IT management, MSP, Software defined

Network RMM: More Than A Niche?

Most MSPs have mastered traditional RMM (remote monitoring and management) of PCs and servers. But what about the network layer? That's where Auvik Networks hopes to enter the conversation.

Marc Morin
Marc Morin

Launched in 2011, Auvik believes a networking renaissance is set to unfold as software-defined networking (SDN) potentially takes hold. "Our thesis was quite simple: Software is woefully lacking in the networking market," says CEO Marc Morin. "We set out to make it easier for the average IT individual to do far more."

With that goal in mind, the company built a cloud-based network operations system. The platform converts "dozens of normally complex and time-consuming tasks to simple, automated steps," the company claims. And yes, the process occurs in a graphical user interface.

"For MSPs, the customer conversation is no longer about managing the on-premises server," says Morin. As workloads span on-premises and the cloud, "the network and WiFi have to be running. If the network's not working the business is down. And you want to know about issues before the customer comes calling."

See More, Tell More, Do More

Auvik, backed by about $7.5 million in funding to date, has designed its software to discover all the network devices, read the config files and reverse engineer everything to see how systems are communicating with one another. That approach allows MSPs to spot and correct misconfigurations between boxes, Morin asserts.

Auvik originally targeted corporate IT professionals but has rallied around the MSP market because MSPs have a "propensity to pay" for quality network solutions that help their customers. Morin concedes that the traditional RMM software market is crowded, but Auvik sees open space at the network layer -- to help MSPs "see more, tell more and do more" for customers. Software integrations with MSP tools like Autotask, ConnectWise, Freshdesk and Slack also have emerged.

So what's Auvik's market sweet spot? The platform scales from small businesses to large enterprises, but the sweet spot so far appears to be MSPs that have more than 1,000 network agents across their portfolios -- with many of Auvik's MSP partners managing 5,000 to 10,000 agents.

RMM Evolution

Auvik isn't the first company to promote network-centric RMM to MSPs. Kaseya back in 2011 acquired Intellipool in a bid to offer network-centric monitoring to MSPs, but the company has pivoted a few times since that point.

Also of note, N-able parent SolarWinds offers network performance monitoring capabilities. Another up-and-comer, LogicMonitor, has network-centric capabilities that have attracted midmarket MSPs.

Meanwhile, the RMM industry has a close cousin called Application Performance Management, where fast-growth upstarts like AppDynamics and New Relic are now attracting channel partners.

Still, I continue to wonder: Will any one software provider develop an end-to-end MSP solution that gets us down to a single dashboard? Perhaps I'm asking the wrong question -- especially since the network layer needs addressing. And that's where Auvik certainly hopes to help.

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.