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Cisco Partner Superstar AOS Creates Unique Hybrid Cloud Offering That's Driving Millions In New Sales

Jon Groves, CEO of Alexander Open Systems, says Agility -- which was built with help from Cisco -- quickly moves from proof of concept to purchase in conversations with customers.

Solution provider superstar Alexander Open Systems is driving millions in new sales through its own unique hybrid cloud offering leveraging the latest technologies from Cisco Systems.

With help from the networking giant, AOS launched Agility in August. The offering combines Cisco's compute, storage, network and enterprise cloud suite with preconfigured orchestration for hybrid and public cloud.

"We can sit down with a CIO and have an AOS Agility conversation, and it's amazing how quickly it moves to a proof of concept and into a purchase," said Jon Groves, CEO of the Overland Park, Kan.-based solution provider, ranked No. 107 on the CRN 2017 Solution Provider 500 list, in an interview with CRN.

[Related: Cisco Launches 'Powerful' Meraki-Like Data Center Platform For UCS, Hyperflex]

"Agility is a hybrid cloud that can support 100 [virtual machines] and it's automatically out of the box preconfigured to work with workload migration between Google, AWS and Azure," said Groves. "So we've taken Cisco's products and suites, and turned them into a turnkey solution that's services-rich and features-rich."

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The solution provider is expecting Agility to bring in $5 million in additional revenue by the end of 2017, Groves said. In addition, AOS is seeing significant growth in its migration, security and optimization services.

Agility's role-based user portal, benchmarking and cost models provide IT departments visibility into their cloud offerings while still allowing self-service IT to their business, he said.

"It really helps our customers accelerate cloud adoption. It takes some of the mystery out of it for them," said Groves. "We have taken Cisco CloudCenter with HyperFlex, ACI [Application Centric Infrastrucutre] and all the solutions that are bundled into Cisco to create Agility."

Lockton Companies, one of the world's largest privately owned insurance brokerage firms, is an AOS Agility customer. David Robinson, CIO of Lockton, said the platform has accelerated the company's adoption and use of cloud services.

"Moving applications and workloads between our data centers and other public cloud services is quicker, easier and more secure," said Robinson in an email to CRN. "Along with the embedded orchestration of Agility and AOS' professional services, we now have a new portfolio of solutions and services to support our global business and make our clients' business better."

CloudCenter is Cisco's application-centric cloud management offering gained from the vendor's acquisition of CliQr last year. Partners can leverage CloudCenter to modernize data centers or add public cloud application deployment services, as it supports dozens of public clouds including AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

"CloudCenter is underpinning where services have been extracted from the data center. Now it's underpinning where we see services-rich revenue come back into the data center through automation, orchestration – those types of platforms," said Groves.


AOS also leverages Hyperflex, the networking giant's hyper-converged infrastructure offering launched last year and revamped in March; as well as ACI -- Cisco's software-defined networking offering.

The biggest AOS Agility supporter of all is Cisco, which helped fund the creation of Agility, said Groves.

"Cisco has been a huge supporter of this and they actually helped us do the business development around it," said Groves. "It's really amazing to have a vendor like Cisco help so much to make us better."

Scott Mohr, director of data center and cloud for Cisco's Global Partner Organization, said the company is fully committed to providing partners with the technology and enablement resources to help customers manage their multicloud environments.

"AOS and their AOS Agility offering is a prime example of a Cisco partner that is investing to win by helping customers integrate on-premise, data center and public cloud infrastructure into one streamlined, fully managed IT solution," said Mohr. "What's most important to channel partners is driving positive customer outcomes with sustained profitability. At Cisco, we continue to work closely with our channel partner community, like AOS, to create the right blend of multicloud offers, enablement and incentives to meet those demands."

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