Xerox has selected Cisco Systems to be the infrastructure backbone for its managed print services program, a move that will increase the productivity of Xerox's ability to provide the services to both end users and channel partners, according to executives from both companies.
Xerox's managed print services revenue has increased 146 percent compared to last year, and it became increasingly difficult to manage that growth with a hodgepodge of servers and data center infrastructure, said Tom Force, director of information technology for Xerox Managed Print Services.
"We had a large mix of different types of servers. Between models and brands, we had 20 to 30 different types of services. We've spent a lot of time managing and making sure the BIOS was correct and moving and retiring boxes. We spent a good chunk of resources doing that, and we were constantly mitigating problems that would cause server bottlenecks," Force said.
[Related: Managed Services A to Z]
Xerox's MPS program has grown to several thousand customer accounts, close to 1 million user identifications and several million devices, according to the company.
"They're all talking to the system at any given time, and we were having a hard time managing our capacity," Force said. Xerox MPS now includes more than 100 applications to manage, he added.
Todd Brannon, product marketing senior manager, Unified Computing, for Cisco, said his company's technology architects "UCS during and for the age of cloud." The company's thesis, he said, is that "if you have commodity infrastructure without intelligence in it, you will have a brittle foundation for your cloud. There would be a lot of manual labor to build and maintain [the cloud]."
So what does it mean for solution providers? Paul Birkett, vice president of global delivery, Xerox Partner Print Services, said one of the company's largest partners in Europe saw the time it took to display a complex grid of 20,000 devices drop from 30 seconds to less than four seconds.
"It was a very significant performance increase and enables them to get more work," Birkett said.
More importantly, the increased bandwidth and scalability will allow Xerox to more aggressively recruit more MPS partners thanks to the performance boosts.
"For the first time, we feel confidence that we have an infrastructure to roll out more broadly," Birkett said.
Early next year, Xerox plans to launch a new MPS integration platform that will include offerings from several third-party vendors, he said.
"Getting to the end-point client is the first challenge, and we believe the most effective way to get into smaller clients [is through the channel]. That's where some of the framework we're building comes in. Having the capacity to manage the additional items that come in is crucial," Birkett said. "It's one thing to manage 30,000 [devices] in a single client. It's another thing to manage 30,000 devices in 15,000 clients. It puts different stresses on the network, but Cisco enables us to scale and model based on different work. It's changing the way we think about the stresses we put on our database servers as we change from an enterprise to an SMB perspective."
PUBLISHED DEC. 4, 2012