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Following the acquisition of LogicNow, a provider of a managed services provider platform earlier this year, SolarWinds has formed a dedicated MSP business unit that combines its existing N-able MSP platform with LogicNow under a single entity.

The new unit, dubbed SolarWinds MSP, will be using SolarWinds’ portfolio of IT management software to launch a managed service platform aimed at the data center.

Historically, both N-Able and LogicNow focused their MSP platforms on end points. SolarWinds MSP will expand on those missions in a way that will make SolarWinds relevant to all classes of MSP, said JP Jauvin, senior vice president of sales and customer operations at SolarWinds MSP.

“We’re going to be in the unique position of being able to work with any MSP regardless of size and scope,” said Jauvin.

Officials at SolarWinds MSP, which will focus on enabling MSPs to reduce their operational costs, are aware that most MSPs are challenged on profit margins these days. The goal is to reduce those costs to a point where the MSP gains some headroom again on margins, said Jauvin.

Since acquiring LogicNow last June, the combined entity reported that it has been signing up new partners at a rate of 300 per month. During that time, features and functions have also been shared between the two MSP platforms.

However, SolarWinds MSP has no intention of standardizing on a single MSP platform, Jauvin said. Instead, various MSP platforms will be made available that are tailored to meet the number of endpoints that different classes of MSPs might need to manage.

In general, the number of solution providers offering managed services is increasing. Those solution providers, however, are not giving up reselling products. Rather, they are delivering managed services mainly as a complement to existing solution services.

“Our research shows that 75 to 80 percent of solution providers are now offering managed services,” said Diane Krakora, CEO of PartnerPath, a consulting firm that specializes in channel management practices. “But only 20 to 25 percent of the channel are pure-play MSPs.”

Of course, there’s also no shortage of MSP platforms. In addition, some MSPs still prefer to build their own platforms from scratch. Regardless of the path chosen, however, it’s clear managed services as a whole are becoming a much larger part of the overall channel equation.

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications, including InfoWorld, CRN and eWEEK. He currently blogs daily for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, Channel Insider and Baseline.