SkyKick Revamps Office 365 Migration And Backup Suites

SkyKick, developer of popular tools for facilitating Microsoft Office 365 migrations and backups, on Wednesday significantly revamped both those core products.

The “major overhaul” to SkyKick’s cloud migration and backup platforms was driven by recommendations from partners, who wanted more control over and visibility into their projects, said Todd Schwartz, co-founder and co-CEO of the Seattle-based startup.

“One of the things we heard from partners was they wanted more visibility into what our automation was doing and more control of that automation,” Schwartz told CRN.

[Related: Here’s Who Made Gartner’s 2017 Magic Quadrant For Cloud IaaS]

The latest release enhances SkyKick’s Office 365 migration suite with a new user interface that delivers granular visibility. It also adds control buttons that execute important email migration functions, mailbox configuration options and more ways to manage devices.

With the new migration platform, partners can start, stop and reset desktop setups remotely, which saves time troubleshooting, Schwartz said.

The updates to the backup platform improve the browse and search experience and for the first time enable partners to restore entire folders and accounts for Microsoft’s OneDrive for Business storage service. SkyKick also introduced more powerful SharePoint backup capabilities.

Both releases give partners direct control over all the functionality they need to manage their engagements, he said.

“New interfaces can see what’s going on deeper with the algorithms and take more granular action at the user, device level,” Schwartz said, “and that’s a lot of the stuff that partners were asking for.”

SkyKick has about 5,000 global partners.

Mike Prussack, a Windows engineer at Seitel, a Seattle-based SkyKick partner, said the new capabilities will help his company get customers into the cloud even faster.


5 AWS Repercussions From Amazon’s Blockbuster Planned Acquisition of Whole Foods

Amazon’s Latest Gambit

Amazon might be the only company in the world broad and diverse enough in scope to achieve business synergies between Whole Foods, with its bustling grocery stores across the country, and the highly secluded data centers that house the AWS public cloud.

Amazon’s $13.7 billion planned acquisition of the high-end organic grocery retailer clearly isn’t a cloud play. The deal is intended to accelerate a burgeoning grocery delivery business through AmazonFresh.

But scratch a little under the surface and you realize the deal is chock-full of repercussions for AWS. That’s because the beating heart of all Amazon’s businesses is the world-beating infrastructure that powers its own products, not to mention much of the global IT market.

The seismic shake-up of the increasingly technology-driven grocery industry Amazon triggered Friday will almost certainly pulse through the cloud market.


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Here’s Who Made Gartner’s 2017 Magic Quadrant For Cloud IaaS

An Expanding IaaS Field?

In recent years, the global public Infrastructure-as-a-Service market has both grown rapidly, and seen the number of prominent vendors decrease.

That dynamic was reflected in the past few Gartner Magic Quadrants for IaaS, which saw the research company consistently shed vendors from its eagerly anticipated rankings. But Gartner’s 2017 report, released Thursday, bucked that trend, evaluating four more companies than the previous year’s.

Two of those newcomers — Interoute and Joyent — made comebacks to the list after having fallen off in 2016. And two others — Alibaba Cloud and Oracle — are new players that have the technical talent, funding and market reach to make their presence felt in the market.

The only vendor dropped in 2017 from the previous year’s Magic Quadrant was VMware, which recently sold off the remnants of its vCloud Air public cloud to European provider OVH.

While several companies made moves, the Leaders Quadrant in the 2017 report once again only contained two companies — dominant industry kingpin Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure. Google just came up short from busting into that category.


Partners Applaud Amazon’s Blockbuster Deal To Buy Whole Foods For $13.7B

Amazon is taking a huge leap into another industry, agreeing to buy grocery store chain Whole Foods Market in a blockbuster deal for $13.7 billion in cash, or $42 per share, the companies announced Friday.

Whole Foods, a leading retailer of natural and organic foods, has more than 460 stores in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., and employs about 87,000. Under the deal, Amazon will also assume Whole Foods’ net debt.

The deal is a marriage of “bricks and clicks,” bringing together a big-name brick-and-mortar retailer that operates on a national scale with one of the world’s leading e-commerce companies. Also, Amazon’s status as a public cloud leader, with Amazon Web Services, can help Whole Foods accelerate delivery and potentially widen its customer base through its other business lines, supported by Amazon’s Prime membership program that offers customers access to a variety of company-specific services and deals.

[Related: AWS Introduces Education Competency For Consulting And Education Partners]

It’s Amazon’s zeal to jump into different businesses that helps Daniel DiSano land AWS customers for his company, Axispoint, an AWS partner based in Elmsford, N.Y., and No. 301 on CRN’s Solution Provider 500.

“They know that Amazon is going to be around for a long time, so you don’t have to worry about them being a flash in the pan,” DiSano, president and CEO of Axispoint, told CRN.

Amazon, with its launch of AWS in 2006 and its AmazonFresh grocery delivery service a year later, has entered businesses to be a “category killer,” DiSano said. ‘Now, with Whole Foods, they’re going to try to win [the grocery] category. People know they’re going to be a category leader.”

