Review: Under The Hood Of 5 MSP Platforms - InformationWeek

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Review: Under The Hood Of 5 MSP Platforms

The CRN Test Center takes a look under the hood of some popular vendor platforms.

Review: LPI Level Platforms
www.levelplatforms.com


For about $4,000, small MSPs can set up up their own managed services. LPI Level Platforms offers a site license model instead of charging per device. The MSP license starts at $2,499 for three customer site licenses for one year and includes a NOC license with full partner benefits. The cost of the server is separate. Pricing for sites ranges from $5 per month to $200 per month for enterprises. Typical SMB prices start at $25 per month for up to 254 devices.

VARs that want to run their own managed service site have to install LPI's Managed Workplace on a Windows server. The agentless client called On-site Manager gets installed at customers' sites. On-site Manager only needs to reside on a single Windows server box.

 1. SilverBack Technologies
 2. LPI Level Platforms

 3. N-Able Technologies

 4. AdventNet

 5. Nagios
 
On-site Manager uses Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) for all Windows PCs and servers, including key Windows applications such as SQL Server and Exchange. For switches, routers, VoIP and IP-PBX devices, surveillance cameras, security card systems and all other non-Windows devices, the agentless software uses SNMP.

Managed Workplace arrives with about 75 templates to monitor specific SNMP and WMI messages for many devices and common Windows applications. The templates have all the alerts and monitoring rules required to detect problems in devices and applications. In order to match specific service levels, LPI allows solution providers to create and modify any default template.

The templates are written in XML so no coding is necessary. However, solution providers usually have to work with software vendors and LPI to create custom templates to monitor vertical software. The process is not difficult because new customizations can be created by copying rules from existing templates.

For security, On-site Manager uses Microsoft's Baseline Security Analyzer to perform periodic audits. The agentless client also seeks out known virus signatures and detects spyware and P2P clients. In addition, LPI provides a unique Web site monitoring solution for customers that are hosting critical e-commerce and business applications. The monitoring solution covers page response time and connection thresholds.

Through the device page in the Managed Workplace interface, MSPs can easily open remote connections in seconds. Level Platforms uses SSL tunneling to go directly to a site. Once inside a LAN, MSP technicians can use Telnet, VNC or any client used by customers to connect to devices.

Managed Workplace now arrives with a page dedicated to distributing and managing patches. The software uses the Windows Update Service through On-site Manager so customers do not have to install a dedicated server to schedule updates. Managed Workplace also provides a library of scripts to update any non-Microsoft software. With scripting, MSPs can create unique service rules to monitor and manage devices.

LPI now integrates with Intel's VPro technology. VPro provides stateless hardware management even when there is no operating system on a device. With VPro-ready PC and server systems, for instance, MSPs will be able to provide backup over the Web, even if these systems have been turned off by end users.

In addition to live Webinars, LPI has placed a series of case studies online that demonstrate many unique VAR services and how they are making money with them. The case studies are designed to encourage VARs to innovate and differentiate themselves from other MSPs.

LPI provides the most comprehensive set of Microsoft technologies in this group.

NEXT: N-Able Technologies

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