By: Jean-Philippe Barleaza, VP of Channel for EMEA, VMware
Carine Whiting, Director of Professional Services, ViCoS
Varun Vermani, Senior Consultant/Architect, ViCoS
VMware recognizes the value that Professional Services Organizations (PSOs) bring to our customers and our partners. Jean-Philippe Barleaza, our VP of Channel for EMEA, recently shared that during his 10-plus years of working closely with VMware partners, he’s seen how expert support from PSOs can be the key to helping customers realize the full potential of their VMware implementations, which can lead to greater customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and investment in VMware and our partners.
To highlight one of our top PSOs in the United Kingdom, ViCoS, Jean-Philippe interviews ViCoS’ Carine Whiting, Director of Professional Services, and Varun Vermani, Senior Consultant/Architect, about how the company’s focus on training and advocacy has made ViCoS a leader in enterprise technology enablement.
Q: Let’s begin by your telling us more about ViCoS.
Carine: ViCoS started 12 years ago as a professional services organization focused on cloud and virtualization. You can still see this in the company name: Virtualization Consulting Services, or ViCoS. Our founders worked in financial services, and although we have diversified over the years, we maintain strong relationships with clients in regulated industries such as finance, telecommunications, and government.
We provide platform-agnostic services, but with a focus on thought leaders and best-of-breed solution providers. That’s why we have such a long history of working with VMware. VMware was our first partner, and the majority of our deployments still involve VMware solutions to some extent.
Q: What sets ViCoS apart from other PSOs?
Carine: Our company is part of the Virtual Clarity family, but we’ve always been solely focused on professional services. We’re not interested in muddying the waters with licensing. Instead, we work with partners to deliver high value across multiple areas, from planning and design to deployment.
Varun: We’re not just delivering value to our partners and our customers, but also to the greater community. Two members of our team, myself included, are members of the world-renowned VMware vExpert program for global evangelism and advocacy. I use my blog, shuttletitan.com, as a way to share news and know-how around virtualization, particularly as it relates to NSX.
Q: Speaking of expertise, ViCoS has earned all five Master Services Competencies (MSCs) and several Solution Competencies so far. Why is the VMware MSC program so important for your organization?
Carine: As a PSO, we want to make sure that we’re providing our partners with top-quality support. MSCs give us a fantastic benchmark to ensure we’re keeping up with technology and providing the most up-to-date training to our staff. Having a deep knowledge of VMware technologies allows us to better realize the full power of VMware solutions for our partners and their customers.
We’ve received all five MSCs: Cloud Management and Automation, Data Center Virtualization, Network Virtualization, Desktop and Mobility, and VMware Cloud on AWS. The MSCs give our partners reassurance that we have demonstrated advanced levels of technical and service capabilities, which is especially important when working in regulated industries.
Q: ViCoS was recognized by VMware as the top VMware NSX deployment partner for EMEA in 2019. Why is NSX such a big part of your business?
Varun: We started seeing demand for NSX grow about four or five years ago. It’s been one of the most popular products amongst IT departments as many customers see the benefits of software-defined networking and micro-segmentation. Some customer scenarios can be quite involved and customers need additional help with their NSX deployment. This is where ViCoS can step in and offer our experience to help partners and their customers get the most out of any NSX deployment. We see many situations where a customer adopts NSX, and the success of the deployment prompts them to go back to the partner and ask for other VMware products and tools that they can incorporate into their environments.
With the release of NSX-T 3.0, we also see a growing interest in migrating from NSX for vSphere (NSX-V) to NSX-T. NSX-T 3.0 has opened the doors with features that customers have been asking for. Intrusion detection and prevention (IDS/IPS) is a big win for customers who want top security. Federation is terrific, as it improves operational consistency and simplicity across data center networks for Disaster Recovery. Since IDS/IPS and Federation are only available in NSX-T, we expect to start seeing many more consulting engagements around migrations coming our way.
Q: What do you think the future trends will be for ViCoS in upcoming years?
Carine: We’ve spent a great deal of energy growing our business in VMware and deepening our knowledge through MSCs. We want to start expanding on that foundation by looking at containerization with Project Pacific, which integrates Kubernetes with vSphere 7. We’re also an advanced consulting partner with AWS, so we’re interested in being more active in VMware Cloud on AWS deployments.