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Rackspace security alliance with Armor aims for hybrid cloud

Hybrid cloud security is the focus of a new partnership between managed cloud provider Rackspace and security-as-a-service company Armor; more news from the week.

A new Rackspace security deal with Armor aims to attract mid-market and low-end enterprise customers looking to shore up their hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

The San Antonio-based managed cloud services company plans to integrate Armor's technology into its portfolio of security services. Armor, a security-as-a-service provider, will contribute its Armor Anywhere platform, which includes intrusion detection, vulnerability scanning, patch monitoring, log management and threat hunting among other tools and capabilities. The integration of Armor into Rackspace security services will be available for customers across major private and public cloud platforms in 2020, according to Rackspace.

Vikas Gurugunti, Rackspace's enterprise vice president and general manager of solutions and services, said Armor fits into Rackspace's mid-market and lower-end of the enterprise focus. He said Armor Anywhere will be embedded in Rackspace's Service Block approach, which provides packaged services for cloud environments. Customers can select one or more security-oriented Service Blocks to meet specific needs in areas such as managed detection and response.

Rob Jackson, senior manager of product at Rackspace, said the Armor alliance will help Rackspace address the shortage of security talent among customers. He said the struggle of "finding enough expertise and enough of the right expertise from the security standpoint" ranked among customers' top challenges. Customers are also grappling with how security affects their multi-cloud architectures, he added.

Armor Anywhere provides a "consolidated view" of a customer's security footing across on-premises, cloud and hybrid IT components, according to Armor. The platform uses an agent that may be deployed in AWS, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure, among other cloud environments.

We are always looking for partners who make our offerings more comprehensive … and compelling in the security space.
Vikas GuruguntiEnterprise vice president and general manager of solutions and services, Rackspace

For Armor, the Rackspace security arrangement is in keeping with its strategic shift of becoming a partner-centric company. Armor works with cloud consultants and managed service providers. Rackspace, meanwhile, expands its roster of security partners.

"We are always looking for partners who make our offerings more comprehensive … and compelling in the security space," Gurugunti said.

More programs, alliances in cyber channel

Other recent moves in the cybersecurity channel feature new partner programs and alliances.

  • Nominet launched a global cybersecurity partner program, targeting value-added resellers, managed security services providers and systems integrators. The company, based in Oxford, U.K., offers a network detection and response platform dubbed NTX and opened a U.S. office in Washington, D.C., earlier this year. Nominet's Velocity Partners program encompasses three tiers. Tier 1 is for partners that have undertaken technical engineering and sales training and can demonstrate, deploy and support NTX technology. Partners in this tier receive the highest discounts and can access co-marketing funds. Tier 2 partners have pursued sales training and work with technical distributors and/or the Nominet technical team for technology demonstration and deployment, according to the company. Tier 3 is the entry-level program for partners.
  • Anexinet Corp., a digital business solutions provider based in Philadelphia, has entered a partnership with Thycotic in the privileged access management
  • CriticalStart, a managed detection and response service provider based in Plano, Texas, said its go-to-market strategy is now entirely focused on the channel. In keeping with that direction, the company has hired Dwayne Myers as vice president of channels and alliances and has inked distribution agreements with Ingram Micro and Synnex.
  • Forcepoint, a cybersecurity vendor based in Austin, Texas, has expanded its global partner program with the addition of a Global System Integrators Platinum and Accredited Services Partners programs. The GSI Platinum program provides prioritized opportunities, dedicated sales and marketing support and a bespoke training program among other features. The Accredited Services Partners program aims to enable "services-led partners to become strategic consultants to customers"

CompTIA: Channel firms look to emerging tech

Channel partners are pursuing emerging technologies such as AI and drones to find revenue opportunities beyond their current product lineups.

That's one of the findings in CompTIA's 8th State of the Channel report, which polled 505 U.S. companies. Fifty-six percent of those companies cited the greater revenue-generating potential of emerging technologies as the primary reason for adding those business lines.

In addition, the CompTIA survey found most channel companies have begun partnering with non-traditional IT solution providers such as accounting firms, law practices and digital marketing agencies. Three-fourths of the channel partners surveyed said they frequently or occasionally partner with the new players.

And 40% of channel companies said they are investing in marketing and social media, according to CompTIA.

Aruba touts end-to-end switching portfolio

Wireless LAN company and Hewlett Packard Enterprise subsidiary Aruba has updated its AOS-CX operating system (OS) and built out its CX switching portfolio to include the CX 6300 fixed configuration and 6400 Series modular access, aggregation and core switches. The company said the releases establish an end-to-end switching platform that spans edge, core and data center networking, using a single OS, ASIC architecture and operating model.

Aruba also embedded new analytics and automation features in its switching platform. Those features, dubbed Network Analytics Engine, aim to ease network management, troubleshooting of application performance and remediation tasks, the company said. Additionally, Aruba launched version 2.0 of its NetEdit switch configuration software, which integrates with Network Analytics Engine.

Steve Brar, Aruba's senior director of portfolio marketing, said the updated switching platform solves customer issues that stem from using multiple OSes and fragmented operational models. "Today's network switch infrastructures are very closed and they have disparate operating systems and complex operating models -- things such as complex licensing schemes that make it … difficult for partners to sell and … for customers to understand what they are getting. Once they do purchase, [customers have] to learn and train on different operating systems for different domains within their enterprise IT infrastructure," Brar said.

