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Despite the cautionary tale of Hurricane Katrina, many companies are still unprepared for Rita. VARs and backup vendors step up (sometimes for free) to help out.

The transition to managed services is daunting for most traditional VARs, so N-Able is offering a chance to test-drive the model before committing.

Solution-based VARs will prosper as Microsoft marches into the midsize business sector, while VARs that focus solely on deployment will need to expand their offerings to survive, according to one analyst.

Hurricane Katrina highlighted the greater risk small- and medium-sized businesses face compared with their larger counterparts. If you can’t afford elaborate disaster recovery beforehand, your disaster recovery will be more serious afterward.

Opinion: Managed services is more than just an upsell for VARs. It’s a way to become more a part of your clients’ business, and specialize in a market with great growth potential in both service and client base.

Consultant: Growth-oriented, Indian service providers may eclipse old-school outsourcers beset by infrastructure costs.

A year-old New York firm is playing matchmaker to VARs that need technicians to answer service calls far from their own operations.

The MSP has launched its Instant MSSP partner program for VARs and integrators looking to get into managed services without a big infrastructure investment.

James Champy of Perot Systems says the next five years hold a lot of opportunity for IT consultants, but that there are some challenges ahead.

The role of consultants is becoming more important as both companies large and small wrestle with complex problems, including compliance, business-process automation, global e-commerce and supply chains and other high-demand projects.

Opinion: For Oracle to convince the channel that it is serious about relying on the channel to help sell J.D. Edwards and PeopleSoft applications, actions will speak louder than words.

Updated: J.D. Edwards resellers say they are concerned that Oracle’s direct-sales organization will be taking a greater share of the midsized corporate sales that they used to get.

IP storage vendor Rainfinity creates a technical service program to help users and VARs set up NAS virtualization systems. Meanwhile, Zycko will distribute Asigra’s agentless backup and recovery software.

Customers are demanding managed security services, and VARs are leaping to respond. The service represents a rich, continuing revenue stream, but also potential liability a lot more serious than most VARs are used to accepting.

Opinion: Two years after it burst onto the scene, then largely faded from view, virtualization is again becoming big for integrators and VARs.

Ingram Micro is changing almost everything about itself except the need to maintain good relationships with its customers. Of the many unclear things about Ingram’s future, that is the most troubling.

End users know about IT security threats, but usually fail to realize how serious the danger is. It is up to VARs and integrators to help them assess their situations and protect their data.

Before either the vendor or the customer commits to an outsourcing deal, both should agree on a way to leave gracefully if the relationship doesn’t work out.

“Tromboning” is a consistent problem, making product selection even more important than usual when consolidating voice and data networks, according to one provider implementing VOIP at Vermont Legal Aid.

Outsourcing veterans reconnect as changes in the market demand greater specificity and the ability to adapt an outsourcing arrangement as requirements change.

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