Monday, June 3, 2013

Cisco Partner Summit

I recently arrived in my old hometown of Boston to attend Cisco's Partner Summit.  Today is a day of 1:1 meetings and the main sessions begin tomorrow.  The first session of Partner Summit is a global general session including John Chambers.  Interested to hear what's new with Cisco in general and learn more about where Cisco is going as we at Varrow continue to expand and deepen our relationship with the networking behemoth.  Here is the abstract of the general session:

Abstract:   Hear from our leaders about the unprecedented opportunities we see ahead for Cisco and our partners.
We are once again at the center of a significant market transition: the Internet of Everything. It’s a massive opportunity, the biggest in the next decade with a $14.4 trillion value-at-stake. With our partners, we have the ability to build, manage, and secure end-to-end IP-based platforms to connect people, process, data, and things to capture our share of this phenomenal market transition.

With an unwavering commitment to our partners’ success, we are driving channel innovation around the most important priorities to you. We will continue to be the most partner-centric organization in the IT industry, focused on building and enabling a robust partner ecosystem.
We will share how we will help you accelerate profitable growth, and make it easier for you to do business with Cisco. Specifically, you will hear about new areas of investment and about our firm commitment to help you transform your business to meet the changing demands of customers to capture the enormous market opportunities in front of us.
Bruce Klein
Senior Vice President, Worldwide Partner Organization
Edison Peres
Senior Vice President, Worldwide Channels
John Chambers
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Friday, March 15, 2013

10 Reasons NOT to attend Varrow Madness

Brandon Watson at Varrow was scratching his head wondering why an IT person wouldn't come to Varrow Madness and he came up with 10 good reasons not to attend.  Got any more?

Varrow Madness agenda:

10 Reasons NOT to Attend Varrow Madness:

1) Technology and fun should not be mixed.

2) This Cloud thing won’t catch on.

3) What could I possibly learn from 8 VCPs, 5 vExperts, a VCDX, storage and network specialists, 3 Industry CEOs, and 500 of my peers?

4) Mainframes Rule!

5) Why do I need labs when I can just try new things in my production environment?

6) Free education is overrated.

7) I am worried that my IBM rep will find out.

8) My arm is caught in the server rack (Please Help!)

9) I’ll just look for the highlights on YouTube.

10) I heard the Varrow CEO raps.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Not all EMC Signature Partners are Created Equal

One of my Acct Managers was at a customer site this week and an interesting discussion came up that is pertinent to all of our customers and prospective customers.  The customer reached out to him because they are evaluating all their vendor relationships and they are making sure they have the right partners aligned to the right solutions.  Very healthy exercise.  We saw this as a great opportunity to demonstrate how we can help in other areas where we are not working with them today.

When we went through how his discussion went, he mentioned that he told the IT Director that we were the only EMC Signature Partner based in the Carolinas - "Signature" is the highest tier of partner in the EMC partner ecosystem.  I had to tell him that we may still be the only one, but that will likely change very quickly if it hasn't already.

You might think Varrow is no longer the only Signature Partner because other partners have made the necessary exhaustive investments in engineering talent needed to gain this status or have sold a lot of EMC solutions and have earned it. 

The reality is that EMC has lowered the bar for partners to achieve Signature status; they have done so by eliminating the need to invest in services engineers and pass multiple difficult design and implementation tests in order to become Signature.  This was always the barrier to entry for many partners - they could get the sales and presales certs, but the services certs required a level of commitment and investment that most were unwilling to make. 

Now, any EMC partner can become Signature by passing a few sales and presales tests.

So, if you are determining who will be your trusted adviser on EMC and someone tells you they are an EMC Signature Partner, be sure to ask if they are capable of delivering the solution they are proposing. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Cloudy with 100% chance of change

I know it's a cheesy headline, but I couldn't resist. This week Varrow had it's annual all-hands company kickoff and we announced a bunch of new offerings and discussed at length our direction as a company. It was a time of great comraderie, but there was also a ton of passion around how we are evolving as a company.

The IT landscape is extremely dynamic right now. "Cloudy" is probably the best way to describe it on multiple levels. How IT manufacturers, IT services companies like Varrow, IT organizations, and IT professionals respond to the cloud today will likely dictate their relevance tomorrow. We always try to empathize with our customers, but when it comes to the cloud, we can totally relate.

The way IT is delivered, consumed, and procured is changing. Get on board. Don't resist. Embrace the change before you're swept away by it. Our strategy as a company is to help our customers take advantage of this change and help them benefit from it.  We want to make the cloud a sunny place.

It is not a wholesale transition and much of what our customers are doing today can be considered part of an overarching cloud strategy. Read an interesting blog from Paul Penny - the first in a series -- on the transformation of IT and how we can apply the spirit of the word "cloud" to our entire IT ecosystem:

Like our customers, Varrow has been gradually moving to the cloud within its own internal IT for some time now. We are smaller than our typical customer, so we have moved more quickly than most of them. Take a look at Jeremiah Cook's blog to see what we've done with the cloud for our own internal IT:

I thought I'd share 3 of the BIG cloud-oriented items we discussed at our company kickoff:

1) Varrow Rescue -- this is Varrow's backup cloud offering. When we looked at where the best opportunity was for Varrow to provide a cloud offering that we could be "best in world" at, we landed on enterprise backup and recovery. Varrow Rescue in a nutshell:
  • Fully managed enterprise backup and recovery solution
  • Cloud replication available
  • Self-service or SLA-based restores
  • Industry-leading deduplication technology
  • VMware and Hyper-V image level backups
  • Comprehensive reporting
  • 24 x 7 support

2)  Varrow Cloud Tranition Pathway Services - Although we do have a powerful cloud offering in Varrow Rescue, our strategy is not to become a cloud provider. It is to help our customers envision, design, implement and manage their own clouds - maybe Varrow Rescue is one of their clouds, maybe not. 

To that end, Varrow's Cloud Transition Pathway Services are a suite of services designed to answer the following kinds of questions:
  • What applications and services can or should move to the cloud? When? How?
  • What private infrastructure do we maintain? Where?
  • How do we integrate and manage all of this? What help do we need?
  • How does this change my organization, staffing, and skills requirements? Where do I start?
  • How can we plan and budget in the midst of so much change?

3) Making a real Private Cloud - up until recently, the term "private cloud" had been more marketing than reality. A "private cloud" was really just the same stuff our customers had bought from us for years with a new name. Now though, the technology is much further along and there are opportunities to layer on additional capabilities and services to existing infrastructure and really start delivering IT more as a service to end-users. Varrow is very well-positioned to help our customer "cloudify" their existing IT investments with new technolgies in a way that is meaningful. For those of our customers reading this blog, reach out to your Account Manager or Technical Consultant to schedule some time for a deep-dive on the details of how we can help.

Cool stuff and lots more on the horizon.