Cloud services market heats up during pandemic

The cloud services market remains active amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as Accenture, CentriLogic, SADA Systems and J2 Global build out their businesses; more news from the week.

Activity in the cloud services market continues to grow despite, and to some degree because of, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Consider these developments that surfaced this week:

  • Accenture agreed to acquire Gekko, an AWS cloud services company based in France.
  • CentriLogic, an IT transformation solutions provider based in Toronto, acquired ObjectSharp, also of Toronto, gaining a company that focuses on cloud-native development and application services around Microsoft Azure.
  • Google announced the generally availability of Anthos on AWS, which could open opportunities for managed cloud services providers.

"Cloud infrastructure services are likely to grow," said Andrew Bartels, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, a market researcher based in Cambridge, Mass.

Bartels views cloud infrastructures services as one of the few bright spots in the tech spending projections he revised earlier this month in light of COVID-19. Forrester offers two forecasts for tech spending: a best-case scenario pointing to a 5% decline in 2020, and an alternative scenario that predicts a 9% drop in 2020 and a 5% decline in 2021.

An appetite for cloud deals

IT services firms continue to purchase cloud consultancies and service providers focused on particular platforms. Accenture's pending acquisition of Gekko, for example, will provide consulting, integration and managed services on AWS, according to the company. Gekko has an AWS storage competency and is an AWS Authorized Training partner. Gekko also provides 100 cloud-trained employees. Accenture said the additional of Gekko will expand its "AWS resources in France to support enterprise migrations and development on cloud platforms."

In ObjectSharp, CentriLogic acquires a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with more than 18 years of experience in software development. The combined company aims to address the growing demand for public cloud services.

"We are seeing an acceleration in interest for cloud services from our customer base and prospects amid the coronavirus outbreak," said CentriLogic CEO Robert Offley.

Offley said the cloud's rapid scalability, quick deployment and consumption-based billing accommodates unpredictable events -- and the associated unpredictable demand on IT resources.

The Accenture and CentriLogic transactions closely follow Pythian Services Inc.'s acquisition of Agosto, a Minneapolis company that specializes in the Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Demand for hybrid cloud, DR services

The arrival of Anthos on AWS, meanwhile, lets cloud consultants help their clients run workloads across GCP and AWS, while managing both through a central dashboard. Previously, running workloads on multiple clouds -- with their differing APIs and performance expectations -- was a complex and expensive undertaking, noted Miles Ward, CTO at SADA Systems, a technology and business consulting firm based in Los Angeles. Anthos on AWS, however, helps customers to break out of one cloud deployment, simplify IT operations and make hybrid workloads easier to manage, he said.

Ward expects demand for cloud services to continue amid the pandemic. "Generally, most of the customers we are working with are placing a pretty high premium on flexibility," he said. "And few things are more flexible than the cloud. Anthos is just a way to increase that flexibility."

SADA now includes Anthos on AWS within its Anthos First-Step and Anthos Flat-Rate offers. SADA in September 2019 launched those offers, which provide Anthos services at a flat price according to a fixed delivery schedule.

Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) also appears to have staying power. A case in point: J2 Global, a cloud services and digital media company based in Los Angeles, disclosed in January 2020 a plan to acquire service providers in the Veeam backup and recovery ecosystem. The company continues to discuss deals with acquisition candidates, undeterred by the pandemic.

"We are still moving ahead," said Dan Timko, chief strategy officer for cloud backup at J2 Global, which includes its OffsiteDataSync, KeepItSafe and LiveDrive companies. "We are in active dialogue and continue those conversations. It's a big part of our overall strategy."

"We are still seeing new customers onboarding" in DR services, he noted. J2 Global's OffsiteDataSync company, for example, offers DRaaS and is a Veeam Cloud Service Provider.

Overall, organizations are evaluating their use of technology and moving workloads to the cloud that they hadn't originally planned to migrate, Timko said.

The coronavirus outbreak and its subsequent effects on businesses were unanticipated, CentriLogic's Offley noted. The pandemic "is an external force that has influenced organizations to adopt cloud services out of necessity, and, in many cases, much more quickly than planned," he added.

