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Surya - Key Observations – Microsoft Inspire 2017

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 Key Observations – Microsoft Inspire 2017

This was my 1st Microsoft Partner event – reinvented their previous WPC – it is now the biggest partner event in Microsoft’s history with >18,000 partners attending. Microsoft claims it has 64,000 partners & is adding 6,000 new ones each month – significant numbers. CEO Satya Nadella clearly articulated that Microsoft is a partner led company in which this growing ecosystem welcomes new partners & helps them thrive as part of this community – this defines us. Strong words for sure – this community appears to embrace that philosophy & exhibits extreme optimism that anything is possible. Great week, excellent meetings & unique networking opportunities – certainly inspirational.

Here are some observations from Microsoft Inspire 2017:

  • Digital transformation is happening & the opportunity is clearly significant – Microsoft believes there are 4 pillars to digital transformation - Modern Workplace, Business Applications, Applications/Infrastructure & Data - AI
  • Industry focus from Microsoft will provide improved more efficient partner support
  • Really felt that Microsoft is sincere that it is not about product attributes, but about telling compelling customer stories – I’ve always been laser focused on customers/partners so this resonated very well
  • Interest in Azure is really growing - individuals interested in Microsoft’s public cloud logged 1.2 million hours in Azure training during fiscal year 2017, which ended June 30. Cloud students spent 365,000 hours on Azure online training
  • Microsoft thinks very highly of Digital Transformation – it is an identified fiscal year priority & the channel is highly engaged – the new orientation is also helping push this agenda
  • Microsoft wants its channel partners to help customers implement GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation - the European Union’s bid to provide a common set of privacy protections across member nations which goes into effect May 2018

For Our Customers - Potential Service Area Improvements

  • Microsoft 365 Enterprise - built on the foundation of the highly successful Secure Productive Enterprise, which grew seats by triple digits in the last year. Going forward, Microsoft 365 Enterprise replaces Secure Productive Enterprise to double-down on the new customer promise of empowering employees to be creative & work together, securely
  • Microsoft 365 Business – is designed for small- to medium-sized businesses with up to 300 users and integrates Office 365 Business Premium with tailored security & management features from Windows 10 & Enterprise Mobility + Security. It offers services to empower employees, safeguard the business & simplify IT management

Microsoft made the case that there are four basic ways channel partners can help customers. They are re-envision their business model & engage their customers, empower their employees, optimize their operations & transform their products. Inspire 2017 exhibited great community & communication around these joint targets.

Microsoft gets it – Their Mission - reason we’re all here - to empower every person & every organization on the planet to achieve more

Be Proactive not Reactive – Are You Ready?

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Surya - Key Observations – ZertoCon 2017

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 Key Observations – ZertoCon 2017

This was my 1st ZertoCon event – billed as the premier business continuity & disaster recovery (BCDR) conference for hybrid cloud strategists – I found it to be energized, well evangelized, customer/partner/employee focused & very intimate - a great community. Approximately 750 attendees with a surprising global representation. Everyone here had a true love of the product – common comments included - amazing, lightning fast, ease of use, ability to easily test, continuously improving – this coupled with a genuine love of the company shared by all attendees truly stood out.

Here are some observations from ZertoCon 2017:

  • Zerto has 350 CSP’s in its network in addition to supporting AWS, Azure & other IaaS providers - Zerto CEO Ziv Kedem stated no one-size-fits-all cloud for customers. All are still wrestling with their cloud strategies - one commonality is that the end goal is more & more often not just business continuity, but IT resilience — the ability to bounce back from disasters like ransomware or a lost data center, but also to react swiftly to business-driven change, like moving a website to handle an unexpected spike in demand or facilitating M&A activity.
  • Vice President of Product Rob Strechay said that the company sees hybrid cloud environments becoming the norm for customers and that, in fact, Microsoft was all-in on developing the ability to do bidirectional migrations, including committing funding for the nine-month project, in response to customer demand – this is a key market differentiator.
  • To be clear, Zerto's goal is to have the same openness on all public & managed clouds, but for now, bidirectional migration is only on Azure.
  • All new functionality will be available via the API as well as the dashboard – easy, seamless.
  • Panel quote – “Customers don't care about the source of a disruption, they care about companies' ability to absorb impact" – echoed by attendees.
  • Excellent Partner Day - keynote from President Paul Zeiter – stated firm commitment to the channel & the phenomenal opportunity for partners with Zerto. Forrester analyst Stephanie Balaouras, Vice President, Research Director Serving Security & Risk Professionals, did an excellent presentation providing an overview of Zerto & the IT Resilience market. Next, Mariah West, Director Global Partner Marketing, did an outstanding job detailing to partners an in-depth roadmap on how to build their business with the Zerto Alliance Partner (ZAP) Program. Mariah was very helpful & insightful in several discussions I had with her - as a new partner, any & all questions were welcome as were insights & suggestions.

For Our Customers - Potential Service Area Improvements

  • Zerto Virtual Replication - capability to shift applications/data into & out of Microsoft Azure under existing licenses – this is an addition with significant implications for customers concerned with lock-in to a specific cloud provider. Due later this year with release 5.5., code-named Balvenie.
  • New Analytics Features - will enable ability to track trends in real time & generate historical views. – Also due later this year with release 5.5.

Zerto appears to be uniquely positioned as enterprises race to enhance resiliency across their application portfolio & accelerate their migration to cloud. Customers can accelerate & de-risk their critical business initiatives – like going mobile, transforming to cloud IT, or unlocking insights with analytics. Achieving business results that were previously unimaginable are now possible.

