Tag Archives: SD-WAN

How SD-WAN and UCaaS work together.

How Do SD-WAN and UCaaS Work Together?

How SD-WAN and UCaaS work together.Improved network. UCaaS depends on its network and SD-WAN improves network performance. SD-WAN’s ability to prioritize traffic and monitor the network from one pane of glass allows for higher-quality throughput and a better UCaaS experience. SD-WAN can allow problems to be spotted and fixed quickly so cloud-based solutions such as UCaaS don’t suffer downtime. 

Better routing. When it comes to quality of service (QoS) in UCaaS, there are three major factors that impede quality: packet loss, jitter, and latency. SD-WAN addresses those three issues with dynamic traffic management across healthier network links in real time and – in many cases – voice packet duplication. Some SD-WAN solutions that include cloud managed router capabilities further improve a business’s ability to manage issues that could impede connection quality. 

Improved security. Most think of security as just a good way to keep files safe, but it can actually improve the health of UCaaS as well. One good way to improve overall security in the system is to isolate traffic by application, which makes it tougher for some kinds of security threats to figure out where core applications are located. SD-WAN can offer that kind of isolation, which not only makes the system safer, but also provides a cleaner flow for UCaaS traffic. 

How to Get SD-WAN and UCaaS Working Together

SD-WAN sets the stage for optimal UCaaS performance. It’s the horse you need to pull the cart. These technologies combined make for a great opportunity to improve your sales by offering one alongside the other. When you need some help getting the right SD-WAN to your customers, drop us a line at MicroCorp. As a master agent, we not only have relationships with the industry’s top SD-WAN providers, but we’ve made SD-WAN a primary focus of our Ultimate Partner Training series to help ensure that you’re up to the minute on SD-WAN operations.

Check out our ultimate guide on selling SD-WAN to learn more about the technology itself, how it integrates and supports other solutions, and how channel partners can take full advantage of it.

Get the most out of channel partner sales.

Sell to Your Customers Forever with Recurring Revenue Strategies

Get the most out of channel partner sales.One of the greatest advances in sales is the concept of subscription selling. While this was huge for publications, only recently has it been applied to other markets. From snacks to toiletries and beyond, the notion of getting a customer to pay monthly for a recurring shipment of goods is catching on, effectively allowing businesses to sell to their customers forever. In the channel, meanwhile, subscription sales allow technology-related firms to do the exact same thing.

Channel partner sales that include recurring revenue strategies offer distinct advantages over normal selling.

Added credibility. By being the one a company turns to for technological advice, you put yourself in a prime position to offer new solutions to address current problems, often available on a subscription basis. As Sean Tario, VP of MicroCorp Cloud Elements division, put it, partners often don’t know what options are out there, or they can’t sort their way through the acronyms involved. A partner who can, therefore, becomes prized. And a  prized partner has a leeway he or she likely didn’t have before, especially when it comes to recommending new technology options.

Head off obsolescence. These days, technology is “auto-catalytic.” That means it provides the fuel necessary to evolve into its next state. It provides its own catalyst for growth and change. So effectively, by the time you learn enough about one technology to sell it, the learning is already moot; the technology has changed. Stay in-the-know about evolving technologies through your partner ecosystem and advance your sales.

Monetize your own services. Subscription sales with sticky customers mean sales that happen over and over again. There’s no need for prospecting or the like; the sales largely just happen thanks to the customer’s dependence on the partner, and the partner’s ability to keep up with customer demand. By monetizing your own services, you continue to create more opportunity for yourself.

Expanded revenue potential. Recurring sales are great, but now, you’ve got new opportunities to make sales that weren’t there before. Your partner ecosystem can help you learn about new technologies, migrate from old ones, and develop the knowledge to go back to old clients and see if there are gaps that can be filled in.

When You Need Help Setting Up Recurring Revenue Opportunities

Setting up channel partner sales that are recurring requires you to have the right mix of things to offer. If you don’t already have these in your stable, or you’re looking for some added diversity in the lineup, drop us a line at MicroCorp. We help partners sell a wide range of technologies, covering unified communications and software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) among others that help you offer up the perfect package for recurring sales.

What's the deal with SD-WAN 2.0?