"The benefit here for customers and partners is [the Aruba switching platform] just makes it really ease to consume … and, once it is in place, to operate it in a streamlined fashion," Brar added.

The Aruba switching platform also open up professional services opportunities for partners, Brar noted, including services for migrating customers from their existing platforms and designing and provisioning the new network.

According to Josh Close, vice president of engineering at Dasher Technologies, an Aruba partner and value-added reseller, Aruba's updated switching platform goes beyond providing a single pane of glass for managing separate operating systems by creating "one operating system for everything."

Close added that Aruba's end-to-end, unified approach is a "huge differentiator," one he expects will be pursued by other networking vendors.

Extreme unveils end-to-end cloud management platform

At its annual partner summit this week, Extreme Networks launched ExtremeCloud IQ, a cloud management platform that uses technologies from Extreme's Aerohive Networks acquisition.

ExtremeCloud IQ spans edge to data center network management and can be deployed in public and private cloud environments as well as on-premises, according to the company. "We see a huge opportunity in extending [ExtremeCloud IQ] both to our customers as well as to partners … and providing a new interpretation of what cloud-driven network management looks like," said Abby Strong, vice president of product marketing at Extreme.

In conjunction with ExtremeCloud IQ, the vendor unveiled an automation capability called Co-Pilot, which aims to ease the IT administration workload. Co-Pilot essentially operates "as an extra team member that is working around the clock," using data fed into ExtremeCloud IQ to produce actionable insight for customers and partners, Strong said.

The company is rolling out an ExtremeCloud IQ specialization to help partners seize on the opportunities the company sees in cloud networking, said Gordon Mackintosh, Extreme's vice president of worldwide channels. "What we are looking to do is rapidly accelerate our partners into the world of cloud," he said.

Extreme this week also announced an expanded alliance with Broadcom. Under the partnership, Extreme will employ Broadcom's networking products in its technologies, while Broadcom will tap Extreme as its preferred provider for enterprise campus networking offerings.

Other developments at Extreme include ExtremeForward, a program that will advise partners in their transition to the managed service provider business model, and Extreme Virtual Assistant, a chatbot in the partner portal to help resolve partners' questions.

Mackintosh added that Extreme is in the process of unifying Extreme and Aerohive's channel programs. The unified program will offer new incentives for partner activities such as cross-selling and make the ExtremeCloud IQ specialization a requirement for partners in its top tier.

"We will be taking the best of both partner programs to make an overall better program," Mackintosh said.

Other news

  • Splunk said its .conf19 user event, held in Las Vegas from Oct. 21 to Oct. 24, hosted more than 2,200 individual partner attendees, the largest partner gathering in the company's history. The company also this week announced Splunk Cloud has received FedRAMP authorization at the moderate impact level.
  • D&H Distributing, a distributor based in Harrisburg, Pa., said it has added resources and sales specialists to back its printer portfolio, which includes vendor partners such as Lexmark, Brother and Ricoh. The distributor's printer business focuses on new models that incorporate integrated managed printing capabilities and embedded security features, the company noted. Secure laser printers and multifunction units will be available through new financing options or bundled with services from programs such as the distributor's device-as-a-service initiative, according to the company.
  • Accenture has unveiled an Industry X.0 studio in its Chicago Innovation Hub. The company said the studio will accelerate the development of smart connected products and services from months to weeks.
  • Axcient, a business availability and cloud migration vendor based in Denver, took the wraps off AutoVerify, which the company described as part of the BootVM check operation on its BRC and Replibit appliances. The company said AutoVerify gives MSPs proof of the recoverability of their backups.
  • CoreView, a SaaS management platform provider for Office 365, is partnering with Dataplus in Netherlands. CoreView's international network of channel partners also includes Bechtle, CompuCom, E3 Business Consultants, Edgeguide AB, Livecommitment, CONGUIDE GmbH and Soarsoft International Ltd.
  • Cloud communications vendor Intermedia released a new contact center suite. Intermedia Contact Center is built on technology from Telax, which Intermedia acquired in August. The offering has three packages -- Express, Pro and Elite -- to target a range of customer business sizes, Intermedia said.
  • Data security startup Ubiq Security has launched a partner program and hired Steve Pataky as its chief channel officer and head of Americas sales.
  • LucidLink, a cloud-native file services vendor, introduced a global program for MSPs.
  • High Wire Networks appointed Jeremy Cullen as channel enablement specialist for its managed security business.
  • NS1, a vendor that provides DNS, DHCP and IP address management for application traffic management, unveiled a global channel program and partner resource center. The New York-based company's channel initiative is geared to systems integrators, managed service providers and resellers. NS1 has signed a distribution pact with Ingram Micro's Promark subsidiary as part of its new program.
  • Super Micro Computer Inc., an enterprise computing, storage and networking vendor based in Berlin, Germany, launched an expanded partner enablement program. The program is geared to resellers, systems integrators and technology integrators. Program components include expanded online and in-person training, increased proof-of-concept support, early-access programs targeting first-to-market products, extended co-marketing support and online promotion.

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