Congratulations to all ARN 2012 Award Finalists

Image

We are excited to be a finalist for ARN’s Software Distributor of the Year award in 2012 and look forward to the awards dinner.

More importantly, we are thrilled that so many of our vendor and customer partners are also finalists.  What a fantastic effort by the NewLease community.  A great hooray for:

  • Anittel
  • Area9 IT
  • Avnet
  • Brennan IT
  • Citrix
  • Emerging IT
  • eNerds
  • Fujitsu
  • IBM
  • Kiandra IT
  • Microsoft
  • Telstra
  • Thomas Durea
  • Trend Micro
  • Veeam
  • VMware

That’s about one quarter of all finalists for the NewLease ecosystem.  Again, congrats to all, we look forward to celebrating with all the finalists and winners at the awards dinner.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is your current security better than Cloud Security?

(Stephen Parker, Head of Cloud Strategy, NewLease)

Doing nothing is not always safer.

Cloud security is a hot debate and listed as one of the top concerns across all business sizes when considering a move to cloud computing.  A “Bing” on the string “Cloud Security” returns 13.9m results!!!!

An interesting example of one of these documents is from the Australian Defence Signals Directorate (http://www.dsd.gov.au/publications/Cloud_Computing_Security_Considerations.pdf).  The structure of this offers a simple “cloud” overview, then a list of security related questions you should ask and finally why they are important structure.  For example the first 4 questions are:

  • My data or functionality to be moved to the cloud is not business critical.
  • I have reviewed the vendor’s business continuity and disaster recovery plan.
  • I will maintain an up to date backup copy of my data.
  • My data or business functionality will be replicated with a second vendor.

These are perfectly reasonable questions, but what if you replaced “cloud” with “our current environment”, how would you answer these?

  • My data or functionality to be accessed externally from our current environment is not business critical.
  • I have reviewed our current environments business continuity and disaster recovery plan.
  • I will maintain an up to date backup copy of data in our current environment.
  • My data or business functionality in our current environment will be replicated with a second vendor.MS TWC Infographic_v5

Although not perfect (nothing is) it is highly likely that for many businesses (especially SMBs) the Cloud would actually be better
from a security perspective than their current IT setup.

Research from Microsoft reviews the benefits of the cloud on SMB’s security [click image to enlarge & see whole infographic]:

 

Risk Assessment

The cloud security debate is all too often based on emotional rather then rational thinking.  What is commonly missed is the activity of doing a formal risk assessment of the services you plan to move to the cloud.  Then you can make a comparison of your as-is environment with your proposed cloud option.  Only then will you be able to make a true call as to how the cloud impacts your risk mitigation strategies for these services. 

Posted in Cloud | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Telstra model for Office 365 lands in the US with Verizon and Sprint

(Stephen Parker, Head of Cloud Strategy, NewLease)

For some years now Microsoft have had an exclusive arrangement in Australia with Telstra to offer Office365 (and BPOS before that) to the SMB sector.  Telstra make O365 available via T-Suite, a portal offering a variety of cloud services targeted at small and medium businesses.  

This model has had a mixed reception in Australia with some partners embracing it and others feeling threatened. However, the overall result has been that Microsoft’s Australian subsidiary has been one of the best performing as far as the “cloud” is concerned.  This expanding market has in turn created opportunities for service provider clouds that can offer extended value beyond the “vanilla” services offered by Microsoft, Google etc.  (I spend much of my time working with service providers to help them create their differentiated business focused offerings).

Now this model (minus the exclusivity part) is landing in the US with recent announcements about Verizon and Sprint offering Office 365 as part of their own small business portals. (http://bit.ly/VerizonO365)

As in Australia this may be seen as challenging to existing SMB specialists.  However, as has been the case in the past with on-premises solutions, there are many ways for the smaller guys to differentiate their offerings. 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Exchange Hosters – integration with Windows Server 2012 Essentials

(Stephen Parker, Head of Cloud Strategy, NewLease)

Update – The following post provides an update on the availability of the SDK for service provider integration with WSE:
http://bit.ly/WSE2012-emailoptions

Key wording is – “Windows Server 2012 Essentials will include a Hosted Email Add-in Framework that is designed to help hosted email providers to develop add-ins offering a tailored and integrated management experience on Essentials with their own hosted email services. A service provider can pre-install their add-in with Essentials to allow customers to select their email option or make it available for customers to install after the initial setup.

