Google Stackdriver: Wakeup Call for MSPs, RMM Software Providers

Take a look at Google Stackdriver, and you’ll discover a multi-cloud management platform for Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform. In some ways it’s the latest example of where traditional RMM (remote monitoring and management) software platforms should be heading. Faster.

Take a look at this video, which explains why Google acquired Stackdriver — and what the monitoring and management platform does for customers:

Device Monitoring vs Cloud Services Monitoring

Now, compare that video to the overall RMM software market. Generally speaking, MSPs have used RMM to monitor and manage notebooks, PCs and servers for more than a decade. In some ways it’s a mature market — like the PC industry itself. In other ways, it’s still an emerging market because thousands of VARs continue to push into managed services each month.

Of course, RMM software companies live by the laws of supply and demand. Two examples:

Again, it’s all about supply and demand. Small businesses need millions of Windows, Mac OS and Linux systems managed. And now they need Office 365 managed. RMM providers are empowering MSPs to do so. That’s smart.

But is that enough?

“Traditional” MSPs Fall Behind

During recent channel-focused conferences, I’ve been surprised to hear so little about IaaS and PaaS monetization opportunities. Frankly, that’s dangerous because a new generation of MSPs has been grabbing the opportunity — and cashing in.

Amazon now has dozens of MSP partners that manage AWS workloads for customers. Savvy partners like Apps Associates migrate database customers from on-premises servers to the Amazon Aurora system. Microsoft Channel Chief Phil Sorgen is calling on partners to make similar database migrations into the Azure cloud.

Some MSP industry veterans have seen the light. A prime example: G2 Technology Group, a Continuum and LogicMonitor partner, continues to offer traditional monitoring services. But the company’s true bread-and-butter involves managed DevOps services for SaaS customers.

My reaction? I think of G2 as a comfortable mattress tucked between the IaaS and SaaS layer. The company essentially eliminates customer pain, ensuring smooth, continuous SaaS development remains ongoing — with little to no pain from the underlying IaaS infrastructure.

RMM for Cross-Platform Cloud Services

Yes, a growing number of RMM products offer some form of monitoring for cloud workloads. But I don’t hear enough about the IaaS and PaaS monetization opportunities. And I don’t see enough veteran MSPs like G2 capitalizing on the opportunities.

Everyone seems infatuated with Office 365 management… Or worse: Office 365 SKU reselling. Of course you should grab revenue in that market. But don’t stop there. IaaS and PaaS management await.

Google Stackdriver is a sign of things to come. In fact, it’s already here… As are at least 50 other emerging cloud management and monitoring platforms.

No doubt, RMM software companies are formulating their own responses. ConnectWise, for instance, plans to extend CloudConsole with Microsoft Azure capabilities. RMM rivals should follow suit. I look forward to hearing more.

Return Home



    kirill Bensonoff:

    If you are a service provider and work in IaaS clouds, Stackdriver is not the right tool – it is a great tool, but built for internal teams, not service providers. Service providers have Unigma – check it out at . You can manage Google Cloud, AWS, and Azure, from a single page of glass.

      Joe Panettieri:

      Kirlill: Always great to hear from you but please give ChannelE2E’s readers some context. What’s your role and stake in Unigma?

    Matthé Smit:

    Hi Joe,
    I wanted to give you some insights in what I see from my side.

    First of all, I don’t agree that traditional MSPs and RMM software providers are falling behind on IaaS/PaaS Services Management or Monitoring.

    A product like Stackdriver is very interesting if your business is that of building and maintaining SaaS applications that runs on a public cloud infrastructure. Most MSPs are not Software businesses. Building cloud solutions is just too different from managing infrastructure and being a trusted advisor to their clients. Not many MSPs will cross-over to this business model.

