N-able Archiving Alliance to Combat MSP Commoditization

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

MSP platform provider N-able says its alliance with Iron Mountain for data backup and archiving is one of a "new wave" of vendor partnerships designed to give MSP partners more competitive muscle.

Managed services platform provider N-able Technologies is teaming up with Iron Mountain Digital to help give partners a quick entry into data backup and archiving.

Executives at both companies say the alliance, initially a marketing arrangement, is likely to go deeper, and will probably become a technology alliance that offers partners an integration that bridges technology from the two companies. Partners view such an integration as a big plus.

"The ability to have alerts from our online data protection generated immediately in our MSP platform would be great," said Mike Jones, president and CEO of ETG, a channel partner of both N-Able and Iron Mountain. "And we could get reporting in a single place."

Jones will have to wait a little while for that functionality, according to executives with both companies, but talks are underway to create just those integrations. Meanwhile, the marketing relationship will give partners of either company an endorsement for the other company.

"When we look at doing partnerships [with other vendors] we look at their channel model, and their ability to build managed services components within their technology, among other things," said Derik Belair, vice president of business development at N-able. "So [channel partners] know these partners have been vetted. Moving forward, the benefits will be in the interoperability side of the house. There will also be special pricing and programs targeted toward the MSP community."

For more on N-able's strategy for combating MSP commoditization, click here.

Partners will also gain the benefits of offering a more end-to-end solution, according to David Kubick, vice president of worldwide alliances and channel sales at Iron Mountain.

"SMBs [small and midsize businesses] are becoming more savvy about what they need," Kubick said. "They are looking for somebody who can manage their requirements from end to end, and you can't do that by just being a data protection vendor."
N-able's partnership with Iron Mountain is not its first with another vendor, nor will it be its last. Rather, the partnership is part of an ongoing strategy that is about to get a second wind, according to Belair.
"This is a new wave of partnerships," Belair said. "We have been actively soliciting our MSP [managed services provider] partners to find out the types of technologies they use to grow their businesses." And with those answers in hand, N-able is on a quest to strike at least a half-dozen key vendor partnerships through which it can extend the additional functionality to its MSP partners.

Technology areas that are likely expansion targets include storage, security, convergence and VOIP (voice over IP).

"Those are areas where we want to have at least one vendor partner," Belair said.
Another potential area of expansion is an SAAS (software as a service) line of business applications for vertical industries, he said.

One investment firm says vertical SAAS applications are a hot ticket in 2008. Find out why, and which industries are the best bet, here.

"We are still exploring the verticals. We have not nailed that down," he said. But likely targets are health care, legal and financial industries, according to Belair.

"Our partners typically service small to midsized base," he said. "Depending on the mood of the economy we see outsourcing [being] in high demand. Our partners are meeting the demand out there. Our job is to help them as we can as a vendor."
Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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