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Microsoft isn’t talking yet about how it plans to market System Center Essentials 2007 to managed service providers and won’t even acknowledge that it will, but some already working with Microsoft Operations Manager and SCE betas say it could best all other MSP platforms and own the vendor market.

SCE installed at a customer site and tied to the next-generation MOM server at a central site enables a service provider to monitor and manage the IT assets and operations of several SMB organizations, like so many branches of a single enterprise.

Several have already jerry-rigged this setup with the previous version of MOM for a powerful but cumbersome MSP solution.

Those working on the beta say console and interface improvements make it as easy to use as the MSP platforms from Level Platforms and N-able, but more powerful.

“They will own the market in a few years,” said Bob Longo, sales director of ClearPointe Technology, in Little Rock, Ark., an MSP with customers in 38 states. “SCE blows away everyone as far as ease of use and customized reporting. It’s everything service providers need, not just monitoring, it’s true management.”

ClearPointe built an MSP offering of MOM servers in 2000 before MSP tools and platforms were available, but they have stuck with their own build because they found it more robust than MSP platform vendors, Longo said.

“It took more time grooming,” he said, “but it caught more issues. There’s nothing better on the market to monitor Microsoft products.”

They have been working with a beta of SCE for 18 months and found upgrades in recording, and consumer-facing portions now put it toe-to-toe with those platforms.

“It comes back to process,” Longo said. “Getting an alert is one thing, processing them is where high value comes in. We can monitor a server for less than $100 a month and manage a server for $800 to $1,000 a month; now we’re making the margin.”

MOM packs promised by Microsoft on every application make it easy to activate SCE control on almost any Microsoft application and make the offering almost out of the box, Longo said.

While not talking about the marketing and messaging of SCE, Microsoft is providing technical primers for MSPs looking to build on the software.

SCE is expected to be released later in Q1.