Benefits of public cloud: Unilog's Google adoption

This article was originally published on TechTarget. Click here to read the original. 

Unilog, an e-commerce platform provider, cites increased operational efficiency and faster customer onboarding among the benefits of Google Cloud adoption.

Unilog's shift to the public cloud involves considerably more than obtaining a new place to park its IT infrastructure.

The e-commerce company, based in Bangalore, India, with North American headquarters in Wayne, Pa., traditionally offered its core B2B software platform through a private cloud hosted in a colocation facility. Unilog, however, wanted to speed up customer deployments, improve its ability to scale and lower its operating costs. The company decided the anticipated benefits of public cloud could deliver on those requirements. 

Swamy Mahesh, CTO and vice president of U.S. operations at Unilog, said Unilog selected Google's public cloud from a short list of providers that included Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Rackspace. The company also hired Agosto Inc., a Google cloud partner based in Minneapolis, Minn., to provide support and consulting services.

Unilog worked with Agosto to establish a strategic roadmap for public cloud adoption, which kicked off with a lift-and-shift migration from Unilog's private hosted setting to Google. The task involved moving Unilog's virtual machines to the new environment and optimizing them for Google Cloud.

The initial migration soon led to other opportunities for improvement.

"It became apparent that strategic challenges were on the end of that" lift-and-shift phase, said Rick Erickson, executive vice president at Agosto. He said his company conducted a cloud modernization analysis to uncover ways Unilog could operate more efficiently.

Benefits of public cloud

Among the business benefits of Unilog's public cloud migration is the ability to speed up the task of bringing new customers on board its e-commerce platform. In its private cloud environment, the process of getting a newly acquired client onto the system could take several days.

"We had to constantly add hardware to the racks and set it up," Mahesh said, noting the manual labor involved. "It was not a scalable model."

"Unilog was going through significant growth with their customer base and had a backlog of customers and one of the [factors] causing the backlog was the time it took to procure infrastructure and launch new customers," Erickson said.

But with the cloud and an improved customer onboarding process, Unilog can now bring a new customer onto its system in about a day, according to Unilog.

"Customer onboarding is much faster," Mahesh said.

The cloud move also helps with disaster recovery. Unilog had previously needed to consider multiple colocation spaces for redundancy purposes, a pursuit that Mahesh said amounts to "reinventing what a good cloud has already done."

Multi-tenant shift

The benefits of public cloud also surfaced on the application software side. In Unilog's case, the company used the occasion of the cloud refit to take a look at its application stack. The company's e-commerce platform was based on providing each client a single-customer instance of its software under a perpetual license. Unilog, however, wanted to transition to a software-as-a-service subscription model and multi-tenancy.

The multi-tenant version of its Unilog's e-commerce software also contributes to improved efficiency and faster customer deployments, since it allows the company to maintain and update a single image of its application. But the approach also introduces challenges, which Unilog continues to work through.

Mahesh cited differences among clients with regard to data growth rates and the resulting traffic on each client's network pipes as one example. Another design and development challenge of multi-tenancy: accommodating different use cases across multiple customers. System availability and replicating data across regions are other considerations, Mahesh added.

Unilog is now looking to further optimize its processes as it supports a mixed customer base -- some use the multi-tenant version of its platform and others continue to use the legacy system.

Google Poses A Challenge To Microsoft With Its New Enterprise-Grade Chrome Operating System

This article was originally published on CRN. Click here to read the original. 

Looking to penetrate deeper into the enterprise, Google on Tuesday introduced a business-ready version of its popular Chrome operating system.

Chrome Enterprise adds new features to Chrome OS, including enterprise app storefronts, more security controls, and round-the-clock support. It also integrates with popular endpoint and identity management solutions from VMware and Microsoft.

Chrome Enterprise product manager David Karam blogged, "with the added capabilities Chrome Enterprise provides on top of Chrome OS, many businesses are eager to deploy Chrome further across their organizations to connect more users securely to the cloud."

Chrome OS, the lightweight operating system that powers the line of Google authorized Chromebook laptops and tablets, leans on the Chrome web browser as its primary interface to apps and data.

Chrome Enterprise integrates with VMware Workspace ONE, a unified endpoint management solution, to enable management of all Chrome devices—owned by companies or employees—from a single console. Workspace ONE is the first third-party solution that can manage Chrome devices.