Allen Falcon, CEO of another AWS partner, Cumulus Global of Westborough, Mass., called the deal for Whole Foods “fascinating,” allowing Amazon an opportunity to “control the last mile” on delivery and distribution, especially with food. He said AmazonFresh, based predominantly on the West Coast, can now be expanded across the rest of the country with the addition of Whole Foods and regional food supplier relationships that will come with the acquisition.

Meanwhile, Jamie Begin, CEO of AWS partner RightBrain Networks, of Ann Arbor, Mich., called the acquisition a “testament to how serious [Amazon’s] business is and how large their business is.”

Amazon is also acquiring a company that’s a customer of one its cloud rivals: Microsoft Azure. Whole Foods uses Azure Active Directory to enable its thousands of employees to sign on to cloud-based applications, which includes the Office 365 suite.

Whole Foods, founded in 1978, has been at the forefront of the organic food movement and is the first national “Certified Organic” grocer. But Falcon said Whole Foods has been facing a challenge to its business as other grocery store chains have expanded their selections and begun selling organic food, pushing Whole Foods on price. “People never wanted to pay a premium for organic and semi-organic” food, Falcon said. “But they had to, and now you don’t anymore.”


Tintri Files For $100M IPO, Lists Channel Partners As Part Of Growth Strategy

Tintri has officially filed for its IPO, saying Friday that it intends to raise $100 million as it looks to capitalize on the growing marketing for enterprise cloud offerings.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company said it plans to list on the Nasdaq under “TNTR.” The company said it plans to price 8.7 million shares between $10.50 and $12.50, giving it a total market value of around $379 million.

In its S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tintri said it intends to put the proceeds of the IPO toward general corporate purposes. Those purposes could include sales and marketing, engineering, technology development, and general and administrative expenses. Tintri said it could also look to use the capital for acquisition or investment to grow its technology, business and services.

[Related: 10 Companies To Watch In Cloud Security]

Tintri first announced its intention to file for an IPO in June, filing a registration statement with the SEC at that time.

The company was not required to provide full disclosure of its financial information, as it is deemed an “emerging growth company.” The company did reveal fiscal 2017 revenue of $97.3 million, up from $68.6 million in 2016. Tintri also posted a growing loss, with a $105.3 million loss in 2017 and a $100.3 million loss in 2016.

The company said in its filing that its technology is positioned to take advantage of the growing market for enterprise cloud offerings, specifically global virtualized x86 storage systems and software, a market research firm IDC expects to reach $37.4 billion by 2018. Tintri specializes in the development of virtual machine-aware storage offerings featuring both flash and hard disk capacity. The company differentiates itself with virtual machine-aware technology that looks at data from a virtual machine-centric point of view instead of at LUNs and volumes. This lets administrators manage the VMs rather than the details of the storage.

Tintri laid out a growth strategy in its S-1 filing that included further software innovation, expanding its customer base, increasing sales to current customers, adding new partnerships, and expanding into new markets. It said value-add channel partners are also a key part of its growth strategy and expects to “focus our efforts on supporting those partners offering cloud services, including infrastructure ‘stacks’ that include our solutions.”

In the lead-up to its IPO, Tintri raised a significant amount of venture capital funding, most recently raising $125 million in Series F funding in August 2015. The company has raised a total of $260 million in venture capital funding since it was founded in 2008.


Microsoft’s Gavriella Schuster On How To Boost Partner Margins, The Untapped Azure Opportunity And Why Microsoft Is A Better Cloud Partner Than Amazon

Women of the Channel Online recently spoke with Gavriella Schuster, corporate vice president of the Worldwide Channels and Programs Group at Microsoft, about the impact digital transformation is having on Microsoft channel partner margins, the untapped Microsoft Azure opportunity, and how Microsoft outshines Amazon Web Services as a cloud partner for solution providers. Schuster, a 2017 CRN Power 100 honoree, was a keynote speaker at last month’s Women of the Channel Leadership Summit West, where she spoke about how women can use change to power their careers.


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10 Companies To Watch In Cloud Security

Standing Out From The Pack

The opportunity around cloud security is immense, and lots of startups and legacy vendors are looking to take advantage. The opportunity is significant, with the market for cloud security is expected to hit $12.7 billion by 2022, up from $4.1 billion in 2017, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets. Driving that growth is parallel growing trends around a rising number of mobile and IoT devices, as well as a growing acceptance and adoption of cloud services. CRN has pulled together 10 companies that are positioning themselves to grab a large piece of that pie, including those with new funding, new investments, and hot new products.


Partners: Peak 10’s Move To Acquire ViaWest Will Create Formidable Cloud Competitor With A Channel Focus

Partners are applauding Peak 10’s move this week to acquire cloud service provider ViaWest for $1.67 billion in a deal that will form a global co-location, connectivity and managed cloud service provider behemoth.

The deal will boost the provider’s competitive position in the crowded cloud services market, as well as its position in the eyes of channel partners, said Andrew Pryfogle, senior vice president of cloud transformation for Intelisys, a Peak 10 and ViaWest partner. Peak 10, a channel-friendly, Cisco-powerered Infrastructure-as-a-Service provider, today takes in about 40 percent of its revenue through indirect sales.

