Chicago-based cloud technology services distributor Avant, which serves scores of VARs, MSPs, telecom agents and cloud services brokers worldwide, has been rather busy as of late. The company recently announced a few upgrades/enhancements to its Channel Sales Enablement Program, and made a rather important deal with cable giant Comcast to resell the its cloud and co-location services.

But that's not all Avant has been up to. The company has been hard at work the past few months, broadening its executive team, adding to its portfolio of SD-WAN, security and UCaaS services, and expanding its footprint in the UK and greater Europe - also setting its sights set on data centers in Asia.

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Avant has also doubled the number of agents it serves, and increased "booked agent revenue by 75 percent" since 2015. Not too shabby, eh? At the 20th Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, Talkin' Cloud's T.C. Doyle caught up with Andrew Lydecker, co-founder and president of Avant. At the event, Lydecker discussed a wide range of topics, including Avant’s latest sales tool, BattleApp. The latest edition, version v.2.1, adds new features and functionality to “support both back-office and face-to-face selling activities,” according to the company, including:  ​An enhanced white-label and fully partner-brandable user interface

  • An expanded fiber tool and data center functionality with smart-filtering and Google Maps API overlay
  • Solution filters for rapid down-selection of providers to those with relevant product offerings
  • A new interface that allows the customization of provider visibility and categorization
  • Easy toggling between presentation and back-office modes
  • New case studies and templated sales documents to streamline the close process
  • The ability to upload partner sales content to the documents library

In addition to the BattleApp upgrade, Avant also announced several other cool updates to its Channel Sales Enablement Program, which include a three-day “Special Forces Training” event for elite partners, a new “BattlePlan” sales methodology, events for CIOs and other decision makers, and new interactive sales tools to help VARs, MSPs and telecom agents develop use cases for technology sales.

Lydecker is all about the action, and is very outspoken about the way Avant positions itself. According to Lydecker, “business is war” and “perception is reality.” “We want to be the ‘weapons dealer’ for salespeople,” he says. Translation? Avant is hyper-focused on building the tools that will help its VAR/agent/MSP customers "win business and crush competitors." Sounds like music to our channel ears.

Our second story of the week takes a look at the most recent trendy tech term, "microservice." What does that mean, you ask? In the most general terms, a microservice is a service that runs within an application and, when combined with other services, creates a fully functional application (as defined by MSPmentor). But it goes a bit deeper than that.

So what does a microservice actually entail? What do they have to do with platforms like containers? And what can they do for MSPs? 

The term microservice can be tough to define because there isn't a service gatekeeper out there deciding what separates a microservice from a traditional service - it's easy to blur the lines there. Further,  there is no universal rule for identifying distinct services within an application. Despite these challenges and gray areas when it comes to microservices, it's best to think of them  as any small, independent service that comprises part of an application.

Why use microservices? Simply put, they often help to make the design and management of an application far easier. Microservices can break down complex applications which simplifies the code-writing process and it's easier for admins to manage the software while it's running - they can stop one service in order to update it without having to halt the entire application.

And now we come back to the main question - what does all of this mean for MSPs? The most important thing to keep in mind is that your customers probably don't fully understand what a microservice actually is, which means it's education time for you. It is your job to help your customer understand the ins and outs of microservices, and to clear up the ambiguities and variabilities regarding the way they are implemented. This means that you must fully understand how they actually work, figure out whether they make sense for you and how they can best be implemented to suit your (or your clients') needs.

Our final story turns the spotlight on One Identity, which was, up until recently, Dell's Identity Access Management solution (One Identity divested from Dell in November). On Tuesday, the recently independent One Identity announced that it is debuting its new multi-tier global partner program - the first program update rolled out since its newfound status as a business unit under Quest Software. 

The program, One Identity Partner Circle, supports partners as they deliver One Identity's portfolio of identity governance, access management, privileged account management and identity-as-a-service solutions. The program is designed to support systems integrators, advisory and consultants as well as resellers and distributors as they sell and deliver One Identity’s portfolio of identity governance, access management, privileged account management and identity as a service solutions.  

More and more organizations are starting their own digital journey, making it imperative that any security-focused organization adopt the right solutions to enable users, address risk, and protect business-critical information. According to One Identity’s press release, with the company's identity and access management solutions, both partner and customer can achieve successful business outcomes while supporting each organization’s digital transformation.

“We developed One Identity Partner Circle with both our customers and our partners in mind," said Josh Lewis, director for North American channels and alliances, One Identity. "Customers have told us repeatedly that they need to work with business partners who can solve their problems by demonstrating true expertise in the solutions they are selling. To make sure our partners deliver on that promise, our program sets consistent global standards for competence while at the same time provides partners with the tools, resources and incentives they needed to deepen and strengthen their expertise on our solutions."

The One Identity Partner Circle welcomes partners that resell, architect, configure, implement, deploy and manage identity and access management solutions. In addition to a smooth onboarding process and a fast deal registration to speed up the sales process, One Identity partners enjoy a variety of strategic benefits, including:

  • A dedicated, unified program with a range of go-to-market models
  • Meaningful incentives for resellers, influencers and delivery partners
  • Technical tools and resources across the entire One Identity portfolio, including training, delivery enablement and sales support
  • Collaboration amongst One Identity team members and our IAM partners through a new "CONNECT” portal