"This collaboration combines the speed, simplicity, and security of Chrome with the cloud-based unified endpoint management of VMware AirWatch," Karam said, referring to the virtualization leader's mobility management software leveraged by Workspace ONE.

On the identity management side, Chrome Enterprise is the first version of Google's operating system fully compatible with Microsoft Active Directory. The Active Directory integration allows employees to use native credentials to authenticate Chrome devices, and admins to centralize user policies, Karam said.

Aric Bandy, president of Agosto, a Minneapolis-based Google partner, told CRN the latest Chrome edition would help partners push more Google solutions into the enterprise.

The new operating system offers a unique set of features that Fortune 500 CIOs have been asking for, he said. 

"It all drives cloud adoption," Bandy told CRN.

"We sell a lot of Chrome and Google has been evolving Chrome into a true enterprise solution that's challenging Microsoft."

The new operating system, along with the enablement of virtual desktops, shows Google is "changing the operating system game" much as the company has done with the office productivity suite through its G Suite product.

That's bad news for Microsoft, Bandy said, because the world's largest software company derives much of its profits from the Windows operating system and Office productivity suite.

"A $50 per year OS solution will dramatically change things," he said of Google's new offering. 

Business Insider on Agosto's Infrastructure Work With Unilog

This press release was featured on Business Insider. Click here to read the full piece.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN--(Marketwired - June 22, 2017) - Agosto Inc., a cloud services and development company and tier 1 Google Cloud Premier Partner, has completed an IT infrastructure redesign for Unilog that enables the company to leverage the public cloud to deliver its e-commerce and product data management solutions. Unilog is a global technology and services company that specializes in e-commerce solutions and enriched product catalogs for the business-to-business (B2B) marketplace.

Unilog engaged Agosto to help improve its business processes which were limited by running an on-premises, private cloud. They needed rapid deployments, unlimited scale, and reduced support costs for their customers. Agosto's team analyzed Unilog's existing application stack and determined they could modify it to support reduced operating costs, provide better scale, and accelerate client deployments using Google as a public cloud provider.

"We performed a gap analysis for architectural considerations that would support an updated design of Unilog's application stack," said Rick Erickson, executive vice president at Agosto. "We then validated performance and delivered production templates to accelerate their future client deployments."

This press release was featured on Business Insider. Click here to read the full piece.

Before Google Released Cloud IoT Core, Its Customers Relied On A Channel Partner Product To Communicate With Devices In The Field

This article was published on CRN. Read the full article here. 

The Internet of Things service Google introduced this week will make it easier to securely connect devices and sensors deployed in the field to Google's cloud infrastructure. But before that product came to fruition, many Google IoT customers relied on a predecessor built by one of Google's channel partners.

Agosto, an IoT specialist based in Minneapolis, developed the MQTT broker that powered Google Cloud's IoT services since last year. Google introduced similar technology Tuesday as a component of Cloud IoT Core, a fully managed service that evens the playing field with competitors Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.

Aric Bandy, president of Agosto, said his company initially developed its own messaging software to meet customer demand because Google didn't yet offer that service natively. MQTT is an industry standard messaging protocol for sensors and mobile devices. 

When Google realized it needed to facilitate connections to field devices to be competitive in the IoT market, the Mountain View, Calif.-based Internet giant turned to its partner, demonstrating the evolving relationship between cloud providers and their channel. 

Google insisted the messaging broker it hired Agosto to build last year be open source so the entire community could benefit from it, Bandy said. Agosto released the service on GitHub and later Google Cloud Launcher. 

Cloud IoT Core, launched in private beta, in addition to the new MQTT broker enables managing edge devices in the wild – be they installed in oil fields, farms, manufacturing facilities or hospitals – once they're connected and data is ingested.

Click here to read the full article on CRN. 

CRN - Look Out AWS And Azure – Google Is Betting Big On The Enterprise Channel

Read the original CRN article here. 

When Diane Green took the helm of Google's cloud division in November 2015, the internet services giant was at a crossroads, and partners were growing frustrated.

They believed they had bet on a public cloud provider with game-changing technological capabilities — leading software development talent, mastery in data center operations, unrivaled network capacity. But for the most part they weren't winning deals against their hyper-scale competitors.

Google just didn't understand the enterprise, a market segment with different dynamics from its legacy consumer business, partners concluded. Marketing was off-message, feature development was slow, outbound sales was an afterthought.

Most of all, its sales leaders, through predilections and programs, weren't positioning partners to compete against those bringing Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services to market. Greene was a breath of fresh air — the former VMware CEO from day one articulated to partners a comprehensive, battle-tested vision for transforming Google's cloud business into an enterprise powerhouse.

