Managed Service Providers are Experiencing Success

LAS VEGAS (05/12/2000) - Businesses are beginning to reap benefits from handing off infrastructure management and IT staffing to MSPs (managed service providers), which in turn are finding that the increasing competition in this growing sector brings needed assistance along with the usual challenges.

Looming among a host of MSPs staking claims at the NetWorld+ Interop show in Las Vegas this week, software giant Computer Associates International Inc. said it will deliver its network and systems management products to small and midsize businesses through service providers.

CA partners Datanet1 and Exenet Technologies Inc. are among the first MSPs that will manage and rent out CA's Unicenter TNG and NetworkIT to businesses normally unable to afford the installation, or requisite time, said Mike Kerman, business unit manager of network and Internet management at CA.

Because e-commerce is adding management complexities beyond existing enterprise tasks, outsourcing mission-critical functions is becoming an attractive alternative for companies with less time to focus on their e-business priorities, said Caryn Gillooly, an analyst at Hurwitz Group Inc., in Framingham, Massachusetts.

"An incredible amount of time, and therefore money, is wasted on fire-fighting things that could be handled by an expert," Gillooly said.

SilverBack Technologies Inc., an MSP start-up, is gaining notoriety through InfoCare, its turnkey subscription-based on-site service. InfoCare eliminates the need to view multiple reporting and monitoring applications by streamlining and sending network and server information for small to midsize businesses via a single Web interface.

In an attempt to replicate and scale its services more quickly, SilverBack competitor and fellow N+I attendee TriActive Inc. has become a client of Manage.Com. Manage.Com unveiled its managed services platform, Frontline e.M, and its XML-based service templates and Authoring Kit at last week's show.

Todd Clayton, vice president of marketing at TriActive, said his company uses Manage.Com as its back office to process and transport information from clients' servers to its Oracle database for display on the user interface.

Much like their customers, MSPs will be forced to rely less on managing and building enterprises and more on customization requests and issues, said John McConnell, principal analyst at McConnell Associates, in Boulder, Colorado.

"If I were an MSP, I wouldn't want to concentrate on building infrastructure.

I'd want to concentrate on value-add, like better fault analysis and performance," McConnell said.

Computer Associates International Inc., in Islandia, New York, is at www.cai.com. Silverback Technologies Inc., in North Billerica, Massachusetts, is at www.silverbacktech.com. TriActive Inc., in Austin, Texas, is at www.triactive.com. Manage.Com, in San Jose, California, is at www.manage.com.

Catering to smaller businesses

MSPs offer a range of management services.

* @Manage services: @Monitor, @Manager, @MonitorPro, and Secure@ Manager* SiteROCK: Foundation bundle includes real-time monitoring, system availability, and "best practice" template* Luminate: e-application management, performance, and outsourcing

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