Simple Message

If you are a service provider offering hosted Exchange services you should be testing the new email integration facilities available in Windows Server 2012 Essentials and ensuring your customers and channel partners know that you have integration that “just works”.  If you do not then you will leave the door open for Microsoft (Office 365) and other service providers the opportunity to step in.

Background

Over the past few weeks Microsoft have been announcing availability of release candidates for the various Windows Server 2012 products (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/windows-server/2012-editions.aspx) and indicating when these will be available (RTM first week August, GA in Sept – WPC2012 keynote)

One of the big changes in the “simplification” process has been the removal of Small Business Server and it’s “replacement” with Windows Server 2012 Essentials.  SBS has been at the heart of many small business specialist operations and as such it’s removal has created much comment.

One of the main reasons Microsoft gives for this shift is that the typical user of SBS is now using or considering the use of cloud based email services and therefore there is limited future requirement for the “all in one” format of SBS.

If we put on one side the relative merits of this position the result is that the base Windows server that will be installed in many small business environments will now NOT have a local copy of Exchange.

Obviously Microsoft are using this as an opportunity to promote the use of their own Office 365 cloud services, HOWEVER with Windows Server 2012 Essentials they have included support for service provider hosted Exchange.  From the Microsoft SBS blog (http://blogs.technet.com/b/sbs/archive/2012/07/17/windows-server-2012-essentials-feature-list.aspx):

Email Integration

A major area of flexibility for Essentials 2012 was providing partners and customers with the choice of where they wanted their email service to be located. In SBS 2011 Standard, email was installed and always assumed to be on‑premises. In SBS 2011 Essentials, we had an add-in for Office 365 connectivity, but no integration was possible with an existing Exchange Server running locally on a second server.

With Essentials 2012, there are three deployment options for messaging and collaboration services for which we provide an integrated management experience:

  1. On-Premises. Essentials 2012 contains integration with an on-premises Exchange Server running on a second server, which can be either physical or virtual.
  2. Office 365. Essentials 2012 builds on the previous Office 365 Integration Module for SBS 2011 Essentials. This option is now part of the core product (no separate download is required) and it allows customers that have an Office 365 account to use this service for their email.
  3. Hosted Exchange. Hosted Exchange providers can offer add-ins to Essentials 2012 that will allow customers to select this option. We know that there are many different types of hosted email providers. While we have focused on hosted Exchange email providers, we engineered the product to be email service agnostic which allows non‑Exchange based email providers to be integrated through this mechanism (note that this specific feature is not available in the beta).”
Posted in Service Provider Cloud | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Microsoft WPC – From My Eyes to Yours – DaaS

We here at NewLease have been suggesting that Desktop-as-a-Service will be one of the next big things.  Well it looks like the research guru’s are ringing in on it now as well.  According to 451 Research, the market for Desktop Virtualization will be US$5.6bn, yes billion, by 2015, and a they reckon that DaaS will be the winner for the various desktop virtualization methods by 2015.  Wow.  Now here’s a nice graphic on the various scenarios that are driving the DaaS growth.

Get a show of hands from almost any corporate grouping and you’ll find almost every person in the room will have a smart mobile, will work remotely (at least for part of their day) and is likely bringing their own device in some manner.  Put all that together and DaaS becomes the best way for IT to both deliver value to the business as well as to control and protect the company’s vital info.

For your viewing pleasure here are 451 Research’s 2012 projections for Desktop Virtualization.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Microsoft WPC – From My Eyes to Yours – Windows Server 2012 & System Center 2012

Microsoft has been taking significant market share lately in the virtualization space and with the launch of Widows Server 2012 and System Center 2012, the trend looks likely to continue.  The key is no longer just that Hyper-V has improved significantly but perhaps more importantly that System Center has evolved into a go-to management tool not only for Windows but also for Open Source OS’s as well.

If you’d like to learn more about System Center and Windows Server, we would love to talk to you, so please do ping us at partnerservicescentre@newlease.net and we’ll get back to you for a great review of your options and opportunities.