Introducing the Next Era of SD-WAN

What's the deal with SD-WAN 2.0?Countless businesses around the world are already enjoying the many benefits of software defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN), and each day new enterprises are realizing this technology is best suited to meet their increasing networking needs. But, like most modern innovations, the foundations of SD-WAN have evolved in recent years, and an improved version now exists — one that brings more clarity, security, and ease of use for multi-location organizations. Introducing SD-WAN 2.0.

Why a 2.0?


Some of us have witnessed SD-WAN at work over the years and wondered how an improved iteration could take advantage of the technology’s true potential. Centralization, prioritization of traffic, and an improved cloud experience are all great, but SD-WAN can deliver even more to the enterprise.

What’s different?


Traditionally, SD-WAN has focused on improving internet performance and achieving faster connections to WAN architecture. But SD-WAN 2.0 goes further by focusing more on control and remote management — beyond the WAN and into SD-Branch.

With managed WiFi, content filtering, and managing the other pieces of SDN, 2.0 takes everything to the next level to include “SD-LAN” — essentially, LAN management. With 2.0, you can manage the individual pieces on your network. In this way, SD-WAN 2.0 takes the granular level of control available with SD-WAN to the local network.

Where SD-WAN “1.0” took everything to the demarc, 2.0 takes it almost to the computer. It’s a full diagnostic suite that goes beyond the firewall. Cyber security is a big focus here. “1.0” gave enterprises a way to create virtual private networks (VPNs) based on low-cost broadband access, but 2.0 enables users to manage the security aspect of what’s going on in their networks with intelligent sharing and other advanced security features.

2.0 combines what people buy in multiple products today. Gone are the days of having to purchase a firewall, managed WiFi, network diagnostics packages, and LAN management all separately. And, gone are the days of needing IT people at every branch location. With 2.0, businesses can go deeper into their networks. This next generation of SD-WAN is for the business ahead of its time and for partners who are ready to sell the future.

We’re excited to offer businesses an advanced SD-WAN experience. Contact SimpleWAN today if you’d like to learn more.

Check out our ultimate guide on selling SD-WAN to learn more about the technology itself, how it integrates and supports other solutions, and how channel partners can take full advantage of it.

How SD-WAN and MPLS are co-existing in the market.

SD-WAN and MPLS: Technologies Growing Together

How SD-WAN and MPLS are co-existing in the market.One of the biggest selling points for software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) is that it can function as a replacement for multiprotocol label switching (MPLS). Despite the fact that MPLS is threatened with obsolescence in the face of SD-WAN, there’s actually a business case for keeping both SD-WAN and MPLS together as complementary technologies.

Why Should Anyone Use Both SD-WAN and MPLS?

As it turns out, the combination of SD-WAN and MPLS is not only feasible, it’s also recommended.

MPLS has reputation. SD-WAN is a comparatively new technology. It’s certainly got plenty to recommend its use, but at the same time, MPLS is a known quantity and has been for years. Bringing in the combined force, therefore, allows companies to split the difference. You can’t stick with the familiar forever. The familiar makes an excellent bridge to the new, so using both SD-WAN and MPLS allows the familiar and unfamiliar to connect.

SD-WAN is a savings tool. Many will recommend keeping some MPLS as an additional option. SD-WAN does well with reducing MPLS use, which can be a cost-saver for businesses. Throwing MPLS out altogether, though, is seldom recommended. Some companies use SD-WAN and MPLS together like a virtual private network (VPN), a tool commonly recommended for data security.

SD-WAN adds range. While MPLS options were great for large-scale operations, they didn’t always work well for picking up the smaller sub-sites that businesses might have had. SD-WAN, meanwhile, does that job quite well. The hybrid model of SD-WAN and MPLS means maximum sales potential, tackling both large sites and small branches.

SD-WAN and MPLS means reliability. SD-WAN with pure internet links alone isn’t likely to provide the kind of service that guaranteed quality-of-service (QoS) required by applications. The combination of SD-WAN and MPLS, meanwhile, makes the overall connection stronger and more likely to live up to QoS demands. Since MPLS is a WAN technology, and SD-WAN is an edge technology, combining the two means fuller coverage from the core to the edge.

