First Cisco Plus XaaS Deal Grants Long View Systems ‘Lifecycle Freedom’

‘[Cisco Plus] let’s us refresh our infrastructure, but also gives us an opportunity to organically grow that and adjust as we grow our businesses in the consumption model or as a service model,’ says Kent MacDonald, senior VP for Cisco Gold Partner Long View Systems.


Solution provider Long View Systems is doing more than just building a practice around the increasingly popular everything-as-a-service buying model for its clients. The firm is also adopting the model internally to grow its own business.

“Being able to now deliver the infrastructure as a service and our services on top, we are going to be able to address what the market is looking. It‘s giving us lifecycle freedom we didn’t have when we were buying [infrastructure] in advance and then figuring out how quickly we could grow into it,” said Kent MacDonald, senior vice president of strategic alliances for Long View Systems, a Cisco Gold partner.

Everything-as-a-service (XaaS) isn’t a technology change for partners. But it does change a firm’s financial agility, MacDonald said.

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Cisco Plus is the vendor's as-a-service strategy that allows customers to purchase Cisco IT in a flexible, consumption-based XaaS model. Calgary, Alberta-based Long View Systems is the first Gold Integrator and Gold Provider partner in Canada with a Cisco Plus deal.

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Long View‘s own as-a-service cloud infrastructure, On-Demand Infrastructure (ODI) has a presence in Toronto, Calgary and Denver, and was built on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) technology. ODI was coming up for a refresh and Long View was looking for the best economic model to fit its new needs. Cisco Plus gave the firm the lifecycle freedom it had been looking for within its ODI, MacDonald said.

The Cisco Plus offering that Long View has adopted is Hybrid Cloud, which includes Cisco’s entire data center compute, networking and storage portfolio, as well as third-party storage and software. Hybrid Cloud brings together on-premises, edge and public cloud environments in a flexible consumption model.

“[Cisco Plus] lets us refresh our infrastructure, but also gives us an opportunity to organically grow that and adjust as we grow our businesses in the consumption model or as a service model,” MacDonald said. Many businesses are or will be heading in the direction of XaaS as IT buying behaviors move away from large, upfront capex purchases and shift in favor of flexible, consumption-based IT spends, he added.

Long View’s OneCloud offering powered by Cisco Plus gives customers a customizable, hybrid cloud solution that’s flexible to buy and consume. It ties together public cloud, and now, premise-based cloud options for businesses using the firm‘s ODI.

“What’s really unique about this is now with Long View as a customer purchasing [Cisco Plus] as part of our ODI, we’ve got that flexibility now within our environment to flex to our customer‘s demands in that data center. It really completes the whole story of how we can provide as a service consumption to our customers,” said Lane Irvine, Long View’s network business solutions director.

Cisco, for its part, is working with partners like Long View to create the best economics and contract terms for Cisco Plus offers. Long View is an example of a partner that is “eating their own dog food,” which gives substance to Cisco Plus, said Alexandra Zagury, vice president of partner managed services and as-a-service sales for Cisco.

“What I really appreciate is Long View’s persistence and creativity in really figuring out how to make this work and how to deliver consumption models to customers as they ask for it,” she said. “This is all about agility, efficiency and being able to really manage workloads as [the partner or customer] sees fit. We’re starting to see the first deals come through the pipeline and it‘s looking great.”

Partners like Long View are also crucial in pulling in all of the pieces of Cisco Plus, which also include partnerships with third-party vendors, Zagury said. “It‘s really exciting how they’ve been able to stitch the outcome together,” she added.

Cisco expects about 43 percent of managed services to be deployed with an XaaS consumption model component by 2025.

Cisco Plus Hybrid Cloud is the first of many XaaS offers to come from Cisco. Hybrid Cloud, in conjunction with Long View’s services, helps the firm compete with public cloud providers, while giving customers more control over their on-premises environments. It also gives Long View more buying flexibility, MacDonald said.

“We would have had to make a guess on how much [infrastructure] we would need for the next three years and then grow into it. This allows us to refresh and burst capacity for clients that may have forecasted demand so we know we can address that, but now we can layer on and pay as we grow as business demands,” he said.