Datto Unveils Splashy Networking Releases at DattoCon 2018
Networking is something that’s relatively new to Datto. During keynote speeches, panel breakouts and one-one-one interviews on Tuesday during DattoCon 2018 in Austin, Texas, this week, managed service provider (MSP) attendees displayed massive enthusiasm for the backup and disaster recovery provider’s new networking initiatives. Attendees at the annual conference responded to CEO Austin McChord’s networking announcements during his keynote address on Wednesday with literal hoots and hollers, and the general sentiment among partners was excitement about Datto’s nascent but promising foray into the networking space.
McChord told the collected audience of 1,600 partners that Datto’s goal is to become the premier networking provider for the MSP sector, asserting that the space to date has been focused not on channel partners but on either commodity or enterprise solutions. Commodity sales tend toward mass adoption and hardware and thus are extremely affordable to partners and end users, said McChord, but don’t deliver the performance and reliability necessary for partners to deploy in a serious environment.
On the other end of the spectrum, enterprise networking is chock-full of cool features, but carries a host of challenges. It isn’t “designed for multitenant management, there’s complex and complicated licensing, it ends up being really expensive, and you’ve got to send people away for all kinds of crazy training to learn acronyms no one should have to understand,” he said to laughter from the audience.
For the last 18 months or so, Datto’s burgeoning networking group has been hard at work “day and night” trying to take the best of both networking sectors to deliver an MSP-centric networking product, complete with MSP-friendly pricing, billing that matches and aligns with partners’ businesses and multitenancy build from the ground up. The new solutions are born in the cloud and entirely channel-owned, which Datto asserted time and again on Tuesday are central to its solution strategy.
John Tippett, vice president of Datto Networking, told Channel Futures that partner demand for operational efficiency comes from MSPs having to face complexities at every turn and that trying to simplify processes drives much of the company’s solution strategy. Tippett says that Datto Networking partners have come to expect a culture of accessibility and willingness to listen over the last year and a half, and it’s from this partner feedback that the new-ish networking group gains its most valuable insights.
Eric Peterson of Illinois-based MSP Simple Communications agrees. At last year’s DattoCon, Peterson approached Tippett with a Datto Networking Appliance idea. “John helped us get what we were looking for,” said Peterson. “Not many big executives will actually stop and listen to you like that.”
During the mainstage presentation on Tuesday, Datto Networking software engineer Andrew Tran presented the company’s latest product and feature releases, three of which garnered particularly enthusiastic reactions from the crowd.
- Lifetime Warranty: If the surge suppression is blown for any reason at any time with any Datto networking device, Datto is now pledging to replace the device free of charge. The warranty doesn’t just apply to new devices, either, but to any networking device Datto has ever produced. “One of the really cool things is we were sitting around trying to figure out how we were going to do this lifetime warranty,” said McChord, “and we actually realized that our products are reliable enough that we can now offer a lifetime warranty on all access points, switches and manuals.”
- Networking mobile app: Datto executives said they know MSPs aren’t chained to their desks and want anytime access to dashboards and status updates. In response, the company announced a new mobile application in conjunction with a similar mobile platform for its PSA offering stemming from the company’s recent acquisition of professional services automation (PSA) and remote monitoring and management (RMM) provider Autotask. “MSPs are facing complexities at every turn,” says Tippett, leaving them clamoring for easy management of alerts and dashboards.
- Managed Power Solution: After years of foreshadowing from McChord, Datto announced on Tuesday its release of a managed power solution that gives partners the capability to remotely click a button and reboot a non-responsive device. The cloud-based outlet and power-surger-in-one can also be set to continuously ping a list of IP addresses or websites, with each individual port able to be set to automatically reboot if those pings don’t connect. “My wife was like, ‘You’re this excited about a power strip?’ I told her she didn’t understand how cool it actually is,” said Peterson.
“Datto is obsessive about MSPs,” said Tippett. “We treat them all as one customer, not different types of partners.” This makes it easier for the company to more clearly define “the channel” because they look at all partners as one big managed service provider.
“It clears the fog a little when it comes to deciding exactly what the modern channel is,” concluded Tippett.