FRAMINGHAM (04/26/2000) - When it comes to managing other people's networks, the three keys to success are automation, automation and automation, says John Jazwiec, CEO of Nuclio Corp., a management service provider (MSP) that debuted this week.
Nuclio is the latest company to enter the nascent MSP market. The company provides automated 24-7 network equipment and application monitoring, service provider service-level agreement (SLA) monitoring, desktop management and help desk services.
According to Gartner Group Inc., a research firm in Stamford, Connecticut, the MSP market is set to explode, from $90 million this year to $3.26 billion in 2005. Analysts say the shortage of IT professionals in the U.S., combined with rapid infrastructure expansion from technology-dependent start-ups and large companies, will drive more organizations to outsource network management.
"A lot of dot-com companies don't have an IT department," Jazwiec says. "Some large companies are just looking for some extra help."
Nuclio customer networks are monitored from the company's Chicago data center via Nuclio's frame relay network or secure point-to-point connections.
In Chicago, a customized system based on Hewlett-Packard's OpenView management platform alerts Nuclio engineers of events or failures on customers' networks - such as server crashes or if network performance dips below a customer's SLA requirements. Customers can view their network information via a customizable Web portal that is accessible through Nuclio's Web site.
"Our management services provide reliability and predictability because they are almost totally automated," Jazwiec says. With its automated management tools, Nuclio provides more consistent information "than having a human being sitting in front of a terminal watching servers or your network," he adds.
According to Scott Crites, information resources manager at Mail-Well, a label and envelope printing firm in Omaha, Neb., Nuclio's services provide his company peace of mind and cost savings.
Crites says when his company installed a WAN to connect the firm's Omaha office to Mail-Well's six printing plants across the country, the system required more management personnel than his department could handle.
"I ran an advertisement looking for network administrators and got only three responses - none of them qualified," Crites says. "We're probably saving about $50,000 a year by using Nuclio. If I would have hired three people to do [HP Unix, Windows NT and WAN] administration, it would cost me a lot more. I got better people for less dollars."
Nuclio monitors NT servers at Mail-Well's headquarters and HP Unix servers at its six remote facilities. The company also monitors MailWell's nine Cisco and Bay routers, and provides desktop application management and a user help desk service for the company's 175 PC users.
"If problems occur anywhere in the network, that sets off an alarm automatically that [Nuclio engineers] can react to and fix. It's Nuclio's responsibility to keep our tools available to us," Crites says.
Stephen Elliot, a Gartner Group analyst, sees big things for the MSP market.
"In the next 18 to 24 months, more and more companies will start using these MSP services," Elliot says, adding that what companies like Nuclio offer "is cost-effective in terms of IT staffing allocation, and it provides a predictable expense line every month."
Prices for Nuclio's services are set at a fixed monthly rate per device or application monitored. Average monthly rates for a midsize corporate network would run between $5,000 to $25,000 per month, according to Nuclio's Jazwiec, depending on the level of service.
Nuclio operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of systems integrator Forsyth Technology, which was providing customers with managed IT services prior to the spin off of Nuclio. Nuclio already has 25 customers, including the Chicago Stock Exchange.