SolarWinds, N-able Face Dog Fight vs RMM Rivals

SolarWinds' (SWI) CEO suggested the N-able acquisition has RMM (remote monitoring and management) software rivals running scared. But MSPs running Continuum, Kaseya, LabTech Software and Level Platforms claim otherwise.

Joe Panettieri, Former Editorial Director

June 5, 2013

2 Min Read
SolarWinds SWI CEO Kevin Thompson has high hopes for the Nable acquisition But rivals like Continuum CEO Michael George Kaseya CEO Gerald Blackie
SolarWinds (SWI) CEO Kevin Thompson has high hopes for the N-able acquisition. But rivals like Continuum CEO Michael George, Kaseya CEO Gerald Blackie, LabTech CEO Matt Nachtrab and Level Platforms CEO Peter Sandiford have built strong MSP communities of their own.

SolarWinds (SWI) and its newly acquired N-able business face a “dog fight” against “scrappy, determined rivals” in the remote monitoring and management (RMM) software market. That’s the concensus opinion from numerous MSPs attending this week’s Autotask Community Live and LabTech Automation Nation conferences in Phoenix and Orlando, respectively. 

When SolarWinds acquired N-able for $120 million last week, SolarWinds CEO Kevin Thompson said the deal would allow his company to gain market leadership in the MSP software market, with a particular emphasis on cloud computing and SMB customers. In an exclusive interview with MSPmentor, Thompson suggested N-able’s rivals were running scared amid the SolarWinds deal.

Rival Views 

Some N-able rivals like Kaseya and Level Platforms declined to comment about the SolarWinds/N-able business combination. But LabTech Software came out swinging, offering N-able partners special migration incentives toward LabTech’s MSP platform. Now CentraStage, a cloud-based RMM provider in Europe that has US reach, has launched a switch campaign that also reaches out to N-able partners, according to CEO Christian Nagele. And Continuum CEO Michael George suggested SolarWinds may take N-able direct — a claim that SolarWinds and N-able have dismissed.

Traditional Warfare vs. Guerilla Warfare

So what do MSPs think about the potential RMM market share wars? During random discussions at Autotask Community Live and LabTech Automation Nation, MSPs told me:

  • SolarWinds may potentially underestimate the “guerilla warfare” tactics used by RMM companies to protect their MSP communities. 

  • Some N-able MSPs are nervous about SolarWinds’ ownership plans for the company. But familiar N-able faces at the Autotask conference helped to address those fears, according to MSPs who spoke to me on background. Also, none of the N-able MSPs with whom I spoke have any plans to abandon the platform.

Meanwhile, Back at SolarWinds…

Also of note: Some Wall Street pundits are warning investors not to underestimate SolarWinds CEO Kevin Thompson. Financial Pundit Alan Brochstein says SolarWinds “excels at the “buy vs. build” game and has completed many acquisitions. It has a tendency to acquire good products by buying immature companies, typically owned by the founder, and then fixing the go-to-market approach.”

Plus, N-able itself is seasoned at the guerilla warfare tactics used in the community-centric MSP channel. And N-able will likely gain new SolarWinds tools and technologies to sell to its MSP base — including help desk software.

Bottom line? MSPmentor thinks N-able will remain MSP-friendly, but General Manager JP Jauvin will need to balance (A) SolarWinds’ expectations for N-able and (B) N-able’s need to keep the company’s current MSP base loyal. 

The big winners are MSPs, which will surely find RMM software and cloud companies especially attentive to MSP business needs amid the market share war.

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About the Author(s)

Joe Panettieri

Former Editorial Director, Nine Lives Media, a division of Penton Media

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