For your reference here are Microsoft’s takes on the new opportunities that Windows 2012 and System Center 2012 are opening for you.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Microsoft WPC – From My Eyes to Yours – The Lync Opportunity

Lync and Unified Communicaitons is one of Microsoft’s big bets and it sure has potential for the hosting community.  Skype was a great acquisition for Microsoft in the consumer space, but Lync sure seems like the glue in the enterprise collaboration space for those using Exchange and SharePoint.  Here’s the spectrum of models that Lync brings to the market.

Do note that the Service Provider community can essentially play in all 4 of these models either reselling, hosting, or installing and managing.  For those of you interested in the Multi-Tenant Public Cloud, Microsoft has a guidance for multi-tenanting Lync Server here.

Clearly they were starting on a low base but the following stats sure seem to indicate that there is a great opportunity around Lync and UC.

So, what next?  There are actually several things you can do to get in on the Lync opportunity.

  • White Label – you don’t have to build this all out yourself from the ground up, there are hosting companies that would much rather focus on technology and let you focus on the channel, it’s a great partnership and if you get big enough you could then build your own infrastructure.
  • Build – Lync is a pretty easy addition to your existing environment, particularly if you already have Exchange and SharePoint experience.
  • Contact NewLease with any other questions you might have partnerservicescentre@newlease.net
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Microsoft WPC – From My Eyes to Yours – The Microsoft Partner Network

The Microsoft Partner Network is making huge changes.  If you are Gold or Silver certified today, please make sure to review the requirements associated with you certifications to make sure you do all that you need to do to maintain you certifications.  I know that for most of us the single biggest benefit that we utilize is the free internal use rights for Microsoft soutions, but I would also like to point out that Microsoft certification is part of the puzzle when it comes to improving your profile within Microsoft and while there are no promises, certification really helps when it comes to getting support from Microsoft.

For the Hosting competency, Gold certification is going to come with much stricter requirements around the number of MCPs you have.  On the other hand, they have done a great job of aligning the tests and MCP needs to both IaaS and Cloud services.

So you’ll need to have this sorted out by October and For Gold you’ll need 4 unique MCPs and for Silver you’ll need 2 MCPs.  I’ve outlined the exams and info below (bold are new exams).

Gold Exam / Certification Requirements

Your organization must employ or contract with four unique MCPs with advanced credentials, as follows:

2 MCP must hold one of the following by October

  • MCITP: Server Administrator
  • MCITP: Enterprise Administrator
  • MCITP: Windows Server 2008 R2, Virtualization Administrator
  • MCM: Windows Server 2008 Directory
  • MCA: Windows Server Directory 2008
  • MCSE: Private Cloud
  • MCSE: Windows Server Infrastructure 

2 MCP must hold one of the following by October

  • MCITP: Database Developer 2008
  • MCITP: Database Administrator 2008
  • MCSE: Data Platform
  • MCITP: Business Intelligence Developer 2008
  • MCSE: Business Intelligence
  • MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator 2010
  • MCITP: Lync Server Administrator 2010
  • MCM: SQL Server 2008
  • MCM: Microsoft Lync Server 2010
  • MCM: SharePoint Server 2010
  • MCA: SharePoint Server 2010
  • MCA: SQL Server 2008
  • MCM: Exchange Server 2010
  • MCA: Exchange Server 2010

Silver Exam / Certification Requirements

Your organization must employ or contract with two MCPs who have each passed one of these exams:

The following exams will be current as of October 2012

  • Exam 70-246: System Center 2012 Monitor and Operate
  • Exam 70-247: System Center 2012 Configure and Deploy
  • Exam 70-642: TS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring
  • Exam 70-643: TS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure, Configuring
  • Exam 70-646 Windows Server 2008, Server Administrator
  • Exam 70-647: PRO: Windows Server 2008, Enterprise Administrator
  • Exam 70-648: TS: Upgrading your MCSA on Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, Technology Specialist
  • Exam 70-649: Upgrading Your MCSE on Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, Technology Specialist
  • Exam 74-679: Windows Server 2008 Hosting, Configuring
  • Exam 74-693: PRO: Windows Server 2008 R2, Virtualization Administrator
  • Exam 70-659: TS: Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization

The following exams will be retired as of October 2012 so MCP validation will be linked to your certification status.  If you renew in October then you’ll need to meet the new requirements at renewal, if you rewnew before October your certification will last until the next renewal.

