December 5, 2010

By samdizzy


As I’ve mentioned quite a few times, I think managed services and cloud computing are close cousins. Plenty of folks share that view. Two prime examples include N-able Technologies VP of Sales Mike Cullen, and Level Platforms VP of Partner Development and Marketing Dan Wensley. Although they compete with one another Cullen and Wensley have had a similar mission over the past decade: Transforming resellers into MSPs. Now, they’re helping MSPs to embrace cloud services. Here’s how.

First a little background: Level Platforms and N-able both focus on remote monitoring and management software. Their software is available on-premise or hosted. Level Platforms’ Wensley sat down with me during the IT Nation conference in November 2010. N-able’s Cullen shared his views during the N-able Partner Summit in October 2010. The following two FastChat videos capture their respective views on the cloud.

Level Platforms’ Views

Wensley concedes that the cloud market is filled with hype. However, he sees MSPs succeeding in the cloud because they already understand recurring revenue opportunities. Moreover, Wensley thinks MSPs will provide “one throat” for customers to choke as businesses mix and match on-premises gear with cloud solutions.

Reinforcing those points, Level Platforms earlier this year announced the ability to remotely monitor Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and other Microsoft cloud services. My big question: I wonder if MSPs will be able to profit from remotely monitoring big clouds built by Microsoft, Google and

Either way, plenty of software companies have recently announced more monitoring tools for public and private clouds. And right before we launched Talkin’ Cloud, even Red Hat jumped into the conversation — acquiring Makara, a cloud monitoring software company.

N-able’s Perspectives

Meanwhile, N-able also has been helping MSPs to embrace cloud services. To understand N-able’s current cloud strategy you need to rewind to the N-able Partner Summit 2009. At that conference, a cloud panel conversation became unwieldy. I was the guest moderator and we wound up raising more questions than we answered. Cullen politely references the panel in the FastChat video without throwing me under the bus.

Fast forward to 2010. N-able’s cloud strategy seems much clearer now. In short, the company is bringing economies of scale to its MSP community. The idea is for N-able to be an aggregator of sorts for MSPs — gathering volume subscription deals from big service providers and cloud platform providers, and then passing on the cost savings to small MSPs.

More Voices

Of course, Level Platforms and N-able aren’t the only MSP software companies offering cloud guidance. Most of the major RMM software providers have introduced SaaS platforms and monitoring tools for third-party clouds. We’ll be keeping tabs on all of them in the months ahead.

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