NWN debuts solution-as-a-service line to capture top trends

Managed service provider NWN is honing in on five fast-growing markets with the launch of a solutions-as-a-service portfolio, and other channel news from the week.

NWN Corp., a managed service provider based in Waltham, Mass., has rolled out solution-as-a-service offerings reflecting the company's high-growth markets, from cloud-based communications to security.

The company is now organized around five core offerings: unified communications as a service (UCaaS), device as a service (DaaS), contact center, Advanced Technology Solutions and security. NWN, an MSP for more than two decades, has 1,300 customers in the U.S.

The impetus behind the solution-as-a-service portfolio "was really … these major market trends where we had hundreds of customers in fast-growing spaces," said Jim Sullivan, CEO of NWN. The goal is to put "more wood behind the arrow and focus on those five core offerings."

Solution-as-a-service offerings

Sullivan said the UCaaS market is experiencing double-digit growth, noting customers  are moving from on-premises PBX technology to cloud-enabled UCaaS offerings that also incorporate collaboration. The shift provides customers a more predictable cost model and greater efficiency in the cloud, he added. Cisco has been a traditional UCaaS partner for NWN, which has a Cisco collaboration specialization.

In the DaaS space, NWN provides managed devices, including laptops, desktops and workstations, on a subscription basis. Different levels of monitoring, maintenance and device management are available. Vendor partners include HP Inc. Sullivan said Windows Virtual Desktop is on the roadmap, but the company is not delivering that offering today.

NWN builds contact center platforms for customers. The company said its solutions in this area include data-directed routing and automation, reduced network provisioning time and analytics.

The Advanced Technology Solutions component of the solution-as-a-service portfolio provides the underlying technology on which UcaaS, DaaS and contact center applications may be built. Sullivan said offerings could include connectivity, bandwidth, server infrastructure and storage infrastructure.

The company's security concentration wraps around the other core offerings. Security services starting with assessment can range to incident response, depending on the package a customer selects.

Integrated management platform

NWN also launched its Experience Management Platform, which provides integrated management and what the company described as unified view of the customer's environment. Reporting and dashboard capabilities span service desk, incident detection and remediation, utilization and adoption, infrastructure management and monitoring, and service-level agreements, according to the company

NWN's updated branding includes a revamped website and messaging around the company's core offerings, Sullivan said.

Service delivery includes private and hybrid cloud models, which NWN offers from its three cloud data centers. Sullivan said enterprise customers as well as state and local organizations prefer private or hybrid clouds. "But some of the smaller customers are going public cloud-only and we can help enable them and manage them in that scenario as well," he said.

IBM z15 aligns with partners' mainframe objectives

IBM's z15 release is syncing up with channel firms' top customer priorities in the mainframe market.

Launched Sept. 15, the z15 advances the Z lineup's security capabilities as well as cloud-native development approach. Among the mainframe's security features are policy-based data privacy controls, dubbed Data Privacy Passports, which let customers provision and revoke data access across hybrid multi-cloud environments, according to IBM. The z15 also uses existing Pervasive Encryption technology introduced in 2018 with the z14 mainframe, which customers can use to encrypt data in transit and at rest.

Don Dejewski, director of mainframe product development at IT services management provider Ensono, said the z15 aligns with "a lot of areas which Ensono is focusing on."

Ensono, based in Downers Grove, Ill., offers migration, management and optimization services for mainframe, private cloud and public cloud platforms. The company's top partners in the mainframe market are IBM and Broadcom.

Security has long been a strong point for IBM Z mainframes, Dejewski noted. "They have had secure environments for decades, and they just keep building it." The Data Security Passports control is an enhancement that Ensono is "going to build upon for providing extra security for our clients," he said.

The z15's improved approach to developing cloud-native applications also lines up with Ensono's focus on mainframe modernization.

He said many of Ensono's clients are interested in DevOps and embedding the Agile development process in the mainframe. In a Forrester study commissioned by Ensono and professional services firm Wipro, 35% of the 153 IT directors polled said they plan to adopt DevOps for mainframe development.

"In the past, the mainframe has been treated as a silo and a one-off as far as development, testing and rolling it out and deploying it out," Dejewski said. In conjunction with recent IBM software releases, the z15 allows "the DevOps pipeline to include the Z."

"Now you have agile development across all your platforms," he said.

He added that the z15 also helps customers' DevOps adoption by supporting modern programming languages such as Java and JavaScript, enabling developers without traditional mainframe skills to "develop code directly on the mainframe."

Additionally, Dejewski pointed to the z15's Instant Resiliency feature, a rapid recovery method for planned and unplanned downtime, as an important new  feature.

"If the [Z system] needs to recover for some reason or you have had a planned outage, the recovery time to come back to a working environment has been reduced significantly. … I thought that was really intriguing feature for [customers] that need true high availability and reduced outages," he said.

Other news

  • Trustwave, a managed security services provider based in Chicago, unveiled Trustwave DbProtect, an enterprise database security scanning, testing and activity monitoring software.
  • IGEL, an endpoint management software vendor, has named Insight Enterprises as its first National Solution Partner.
  • Blancco Technology Group, which provides data erasure and mobile device diagnostics, added five U.S.-based partners to its channel program. Those partners are Technology Integration Group, Data Agility Group, DMI, Computer Professionals International and Network Solution Provider.
  • ServerCentral Turing Group, a managed infrastructure services firm, said it achieved AWS DevOps Competency status.
  • Remediant Inc., a privileged access management software vendor, named Bryan Copeland as its global head of channels. Copeland will lead the development of Remediant's inaugural partner program, the company said. Prior to Remediant, Copeland served as security practice manager at VeriStor Systems.
  • Consenna, a business consultancy based in Scotland, appointed Trevor Evans as managing director. Former managing director and company founder Douglas Jeffrey is now Consenna's chairman.
  • CloudJumper, a workspace-as-a-service provider, appointed Mark Foust as its vice president of sales. Foust joins CloudJumper from identity and access management vendor Optimal IdM, where he served as chief product evangelist.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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