Kaseya: SaaS Launch Date and Symantec Discussions?

Kaseya: SaaS Launch Date and Symantec Discussions?

Kaseya is preparing to launch two new versions of its Kaseya 2 managed services platform. The efforts include an entry-level on-premises offering code-named G1, plus a SaaS approach that's set to launch July 1. At the same time, Kaseya is in discussions with Symantec and several other software companies that may plug into the K2 managed services platform. Here are the details.

I sat down with Kaseya CEO Gerald Blackie about two hours ago. We discussed five key questions that I had plan to raise at the conference. Plus, Blackie shared some SaaS and ISV surprises with me. Here's a recap:

1. Kaseya SaaS: The Kaseya 2 platform already runs on premise. Kaseya has been beta testing a SaaS version for several months and is set to officially launch the platform on July 1, Blackie says. I've heard rumors in recent weeks that Kaseya's SaaS pricing wasn't fully baked yet. I didn't ask Blackie for dollars and cents details, but he did say that "we're getting comfortable with where we need to be."

Blackie added: "One has to understand your costs before you set your prices."

As part of the effort, watch for Kaseya to potentially leverage the Kaseya Kloud (with a K) brand.

2. Goodbye Amazon, Hello Rackspace: Kaseya had planned to leverage Amazon Web Services as part of its SaaS strategy. But Amazon's service level agreements don't cover certain Kaseya requirements -- such as TCP/IP stack performance. Instead, Kaseya will leverage its own private cloud plus Rackspace for the cloud strategy.

3. Symantec Comes Calling: As part of the K2 strategy, Kaseya is launching an ISV (independent software vendor) partner program so that third-party software developers can plug in. Multiple sources tell me Symantec has approached Kaseya to discuss plugging into K2. Blackie confirmed that rumor today. "We're being approached by companies like Symantec and Asigra to integrate components into our framework."

I'm intrigued since Kaseya already plans to offer malware protection (from Kaspersky Lab) and backup services. Still, Kaseya wants potential rivals to plug in.

4. Who Else Is Plugging In?: Also at the conference, Dana Epp of Scorpion Software will describe how Scorpion plugged into K2. I heard Travis Austin from MSPintegrations may also attend the session. And there are indications that SpamSoap also plans to plug in.

5. Starter System: Kaseya also is developing a lower-end on-premises starter system for MSPs. It's code-named G1 and will provide a simple upgrade path to K2, Blackie said.

6. The Initial Kaseya 2 Launch: Some MSPmentor readers have complained that the original K2 launch, an on-premises release launched in February 2010, contained some bugs and Kaseya's support lines weren't responsive. Blackie says MSPs that followed best-practices for K2 deployments are succeeding with the new platform. He recommended that MSPs run K2 in parallel with their existing Kaseya infrastructure so that MSPs can get comfortable with the new architecture before making a complete switch-over to K2.

7. Safe to Upgrade?: I had heard some rumors that Kaseya selectively told some customers not to deploy K2 in March 2010 because early adopters had run into some bugs. Blackie's response to the rumor: "We haven't told anyone not to go to K2."

Blackie concedes that bugs arose because there was no way for Kaseya to test the K2 platform across the 4,000 to 5,000 MSP environments running the previous Kaseya release. And generally speaking, it sounds like Kaseya has expanded its support staff to handle a spike in calls that started in February or March 2010.

Next up: I'm now sitting in a sales session led by Nick Bock, CEO of Five Nines Technology Group, a fast-growing MSP. Then, I'm heading to the ISV developer session for K2 later this afternoon. Back with more updates soon.

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