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The two biggest issues with managed services for most solution
providers is the cost of creating the service and then dealing with the
process by which the multitude of devices in the customer environments
actually become managed.

While there has been no shortage of managed services platforms to
use as a service, the issue that many solution providers have balked at
is the cost of those services and the reliance on dedicated agent
software to manage specific devices.

Because of those two issues, a low-level buzz in the channel is
starting to build around a new managed services provider, Paglo. The
basic Paglo service is available for $1 per managed device per month
and makes use of an innovative proprietary search engine to index every
IT asset in the customer’s environment. Once indexed, the Paglo service
can then start monitoring any device in the environment. The company
then makes available a variety of add-on systems management modules
that a solution provider can layer in as an additional service,
including a new Netflow application that allows solution providers to
see what interactions are happening between devices on the network in real time.

Most recently, Paglo has now decided to allow solution providers to
rebrand its service under their own names, so as far as the customer
knows the service is provided completely by the solution provider.

The ability to use search engine technology in the context of
systems management is something that has been long overdue. Paglo
effectively allows a solution provider to assess the customer’s overall
IT environment in a matter of minutes, which makes it a whole lot
easier for the solution provider to discover what they are getting
involved in. In addition, Paglo makes it easier to support any number
of devices without having to be dependent on the development of a
specific piece of agent software for that device.

In general, we’re seeing significant advances in the realm of
systems management every week. Most notably, new platforms such as the Cisco Unified Computing System and the Matrix from Hewlett-Packard are
bringing together various management functions under a single pane of
glass. Effectively, these systems allow administrators to automatically
discover every component of the environment and automatically make
those resources available to any application on the system. The key
value of these systems is that they actually lower the real total cost of computing.

Similarly, we should expect to see managed services quickly evolve
to allow solution providers to manage every component as a virtual
asset that can be remote invoked at a much higher level of abstraction
than we see today. The Paglo service represents a significant step in
that direction.

Mike Vizard is senior vice president of market strategies
and content services at Ziff Davis Enterprise and a regular contributor
to Channel Insider.