APM, Channel chiefs, Channel partner programs, Virtualization, DevOps, Midmarket, MSP, Networking, Networking

Monitor, Monetize Microsoft Azure: NetEnrich Points the Way

Justin Crotty
Justin Crotty

In the classic MSP market, NOCs (network operations centers) monitored and managed network and application infrastructure. Fast forward to present day, and NetEnrich has grander ambitions -- for itself and for channel partners. Indeed, VARs and MSPs can now outsource numerous services to NetEnrich -- stretching from on-premises systems to public clouds.

"Our technology is world-class," asserts NetEnrich Senior VP of Channel Sales and Marketing Justin Crotty. "We're a brand that can help VARs and IT service providers to grow. We're in a good position to help partners capitalize on hybrid IT management."

Crotty, a NetEnrich veteran, rejoined the company in recent days after a successful tour of duty at MaintenanceNet -- which Cisco Systems acquired last year. Earlier, he helped Ingram Micro to lay the foundation for its MSP and cloud partner initiatives.

Pushing far beyond classic NOC services, NetEnrich now offers management services that span public clouds, data centers, security systems and plenty more. The 500-person company has distribution relationships with Ingram Micro, Synnex and Tech Data. The business model is somewhat akin to Continuum -- which manages NOC, RMM (remote monitoring and management) and BDR (backup and disaster recovery) services for MSPs. But here are the differences:

  • Small MSPs typically outsource RMM, NOC and BDR services to Continuum -- a model that has allowed the MSPs and Continuum to grow rapidly in recent years.
  • In contrast, small and midsize VARs and MSPs outsource a somewhat broader list of services to NetEnrich. The services often extend deeper into the midmarket. And increasingly, those services will include Microsoft Azure and perhaps even Docker container workloads.

Application, Container & Cloud Management

Poke around NetEnrich, and you'll discover that the company has closely studied Docker and container software adoption. As container-oriented application deployments skyrocket on-premises and in the cloud, few VARs and channel partners are properly equipped to monitor and manage such workloads, NetEnrich research has revealed.

Docker itself is trying to close the skills gap with a new partner program. I suspect NetEnrich will try to further close the skills gap by offering Docker-oriented monitoring and management services to channel partners.

The situation is similar for Microsoft Azure, where most partners are still kicking the tires and trying to understand how to monetize public cloud services. Microsoft unveiled an Azure monetization guide for MSPs during Autotask Community Live 2016 last month in Hollywood, Florida. Still, I sense that challenges remain. Chief among them: Most MSPs see Office 365 as low-hanging fruit and are simply reselling the SaaS services. In stark contrast, building an Azure managed services practice could seem intimidating.

Here again, that's where NetEnrich enters the picture. During that Autotask conference session, Microsoft evangelized the NetEnrich relationship -- describing the partnership as a potential way for MSPs to get started with Azure managed services. Moreover, NetEnrich sees an opportunity to manage applications and other workloads that ride atop Azure.

Think a bit longer term, and I wonder if NetEnrich may also push hard into Application Performance Monitoring (APM), where platform providers like AppDynamics, New Relic and Datadog (coming soon) are scoring high valuations while winning business with DevOps professionals.

NOCs Evolve for Modern Needs

NetEnrich, led by CEO Raju Chekuri, isn't the only NOC industry veteran that has evolved in recent years.

Continuum, for instance, is preparing Security Operations Center (SOC) services for its MSP base, CEO Michael George confirmed during that company's Navigate 2016 conference in September. Also, Northland Controls, which built SOC centers for some big name companies (Apple, eBay, etc.) now offers its own managed SOC services. And TrustedMetrics specifically launched to provide outsourced SOC services to government customers. In the IT consulting space, Capgemini also evangelizes an outsourced Security Operations Center to its customers.

Back at NetEnrich, Crotty's return to the company should proceed smoothly. "I'm hitting the ground running since I already know the nuts and the bolts of the business," he says. Crotty's big priorities, he says, are strengthening the company's brand in the channel; driving revenue growth; plugging more VARs into the company's ecosystem; and capitalizing on emerging opportunities like Azure monitoring and management .

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.