MSP, APM, Channel partners, Content, Channel technologies

Application Performance Monitoring (APM) Finally Arrives for MSPs


It was a long-time coming. But it's finally here. Yes indeed, the application performance monitoring (APM) wave is finally reaching mainstream managed services providers (MSPs). That wave, in turn, could transform Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) migrations from project work into recurring revenue opportunities for MSPs.

Admittedly, thousands of MSPs have likely leveraged APM for a decade or more. But the deployments were mostly at the high-end of the market -- involving telcos, big IT outsourcing companies, hosting providers and the like.

When we launched ChannelE2E more than two years ago, we figured APM was ready to go mainstream -- and reach all MSPs. But our thesis was a bit early for the market.

APM Targets DevOps First, Then Discovers MSPs

Times change. In recent years, entrenched companies and upstarts like AppDynamics (now owned by Cisco Systems), CA TechnologiesDatadog, Dynatrace and New Relic have promoted APM to DevOps teams. The idea: Corporate IT departments need to deliver great user and customer experiences (UX and CX). So they armed DevOps with APM tools. Gartner, in turn, has waxed poetic about the APM Magic Quadrant and its members.

Now, the times are changing again. DevOps is still a core focus. But the APM vendors are finally waking up to the mass MSP market -- not just the high-end folks. Perhaps the strongest statement yet came this month from Accedian, which launched a combination application and network performance monitoring (A/NPM) platform.

The big twist? The A/NPM platform is multi-tenant -- built specifically for MSPs. Accedian will launch a full-blown channel partner program sometime in mid-2018 -- but the MSP offering is already here. Sounds impressive (though I don't know if it works as advertised).

APM for AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform

Times continue to change. MSPs are getting hot and heavy for Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure (check out our Top 50 MSPs for AWS and Azure Survey).

The latest twist? Most of the MSP public cloud efforts don't really involve managed services. (Don't tell the Private Equity firms we told you...) Instead, it's project work -- namely, MSPs architecting and managing cloud migrations for customers. Projects, projects, projects. It's nice money. But it's a consulting fee. To generate recurring revenues, those same MSPs need monitoring and management tools for public cloud workloads. Here again, that's where APM, network and infrastructure monitoring comes along.

Just about every major APM vendor is striving to support public cloud workloads. I wish those APM vendors would work just as hard to support MSPs. I've seen some promising moves from CA Technologies, New Relic and Datadog. Now, along comes Accedian with a full-blown MSP focus. That's refreshing. Let's hope it continues.

Oh, and a separate memo to RMM (remote monitoring and management) software vendors and MSPs that lean heavily on RMM software: Most folks in the RMM sector are late to the APM conversation. Get moving.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.