The Battle for RMM Supremacy: It's All About MSPs - and Deals Galore

By Doug Barney

If you follow the MSP market, you may well be sick of all the action in the remote monitoring and management (RMM) space. It’s been insane. Between partnerships, new services, marketing FUD and a bevy of acquisitions, nary a day goes by when MSP Today isn’t called on to cover something big that is RMM related.

All this action is reshaping the industry as strongly as anything in RMM history, at least since these tools began their move to the cloud and as managed services.

Some call this RMM wars, and maybe they are right. In this case the losers are the ones that can’t keep pace and the winners are the MSPs being fought over like the last cup at a college kegger.

If you are an RMM vendor and you haven’t been bought, bought someone else, or at least forged a critical partnership, why, you just aren’t trying.

Much of this movement has to do with RMM itself. It used to be that RMM was sold to IT as packaged software. IT would install it and use it themselves to, you know, remotely monitor and manage.

But RMM is far more effective as a cloud service and even more effective than that as a managed service. Want even better? Integrate RMM managed services with other services such as security and storage.

Much of this integration is through partnerships, though it can be force-fed through acquisition as well. Here is a blow-by-blow of all the recent action:

In recent weeks consumer security powerhouse AVG, which is also an MSP force, bought LPI Level Platforms, a Canadian RMM maker. This way AVG reckons it can offer MSP an integrated solution where the client security is monitored and managed remotely. Basically, it creates a more turnkey managed security service.

AVG is hoping LPI will give it a technical edge over rivals with its Managed Workplace cloud-based RMM. “With its advanced hybrid agentless architecture, this platform provides visibility and unified management of the entire IT infrastructure, including devices, applications, networks and cloud, while providing superior ease of use, security and control for the user,” AVG argued.

LPI comes with a dowry of over 1,500 current MSPs:
One of AVG’s main cloud pitches for MSPs is AVG CloudCare, which will be integrated with LPI. CloudCare is a cloud-based admin console for MSPs that provides remote management, management that will be far bolstered by LPI. Already CloudCare is used by over 1,000 partners.

Meanwhile for LPI CEO Peter Sandiford, the acquisition helps achieve the company’s goals. “Since founding the company our mission has been to establish LPI Level Platforms as the ubiquitous remote monitoring, management and automation platform for IT service providers around the world,” said Sandiford. “By adding LPI Level Platforms software to the AVG portfolio, AVG will be in a position to deliver the most comprehensive, innovative, high quality and high performance platform for SMB’s and their MSPs in the market.”

AVG pledges its commitment to the LPI technology. “AVG is in a position to develop the LPI Level Platforms’ product portfolio and deliver a significantly enhanced product offering globally, leveraging our brand and organization to support growth,” said John Giamatteo, COO of AVG Technologies.

SolarWindows Blows into RMM Town with N-able Buy:
SolarWinds first stirred this whole pot when it bought RMM software mainstay N-able for $120 million. 

The buyer quickly tweaked the branding of the buyee, which will heretofore be known as N-able by SolarWinds. N-able will maintain its own Web site, marketing and sales and keep the essence of its brand.

The 13-year old N-able brings with it a roster of some 2,600 MSPs who rely on its remote monitoring and management (RMM) tool, N-Central.

SolarWinds intends to aim the N-able wares at a wide swath of customers, everyone from large enterprises to small shops that have little or no IT staffers in-house.

Small business, however, appears to be the sweet spot.

"As small businesses continue to turn to MSPs and other service providers to support their business-critical IT environments via the Cloud, we believe that we are now well-positioned to extend our unique value proposition to this growing space and support these businesses' evolving IT management needs. MSPs need a strong partner focused on delivering products that are powerful, affordable, and purpose-built to ensure that they are getting everything that they can out of their IT investments," said Kevin Thompson, SolarWinds' president and CEO.

LabTech Fights Back:
It didn’t take long for SolarWinds network management rival LabTech to weigh in on the N-able deal. It boldly told the MSP community that going with the SolarWinds/N-able might be dangerous. “The acquisition has also created uncertainty. Will N-able’s focus shift away from MSPs? Where is the vision headed? How will N-able’s software change without an RMM pioneer at the helm?” LabTech asked rather rhetorically.

Kaseya Bought Out:
Just this week there was major news on the Kaseya front. If you read the Kaseya press release, investment firm Insight Venture Partners made a “significant” investment in the remote monitoring and management (RMM) player yesterday.

That is really VC-speak for “we bought a controlling interest in your company.”

Don’t believe it? The top three Kaseya execs surely do. They are all “pursuing other opportunities.”

That includes CEO (at least during the transition) Gerald Blackie, President and founder Mark Sutherland, and CTO Paul Wong.

Don’t think there is a power vacuum; far from it. Insight installed Yogesh Gupta as new president and CEO.

Insight sees value in the Kaseya technology and its MSP channel. “Kaseya is the market leader in IT management solutions for MSPs and mid-market enterprises,” said Mike Triplett, Managing Director of Insight Venture Partners. “We intend to expand on that leadership position and bring significant value to Kaseya, its customers and its employees.”

GFI Buys Partner:
MSPs have a new choice when it comes to backup that can be fully integrated with RMM.

GFI Software recently bought its existing backup partner IASO, which is already the basis for GFI’s managed backup offering, a service sold through MSPs and often bundled with GFI MAX remote monitoring and management.

Through the existing GFI MAX Online Backup, MSPs have an easy, single console to manage client networks and storage.

Dutch-based IASO runs in an array (storage pun intended) of ways. Its software can be deployed on a client’s own backup server, and the software also drives IASO cloud backup services.

GFI got to know IASO after it crafted a partnership a year ago, and saw unique value in the software for IT customers and MSPs alike.

“We have been using IASO’s technology in GFI MAX RemoteManagement for over a year and it has been a great success with our customers,” said Walter Scott, CEO at GFI Software. “Acquiring IASO’s technology provides us with a huge opportunity to expand this side of our business, target new opportunities in the MSP community and among businesses that want to reduce the technical and logistical overhead of backup and benefit from the fastest cloud based restore available.”

One of IASO’s mantras is to replace with a newer and what it believes is a superior architecture, Disk-to-Disk-to-Cloud (D2D2C) otherwise known as Hybrid Cloud. Here the primary storage -- say a file server -- is backed up to both an on-premises disk and a cloud service.

GFI is no stranger to acquisition. It bought Sunbelt Software nearly 3 years ago. Sunbelt was largely known for its highly efficient anti-malware Vipre, which stole away customers from Symantec, whose software had grown large and unwieldy over the years.

Meanwhile GFI MAX has its RMM tightly integrated with VIPRE security wares.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

MSPToday Editor at Large

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