IT management, MSP

SolarWinds MSP Reinforces Dual RMM Commitment (And More)

Author: Mike Cullen
Mike Cullen
JP Jauvin

When SolarWinds MSP unveiled its unified roadmap yesterday, the company certainly adjusted some branding but didn't kill core products. Now, company executives want to drive home this point: SolarWinds MSP remains committed to two RMM (remote monitoring and management) platforms (from the former N-able and LogicNow), company executives told ChannelE2E today.

To understand the roadmap, it's important to understand some M&A history. SolarWinds acquired N-able in 2013 and LogicNow in mid-2016. Fast forward to present day, and the SolarWinds MSP division now manages all of the products from those two acquisitions. R&D on all of those MSP products continues, though some products are being rebranded -- as ChannelE2E explained here. Among the latest examples to note: The on-premises version of N-able N-central will now be called SolarWinds MSP RMM N-central.

Also of note: The SolarWinds MSP website currently mentions products acquired in the LogicNow buyout. But products from the N-able buyout won't fully surface on that site until a content migration later this year or so. (MSPs can visit the classic N-able website in the meantime.)

We've Got Coke and Pepsi

JP Jauvin, senior VP of sales and customer operations at SolarWinds MSP, says the unified product lines (i.e., the former LogicNow and N-able brands) essentially are the Coke and Pepsi of the MSP sector. "We're in an envious position to support every MSP regardless of size, the types of customers they manage, the services they deliver, and their technical requirements," he asserts.

During a briefing with ChannelE2E today, Jauvin and Mike Cullen described how the former LogicNow and N-able teams (now united under the SolarWinds MSP banner) spent recent months building unified roadmaps for the entire software portfolio. "I think our customers, MSPs, will be very happy with the short- and long-term results," Jauvin says. He conceded that rebranding some products has been a "complex exercise" to "preserve the quality of the current portfolios and lay the foundation for the future."

Overall, it sounds like the MSP software business has been SolarWinds' fastest-growing organization the past few years. To accelerate that growth, the company has been introducing products from the LogicNow buyout (particularly backup and disaster recovery) to the N-central MSP base.

N-central Upgrade, MSP Manager & More

So what's next? SolarWinds MSP is beta testing the next major N-central release, which should ship by the close of this year. Partner conferences also are set for Las Vegas and Europe over the next few weeks.

On the one-hand, SolarWinds MSP wants to be a one-stop shop for every type of MSP. But on the other hand, the company also is extending beyond the traditional MSP software market to support partners. To understand the strategy, take a look at the PSA (professional services automation) market.

The company already offers MSP Manager, a basic ticket management system that fulfills 100 percent of the needs for 80 percent of MSPs, Jauvin asserts. That's a polite way of saying SolarWinds believes many full-blown PSA systems are too heavy or too complex for many MSPs. For MSPs that need a full-blown PSA offering, SolarWinds continues to integrate N-central with some familiar names -- including companies like Autotask and ConnectWise.

But here's a potential twist: SolarWinds also is working on some APIs for ServiceNow. A few midmarket MSPs have requested the APIs, and plan to use them to link N-central to ServiceNow, Cullen says.

Moves like that could prove popular in the midmarket, where some MSPs are turning to mainstream, SaaS-based ticket management systems. I do wonder if that's a foreshadowing for the overall MSP market, where selected chatter about Atlassian JIRA Service Desk,, ServiceNow and Zendesk has been growing louder.

Small, Midmarket and Telco MSPs

Still, I'm not suggesting that SolarWinds MSP will chase and embrace all of those third-party service desk platforms. Instead, the company should be plenty busy with its own MSP product portfolio. Plus, SolarWinds' corporate IT products -- typically used by internal IT departments -- will gradually find their way into the MSP channel.

"To fulfill our vision you will begin to see SolarWinds' midmarket IT products reach more and more MSPs," predicts Cullen. The SolarWinds corporate IT portfolio is "the icing on the cake that allows us to go to any size MSP or telco or top 100 VAR, and bring an MSP solution to them."

Which corporate products will be updated for MSP use? Cullen didn't say. Check the overall SolarWinds corporate portfolio and you'll see dozens of network management, systems management, IT security, and database management offerings. The eventual possibilities for MSPs are intriguing.

Competition Looms

Of course, the overall MSP software market remains fiercely competitive. Continuum and Autotask recently wrapped up their respective conferences in September. ConnectWise's IT Nation 2016 is set for November. And Kaseya will branch out with a European conference as well.

SolarWinds MSP won't be resting on its laurels. A partner gathering is set for next week in Las Vegas. And deeper roadmap details will arrive during a United Kingdom gathering in November.

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.