Meet The New MSPs: 6 AWS Partners Changing The Game

The Original Six

Last month, Amazon Web Services welcomed in a new guard of managed service providers as part of a new cloud partner program for MSPs. The inaugural six companies bring a fresh take to the MSP model, focused around the cloud, DevOps and Software-as-a-Service. With validation from AWS into their models, these companies say they are the "next generation" of the MSP market, and traditional MSPs will have to step up their game to compete.

See what these six MSPs are all about.

2nd Watch

CEO: Doug Schneider

Founded in 2010, 2nd Watch focuses on what founder and Executive Vice President Jeff Aden calls "software-powered managed services." Under that model, the Seattle-based company helps enterprise clients package AWS public cloud solutions into a managed cloud solution, leveraging global capabilities, automation and building workload-specific solutions with its DevOps capabilities.

"What's different about us is that we're not a traditional MSP using traditional tools and processes to manage environments. We have developed our own software and management tools that have allowed companies to scale to higher-performance computing and have that as a managed offering," Aden said.


CEO: Robb Allen

Datapipe is a Jersey City, N.J.-based global MSP that secures, manages, optimizes and scales customer environments. Long known as one of AWS' largest Premier partners, Datapipe also recently added support for hosted Microsoft Azure public cloud environments. What sets the company apart, CMO Craig Sowell said, is its global coverage as well as its ability to build and manage traditional IT that connects to public cloud environments. In addition to that, Sowell said, Datapipe has tens of thousands of hours of experience behind the technology to execute on complicated solutions.


CEO: John Parris

Smartronix was founded 20 years ago in the government IT market to handle implementations, operations, network security and more. Five years ago, the Hollywood, Md.-based company pivoted to help clients utilize cloud technologies. Now, CFO and Executive Vice President for Emerging Programs Joseph Gerczak said the $120 million company differentiates itself with a deep history in enterprise services and cloud technologies. The company's cloud business is growing rapidly, he said, doubling for the past two years and expected to double again this year.


CEO: Michael Norring

Cascadeo focuses exclusively on cloud and hybrid cloud infrastructure, with both a consulting group and high-end DevOps engineers to help advise, design, build, automate and manage cloud environments. The goal is to help customers migrate services and complex problems into cloud infrastructure and interconnect it with their existing environments, CEO Michael Norring said.

"Everything in the cloud -- we firmly believe that it really is about a hybrid cloud approach and we interconnect those pieces," Norring said. The company also has a managed services group to focus on managing those environments after migration.

Day1 Solutions

CEO: Luis Benavides

According to founder and CEO Luis Benavides, Day1 Solutions, based in McLean, Va., is a hybrid model of an MSP, a systems integrator and a VAR under the motto "one bill, one vendor, as a service." Its capabilities include 24/7 operations, DevOps, automation monitoring, escalation, incident response, security best practices, cost management, disaster recovery and more. That includes both in Amazon environments and third-party ISVs that integrate with AWS. The result is what Benavides calls a "one-stop shop" for AWS cloud solutions, and from there "works its way backward" to handle the rest of the enterprise environment through high engagement with its customers.

RightBrain Networks

CEO: Jamie Begin

Ann Arbor, Mich.-based RightBrain Networks provides support up and down the stack for clients by using a "natural culture of DevOps," driven from a 50-50 breakdown between software engineers and operations engineers. The company deals exclusively with cloud and the custom Software-as-a-Service space. That culture sets the company apart from traditional MSPs with a "lift and shift" approach to the cloud, founder and CEO Jamie Begin said, as it helps clients accelerate their time to market and take full advantage of the cloud by fixing non-native applications. For that reason, the company works directly with client software engineers, instead of the end users themselves.