The managed services landscape is changing from a cost-focused model to a value-based model. With advances in IT, business-critical services are now supported over network infrastructure. Correspondingly, customer expectations about the quality and nature of support they need from MSPs have also grown. MSPs can no longer differentiate themselves by offering just low-cost services limited to network and server monitoring or by positioning themselves as off-hours support teams for enterprise operations teams.
MSPs will need to equip themselves to offer monitoring of higher layers of the protocol stack, i.e., applications and end-to-end services. Capabilities to rapidly troubleshoot problems as they occur, proactively alert on impending issues, and advise on capacity planning and optimization will all be important. To succeed, MSPs must focus on providing value far beyond what they are doing now and effectively become trusted advisors to their customers. The table below summarizes the key capabilities that MSPs will look for as they prepare for the next wave of managed service offerings (i.e., Managed Services 2.0) and how the eG Enterprise suite is an ideal platform for MSPs to use for these advanced service offerings.
|What MSPs Require
||How eG Enterprise Addresses |
|Broad Monitoring Coverage
||Monitoring tools for MSPs must be "Future Proof". You are probably not focused on just a specific niche technology; therefore you need to monitor heterogeneous infrastructures including switches, routers, servers, applications, etc. In many cases, you have no control over the vendor, type, and version of the technology you have to monitor.
- The eG Universal Agent monitors 85+ applications, 10+ OSs, 5+ Virtualization platforms.
- Using the eG Integration Console, MSPs can add customized monitoring for any network device or application.
- The eG layer model representation for monitoring applications provides a generic interface for monitoring heterogeneous applications. You do not have to be an expert at each technology to monitor this technology effectively using eG Enterprise.
- eG Enterprise offers a single pane of glass view across networks, servers, applications.
||MSPs need to invest in a monitoring tool keeping future needs and expansion in mind. Even though you may start off slow, you are looking for growth - in terms of numbers of customers, devices, offerings, or just historical data. Being able to rapidly respond to growth means that your sales team never has to wait for engineering to catch up, which is extremely important.
- eG Enterprise uses a 100% web-based, multi-tier architecture (web server, application server, database) that scales in much the same way that web businesses have scaled their internet/intranet presence.
- eG Enterprise's simple, straightforward installation and configuration process allows the monitoring tool to be provisioned in minutes, not days or years!
- eG Enterprise can be configured with a hierarchical architecture of managers reporting to a SuperManager. This allows the monitoring system to scale to large environments with thousands of servers.
||MSPs must offer customers self-monitoring capabilities. By providing customers the ability to login to a central console, you can provide customers with a real-time view of the health of their infrastructure. Often, customers can see and fix problems themselves, thereby reducing your customer support costs. At the same time, you do not want to set up a separate management console for each customer. By centralizing the monitoring to a management system in your NOC, you control where the monitoring data resides and how it is analyzed. These integrated capabilities mean that the monitoring system must store data from multiple customer networks and offer personalized, secure views to customers, so each customer can only see the state of their infrastructure.
- The eG monitoring console supports personalized views for users, so they can view the status of their infrastructure and receive personalized alerts.
- eG's user management is subscription-based, ideal for SaaS offerings.
- eG provides customizable, automatic subscription expiry alerts.
- The eG manager integrates with Active Directory for user management.
||MSPs need a monitoring tool that offers high reliability options. Service level agreements with customers may include service level definitions and penalties in the event of non-compliance. Hence, you need the option to have a highly reliable management system that is failure proof.
- eG Enterprise includes a redundancy option. You can have a primary and a secondary management system that remain in sync always, so if one management system fails, the other takes over the operation seamlessly.
||MSPs need a monitoring system that has a flexible licensing and deployment model. Your customer requirements could change over time. They may have started with an Oracle database on Linux today, but tomorrow may decide to move to Microsoft SQL server database on Windows. If the management system modules and licenses are tied to the operating system, application being monitored, or the hardware of the server being monitored (1, 2, 4 CPUs, etc.), you will need to procure new licenses during every change. Ideally, what you want is a monitoring system that is licensed per server and not by application, OS, or the number of CPUs.
- eG's single agent licensing model offers unparalleled deployment flexibility. The licensing is not tied to the server OS, CPUs, or applications monitored. Administrators have the flexibility to move licenses across heterogeneous servers and applications.
||Reporting is absolutely necessary for most MSPs. You require the ability to trend and do capacity management to allow problems to be fixed before they become outages. Being able to provide post-mortem reports for outages to customers is extremely important. Providing BSM/SLM real-time dashboards or reports may be necessary. The challenge is all about storing the data, writing the reports for the data, and displaying the data. The variety and requirements of these reports can be daunting, so addressing and documenting this is extremely important.
- The eG Reporter offers a variety of reports tailored towards the needs of executive and operations personnel. While executive reports provide a high level analysis of the health of individual IT infrastructure components, detailed operation reports help to quantify network, system, applications, and service performance. These reports are critical for cross correlation across metrics and help with post-mortem diagnosis and capacity planning.
