Microsoft's (MSFT) Worldwide Partner Conference may still be held in July and attract tens of thousands of partners from around the world. But something else has changed about WPC. Microsoft's talk about cloud commitment seems more real this year. It's a momentous shift for a company which was built on selling software licenses. Plenty of the third-party vendors at the show are also focused on just selling cloud. And the shift comes during a week when the MSP software market itself is in the midst of a metamorphosis.
But first, here's a bit of the news from vendors out of WPC this week, targeted at MSPs.
Dell Wyse WSM 6
Dell (DELL) announced version 6 of Dell Wyse WSM desktop and application virtualization software. It's marketing the technology to MSPs for the first time. The new version adds server provisioning capabilities letting companies provision and deploy servers on the fly ("you can rent them by the hour"), hosted at the MSP facility or at the customer site.
Dell says that its Wyse WSM implementation is unlike traditional VDI because it enables the desktop OS and applications to execute locally on the client, giving that client the same look, performance, feel and function of a traditional desktop PC, but storing all OS, applications, and data in the datacenter. The setup simplifies monitoring, management and upgrades.
The new verison also supports shared storage, offers enhanced Active Directory integration, and adds 64-bit support. In addition, a partnership with CloudVolumes enables application virtualization.
The solution gets closer to the multi-tenant functionality that MSPs need, but is not quite there yet. There are rules-based access for administrators, according to Manish Bhaskar, director of product management at Dell Cloud Client Computing. However, administrators are able to see other devices on the network besides their own. A workaround could be deploying multiple instances of WSM as virtual machines (VMs), he told MSPmentor, which enables them still to be administered from a central location.
Parallels Hosting Packs for Microsoft Services
Another third party vendor reaching out to MSPs this week was Parallels. The company introduced several "hosting packs" designed to simplify the process of hosting Microsoft services such as Lync and Azure at managed service provider facilities. Through APIs and application packaging standards (APS), the Parallels portfolio creates a system of technologies that enable MSPs to provision and bundle X-as-a-service technologies as a single simple package to customers, drawing from services hosted at the MSP's location and services such as Microsoft Office 365 hosted in the cloud by Microsoft.
You may notice a trend in these two third-party announcements. They are cloud related, and targeting the MSP market. Many of the cloud-technology marketers I've spoken with recently say they've seen a big upsurge in interest from telecom-type cloud service providers in the last 18 months or so. More companies, big and small, are looking to move traditional IT functions to service-based outside providers. Traditional IT managed service providers are looking at how to get into the cloud side of the market, too. MSPs are more nimble and more customer-centric than plenty of competitors in the cloud market, and they are poised to profit from the price changes of commodity IaaS providers.
And that's where we come back to the transformation in the MSP software market.
Deals, Talent and What's Next
Kaseya (and its new private equity fund owner) this week acquired Zyrion, converging traditional PC monitoring with cloud. The deal comes on the heels of several others in the MSP software market over the past several months including SolarWinds buy of N-able and AVG's buy of Level Platforms. Acquirers are generally looking to SaaS models as the best way to move forward. Meanwhile, new leadership has emerged in the MSP software space post-acquisitions, while many of the pioneers of the managed services business have jumped to cloud companies.
Interesting times. And while we all await the perspective that time can provides, it seems like "Ride the Rails" is excellent advice.