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Distributor Ingram Micro has taken another step in its managed services strategy by making a hosted remote monitoring and management platform available to solution providers.

The hosted managed services option allows VARs, integrators and services providers to remotely monitor and manage the computing environments of their clients without having to invest in the overhead of an NOC (network operations center).

Ingram Micro, of Santa Ana, Calif., partnered with Savvis, an IP network and hosting services provider based in Town & Country, Mo., for the hosting. Solution providers will be tapping one of two Savvis NOCs, which back up each other, to deliver the services.

Savvis emerged from a field of hosting providers and telcos that responded to a request for proposal as the best choice for the partnership with Ingram because of the company’s capabilities and the price it charges for its services, said Justin Crotty, vice president of services, Ingram Micro North America.

Savvis is the third partner in a three-way partnership that acts as the foundation for Ingram Micro’s managed services program, which the distributor calls Seismic Platform and Virtual Services Warehouse.

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The other partner is Ottawa-based Level Plaftorms, a managed services platform vendor, which makes the software-based technology that MSPs (managed services providers) employ to remotely monitor and managed their clients’ systems.

Ingram Micro engaged with Level Platforms in October and has since recruited more than 100 VARs and integrators for the Seismic program, said Crotty.

“For the majority of VARs that are working with us, this would be their first remote monitoring and management offering,” said Crotty.

The second largest number of Seismic VAR partners consists of companies that have switched from other managed services platforms, he said. Level Platforms’ competitors include N-able Technologies, also of Ottawa; Kaseya International, San Francisco; Klir Technologies, Seattle; and SilverBack Technologies, Billerica, Mass.

Distributor Bell Microproducts, of San Jose, Calif., is working with SilverBack, while Access Distribution, which was acquired by distributor Avnet last year, has picked Klir as its platform provider.

The entry of distributors into the managed services space has caused some concern among proponents of the model, which allows providers to deliver IT services for fixed monthly or quarterly fees. The concern is that providers that choose to work with distributors will simply be reselling the services as opposed to truly transforming themselves into MSPs.

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Quanexus, Centerville, Ohio, as opted to work with Ingram Micro to deliver managed services and its president, Jack Gerbs, said Seismic was the best option available because of the hosting option.

“It’s one less thing that I have to maintain internally,” Gerbs said.

Also appealing was the redundancy built into Ingram Micro’s Seismic offering, he said. “If one NOC is down, another NOC is up.”

Crotty said Ingram Micro is making documentation available to partners on how to set themselves up as MSPs. The documentation and a Web site called Seismic Support Portal cover topics such as how to compensate technicians and sales representatives under the managed services model.

Further additions to the Seismic program are in the works, including a hardware as a service offering, Crotty said. With hardware as a service, customers pay for equipment as part of their fixed managed services fees as opposed to paying for it all upfront.