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This MSP Turned A Demo ‘Network-In-A-Box’ Into A Business

The demonstration solution used by The Brookfield Group worked so well the MSP has now turned that network-in-a-box into an actual solution for its customers.

A demonstration "network-in-a-box" solution built by an MSP turned into a nice little business line.

Abby Warner, chief operating officer at The Brookfield Group, a Carmel, Ind.-based MSP, told CRN that her company had created a network-in-a-box demonstration as a way to demonstrate the networking capabilities of Datto, which has become one of Brookfield's top vendor partners.

The network-in-a-box, which can be taken to a customer's place of business to show how the technology works, impressed at least one client enough that it ordered 24 units, Warner said.

[Related: Datto Intros Wide-Ranging Expansions To MSP-focused Data, Networking, Automation Tech]

That customer, who Warner declined to name, is in the transportation business, and has depots across the country where its own and its contract drivers can check-in and either pick up or deliver products.

"These remote locations have Internet connections, but some are temporary, such as in a construction trailer or a small building," she said. "They need to connect to the Internet regardless of the weather or location."

In addition to the transportation company, The Brookfield Group has also seeing interest in other clients which need a network infrastructure with Internet connectivity but which do not want to make a huge capital investment, Warner said.

"We're actively selling it," she said. "It's a single SKU for us, although we can break it apart if a customer has its own access point, for example."

The demonstration includes a Datto 24-port or a 48-port switch; a Datto AP62 tri-band, 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless access point; a Datto Networking Appliance, or DNA, which combines an edge router, with integrated Wi-Fi, firewall, intrusion detection and prevention, and 4G LTE Internet failover; and a managed power device.

"We want to add a Datto-branded managed UPS, but none is available yet," she said. "But we keep asking. And we will add Datto's SIRIS BCDR (business continuity and disaster recovery) appliance if a customer asks for it."

The Brookfield Group's client base is split about nearly even between all-cloud vs on-premises IT, Warner said.

"Network availability is extremely important," she said. "Network-in-a-box is a big deal for those clients."

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