  • Exam 70-351: TS: Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2006, Configuring
  • Exam 70-451: PRO: Designing Database Solutions and Data Access Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008
  • Exam 70-452: PRO: Designing a Business Intelligence Infrastructure Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008
  • Exam 70-454: UPGRADE: Transition your MCITP Database Developer Skills to MCITP Database Developer 2008
  • Exam 70-455: UPGRADE: Transition your MCITP Business Intelligence Developer Skills to MCITP Business Intelligence Developer 2008
  • Exam 70-573: TS: Office SharePoint Server, Application Development
  • Exam 70-576: PRO: Designing and Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 Applications
  • Exam 70-631: TS: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, Configuring
  • Exam 70-658: TS: System Center Data Protection Manager 2007, Configuring
  • Exam 70-662: TS: Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, Configuring
  • Exam 70-663: PRO: Designing and Deploying Messaging Solutions with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010
  • Exam 70-664: TS: Microsoft Lync Server 2010, Configuring
  • Exam 70-665: PRO: Microsoft Lync Server 2010, Administrator
  • Exam 70-667: TS: SharePoint Server 2010, Configuring
  • Exam 70-668: PRO: SharePoint Server 2010, Administrator
  • Exam MB2-631: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Customization and Configuration
  • Exam MB2-632: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Applications
  • Exam MB2-633: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Installation and Deployment
  • Exam MB2-634: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Extending Microsoft Dynamics
Posted in Mircosoft SPLA, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Microsoft WPC – From My Eyes to Yours – Pinpoint and Hosting Gallery

It’s a big commitement to go all the way to North America for a Microsoft conference, but I certainly got a lot out of it, so I thought I’d share a bit of what resonated for me in Toronto.  What follow is several thoughts on WPC.

Let’s start with how Microsoft is delivering on it’s promise to help you market your offerings.

First and foremost, there are several ways that Microsoft is trying to help SPLA partners market and promote their offerings.  The anchor property that Microsoft uses is Microsoft Pinpoint which according to the powers that be will be the tool that Microsoft focuses on more and more as time goes by and they unify their partner marketing efforts into one place.  If you haven’t profiled your business on Pinpoint, you really should as it’s the place that folks in the Microsoft ecosystem will send customers to look for offerings that suit their needs.

That said, Microsoft is also maintaining a special tool (I’ll call it the Hosting Gallery) for the SPLA community that works in conjunction with Pinpoint to help drive businesses your way.  Judging by my initial perusal the reality hardly any regional organizations are taking advantage of this FREE marketing tool.  Searching for AUD offers yielded less than 30 offers, NZD yielded 0, and SGD less than 12 offers.

It’s free and Microsoft employees would love to point people your direction so please do get yourselves profiled in Pinpoint (click here to profile) and then the Hosting Gallery (then click here to showcase your offers).

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Office 2013 “beta”– if you are a hoster have you ensured that it is easy to test the new office with your hosted offerings?

(Stephen Parker, Head of Cloud Strategy, NewLease)

Microsoft have made the big announcement about the upcoming release of Office 2013 (for a full 1 hour video http://mashable.com/2012/07/16/microsoft-takes-the-wraps-off-office-15-watch-live/).

One of the items that struck me straight away is the emphasis on this being a fully “cloud” ready release.  And to ensure that users get the fullest experience of this cloud capability the default route to download the beta is in a bundle with Microsoft’s hosted Office 365 service (exchange/sharepoint/lync).

This makes complete sense for Microsoft.  They can control the experience and ensure that all the new services are available and shown off to their best.  However if you are a service provider/hoster offering Exchange/Sharepoint or Lync this creates an opportunity for your customers to try another service and who knows what future decisions this may lead to.

Put simply – YOU NEED TO ENSURE THAT YOU PROVIDE AN EASY WAY FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS AND YOUR CHANNEL PARTNERS TO TEST OFFICE 2013 AGAINST YOUR HOSTED SERVICES. 

Posted in Service Provider Cloud | Tagged , | Leave a comment