Silverbacks New Tack

MSP aims InfoCare 3.0 at 'old economy' and midtier companies.

After learning the hard way last year that the small and midsize business market was not yet ready for integrated monitoring services from MSPs, SilverBack Technologies Inc. went back to the drawing board and revamped its business.

Next month, the Billerica, Mass., company will relaunch itself as a management infrastructure provider for regional services and network consulting companies with a new release of its InfoCare flagship software. The software is geared toward "old economy" and midtier companies looking to VARs for help in monitoring networks, systems and applications, according to Dan Phillips, chairman and CEO at SilverBack.

"We learned the real value was the software we had that let the end user monitor their networks, systems and applications," said Phillips. At the same time, because SilverBack monitors its own software installed at the customer site, it allows VARs to expand their services beyond network consulting and break/fix work without having to build out a network operations or data center.

Netivity Solutions Inc., looking to upgrade the remote monitoring service it was already offering to its customer base, discovered it could save itself half a million dollars by moving to InfoCare, according to George Mellor, executive vice president of the West Newton, Mass., service provider.

Netivity was going to rebuild its services framework with management software from IBMs Tivoli unit and Hewlett-Packard Co.s OpenView. But with a price of $680,000 in software licenses, consulting services and labor, Netivity officials "didnt like what we were seeing," said Mellor, who said the cost of the SilverBack offering was about $114,000.

"The clients who have seen it over the last few weeks as we deploy it love the view they get into their environment. There is enough detail but not too much information. They get the 10,000-foot view and can drill down as deep as they want if they feel the need to," Mellor said.

InfoCare 3.0, due by the end of next month, provides users with a browser-based dashboard view of their systems, network and applications. A top row on the dashboard provides windows that show aggregated network faults, network assets, performance of all network devices and security for all the users network devices. A second row provides the same type of view for the systems, with fault, asset, performance and security views. A third row looks at the applications view with the same four parameters.

In going up against first-tier network and system management vendors such as HP and Tivoli in the MSP (management service provider) space, SilverBack is unique in that it administers, manages and maintains its own software installed at the customer site and linked to SilverBacks network operations center through a virtual private network connection.

"Other [network systems management] manufacturers are selling the software packages to companies—end of story. SilverBack is monitoring their product to make sure the product on-site is taking care of monitoring the [customers] environment," said Eric Goodness, an analyst with Gartner Inc., in Lowell, Mass.