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RMM, APM Converge On MSP Management Dashboards

John Gray

John Gray

Lew Cirne

Lew Cirne

The worlds of RMM (remote monitoring and management) and APM (application performance management) are converging on MSP dashboards. The latest evidence comes from New Relic, which today extended beyond its APM heritage and introduced New Relic Infrastructure — a new monitoring system that extends down into data center infrastructure.

First, the big picture: Fast-growth companies like New Relic and AppDynamics are redefining the traditional APM market — introducing platforms to help service providers and customers monitor applications across on-premises, hybrid and cloud environments.

Now, New Relic is preparing to go one step further. During a customer gathering in New York this morning, CEO Lew Cirne unveiled New Relic Infrastructure — which is somewhat akin to RMM for the cloud era. It features:

  • Key host health metrics (CPU, Memory, Disk, Network), refreshed every five seconds.
  • A real-time feed of all changes as they happen across all your hosts. During a demonstration, users could see correlations between (A) host changes and (B) performance workloads.
  • Disk resource utilization and time to full metrics at-a-glance.
  • Docker support, including the ability to track container performance by image, version, and other labels.
  • A search engine to help IT administrators find vulnerable packages.

At first glance, New Relic’s APM and Infrastructure platforms are for DevOps teams — internal employees who have to troubleshoot and re-optimize applications as part of their “continuous software delivery” charter.

But take a closer look and you’ll see a lengthy list of next-generation MSPs adopting New Relic’s software as part of a larger managed services package. True believers include names like 2nd Watch, CloudReach and Rackspace.

“MSPs are springing up everywhere” to use New Relic’s platforms, according to Channel Chief John Gray. In particular, he sees major systems integrators leveraging New Relic to branch out into managed services.

New Relic Infrastructure vs. Traditional RMM

In some ways, New Relic Infrastructure will gradually overlap with traditional remote monitoring and management (RMM) software from a range of MSP-centric companies. And the effort isn’t just an enterprise or public cloud play.

Jim Stoneham

Jim Stoneham

Even small businesses and smaller MSPs can benefit, because the infrastructure software allows employees to see correlations between software changes — and the resulting performance impact. “A company of two or three people can see exactly who made a change to the system and what impact it made on performance,” notes Jim Stoneham, VP of product at New Relic.

A portion of New Relic’s infrastructure platform is based on the Opsmatic buyout of 2013. Stoneham was CEO of that company, and seems to be enjoying the jump to New Relic because he’s surrounded by like-minded engineers.

That theme extends all the way to New Relic’s C-suite, where CEO Lew Cirne himself is a die-hard geek. Cirne previously launched Wily Technology in 1998, which CA Technologies acquired in 2006.

Traditional RMM vs New Relic

Of course, established RMM players aren’t resting on their laurels. A handful of RMM software providers offer APM-centric platforms as well. Two prime examples:

  • SolarWinds has a range of APM offerings for its midmarket and enterprise customers, and it’s a safe bet the solutions will eventually extend into the SolarWinds MSP platforms (i.e., SolarWinds N-able and LogicNow).
  • CA Technologies offers Unified Information Management in the RMM space for midmarket MSPs, and continues to enhance its APM offerings as well. I’m not sure how quickly the UIM and APM offerings are converging but it’s a safe bet that process is under way.

Still, AppDynamics and New Relic are two of the APM industry’s fastest-growing players at the moment. And New Relic’s push from applications down to infrastructure management is a key inflection point for MSPs…

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