"It had not played out the way Google hoped it would with some of these solutions," Aric Bandy, president of Agosto, a Minneapolis-based Google partner, told CRN. "Under Diane they shifted to focus on what the market wants."

Google Praises Agosto for Google Cloud Platform Success In Their Blog

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Last week at Google Cloud Next ‘17, we recognized 12 partners for their strong customer success and solution innovation over the past year. These partners—our 2016 Global Partner Award winners—exemplify the dedication, expertise and innovation that our customers count on. 

Recognizing customer success

Sales and services partners nurture and support customer transformation and innovation. We recognized four sales and services partners that demonstrate outstanding sales, marketing and technical expertise to help businesses of all sizes transform with Google Cloud.

Read the full article here

Partners Cheer Google's New Solutions-Oriented Channel Approach

This article appeared on CRN. Click to read the full article. 

The day before Google's Cloud Next 2017 Conference, new channel chief Bertrand Yansouni and other Google execs hosted partners at an off-site summit in San Francisco. During those sessions earlier this week, they outlined a new approach to how Google will work with its channel, one encompassing investments in product, sales and enablement programs and encouraging a mindset geared to comprehensive solutions, not individual products.

The new "unified approach" breaks down channel silos by rewarding partners for selling the whole Google Cloud stack, a change that was overdue, Yansouni told CRN. Previously "partners and sales agents were aligned by products, not accounts and solutions," he said.

Partners are elated with the new philosophy, telling CRN it aligns with how enterprise customers actually look to purchase technology. Google's program changes illustrate that, after some stumbles, the consumer-tech powerhouse is starting to understand the critical enterprise market.

"There's a really positive change that's afoot," Aric Bandy, president of Agosto, a Minneapolis, Minn.-based Premier partner, told CRN.

Google has tweaked a compensation model that could, in some scenarios, fail to provide financial parity to sales reps when delivering deals to the channel. Field agents no longer can be better compensated for taking customers direct, Yansouni told CRN, which eliminates any potential for channel conflict.

To further encourage the solutions-focused approach, Google introduced four new specialization credentials that partners can earn to validate specific skills. It also launched a revamped partner directory that makes it easier for partners to promote their expertise, as well as a new engineering team that advises partners on large engagements.

The "unified approach" assigns Google's sales reps to accounts instead of products. And the cloud operator will tabulate all revenue across the portfolio when assessing whether a partner rises to Premier status, Yansouni said.

How The Channel Can Sell More Cloud Software To SMBs

This article was published on IT Bob. Click here to read the full article. 

Reselling SaaS To Small Businesses

Cloud-based software levels the playing field for small and midsize businesses, putting enterprise-grade tools once accessible only to the big boys in their hands. That widens a largely untapped market for cloud software vendors.

But specific challenges preclude SMBs from adopting a broader array of Software-as-a-Service, a survey has found.

AppDirect, developer of a commerce platform for distributing cloud-based software, commissioned a survey of 500 small and midsize businesses to gauge their attitudes on SaaS adoption. Its report from that survey identified major stumbling blocks to adoption—challenges that only the channel can solve. "Businesses are not adopting software, not because they don’t want to or can't, but because the channel isn't enabling it enough," Daniel Saks, AppDirect's CEO, told ITBestOfBreed. "We see the opportunity for each user to use more than 20 applications, whereas now they're using only a few."

Click through to read six major findings from AppDirect's survey.

Read the full article here. 

Digital Signage Today Covers Skykit's Digital Signage Guide

Agosto Inc., a digital signage content management system developer, has released its digital signage guide as a response to questions from customers. Companies such as NEC, Intel, Best Buy for Business and FASTSIGNS participated in the guide, entitled, "10 Digital Signage Topics You Need to Know Before Buying – The Complete Guide," according to a press release.

The guide covers the history of the industry, such as how the hardware and software have developed. It also gives advice on the key features to look for in digital signage hardware and software. It also covers topics such as content, rollout and how to measure return-on-investment, according to the release.

"There's a lot to learn about digital signage, and the majority of information available addresses specific needs, rather than the big picture," said Agosto President Aric Bandy. "Our guide fills that void by providing detailed, platform-agnostic information that will educate and provide context to buyers so they can make the most informed decisions."

The guide can be read here. Users can choose to download specific chapters rather than the entire guide, according to their preference.