    Also, MSPs are typically not responsible for the uptime, performance or maintenance at products like Office 365 or Even if they see a problem with a SaaS solution, there isn’t a lot they can do about it. It’s the vendor providing the service and SLA. The MSP typically has a need around provisioning and billing for these services. That’s where the PSA comes into play.

    There have been, of course, significant changes in the kind of infrastructure MSPs do need to provide services for. Networks have changed dramatically in recent years from a traditional client-server to that of client-cloud architecture.
    For these networks and endpoints the story is different. This is actually under the SLA and responsibility from the MSP. They can actually solve or prevent issues from happening.

    We see that traditional Endpoints are more important than ever: this is where the end-customer has their IT experience. And managing this experience is what matters today. Endpoints are however more diverse than ever before.
    The MSP market still hasn’t perfected the customers experience, and we see
    significant opportunities for any MSP trying to push the customer experience to the next level.
    (And of course we feel that with our Unified RMM/PSA solutions at Autotask we can help MSPs deliver the best experience possible)

    Like always you help MSPs think about new markets and opportunities. Keep up the great work with E2E.

    Best regards,

    Matthé Smit
    Director of Product Management, Autotask Endpoint Management

      Joe Panettieri:


      Thanks for the detailed thoughts. I respect your work. But I’ll respectfully push back on a few items you raised:

      1. “MSPs are typically not responsible for the uptime, performance or maintenance at products like Office 365 or” My Reaction: I think that’s bound to change. While the vendors (ie, Microsoft, Salesforce) will own uptime for their clouds, customers increasingly hold MSPs responsible for the overall uptime of workloads — regardless of the workload’s location. In our own business, we hold an MSP responsible for helping us when our SaaS provider runs into data center issues. Generally speaking, I think the bigger opportunity for MSPs involves the IaaS and PaaS layers…

      2. “We see that traditional Endpoints are more important than ever: this is where the end-customer has their IT experience. And managing this experience is what matters today. Endpoints are however more diverse than ever before.” My Reaction: I’ll respectfully disagree in terms of the importance here to MSPs. Yes, endpoints will remain a key piece of the MSP business model. But ultimately, I think the conversation is shifting from endpoints to data — how an MSP can help end customers gather, manage, store, optimize, protect and monetize their data. And some of the fastest-growing MSPs are now driving the data conversation over on Amazon Web Services. (I concede those aren’t traditional MSPs in the SMB segment.)

      Overall, I don’t think it’s a black-and-white conversation. There are shades of gray, meaning that endpoints remain important. But most MSPs aren’t moving fast enough to manage cloud workloads beyond the traditional SaaS conversation.

      I realize my own thoughts are open to debate. And I’ve been proven wrong plenty of times. Thanks again for your feedback.




        I agree with your comments. I disagree with the term “traditional MSP in the SMB segment”, however. In my experience, SMBs, just as everyone else, are looking to the MSP for guidance – where can I (the customer) run my infrastructure at the lowest cost and with the best benefits/features. Their environment could be simple, like a single domain controller/file server (these are going to go away completely in the next 2 year, as Azure AD or AWS Directory services catch on, and there are already plenty of great file storage platforms out there), or more sophisticated, with LOB apps, databases, multiple sites,etc. In the latter case, using IaaS becomes a real option, and MSPs need to be ready with the tools and service offerings to give customers choices – where do you want to go, on-prem, hybrid, IaaS, etc?

        PS, I am the founder of Unigma, a unified cloud management tool for IT service providers.

          Joe Panettieri:

          Hi Kirill: Thanks for looping back with more thoughts. I do think the mainstream MSPs in the SMB segment will need to go public cloud (Amazon, Azure or something else) sooner rather than later. That’s why, for instance, Aldridge recently acquired Arterian. In the meantime I do think most (though not all) of Amazon’s early MSP partners are not the traditional SMB IT support folks.

          We’re a poster-child customer for all this, by the way. Just want to reiterate that we lean on our MSP to manage our SaaS and underlying IaaS relationship(s).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.