7 New Cloud Professional Services Options For Cisco Partners

Lucky Number 7

Cisco Systems is giving partners a road map of how to create cloud professional service practices to deliver hybrid IT by launching seven new cloud services available to certified partners.

Cisco Cloud Reseller partners who want to thrive in the hybrid IT era and capture the fast-growing $20 billion professional services opportunity can sell offerings from a new library of cloud professional services assembled by Cisco in conjunction with the Cisco Advanced services team and incorporating best practices from Cisco channel partners.

"We know that for partners to be successful they need to add more of their own value. The only way they can add more of their own value, especially as hardware revenues are being extended over longer periods of time [as part of a recurring revenue model], is to add more professional services. For the first time, we're actually now packaging up professional services to enable our partners to deliver them," said Edison Peres, senior vice president of the cloud and managed services partner organization at Cisco, at the 2015 Cisco Partner Summit Wednesday.

Here's a look at the new options.

Cloud Consumption As-A-Service

Arguably the flagship service offering of the group, according to several Cisco partners, the Cloud Consumption as-a-Service offering aims to drive recurring revenue and profitability for the channel.

"Cloud consumption is something I think the whole industry is getting around," said Robert Keblusek, senior vice president of business development at Sentinel Technologies, a Downers Grove, Ill.-based Cisco partner.

Cisco said the service deploys probes on a network and identifies existing cloud consumption in the customer's environment -- usually five times to 10 times more cloud usage than the enterprise expects -- providing the foundation for the development of a cloud strategy that partners can implement for the customer.

"This is designed specifically for the channel and it's software only," said Nick Earle, Cisco's senior vice president of global cloud and managed services sales. "This is software aimed for channel partners that can produce results in two weeks."

Cloud Threat Defense Service

Cisco is introducing a cloud security service model that includes cloud mapping, vulnerability and risk assessment, forensics and reporting, according to the company. Components included in the offering are intrusion prevention, antivirus, content security, firewall, forensics and ecosystem tools.

"All of our customers are looking for new and better ways to secure their environments so the threat defense service is certainly attractive to us," said Dave Hart, COO of New York-based solution provider Presidio, a Cisco Gold partner. "If hybrid cloud is the future, then the network is the most important thing because that's the unifying platform. ... This security service will help that."

UCS Director FastStart

Cisco's wildly popular Unified Computing System has just become even easier for partners to implement, Cisco said. The UCS Director FastStart offering sets the stage for partners to deliver services to orchestrate and automate the operations of the converged infrastructure resources on which many clouds are built, according to Cisco.

"To us this is terrific because it helps us really help our customers get a lot of value out of that UCS Director platform," said Presidio's Hart.

"What that is doing for us is providing increased automation in our UCS compute environment, particularly in maintenance activities as well as when we do hardware upgrades and/or replacements for new blades," said Jeffrey Spalding, COO of Peak 10, a Charlotte, N.C.-based Cisco partner.

Energy Management Discovery Service

This new service helps identify the customer's energy usage and provides benchmarks for their cloud and IT assets, according to Cisco.

Cisco said partners can wrap their own professional services around this offering to perform an assessment of the customer's environment and create a plan to better manage their customers' energy consumption all through the cloud.

Cisco executives said energy management services will be a big growth area for Cisco partners because they typically don't require additional budget -- the projects save enough in energy costs to be self-funding.

Intercloud Marketplace

Although formally launched in June, Cisco said the Intercloud Marketplace is going to play a much larger role for partners who want to buy and sell cloud services.

Cisco's Earle said the marketplace is a partner-centric global storefront for application consumption that customers can only access through a partner portal.

"It's a one-stop shop for all the applications and services that run across all the partners' clouds that are part of Intercloud," said Earle. "We're committed to supporting the partner community."

"It brings enterprises and service providers as well as resellers, the VAR channel, together," said Peak 10's Spalding. "It's important from our perspective because we want there to be as much clarity in the marketplace as possible. ... They have the opportunity to go through this marketplace to other Cisco service providers like Peak 10 and find solutions via this marketplace."

Cloud On-Boarding Solution

The cloud on-boarding solution enables migration of workloads seamlessly and securely, said Cisco. The new service will help partners perform workload on-boarding by utilizing a combination of Cisco IP and third party tools and resources. Cisco points to the ability to move workloads from one cloud to another, be they public or private, as one of the marquee capabilities of its Intercloud offering.

Intercloud Fabric For Business FastStart

Cisco's Intercloud Fabric is software for moving workloads between different public and private clouds on a secure, efficient platform in hybrid cloud. Partners can now easily build on the Intercloud Fabric platform to deliver vital follow-on cloud migration, adoption and optimization services through the FastStart offering, said Cisco.

ServiceGrid Professional Services

In March 2013, Cisco said it planned to purchase the privately held company SolveDirect, which focuses on cloud-delivered services management software and services. CRN reported that the company's ServiceGrid platform was designed to provide a "single point of collaboration," integrating business processes and provide service-level monitoring across multiple partners, regardless of their existing systems.

Cisco said in a multivendor cloud services environment, partners can help automate and create service-level agreement governance models to optimize customers cloud and IT support processes through this new service offering.