What to Do When You Want to Make SD-WAN and MPLS Work Together

So as we’ve seen, it may not be SD-WAN or MPLS, and together isn’t really a waste of time and resources. Many times, it’s the perfect combination for value and getting the most out of a network. To put these two together to their fullest, just drop us a line at MicroCorp. We’ll get you familiar with both and how best to deliver to your customers.

Check out our ultimate guide on selling SD-WAN to learn more about the technology itself, how it integrates and supports other solutions, and how channel partners can take full advantage of it.

Here's what an industry expert has to say about SD-WAN.

Helping Customers See the Benefits of SD-WAN

Struggling to sell SD-WAN? Take some advice from an industry expert.

WHere's what an industry expert has to say about SD-WAN. hile the advantages of a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) are obvious to those in the networking house, outsiders can sometimes struggle to see the strengths of this new type of technology. Fortunately, Chris Donlan, a Solutions Architect and SD-WAN Evangelist for MicroCorp, is here to break down the challenges plaguing many partners.

“The value of SD-WAN is simple,” says Donlan. “At its core, SD-WAN is an evolution of WAN technologies that allows end-users to overcome inherent network vulnerabilities to meet the new demands of business applications today and increasing migrations to cloud solutions.

Think of it this way: cable networks pose their own challenges with network performance, and telco carrier networks aren’t infallible either. Add in the inherent nature of the internet as an uncontrollable entity, and there’s a lot of opportunity for uncertainty and exposure to poor application performance. SD-WAN empowers end users to bypass these limitations with software-based solutions utilizing multiple WAN connections.

Here are a few of the more tangible benefits SD-WAN offers:

  • Connection resiliency
  • Network visibility
  • Intelligent packet routing
  • Rapid deployment
  • Improved network management

Despite these benefits, however, partners still face a variety of roadblocks when presenting SD-WAN as the most appropriate solution for customers.

“One of the current challenges of SD-WAN is that it’s new to the market as the SD-WAN ‘package.’ The technologies have been around a while, just not all packaged together,” says Donlan, “so there’s hesitancy to adopt what appears to be new technology. Another issue is that the provider landscape makes it very confusing for end users. It seems every week there is a new provider promoting their SD-WAN. And what do people do when they’re confused? They do nothing; it paralyzes them.”

But it doesn’t have to come to that deer-in-the-headlights situation for your customers, as Donlan explains. Shifting the way you think about SD-WAN, and changing the way you position it to your customers can instantly erase any confusion.

“A lot of people ask me how to sell SD-WAN,” says Donlan. “I tell them, the the important thing to understand is that SD-WAN isn’t an it. SD-WAN doesn’t have features and benefits, and it’s not something you can sell like a phone system. Instead, SD-WAN has the technological capability to allow a business to run much more efficiently. Notice, however I haven’t said it reduces costs.”

Donlan explains how some unenlightened folks may attempt to position SD-WAN as a cost-saving solution for any customer, but the technology doesn’t necessarily boost everyone’s bottom line.

“Unfortunately, it’s a common misconception that SD-WAN can save everyone money,” says Donlan. “That’s not necessarily the case. In one scenario, it might, but in another scenario, it might not. SD-WAN can, however, save you soft costs such as downtime, and it makes networks easier to manage. But partners who start the conversation with ‘It’s going to save you money,’ might not end up where they thought they would.”

So what benefits should partners suggest first when presenting SD-WAN to customers? In Donlan’s view, it largely depends upon the business.

“Connectivity assurance, network visibility and management, as well as application performance are important advantages of SD-WAN,” says Donlan, “but network visibility isn’t going to mean anything to a CEO. However, for somebody whose job it is to manage the network, being able to make decisions based on visibility and analysis is incredibly valuable.”

In today’s data-driven world, there’s endless information at our fingertips. SD-WAN gives you the tools you need to derive insights from that information. “For instance, SD-WAN can show you historical reports about network performance,” says Donlan. “And whether it’s internet or MPLS, you can review your network’s performance during the last 30 days and confront your carrier if they’re not living up to their end of the SLA. But that’s just an example. There’s all kinds of information there that’s available with SD-WAN.