Extreme Networks rolls out COVID-19 support initiative

Extreme Networks launched several measures to help partners navigate the business challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

The networking vendor this week introduced the Lending Enablement and Assistance Program (LEAP) to offer preferential financial terms for qualifying partners in the Americas and Europe. Financing options include deferred first payments on Extreme products for up to 180 days. LEAP will be available until Sept. 30, 2020, according to the company.

Using LEAP, "[Extreme partners] can look at their cashflow and manage their cashflow more efficiently than they might have needed to in the past," said Kyle Brown, director of Americas channel team at Extreme.

The LEAP initiative will also extend partner level training requirements until June 30, 2020, and protect partners' partner program tier statuses until the end of the year, Extreme said.

Additionally, partners can access free online cloud technical certification training until Sept. 18, 2020. The training is a requirement for the ExtremeCloud IQ Wireless specialization.

Other news

  • Hyper-convergence vendor Nutanix is offering partners extended payment terms, with no additional costs, to deal with the coronavirus economy. The company's Nutanix Special Finance Assistance Program asks participating reseller partners, in turn, to extend those payment terms to their customers. The program is available through May 31, 2020. Partners can contact authorized Nutanix distribution partners to check on program eligibility.
  • GitLab launched a new partner initiative, which offers three tracks. The GitLab Partner Program's Open track is geared toward resellers, integrators and other sales and services partners. This partner track offers product discounts, rebates and referral fees as incentives for partners to identify new customers and deliver services that drive GitLab adoption and use. The Select track aims to build strategic relationships with partners that offer DevOps expertise and services to customers to drive GitLab adoption and use. Most of the partners in this track will develop GitLab practices offering consulting and advisory services, the company said. The Technology track targets ISVs that offer complementary offerings through GitLab product integrations.
  • Axis Security, a private application access company based in San Mateo, Calif., took the wraps off its Axis Security Partner Program. The initiative targets value-added resellers (VARs), systems integrators, managed security services providers (MSSPs), OEMs and distributors. In addition, Axis has signed BlackLake Security as its first VAR.
  • Cloud distributor Pax8, based in Denver, is partnering with Evolve IP, a provider of remote working cloud offerings. Pax8 will provide Evolve Teams with Enterprise Voice to its network of North American managed service providers.
  • DLT Solutions, a Herndon, Va., subsidiary of Tech Data, is now the U.S. public sector distributor for Kemp Technologies, a company that provides load-balancing technology. In another government market move, Datadobi, a data management and storage software vendor, has been added to NASA's Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP) contract, which is open to all federal agencies. The company said it will use SEWP to make its software available to federal government resellers.
  • Trustwave, an MSSP based in Chicago, launched Trustwave Security Colony, which provides access to best practices, risk assessment tools and guidance from security experts.
  • Anexinet, a digital business solutions provider based in Philadelphia, launched an Identity and Access Management Modernization Assessment. The service helps organizations better identify and control sensitive data access, according to the company.
  • Axcient, a business continuity and cloud migration solutions provider in Denver, accelerated the roadmap for Anchor and CloudFinder offerings, which it sells to MSPs. Updates to Anchor include a new UX, the ability to back up Zoom and RingCentral recorded meetings, native Office 365 integration for Word, Excel and PowerPoint online collaboration, and remote monitoring and management integration with ConnectWise Automate. Axcient said it also deployed CloudFinder releases that enable support for backing up Microsoft Teams conversions and G Suite Team Drive.
  • ID Agent, a Kaseya company, has added Passly, an identity and access management offering, to its Digital Risk Protection Platform. MSPs are among the intended customers.
  • Atera, an IT automation platform vendor for MSPs, now offers an integration with Acronis, a cyber protection provider.
  • Lifeboat Distribution agreed to distribute Chef, a DevOps tool vendor. Chef overhauled its partner program in February.
  • BeyondTrust, a privileged access management provider, has appointed Dee Dee Acquista as senior vice president of global channels and alliances. She joins BeyondTrust from SentinelOne, where she led that company's worldwide channel effort.
  • LogMeIn, a provider of unified communications and collaboration, IT management and customer engagement technology, named Rick Ribas as its vice president of global channels, a newly created role. Ribas previously worked for Intelisys as senior vice president of national partner sales and national channel alliances.
  • CoreView, a SaaS management platform provider based in Milan, has inked a partnership with Appdate, an IT services provider in the Benelux region.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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