The original article can be found on the Digital Signage Today's website here

One of the Google’s most trusted partner tiers: Agosto

This article was published on The Silicon Review.

“The cloud has never been easier.”

Founded in 2001, Agosto is a Google Cloud Premier Partner & cloud product development company. Through custom cloud product development, we help organizations bring products to market more quickly, with a focus on the Internet of Things (IoT). In 2014, Agosto was named Google Enterprise Global Partner of the Year for Cloud Platform. Agosto is also committed to providing Google enterprise services. In 2014, we were named to the Inc. 500|5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies for the fourth time.

Based on its years of expertise building solutions on Google’s platform, we built a digital signage solution called Skykit. Skykit is the first end-to-end Google-based digital signage CMS. Designed for infinite scale for enterprises.

Google powered services

Digital Signage: Skykit is a cloud-based digital signage platform that easily distributes the content to any screen, anywhere in the world. Using its powerful content management system built on Google, end users have the ability to control, collaborate, and quickly send content to any number of displays. Regardless of location.

G Suite Business: G Suite Business is a premium version of G Suite (which many people might know it by older branding: Google Apps for Work, Google Drive for Work, Google Apps for Business, or Google Apps for Enterprise). G Suite Business includes the base solutions included in G Suite, but also includes Google Vault for every user. That means you get all the collaboration tools, plus unlimited storage, eDiscovery, auditing, and reporting features. We tailor G Suite Business to fit the company, and offer the licenses at the same price Google does.

Google Enterprise Search: Bring the power of Google’s search capabilities to your intranet, databases, cloud applications, and much more. A Google Search Appliance (also known as a GSA) can provide clients’ employees or external site visitors with an easy-to-use, dependable search experience. Agosto will help customize GSA’s capabilities and increase the speed, range of results, and search functionality for the users.
A GSA uses the same algorithms used by That means, the users will see the most relevant search results first. And with over 220 file types and translation for 72 languages, the user experience is a personalized and positive one. You can also extend search results beyond files and databases to include content from social media streams and different cloud applications. With results delivered through a browser, searching a GSA is also possible from mobile devices, depending on the organizations needs.

IoT (M2M) Accelerator: IoT (M2M) Accelerator is a cloud-based software foundation for improving machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) communications analysis, interaction and reporting. Based using Google’s Cloud Platform products, IoT (M2M) Accelerator gathers multiple device inputs and simulates to scale.
With several layers of security, the framework processes up to millions of events an hour, storing and managing results. User interaction is enabled across the framework for meaningful reporting, planning, data export, analysis and other ongoing user tasks.

The Happy Customer:

Premier Utility Services
When Premier Utility Services was acquired by Willbros Group, Inc., the Company’s IT management team was working with Microsoft Exchange. However, the system was not scalable enough to meet the needs of the quickly growing entity. Significant stability and reliability issues started causing business disruptions, so the Company’s technical staff began to investigate alternative platforms that could provide more reliability. Marc Makely, President of Premier, suggested the Company move to Google Apps. Premier was already working with Google Geo (mapping) tools, and Makely believed in the cloud and in Google’s powerful solutions.

What Premier Utility Services Wanted

  •  Scalable, reliable, stable platform
  • Unified employee communications
  • A system that would improve the team’s ability to provide excellent customer service

Why Premier Utility Services Went Google

  • Level of trust in other Google products (Geo/Mapping)
  • The ability of Google Apps to provide a consistent employee communication experience
  • Real-time collaboration

What Premier Utility Services

  • Accomplished Through Agosto
  • Reduced capital expenses and management costs
  • Ability to immediately share updated information with clients
  • Secure, reliable communications
  • Increased productivity

Meet the Master

Irfan Khan, CEO: Khan sets Agosto’s strategic direction and assembles and manages the delivery teams to continue the company’s growth. Khan co-founded Agosto in 2001 as an IT consulting firm focused on delivering new technologies to increase operational efficiencies for their clients. Today he is identifying new opportunities to leverage the Agosto’s market position as a leading cloud brokers and product development experts.

A true evangelist for cloud computing and SaaS (software-as-a-service), Khan excels at change management and has personally helped migrate tens of thousands of users onto Google Apps. For more than 13 years, he has helped grow Agosto into a recognized leader in cloud circles.

