Content, IT management, MSP

SolarWinds MSP: Dual RMM Software Strategy Continues

Credit: Joe Panettieri

SolarWinds MSP has upgraded its N-central platform for MSPs (managed IT services providers). The new network monitoring, security and automation capabilities reinforce SolarWinds' commitment to a dual RMM (remote monitoring and management) software strategy, ChannelE2E believes.

First, a little background: SolarWinds acquired N-able Technologies and the N-central software platform in 2013. Then, SolarWinds acquired LogicNow in 2016. The two acquisitions, in turn, gave SolarWinds two RMM platforms to develop and sell to MSPs.

SolarWinds RMM and N-central: MSP Positioning

Fast forward to present day. SolarWinds RMM (the former LogicNow platform) is positioned as a cloud service for MSPs. By contrast, SolarWinds N-central is positioned as a hosted or on-premises option. R&D continues on both platforms, and the latest N-central release (version 12.2) launched earlier this week.

The N-central update features such capabilities as Network Topology Mapping, Disk Encryption Manager, and enhanced automation and patch capabilities, the company says. Also, two-factor authentication (2FA) is turned on by default -- though MSPs can turn off the feature.

Side note: Most MSP software providers are expected to offer or even mandate 2FA by early 2020 in order to mitigate potential hacker breaches and associated ransomware attacks.

SolarWinds N-central 12.2: A Closer Look

SolarWinds has spent the past two-plus years or so describing how the company is extending existing enterprise software features into the MSP market.

N-central 12.2 reinforces that effort with such features as Network Topology Mapping -- a potential step toward competing with such third-party options as Auvik Networks. The update also supports disk encryption management; VMware environment automation; and a patch management engine that simplifies third-party patching, the company says.

The update shows SolarWinds' continued commitment to N-central -- a wise move, considering some of the world's largest platforms run the platform. Generally speaking, SolarWinds RMM (i.e., the cloud product born from the LogicNow acquisition) is easier to find on the SolarWinds website. But N-central (hosted or on-premises) R&D continues, as version 12.2 proved this week (though the term 'RMM' wasn't mentioned at all in the N-central press release).

Dual RMM Strategy: Deja Vu at ConnectWise

I suspect the folks at ConnectWise are closely studying how SolarWinds has balanced two RMM platforms in recent years. Indeed, ConnectWise acquired Continuum in October 2019 and now owns two RMM platforms (ConnectWise Automate and Continuum Command).

How will ConnectWise manage a dual RMM strategy? ChannelE2E offered some clues and educated guesses in item three here. And don't forget, private equity firm Thoma Bravo owns ConnectWise and maintains an investment in SolarWinds. So it's a safe bet the private equity parent has confidence in dual RMM initiatives...

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.