SD-WAN can be confusing for many individuals who aren’t familiar with the in and outs of networking. But by positioning the technology in the right light and explaining in clear terms what your customers stand to gain, SD-WAN should be an easy sell.

Contact MicroCorp and Chris to learn more about how to sell SD-WAN.

Check out our ultimate guide on selling SD-WAN to learn more about the technology itself, how it integrates and supports other solutions, and how channel partners can take full advantage of it.

Using digital transformation to improve channel partner sales.

Improve Your Channel Partner Sales with Digital Transformation

Using digital transformation to improve channel partner sales.Improving channel partner sales is MicroCorp’s focus, and digital transformation can actually boost opportunities for partners. This process of moving from a hardware-focus to more of a software-focus is bringing with it some great new opportunities to make sales.

How Can I Use Digital Transformation to Drive Sales?

Since there are several facets involved in digital transformation, there are several ways to use it to make improve channel partner sales.

SD-WAN. One of the biggest digital transformation moves around, software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) is a great fit for businesses with multiple locations. It takes what’s already worked with WAN operations and expands on it by taking the focus off hardware and putting it more on software.

Unified communications. Unified communications systems incorporate voice, video, conferencing systems and more, it’s an excellent all-in-one package, and also provides a great opportunity for sales by offering the basic infrastructure points—or even the limited hardware required—to do the job right.

BYOD. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) doctrine is a great cost-saver for businesses as employees bring their devices of choice to work. It takes some advance preparation to do correctly, though, so this is a good opportunity for channel partner sales in network security, Wi-Fi connectivity, and more.

Cloud services. While unified communications is a major cloud service, it’s not the only one. The cloud is increasingly offering a range of services from analytics to disaster recovery. Having these services on hand can mean excellent partner sales for businesses looking to branch out, better protect themselves, or perform a wide range of functions without having the hardware on hand.

Data center functions. Whether it’s on-premises, cloud-based, or a hybrid of the two, businesses are taking advantage of having their data immediately to hand and readily shared out throughout the organization. Channel partner sales benefit here, particularly for targets that have no data center or want to change the current one.

How Do I Get Started with Digital Transformation?

If you see opportunity in digital transformation, then the way to take advantage of it to start making more sales is to start working with a master agent, like us at MicroCorp. We can provide options for several stages of digital transformation. Plus, our Ultimate Partner Training program can help keep you on the cutting edge of new developments. So don’t let digital transformation pass you by; get in touch with us to get started making new channel partner sales.

How to tell your customer needs SD-WAN.

When Do Your Customers Need SD-WAN?

How to tell your customer needs SD-WAN.We all know there are plenty of benefits to software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN), but not everybody has caught on to that point yet. Maybe some are making do with their current WAN setup, or others aren’t even hooked into a WAN at all. That means opportunity, and there are ways to tell when a customer could use some help from SD-WAN.

How Can I Tell When a Customer Needs SD-WAN?

Complaints about network quality. Using SD-WAN can leverage multiple WAN links (MPLS, DIA, Broadband, LTE) utilizing load balancing and WAN optimization features to increase network reliability. Any cloud-based application must have network reliability to perform as the business intends it to; uptime to the cloud is critical.

Complaints about network cost. Depending on the needs and requirements of the business, MPLS may be removed and replaced with a hybrid (MPLS and internet) or dual internet-based option. Most MPLS networks are single-threaded and vulnerable to downtime. SD-WAN can allow for redundant failover WAN connections working in real time.

Complaints about network reliability. One of SD-WAN’s core components is visibility into the network links’ health through a user portal which allows end users to view the health of the network in real time and in historical trends. This also allows network managers to make changes to positively impact an application’s performance. Another core SD-WAN function is to act in real time on the current state of the network links, making decisions on how to best route traffic over the various links.

Complaints about the network holding the business back. We now live in an application performance-based world. The network “does not move” or the internet is not “slow.” Rather the applications users are trying to reach and use are performing poorly based on network conditions. If a customer is actually fighting the network to get anything done, it’s a perfect time to talk SD-WAN. SD-WAN helps geographically-distributed offices better connect, and since SD-WAN is very agile, it allows for a fast turn up of new locations onto the WAN.

How Do I Get Started Providing SD-WAN Services?