- eG Reporter also offers a number of consolidated reports that summarize performance and quickly highlight where the bottlenecks are.
- All the reports are customizable and can be saved as PDFs, emailed to users, or scheduled for automatic email delivery or printing.
|Domain expertise and ease of use
||Most MSPs lack the expertise to deliver to their customers in-depth monitoring of applications and business services end-to-end. You are probably mostly monitoring networks and servers, but the core business-critical applications are still managed by your customers. You do not have the skill sets and people to take up advanced monitoring capabilities that are often the high-value tasks for your customers. You need a solution that can provide you with this capability and without forcing you to go hire a large number of experts to target the advanced managed services market.
- eG Enterprise offers out-of-the box monitoring for 85+ common applications. You do not need to install separate knowledge modules or plug-ins for every application. So the learning curve is short.
- Industry standard best practices - what to monitor, how often, what thresholds to apply, etc. - are prebuilt into eG. Again, you don't need a lot of expertise or spend a lot of time to set the system up.
- eG Enterprise uses a unique layer model representation for each network device, server, or application it monitors. The layer model represents how the monitored component behaves. The hierarchical model is used for correlation - to determine which layer of a component a problem relates to. Since all the different monitored components are represented using this layer model structure, administrators can use a common model representation and a user interface to track the state of each of the components. The layer model representation hides the complexities of the workings of each application, server, or device from the administrator.
- Automatic correlation of network, server, and application performance is built into eG Enterprise. You do not have to spend endless hours building if/then/else rules to correlate thousands of metrics. Automatic root-cause diagnosis capability built into eG Enterprise provides administrators with a single-click access to the root-cause of a problem. This means that you can have lower skilled customer support/Level 1 IT staff use the monitoring system to troubleshoot problems.
|Simple Installation and Configuration
||MSPs do not want to deal with monitoring solutions that require a lot of set up hassles and expense. Common problems you face during set up and installation include needing to have virtual private networks (VPNs) to all your customer sites to get the monitoring system to work, reconfiguration of firewall rules for the monitoring traffic, needing to install different knowledge modules and smart plug-ins for each application, etc. You also do not want to spend several man days or weeks on installation and configuration. You want the monitoring software to be up and running quickly, delivering value to the customer.
- eG Enterprise uses a 100% web-based architecture. All communications between the agents and manager happens using web protocols - HTTP and HTTPS. All the communications are initiated by the agents to the manager. Hence, there is no need to open any new ports on corporate firewalls. Further, since HTTPS provides security over WAN links to remote sites, there is no need to set up a VPN to every customer network just to get the monitoring system to work.
- Installation is a breeze. Less than two minutes to install an agent.
- Configuration can be done quickly. eG Enterprise includes pre-built profiles for each application, server, or device monitored. These profiles define what metrics to collect, how often, what thresholds to apply, etc. The thresholds are based on industry-standard best practices, so experts are not needed to set up the system.
||To scale, MSPs need automation. Clients of MSPs, contract with them because they are too small or inexperienced to achieve the maturity of that of the MSP. Most MSPs have that "secret sauce" approach which differentials themselves from their competitors and enhances their standings in front of the customers. The problem being is the "secret sauce" is usually complex and challenging to automate, which is were the real value is.
- eG Enterprise advances automation on different fronts:
- Auto-discovery of networks and applications;
- Ability to automatically compute thresholds for collected metrics using historical information;
- Daily, weekly, and monthly trending of all collected metrics;
- Automatic triage using application inter-dependencies to determine root-cause of problems;
- Automatic recovery process initiated by the eG agents as and when anomalies are detected.
|Provide Up-sell Opportunities
||MSPs are looking for upsell opportunities to grow business. Once your customer has signed up for your monitoring service, what other services can you easily add on? An ideal monitoring solution should provide optional add on services that can be easily offered to you customers once they are satisfied with your basic monitoring service.
- The detailed metrics that eG Enterprise collects lends themselves to offering advanced services such as:
- Performance audits
- Bottleneck analysis
- Advanced troubleshooting
- Server consolidation and load balancing recommendations
|Low TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)
||MSPs do not want a big upfront investment in a monitoring solution. You want a pay-per-use model that allows you to extend the usage of the monitoring system as your business grows.
- eG Agent can be licensed on a monthly basis
- Agents can be reused for different applications for different customers at different times
- Order only the number of agents you need
- Payment can be quarterly, so as to match the cash flow of the core business.
|Promote The MSP's Brand
||MSPs need to establish and promote their brand - not sell a monitoring tool. Hence, you need a monitoring solution that is customizable - so you can use your corporate logo, use your corporate color schemes, promote your service to your prospects and clients.
- With eG Enterprise, you can private label the service offering, so customers see your logo on their screen.
- Alert messages, reports, etc. are all branded with your logo.