The open source mentality continues to infiltrate the managed services industry. The latest example: While Kaseya says it has support for Linux, an independent developer apparently has stepped in with another Linux hook managed service providers. Here's the scoop.
Note: I've sent an email to Kaseya to see how their own Linux agents are coming along. Kaseya first told me about their Linux plans in October 2007. Time to get an update from them. [Update: 1:02 pm. eastern: Kaseya's Jim Alves replied with his thoughts. See comment section below]
In the meantime, this development: According to VirtualAdministrator Director of Marketing Paul Barnett:
"One of our [VirtualAdministrator] partners developed a process for monitoring Linux boxes with Kaseya. Thought you might be interested in it."Interested? Absolutely. I trust Barnett's news tip because VirtualAdministrator is licensed to host Kaseya for peer MSPs and VARs. So, he knows the Kaseya market.
Barnett credits Mark Berry of MCB Systems for developing a way to monitor Linux boxes via SNMP in Kaseya. Berry describes the effort in his personal blog post.
Linux Reality CheckWhat's the potential managed services opportunity here? One clue comes from N-able VP Derik Belair. During a panel discussion at the Autotask Community Live conference a few weeks ago, Belair estimated that 10 percent of the new systems that MSPs monitor involve non-Windows desktops.
Based on Belair's comments and our own coverage on WorksWithU (our media site for Ubuntu Linux users): I think the current managed MSP desktop market is about 91 percent Windows, 8 percent Apple and 1 percent Linux.
Why should MSPs focus on that 1 percent? Consider this: Ubuntu (the Linux distribution from Canonical) now runs on more than 10 million desktops and is increasingly supported by Dell, HP and IBM. First quarter Ubuntu shipments were up 61 percent for System76, a small OEM. Also, Linux is infiltrating smart phones, netbooks, desktops and servers. So ultimately, most MSPs will need effective ways to manage/monitor/troubleshoot Linux systems.
Open Minds, Open SolutionsDoes Berry's SNMP solution for Kaseya/Linux work? I have no idea. But I think Berry's work highlights a bigger story here: Managed service providers are driving the industry forward by embracing an open source mentality, developing code to fill product voids, and sharing those approaches with peer MSPs. Some code may work. Other code may require tweaking. But the overall trend is positive.
Meanwhile, MSP software vendors continue to evangelize open APIs (application programming interfaces) to help users write more code and/or snap systems together into solutions. (I hate the word solutions, but it actually fits this time around.)
A few weeks ago at the Autotask Live conference in Nashville, I heard multiple examples of MSPs using the the online Autotask Community to build and share widgets with one another.
I hope this "open" approach serves the MSP market as well as it has served MSPmentor. We always use open, shared, widely available code to piece together and customize our sites.
Note: Story updated at 1:02p.m. eastern to reflect comments from Kaseya's Jim Alves. His comments are in the comment area below.
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