If you’ve spotted some points that show a customer is ready for SD-WAN, then get in touch with us at MicroCorp. We have a dedicated, provider-agnostic SD-WAN Solutions Architect who can help you define the best SD-WAN solution for your customers. Our Ultimate Partner Training program focuses on SD-WAN, and we can address all the key points of SD-WAN use from network visibility and control to improving connectivity reliability. So when your customers look like they can benefit, just drop us a line, and we’ll help you get started.

Check out our ultimate guide on selling SD-WAN to learn more about the technology itself, how it integrates and supports other solutions, and how channel partners can take full advantage of it.

What is in store for MPLS with the rise of SD-WAN?

SD-WAN Has Not Completely Replaced MPLS

What is in store for MPLS with the rise of SD-WAN?When even a major research operation like Gartner is asking questions like “Is MPLS dead?”, it can be forgiven that some might think multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) has joined the great dumpster of technological history. It’s a funny thing, but most of the people suggesting that MPLS has passed on are largely connected to software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) provision. SD-WAN is growing in adoption, but isn’t likely to completely replace MPLS.

So Why Isn’t MPLS Dead, Anyway?

There’s no doubt that SD-WAN has made a lot of gains. But MPLS is still delivering value on several fronts.

Legacy systems. MPLS is increasingly a legacy system. A Nemertes study found that 78% of organizations that have SD-WAN in place won’t be shutting down MPLS operations. Though a substantial percentage plan to restrict it, or otherwise reduce its use, complete shutdowns are unlikely. MPLS was a major investment; why lose the utility of an investment before it’s necessary?

Possibility of hybridization. More and more users are looking at SD-WAN and MPLS as complementary, not competitive, systems. SD-WAN is providing some excellent ways to cut costs by taking some of the heat off an MPLS system. Both together, therefore, can provide cost-effective power for applications that means efficiency without sacrifice.

Clear difference of function. MPLS is commonly seen as a great way to connect two specific points together. But MPLS doesn’t work so well on the global stage, and there’s SD-WAN’s opportunity. That means that MPLS can do well to connect the specialized and the local, while SD-WAN can expand to the wider picture.

A CIO’s balancing act. With MPLS doing so well on one side of the equation, and SD-WAN doing so well on the other, it behooves us to realize that the chief information officer (CIO) might well want to keep both running to ensure maximum smoothness of operation…as well as his or her post. Why drop what works, when a small addition can keep it working?

How Can I Find the Best Mix of MPLS and SD-WAN For My Business?

Some may want to take advantage of MPLS’ unique benefits. Others may want to proceed right to SD-WAN. For those who aren’t sure either way, a good place to pin down your needs is to drop us a line at MicroCorp. We’ve got experience on both sides of the spectrum and can readily help you figure out just the right mix for your operations. So get in touch with us and get started on the best communications profile for your operations.

Check out our ultimate guide on selling SD-WAN to learn more about the technology itself, how it integrates and supports other solutions, and how channel partners can take full advantage of it.

Partners can collaborate in an educational ecosystem at Ultimate Partner Training.

Get Inside UPT: A Day by Day Account

Have you ever wondered what Ultimate Partner Training is really like? Two MicroCorp Strategic Partner Managers — David Burgeson and Monica Lester — journaled their experiences during UPT last year to give you a taste. Read their real-time, day-by-day accounts to get a feel for what’s in store this year for partners!

Day One:

David:
We kicked off Ultimate Partner Training today, and the classroom is full of attendees from all over the country. The excitement and desire learn about the data center, colocation and security businesses is off the charts! The talent among this group is clearly evident for best practices, and new ideas are being shared as partners are forging new relationships. Looking forward to a great Day 2.

Monica:

As a trusted advisor to many MicroCorp partners, I made the commitment to invest in my own data center and cloud computing education by spending a week engaged at Ultimate Partner Training. It’s day 1, and already I can feel the energy and enthusiasm to learn and succeed in this space of technology from everyone. Looking forward to diving in to the history and evolution of technology, and learning how to assist my partners even better in this space. We will all be chanting, “I love data center” once we see the ROI from our training investment. 

