IT infrastructure management software company SolarWinds MSP revealed its Threat Monitoring Service Program. The program aims to support MSPs using SolarWinds Threat Monitor threat detection technology. Through the program, MSPs can partner with SolarWinds Threat Monitoring Service Providers to develop managed security service offerings.
  • Pulseway took the wraps off a new version of its IT systems management platform for MSPs. Pulseway 6.0, which the company has dubbed Pulseway Scale, lets administrators remotely monitor and manage thousands of endpoints via smartphone or tablet.
  • Deloitte Consulting has partnered with data platform provider MapR Technologies to develop joint analytics and AI offerings. The partnership will focus on technology areas such as big data modernization, cloud analytics and IoT distributed analytics, according to MapR.
  • Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has entered an alliance with InfinityQS International Inc., a Fairfax, Va., company that specializes in manufacturing shop floor statistical process control. TCS has joined InfinityQS' Global Partner Program, which will let the consulting firm's industrial clients use Enact, a quality intelligence platform.
  • Insight has launched a managed mobility service for Apple Macs, iPhones and iPads. Insight Managed Mobility for Apple offers procurement, deployment, repair, replacement and recycling services.
  • Nuxeo, a content services platform provider, added consulting firm iSoftStone to its channel partner program. ISoftStone targets vertical industries that include retail, technology, telco and manufacturing.
  • BackupAssist, an automated Windows server backup and recovery software vendor, released a cloud-based version of its backup product. BackupAssist 365 licenses are free to MSPs for the first 60 days, the company said.
  • Security vendor Barracuda Networks introduced Total Email Protection, an email security bundle. Offered as a single SKU, the bundle includes Barracuda Essentials, Sentinel and PhishLine software.
  • WatchGuard Technologies, a network security vendor in Seattle, launched the Trusted Wireless Environment Framework, which the company said helps value-added resellers and managed security services providers differentiate themselves in the Wi-Fi services sector. The framework aims to guide solutions providers building Wi-Fi services.
  • NYI, a hybrid IT solutions provider, is partnering with Eplexity, an MSP and Advanced Consulting Partner in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network. The partnership extends NYI's managed infrastructure services to AWS environments.
  • Pax8, a cloud distributor, has promoted John Walters to the newly created position of senior vice president of global services and also promoted Susan Mitnick to chief people officer. In addition, the company hired Brad Fugitt as chief information and security officer. Craig Donovan was named vice president of partner solutions and reports to Fugitt.
  • Alert Logic, a security-as-a-service solutions provider, appointed Christopher Rajiah as the company's senior vice president of worldwide alliances and partnerships.

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