Nimsoft Reaches Out to Dell Silverback MSPs

As part of a strategy expected to surface August 25, Nimsoft is offering special migration incentives to managed service providers (MSPs) running Dell's Silverback Technology platform. In at least one case, a Silverback MSP is making the move to Nimsoft. But Dell is quick to note that the company's MSP partner ecosystem has nearly doubled since early 2008. Here's the scoop.

In his personal blog, Nimsoft CEO Gary Read on Aug. 14 reached out to Dell's Silverback MSPs and offered them "special terms" for those that switch to Nimsoft's remote management and monitoring platform.

Next up, Nimsoft is expected to formalize the effort with a press announcement on Aug. 25. In a draft press release viewed by MSPmentor, Nimsoft asserts: "Dell is effectively forcing many Managed Service Provider (MSP) partners to leave the Silverback platform as it is moved into Dell's data center as part of [Dell's own] managed services offering." Further, Nimsoft is offering special financial terms and support to Silverback MSPs that embrace Nimsoft.

Nimsoft is quick to note that Atrion Networking -- a 160-person MSP in Warwick, Rhode Island -- is making the move from Silverback to Nimsoft. Atrion CEO Tim Hebert says the decision was based on customer research, which indicated a shift from device-centric managed services to an increased emphasis on virtualization and application availability.

Atrion, an MSP since 1995, typically serves mid-market customers with 250 to 2500 or so employees. As Atrion heard more and more demand for application-centric managed services, Hebert evaluated his company's options and ultimately embraced Nimsoft.

Dell's Perspectives

Dell's original Silverback MSPs do face an inflection point as they consider a shift from on-premise appliances to Dell's SaaS-driven model. But it may be a bit aggressive for Nimsoft to say Dell is "forcing" MSPs to leave the Silverback platform.

The Silverback system, which Dell acquired in June 2007, was originally an on-premise appliance-based design. More than a year ago Dell disclosed plans to transition Silverback's design toward a SaaS/cloud platform -- which aligns with Dell's other SaaS-oriented services (Everdream and MessageOne), notes Peter Klanian, senior manager for SaaS Global Channels.

Klanian says Dell hired a full-time project manager to assist Silverback MSPs with the transition to Dell's SaaS/cloud model. Dell will end support for the on-premise Silverback appliances in June 2010, adds Klanian.

Without mentioning specific customers by name, I asked Dell for a status update on the company's MSP ecosystem. According to a Dell spokeswoman:
"Since Dell rolled out its cloud-based hosted managed services platform in early 2008, we have almost doubled our recruitment of Dell managed services partners. As partners become fully aware of the time and money saved through conducting services through the cloud—reduced power & cooling costs, reduced datacenter footprint, speed of deployment for software updates— we expect to continue to see a significant adoption rate of our cloud-based hosted managed services offering. A number of Dell SilverBack legacy appliance-based partners have recognized the value of the cloud-based offering and have chosen to migrate over to that model."

Parting Shots

Now, my challenge: How do I end this blog entry? I don't have MSP market share numbers for Dell or Nimsoft. But we do have some clear statements to consider:
  • Dell Silverback MSPs that continue to use appliances face an inflection point
  • Nimsoft is offering incentives to transition those Silverback MSPs to Nimsoft
  • Atrion Networking is making the move from Silverback to Nimsoft
  • Dell has openly stated its SaaS strategy for more than a year, and Dell says its MSP partner base has nearly doubled since early 2008
Time for me to stop blogging and start listening/reading more of your comments.

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