Day Two:

David:

AM session

Day 2 started with Todd Smith presenting on the various business and pricing models within data center providers. Whether the business model is wholesale, retail or both, Todd Smith emphasized that properly negotiating power, space and cooling costs is a must between the customer and provider.  

Paul Carrico continued the training to cloud where everything is “as a Service”: Hosting-aaS, Infrastructure-aaS, Software-aaS, Platform-aaS, and Infrastructure-aaS. When architecting a solution for a public, private, hybrid or hyper-converged solutions, scoping the right requirements is a must. Client engagements begin with what applications are they using and why. 

PM session

Cyrus One, VxChnge, Cologix, Telstra, Level 3 and Greenhouse Data are sitting on the Hot Seat Panel. Tough questions from the audience! Usually providers talk about their strengths, but a question was asked what their weaknesses are. I can’t go into detail here but it was rather interesting.

Scott Kelly with Windstream is now talking about SD-WAN, and he says “All roads lead to the cloud:  Rapid growth in data, apps and connected ‘things’.” 

Some great things about SD-WAN:

  • Money to be made with SD-WAN:  $6B by 2020 per IDC.
  • Gives complete visibility
  • Real-time control
  • Plug and Play ability
  • Active/active connectivities
  • Any type of access
  • Scalable
  • Goal of 100%

But the realities are that SD-WAN:

  • Will not replace MPLS
  • Cannot guarantee QoS
  • Is not WAN optimization

Monica:

Not all data centers are created equally. Today I gained a better understanding of the differentiators amongst our data center providers. Telstra, Cologix, Xchange, Greenhouse Data, Level 3, CyrusOne….just to name a few from our line card. Now I am empowered to help my partners better in matching the right provider for their clients. A fun fact I learned was the least expensive data center space can be found in Quincy, Washington. Why? Lowest cost for power at 3.5 cents!!! 

Day Three

David

AM session

A contest for How to Frame Questions and Team 5  is in the lead. This is proving to be harder than it appears….Teams 3 and 4 are catching up.

Jeff, founder of Bigleaf now talking about SDWAN. The SDWAN market is getting crowded with providers trying to position themselves uniquely. Jeff says get out of speed and feeds discussion, but what are the applications?

He says — though SDWAN is causing different conversations about MPLS, MPLS was disrupted by the data center and cloud. SD-WAN and network security are inter-related. To stay relevant, SD-WAN and security must be part of any technology conversations.

The agent channel has a great opportunity to be the trusted advisor for their clients with SD-WAN and to make money on it.

PM session

Windstream is doing a live demo of their SD-WAN service. The management portal is collecting data on everything and touching their network. 11+ Android devices are hitting a non-productive website. He just disconnected a circuit while on a live VoIP call, and the failover was seamless. This is a must-have for customers who run a lot of apps on the cloud.

Monica:

We have reached the topic of SD-WAN, presented by Bigleaf! This segment is most important to maintain my relevance in the marketplace. With the movement to the cloud, an alternative for MPLS was desired, and SD-WAN allows us to build a solid network to many locations, hosting vital applications and enhancing effectiveness. I endorse Bigleaf as a solid provider — they go the extra mile for my partners to help them gain comfort with this new technology and will do the heavy lifting to provide the solutions to the end-users. 

 Day Four

David:

Just completed our team role-playing competition based on actual customer situations. Each team consisted of 3 attendees and there are 6 teams. The objective was to dig for information from the judges and apply what we learned to identify SDWAN, data center, colo, security, hosting, and cloud applications. We are awaiting to see which team won. 

This was the most interactive training ever. Thoroughly enjoyed the people here.  As we conclude UPT, the spirit of partnership is alive and well. Relationships matter!

 Monica:

It’s the last day of UPT, and it’s the first training of my career where I can walk away feeling as though I have the knowledge, resources, excitement, and hunger to aggressively help my partners tackle this segment of the market and succeed in new revenue in the DC space.

Today was a competitive day where we displayed selling skills coupled with knowledge gained on solutions in a real-world customer scenario. As part of Team 5, we came in 2nd place. Practice and experience leads to success in all aspects of life. The practice I’ve learned from UPT is priceless, and — not to mention — what a great group of folks to spend my week with!

Contact MicroCorp today to learn more about Ultimate Partner Training.