CA Technologies Doubles Down on Managed Services Market

Is CA Technologies (formerly CA Inc.) serious about the managed services market? I found my answer at the Ingram Micro Cloud Summit in Dallas, where I began to experience double-vision. In one room, CA Technologies was talking up its strategy to managed services providers. In another room, CA's recently acquired Nimsoft team was busy describing its role in the MSP sector. But can CA really become a mainstream player in the MSP space? Here are some thoughts.

First, the hard news. CA this week launched an MSP licensing program in North America for ARCserve, the backup and recovery platform. The program has been available in Europe since April 2010. The effort allows VARs and MSPs to leverage a monthly ARCserve licensing model with no upfront costs.

In some ways, the ARCserve MSP licensing model is long, long overdue. CA acquired Cheyenne Software (and ARCserve) way back in 1996. Full disclosure: I worked briefly at Cheyenne and played a super small role in the ARCserve 6 for Windows NT launch. Cheyenne had a strong ARCserve channel program but the effort somewhat withered (to put it politely...) under CA's ownership in the late 1990s.

Strategic Clues

Fast forward to the present and CA seems to be putting a renewed emphasis on ARCserve. And the company has been hinting about MSP-centric moves since this October 2009 FastChat video with MSPmentor:

Next Up: Nimsoft

Meanwhile, CA acquired Nimsoft -- the managed services platform provider -- in March 2010. Some skeptics wondered if CA would somehow mess up Nimsoft's MSP efforts, which target emerging enterprises and somewhat larger MSPs (rather than small MSP organizations).

The honeymoon period between CA and Nimsoft seems to be continuing. A few prime examples: Nimsoft Founder Gary Read continues to write his outspoken blog -- without any apparent gag orders from CA's hierarchy. And multiple Nimsoft insiders have told me "it's business as usual" within the halls of Nimsoft.

During a brief chat at the Ingram Micro Cloud Summit, Nimsoft's Ken Vanderweel sounded genuinely upbeat about CA's hands-off approach with Nimsoft's business. But CA is assisting where it counts most, by training the CA sales team to promote Nimsoft within corporate IT departments.

As long as Nimsoft continues to hit its financial targets, I suspect CA's top brass will remain hands-off with the company. Also, we'll be watching to see if the new ARCserve MSP licensing model catches on with readers. No doubt, the managed storage market is crowded and competitive.

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