In 2004, he co-founded Jumpnode Systems, an innovator in cloud network management. During Khan’s four-year tenure as CEO, he took a new concept to a revenue-earning product in less than 12 months and successfully raised a multimillion dollar round of venture financing. The company was awarded the Best New Technology honor by Twin Cities Business in 2006. That same year, Khan was awarded Innovator of the Year by Finance and Commerce magazine. Khan holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of Oregon.

“We help companies move from legacy systems. Our experienced team knows the requirements and can make it easier for you, too.”

Georgetown University Interviews Agosto Employees for Workforce Report

Georgetown University interviewed Aric Bandy, President of Agosto, and Dan Hildebrand, Account Executive, about their perspective on millennials being a large piece in the current and future workforce. 

They released a report titled "Women, Millenials, and the Future Workplace: Empowering All Employees." 

Click here to read the Huffington Post article summary. 

Click here to read the full report. 

Huffington Post: Google’s Cloud Business is Soaring

“Google Cloud delivers the original value of the cloud at enterprise scale”

This was one of the most crystallizing quotes of Google Horizon, an event structured to loudly and poignantly proclaim Google’s intent to dominate the public cloud. Surrounded by customers, select top partners like Agosto , and the press, Greene and her team laid out their enterprise plan.

Starting things off, Greene laid the foundation. Google has the biggest, fastest network that supports 8 brands that each has 1 billion active users: YouTube, Android, Gmail, Maps, Google Play, Search, Chrome AND Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

But Google isn’t resting on their laurels.

Read the full story originally published on Huffington Post

Cloud partners: G Suite update heralds a Google enterprise push

Google's rebranding efforts make a strong appeal to the enterprise and could reposition the company as a major force in the market, according to cloud partners.

Aric Bandy, president of Agosto Inc., a cloud services company based in Minneapolis. Agosto provides services around the Google Cloud Platform and Google Apps.

Google is behind in the email collaboration space and in the cloud and have to make a lot of moves in a very short amount of time to close the gap. Google has needed to make a very public and direct proclamation that they are going to be an enterprise player,” he added. “Prior to this [announcement], the market hasn’t heard it.
— Aric Bandy, President of Agosto

Nasdaq: Alphabet's Google for Work Team to Hire Wyoming State CIO

Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGL - Analyst Report) Google is reportedly appointing Flint Waters, the chief information officer (CIO) of the state of Wyoming.

According to reports, Waters is expected to step down from the state service on Sep 23 and join Google for Work team in early October. He will play an advisory role, helping local and state governments migrate to Google products, especially the cloud.

Water’s Days as Wyoming CIO

Waters has been Wyoming’s CIO for five years and led a number of cloud migration projects. Waters headed Wyoming’s migration from state-owned data centers to Google and Azure-based cloud.

He also led the development of the Wyoming Unified Network, which is a network of fiber lines that connects important cities in the state and provides broadband access of 200 Kbps per student to school districts across the state.

Recently, Wyoming collaborated with Google for Work partner Agosto to upgrade from Google Apps for Government to Google Apps Unlimited. The upgrade will provide the state unlimited drive storage, advanced reporting and auditing capacities and additional administrative features.

Read the full article here.

Agosto Named 2016 Best Places to Work Honoree

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal presents our 65 Best Places to Work honorees for 2016, the 18th year of Minnesota's longest-running awards program recognizing top workplaces.

They accepted nominations for Best Places to Work honorees from late-March through mid-May. Their research partner, Omaha, Neb.-based Quantum Workplace surveyed employees at participating companies from mid-April to mid-May, asking them to rate their employers on communication efforts, leadership and more.

Companies with the highest scores from the anonymous employee surveys were then ranked in four size categories.

Click here to read the full article and to watch the video announcement. 

RingCentral, Google Join Forces to Help Transition Enterprises to the Cloud

RingCentral, Inc. (RNG), a leading provider of business cloud communication and collaboration applications, and Google today join efforts to help mid to large size enterprises transition to the cloud. Companies are increasingly adopting cloud productivity tools like Google Apps and cloud communications applications like RingCentral Office® to enable greater flexibility and workflow efficiency.

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo Finance featuring Agosto. 

CRN Interviewed Aric Bandy for Article on Google I/O

Google's keynote at the Google I/O conference Thursday was filled with examples of how the company intends to reshape the consumer experience through artificially intelligent systems paired with speech-recognition technologies.

But at Agosto, a Google Apps for Work partner based in Minneapolis, President Aric Bandy told CRN that he couldn't help but see the business corollaries. 

Read the full article on