As the management service provider market matures, conflicting customer requirements are making the pure-play MSP model more difficult to sustain.
In response to such pressures, a small but growing number of MSPs are looking to leverage the intellectual property they developed to manage customers IT infrastructure by selling it as packaged management software.
Loudcloud Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., will announce later this month its product strategy and initial packaged tools, dueling with NOCpulse Inc. in the same activity. They join others such as SilverBack Technologies Inc., which earlier this year announced its product strategy. Former MSP 2ndWave Inc., now TorchQuest Inc., is also rumored to be preparing a software offering.
Loudcloud will begin to leverage its Opsware automation platform by packaging its application and server provisioning capabilities into tools it will market as automated configuration management software.
"Theyll automate the process of deploying a new device, checking the integration of those devices, keeping a configuration database constant for you for recovery of that device," said one source familiar with LoudClouds plans.
The tool will focus on the automation of server management processes, added the source.
Loudcloud also intends to exploit the knowledge it has gained through its managed hosting services to sell software to help manage software upgrades.
Its initial foray into that arena, internally dubbed Knowledge Packs, will focus on Oracle software upgrades or deployments, said the source, who asked not to be named.
NOCpulse meanwhile will take its NOCpulse Command Center Software directly to midsize enterprises in a new version of its software.
Unlike Loudcloud, Command Center Version 3.0, two years in the making, provides integrated monitoring of applications, networks, systems and transactions.
The new release automates notification and escalation for problem resolution, and it comes with a reporting system for availability and historical performance data.
NOCpulse also added a discovery engine that looks for IP addresses within a specified range and that can learn what operating system the address is running on. A later release will add the ability to identify which applications are running on the target IP addresses.
The new release, which can be deployed in a few days, supports a range of popular e-mail, Web and application servers as well as networking devices from Cisco Systems Inc., Alteon Networks Inc. and F5 Networks Inc. It will be available by mid-July.
NOCpulse will have a "big uphill battle" in its quest to sell licensed management software in the crowded and highly fragmented management software market, believes Corey Ferengul, vice president at The Meta Group Inc., in Chicago. "They are yet another point vendor in a long list of point vendors trying to manage applications. The challenge I see in services companies trying to become software companies is in marketing," he said.