IndependenceIT To Roll Out DaaS Platform Aimed At Maximizing Partner Efficiency

IndependenceIT's will roll out on Wednesday a new desktop-as-a-service solution (DaaS) that will be sold exclusively through the channel, CRN has learned. The new version of the Cloud Workspace Suite is intended to help speed the DaaS management processes in order to help partners deliver virtualized applications and desktops to larger numbers of SMB or enterprise customers without increasing the partner's talent pool.

"It'll connect to any hypervisor out there, whether the customer is using VMware, Hyper-V, Xen, OpenStack or any other hypervisor on the market," said Seth Bostock, executive vice president of corporate development at Allentown, Penn.-based independenceIT. "Our automation will tie directly into those APIs and instantly be able to create and build the servers that are required to support the DaaS environment. We also have extensive automation that includes everything from customized reporting to server access, and everything else needed to automate the virtual data center."

Bostock added that the product's provisioning system will build the virtual machines, install the initial applications for the desktop environment, and have user credentials back to the partner within three minutes.

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"A lot of automation is focused at the server level, but partners still need to build out the actual desktop environment on that," he said. "And historically that's done physically by engineers. We have automated all of that. So from a scalability perspective, what we're seeing with our partners is that they are able to leverage the same number of internal resources that they have today with their engineering staff and their support staff. But, now they are able to handle more customers to drive their margin upwards while at the same time using their talent more efficiently."

Partners can create user profiles, create different applications, manage different applications installed in the environment and also manage security. The system also has a password control protocol that provides VARs, MSPs and service providers with a great deal of flexibility.

"We've created an element that enables an email to be sent to the partner who can click on that notification from their mobile device and send a quick password reset," he said. "The partner can also let the end user self-support if they so choose."

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Other features include preconfigured setup for ConnectWise, Autotask and N-Able applications, as well as support for more than 400 other pre-virtualized applications.

"We have an immense amount of application experience in terms of virtualization, so those apps range from simple accounting packages to complex SAP and ERP systems, Oracle databases, and a lot more," said independenceIT's Bostock. "If there's an application we haven't seen, we have a certification process through which partners can get new applications certified. We have a whole knowledge base that we can use with our partners that tells us how to get different types of applications to work in a virtual environment."

The company uses a partner-only sales model, according to Bostock, who added that 100 percent of independenceIT's revenue flows through VARs, managed service providers and solution providers of various description.

"The conversation so often falls to the virtual desktop and desktop as a service," said Mike Herrmann, senior product manager at Atlanta-based EarthLink. "We found that the market really desires a turnkey solution that goes beyond desktop as a service and also has the IT muscle behind it to virtualize the apps, handle the application management and really run the IT plumbing. So if my customer has a limited IT staff, which is true of everybody these days, they can go back to revenue generating activities, as opposed to the back office stuff that just drives them crazy. This enables EarthLink to offer Fortune 500 technologies and IT skills to SMB customers."

Meanwhile, Bill McLaughlin, CTO of Atlantic Tomorrows Office, a New York City-based MSP, likes the fact that the new offering does not distract customers from his own company's capabilities.

"My customers are still calling into my call center, my NOC and my engineers," he said. "So we still control and manage the customer. And we have the ability to provide the same level of support to the customers, and I don't have to give that up by using their product."

Beta testing of the new product concludes this week, and general availability is expected during the first week of June. Pricing is based on a variety of service options, and scale based on volume, on a per user per month basis.

PUBLISH MAY 28, 2013