Memo to Cisco, Symantec

The buzz is loud here at the MSP Alliance conference in San Jose. Up-and-coming MSP platform providers are inking partnerships with each other, and networking with more than 200 VARs and integrators. Clearly, the MSP ecosystem is maturing rapidly. Still, big vendors like Cisco Systems and Symantec are noticeably absent from this small but growing event. Looking ahead, those big players would be wise to follow the leads of Dell and Intel into the MSP market.

Indeed, Dell is here promoting Silverback Technologies, an MSP platform that the company acquired a few months ago. And Intel is here describing how its vPro technology reduces service costs and allows MSPs to remotely troubleshoot PCs and servers without having to physically visit customer sites.

Meanwhile, Cisco in October plans to announced a managed services pricing strategy for its networking hardware (though the company says it has no plans to introduce an MSP platform). And Symantec in a few weeks (or less) is expected to launch the Symantec Protection Network -- which provides Software as a Service (first for storage solutions, with security expected to follow in a few months).

Neither company has a presence here at the event. I guess that's understandable since the MSP Alliance conference is a small, regional event. But give credit to Dell and Intel. They were wise to spot the MSP market opportunity, and they're here building stronger relationships with VARs that are diving into managed services.

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