MSP Platforms Take It Up A Notch


Rev it up with upgrades from N-able, Kaseya, Level Platforms, Paglo


It's shaping up to be a big year for MSPs. N-able Technologies, Kaseya, Level Platforms and newer businesses like Paglo Labs have all added new components for MSPs to take to their customers. Here's a rundown of some of the offerings you can leverage to spruce up your managed services portfolio.

N-able's N-central 6.7 platform now offers remote-control functionality for virtually any IP-enabled device. N-central 6.7 works in standard Microsoft Corp. environments but includes support for heterogeneous products such as routers, switches, printers--anything with an IP address, said Gavin Garbutt, CEO of N-able, Ottawa. The time it takes to get a customer up and running also has been reduced to less than an hour, he said.

"This is about helping service providers do more with less, allowing customers to do more with less. [It's about] how we help partners with their service delivery model with the business goals of the customers in mind," Garbutt said.

Another new feature in N-central is integration with Intel Corp.'s vPro technology. N-able's new N-compass 3.0 business reporting software also includes flexible drag- and-drop report building, time-based SLA reporting and asset reports.

Alan McDonald, president of AllConnected Inc., Simi Valley, Calif., said the quicker deployment times and vPro integration will help. "Anything we can do to reduce the discovery and deployment time is a great benefit from a profitability standpoint. The faster we can get a network done, the more issues we can avoid," he said.

Meanwhile, Kaseya has added a user interface, reporting engine, scheduling engine, security modules and multitenant capabilities, said Jim Alves, executive vice president of product marketing and strategies. Its solution is also now compatible with Apple Inc.'s iPhone, Alves said. "We're always looking to expand services and touches. Part of that is expanding our reach, not just with Windows machines and Macs but Linux and Unix and mobile platforms," he said.

For its part, LPI Level Platforms did its biggest upgrade in more than two years, said Peter Sandiford, CEO of the Ottawa company. Managed Workplace 2009 R1 includes extended branding and formatting options for the user interface and reports, automatic asset tagging of serial numbers, banner advertising opportunities and 30-plus bundled policy modules.

Managed Workplace 2009 was designed to streamline the workflow, Sandiford said. "For example, if you offer Small Business Server 2008, it has several hundred rules to monitor. If they wanted to tweak one, but not all the others, it became complicated and burdensome. We listened and now we've got performance improvements. Where many times it took 100 clicks, now you can do it in one," he said.

Andy Harper, CIO of Gaeltek LLC, Manassas, Va., said the speed of the dashboard is much improved. "We never really had pain before, but it really stands out. The things we really like are the automatic ID of the serial numbers of devices. What used to be a manual process has now been replaced by something automatic," he said.

Newcomer Paglo, a Menlo Park, Calif., search engine company, started a partner program for its first major offering to MSPs. Paglo's platform allows IT consultants to do asset discovery, server monitoring and network management for Windows, Unix/ Linux and Mac devices. Paglo's search crawler lets it begin gathering information within five minutes without having to deploy server infrastructure, said CEO Brian de Haaff. It's also $1 per month per device and a pay-as-you-go model, he said.

"Search engines don't make decisions. They gather data and a human needs to interpret it. For someone looking for additional services, a virtualized data center or going through a software audit, that's an opportunity," de Haaff said.

"With Paglo, I can sit at my desk and get all the asset information and bring up basic monitoring within minutes," said Aaron Biehl, a partner at Dempsey Bluevar Corp., Tustin, Calif. "With other products, I have to drive over and install and if I want some detailed asset reports I have to buy additional modules. With Paglo, it's point and shoot," he said.