ConnectWise Cloud: Expanding on Three Continents

ConnectWise Cloud: Expanding on Three Continents

At first glance, ConnectWise is largely an on-premise PSA (professional services automation) platform. But take a closer look and you'll learn that roughly one-third of ConnectWise users have shifted to the company's cloud offering. And ConnectWise has also launched a free, publicly available status dashboard to let users -- and anyone else -- know how the company's cloud services are performing. Here's the update and a look at  the broader state of the PSA industry.

According to CEO Arnie Bellini (pictured), ConnectWise spent about $500,000 to eliminate the risk of repeating a partial outage that occurred in November 2009. ConnectWise took a few lumps for that partial outage -- as did MSPmentor; some readers alleged that we blogged too much about the partial outage in order to bump our own traffic.

Updated Estimates

Fast forward to the present. Bellini says the ConnectWise cloud offering is built on a modern, virtualized VMware environment, with cloud instances running locally in North America, Europe and Australia. That local approach ensures fast local performance, he asserts. Roughly 13,000 of ConnectWise's 42,000 users are now running in the cloud environment, Bellini adds. A year ago, I think only about 10 percent of ConnectWise users were in the cloud.

For those 13,000 cloud users, ConnectWise has launched the ConnectWise Transparency Status Dashboard -- which shows users how the company's cloud systems are performing across the globe. Bellini credits Google for the dashboard concept that ConnectWise now leverages.

As a general trend, ConnectWise sees more and more "micro-businesses" (five users or less) using the cloud platform, while larger PSA deployments generally remain on premise, he adds. "We don't care which option you choose," says Bellini. "We maintain a Burger King approach -- have it your way."

Bigger Picture

So, what are the broader PSA trends?

Tigerpaw is scheduled to host its first user conference Oct. 6-8 in Dallas, where the company will talk quite a bit about strengthening its user community. The company is best-known as an on-premise solution, with a particularly close following in the telecom market. We'll be taking a closer look at Tigerpaw throughout the company's conference.

Meanwhile, Autotask is best-known for its SaaS-based PSA platform. Generally speaking, all of Autotask's customers run in the cloud, and the Autotask platform -- hosted near Albany, N.Y. -- was built from the ground up for online customers. More recently Autotask has been assisting VARs and MSPs with product sourcing, thanks to the VARStreet acquisition. I'm reaching out to Autotask to gather some updates on the Autotask-VARStreet synergy story.

People ask me all the time: Which PSA and RMM (remote monitoring and management) tools should they choose? Here's a scary thought: I don't use the tools so why are you asking me? But I do have predictable advice: Like test driving a car, take the tools out for a test drive and see which ones fit your business and your goals best.

Cloud Reliability

It's always a bit tricky -- and potentially risky -- for executives to step into the spotlight and talk about their cloud reliability enhancements. I've seen plenty of executives take the step, only to suffer a partial or complete outage a few weeks later. I witnessed that exact scenario happen to a major hosted Exchange provider in mid-2010. And keep in mind: Even giants like Microsoft have spent recent weeks apologizing for SaaS outages.

All that said, Bellini sounds confident that the ConnectWise cloud effort has been moving in the right direction. And the folks in Albany certainly remain confident in Autotask's cloud strategy.

Long live competition.

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