Pryfogle called the proposed tie-up “exciting.” The Petaluma, Calif.-based master agent has been promoting cloud to its community of agent partners through several education programs, including its Super9 group and Cloud Services University.

[Related: Peak 10 Channel Chief Sroka: ‘Our Commitment Level To Partners Is Second To None’]

“Both [Peak 10 and ViaWest] have been tremendous supporters of our education efforts at Intelisys, and both share a strong commitment to the channel. The combined organization will be well positioned to win big with our community going forward,” Pryfogle said.

Peak 10’s channel chief, Dave Sroka, who joined the company in November, told CRN in April that the channel is a big part of Peak’s 10’s strategy for 2017. Sroka said that the company wanted to be viewed as a national provider, not just a regional player, and was investing in the channel as way to grow its business.

As there is no overlap in market coverage between Peak 10 and ViaWest, the acquisition enhances the new company’s channel strategy and lets partners offer more services and solutions to more locations, Jeff Spalding, chief revenue officer at Peak 10, told CRN.

“The combined company will have more capabilities, services [and] skills, and thus more choices for partners and their customers. Our expanded geographic reach provides a more complete and consistent solution for our partners, [so] it’s truly a win-win-win scenario,” Spalding said.

While many providers have moved out of the data center infrastructure space, Peak 10 decided to dig in and expand into new markets based on requests it was receiving from its customers, Spalding said.

“This combination provides us scale as one of the largest hybrid IT solution providers now in the industry,” Spalding said. “We can now offer more choices for our partners and their customers.”

Following the close of the transaction, Peak 10’s operational footprint will expand to reach 20 domestic and international markets and 4,400 global customers, according to the Charlotte, N.C.-based provider.

“We see all infrastructure providers racing to scale to achieve the economies necessary to compete in the hyper-competitive landscape — this includes carriers and data centers. The Peak 10 and ViaWest combination makes sense as we’ve seen Peak 10 as an eastern U.S. version of ViaWest,” said Adam Edwards, CEO and co-founder of Sandy, Utah-based master agent Telarus, a Peak 10 and ViaWest partner.


Jeff Aden Of AWS Premier Partner 2nd Watch: Cloud Automation Offers Opportunity

How Cloud Automation Is Paying Off

Businesses looking to accelerate the deployment of new applications and technology workloads are discovering the payoffs of cloud automation, but there’s room to ramp it up, according to the results of a survey by 2nd Watch, an AWS Premier Partner.

The survey of over 1,000 U.S.-based IT professionals found that more than half – 56 percent – of corporate IT departments have automated at least half of all their software development artifact creation and deployment pipelines, and about two of every five – 41 percent – are producing more than 10 new cloud workloads every year. Meanwhile, 66 percent said that at least half of their quality assessments (such as unit tests) are automated.

“The survey results reiterate what we’re hearing from clients and prospects: automation, driven by cloud technologies, is critical to the rapid delivery of new workloads and applications,” Jeff Aden, co-founder and executive vice president of marketing and strategic business development at Seattle-based 2nd Watch, said in a statement. “The result is faster time-to-market for new applications, and less application downtime.”

What do the results mean for cloud service providers? Aden addressed that in an interview with ITBestOfBreed. Click through to read what he had to say. (Answers were condensed and edited for brevity.)


Atlassian Bundles Its On-Premises Stack, Introduces DevOps Marketplace

Atlassian released a bundled offering Tuesday consisting of all its popular on-premises DevOps tools, as well as an online marketplace for DevOps solutions from third-party developers.

The Atlassian Stack integrates out-of-the-box the Australian-headquartered company’s five behind-the-firewall tools: Jira for issue tracking and project management, Confluence for collaboration and documentation, the Bitbucket code repository, Bamboo for continuous integration and deployment, and HipChat messaging.

The integrated product comes as more enterprises are approaching Atlassian as a vendor of a comprehensive collaboration and development platform rather than a set of individual tools, Cameron Deatsch, Atlassian’s head of enterprise growth, told CRN.

[Related: Atlassian Revamps Channel Program To Drive Stronger Partner Engagement]

Atlassian is also releasing an eBook documenting its own practices in building, deploying and managing software as a leading Software-as-a-Service vendor, Deatsch added.

The Atlassian Stack delivers financial benefits to enterprises adopting the larger portfolio while shortcutting many steps for getting the suite up and running, he said.

In a recent survey, Atlassian learned more than half of its customers with more than 500 users ran three or more of its products, and most planned on ultimately adopting the full portfolio.

Complementing the Atlassian Stack is a specialized Atlassian DevOps Marketplace, which will deliver prescriptive DevOps technologies from more than 100 vendors that sync with its tools.

Atlassian’s current marketplace, now selling more than 3,000 add-on solutions, has done $250 million in revenue since its launch, Deatsch told CRN.

Born in Sydney, Australia, Atlassian first made a name for itself with software developers at a time when “handing off between dev and ops teams was a fairly broken process,” he said.

But businesses were becoming more software-centric at the time, and the ubiquity of developers throughout the enterprise helped Jira, Confluence and the other products quickly spread across divisions. Atlassian’s business rapidly scaled as a result.