Zerto gets it – “Platform For Cloud” – Masters of Disaster & IT Resiliency!

Be Proactive not Reactive – Are You Ready?

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Surya - Key Observations – VeeamOn 2017

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Veeam On 17_Invitation.png Key Observations – VeeamOn 2017

This was my 1st VeeamOn event – found it to be exciting, collaborative, customer/partner focused & more intimate than larger ecosystem events – real sense of community. Tremendous growth YOY has caused an evolution of this signature event – approximately 3,000 attendees with a significant international component. In the past half dozen years, Veeam has become a market leader in the data protection space, adding 4000 customers a month & generating annual sales approaching $1B.

First released in 2008, Veeam has had excellent timing, providing an availability/protection solution designed for virtual machines as the IT industry shifted from physical to virtual servers.

Here are some observations from VeaamOn 2017:

  • Strong theme for this event – “availability for the always on enterprise”
  • Veeam CEO Change - promoted Peter McKay & Andrei Baronov to the position of co-CEOs, succeeding William H. Largent, who shifts to chairman of the finance & compensation committees. McKay was previously president and COO. Baronov previously was CTO
  • Announced a number of upgrades & additions with version 10 of the Veeam Availability Suite, which will be GA in Q3 of this year
  • 100 percent of the company’s revenue is partner-driven. Strategic alliances also will be key to that growth. Previously segmented between small & large companies by drawing a line at the 1,000 employee mark. But now, Veeam considers SMB is now 250 employees & below; the top 1,100 accounts are enterprise; and commercial is everything in between
  • Wants to grow from roughly $800 million now to $1B in 2018 then $1.5B in 2020
  • Strong emphasis now on service providers, as more of Veeam’s customers are using the cloud for the off-site part of their data protection infrastructure
  • Adding new features & functionality that their partner network (over 15,000 of which are CSPs offering cloud-based backup & DR) can sell as services in addition to selling software licenses & support
  • Announced a new Availability Console which enables service providers & distributed enterprises to deploy/manage Veeam services for virtual machines running on-site or in the cloud
  • Veeam is focused on displacing Veritas, Commvault, Dell EMC & MicroFocus for a $3 billion market share grab

For Our Customers - Potential Service Area Improvements

  • Veeam Agent for Windows - expands beyond Linux physical server support to provide support for physical Windows-based servers & laptops.
  • Veeam Availability Console - migrating, managing & protecting public cloud (AWS, Microsoft Azure, etc.)workloads, physical servers & endpoints 
  • Veeam vCloud Director Integration- includes adding direct restore to Azure, the ability to protect Amazon EC2 instances & policy-driven object storage support that includes Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier, Azure Blob & any S3/Swift compatible storage – greatly enhanced DRaaS capabilities.
  • Veeam Backup for Office 365 - adds support for SharePoint Online & OneDrive for Business, so companies can now recover documents as easy as they recover email - multi-tenancy, multi-repository & automation capabilities.
  • Continuous Data Protection (CDP) - for tier-1 application backup, continuous data protection (CDP), which enables lower RPOs.

By expanding their physical data protection support & by increasing customer/partner agility through stronger cloud support, Veeam appears to have strengthened their position in the enterprise data protection space. Veeam could potentially become a stronger player in the broader secondary data management space, if they continue to aggressively extend their data protection platform.

Veeam is unique - instead of launching its own cloud infrastructure, Veeam defers to partners to build & run their own clouds for end-customers. The idea is to deliver “to the cloud, from the cloud & within the cloud” business availability opportunities for all partners, instead of competing with them.

Veeam gets it – “Availability for the Always On Enterprise” is their passion & focus!

Be Proactive not Reactive – Are You Ready?

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Surya - What Is Digital Disruption?

February 20, 2017 by Dion Gluck Digital Disruption 0 Comments


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What Is Digital Disruption?

Digital Disruption is much more than improving efficiency within a business, it is essentially a transformation aided by emerging technologies, processes and business models to positively impact the value of an existing service or product. By connecting all the different parts of the business, greater working relationships can be formed with partners, customers, suppliers and even organizations typically seen as competitors.

The word disruption is used due to the disruptions this business transformation has on the current marketplace.

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To put it another way…..The effect of digital business models & technologies on value proposition and market position are distinctly distinguished from traditional competitive dynamics by velocity of change & high stakes.

Digital Disruption pulls everything toward the digital center, where everything that can be digitized, is……therefore, better, stronger, faster.

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Things are dramatically changing at a dramatic unprecedented pace. Per a study done by Cisco with their Global Center for Digital Transformation, this Digital Disruption will be exhibited in full force in 2018…..


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Digital Disruption can be seen as both a threat & an opportunity. On the one hand, the changes associated with new digital technologies unfold at a pace & scale that disrupt existing business practices as well as invalidate existing business models. On the other hand, digital technologies offer new opportunities for the creation of innovative business models for entrepreneurs to compete with established business practices in a wide range of industries.

However, most companies struggle in these four areas….

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We are on a journey of advising our customers on how to best prepare for Digital Disruption. Conceptually, please consider these critical components:

  • Think Systemically - Actively Promote Development of Digital Vision & Strategy
  • Engage with Customers
  • Create Innovation Teams - Invest in Digital Skills & Capabilities
  • Allow & Promote Experimentation - Culturally Embrace Collaboration, Innovation & Speed
  • Empower Your Employees

In summary, don’t be complacent. Keep testing, preparing & looking for opportunities. In a time of rapid & unpredictable change, it is better to be part of the disruption than a part of history

So, What’s Next?

Reach out to Surya if these are some of your concerns or challenges - let's start the conversation!

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