IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Meet the 2017 ChannelPro Vendors on the Vanguard

Say hello to our newest batch of lesser-known, up-and-coming, underappreciated providers of software and services for the SMB channel. You may not know them yet, but you’ll wish you’d found them sooner.

By ChannelPro

YOU’D THINK WE WOULD ALREADY KNOW every vendor worth knowing here at ChannelPro-SMB. In truth, however, we hear about emerging or overlooked companies with interesting solutions all the time. Based on input from readers and our own year-round discovery of new and notable products, here is our most recent crop of cool but unheralded vendors that just may be on the verge of greatness.

NETWORK-IN-A-BOX SOLUTIONS

Adar Inc.
There are many things to like about this Chicago company’s comprehensive IT-as-a-service solution, but the biggest may be its name: Nerdio. Priced on a managed services– friendly monthly subscription basis, the preintegrated, totally cloud-hosted system comes with virtual servers and desktops, built-in security and backup functionality, Microsoft Office 365 licenses, and remote management software. Since last December, moreover, the whole thing has been backed by a partner program offering lead-generation assistance, co-marketing dollars, sales training, deal registration, and more. getnerdio.com

Uplevel Systems

This Tigard, Ore.-based vendor makes an all-inclusive solution called Unbox that, unlike Nerdio, relies on a locally installed appliance and associated Wi-Fi access points to deliver tightly integrated networking, firewall, encryption, storage, and backup services. Users can access the system remotely via included virtual private network functionality, while MSPs can administer the system from afar using a browser-based management console or the company’s mobile apps for smartphones and tablets. uplevelsystems.com

CLOUD MONITORING AND MANAGEMENT

CloudHealth Technologies Inc.
Though it includes policy-based automation functionality, the strong suit of this Boston-based company’s public cloud administration tool is reporting. The system allows technicians to track customized usage, inventory, performance, availability, security, and cost metrics across a multivendor online ecosystem. Though originally designed for corporate IT departments, the system is available in an edition for MSPs and VARs that offers consolidated multicustomer management, white-labeled billing, and access to a partner program with training materials and other resources for launching and scaling a cloud solutions practice. cloudhealthtech.com

Unigma LLC
Anyone fed up with managing Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud Platform through separate tools should check out Framingham, Mass.-based Unigma’s unified cloud management solution, which technicians can use to automate tasks, monitor performance, and manage spending through a single pane of glass. Flexible pricing lets you pay $10 a month for each virtual machine, storage repository, or other cloud-based resource you wish to manage on a pay-as-you-go basis or get better rates through bundled plans with support for 25, 75, or 125 resources. unigma.com

Zoho Corp.
The Site24x7 website monitoring tool from cloud solution vendor Zoho., of Pleasanton, Calif., defines “website monitoring” in a delightfully broad way. In addition to the website itself, the system provides visibility into all of the on- and off-site cloud servers, network infrastructure, and application code behind it. There’s also usage analytics functionality and a white-labeled licensing plan specifically for MSPs that offers support for up to 40 sites for as little as $35 a month, if you buy a year’s worth of service up front. site24x7.com

MANAGED SERVICES SOLUTIONS

Auvik Networks Inc.
“Auvik” is the Inuit word for the snow blocks used to construct igloos. This Waterloo, Ontario-based company helps channel pros manage the building blocks used to construct networks, like routers, switches, and access points. A complement to, rather than replacement for, the products most MSPs already use, Auvik’s solution integrates with RMM software from ConnectWise and Continuum as well as the ConnectWise and Autotask PSA platforms. It also offers built-in tools for discovering, configuring, and monitoring network devices; troubleshooting network problems; and mapping network topologies. auvik.com

DataMAPt
Headquartered in Monument, Colo., DataMAPt makes an RMM system designed to be light on its feet. Entirely cloud-based, the system requires no on-site hosting infrastructure and its agentless architecture allows MSPs to keep a close eye on servers, PCs, laptops, databases, storage systems, network devices, and more without deploying CPU-intensive monitoring software on those systems. Even the pricing model employs a light touch: Fees are charged month to month based on usage, with no contracts or up-front capital outlays. datamapt.com

Servably Inc.
Like the name implies, RepairShopr, a PSA solution from Kirkland, Wash.-based Servably, is optimized for computer repair shops. As a result, it offers parts ordering and inventory management functionality, point-of-sale software for ringing up walk-in customers, and a complete module for running a cell phone repair business in addition to the ticket management, invoicing, and CRM functionality that more traditional systems provide. It integrates with a long list of third-party solutions too, including Dropbox, Paypal, QuickBooks, Slack, and Microsoft Exchange Online. repairshopr.com

Watchman Monitoring Inc.

“The fox,” said the Greek poet Archilochus, “knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” Count Baton Rouge, La.-based Watchman Monitoring among the hedgehogs. Unlike foxy RMM platforms that manage servers, routers, and storage arrays, Watchman’s solution focuses exclusively on Windows, Mac, and Linux workstations, offering proactive alerts when it detects an impending technical problem or expiring software license. The system adds a technical support menu to every endpoint it administers with links to your company’s website and online help resources, and integrates with RMM products from SolarWinds MSP, remote access software from TeamViewer, and the RepairShopr PSA system from fellow 2017 vendor on the vanguard Servably. watchmanmonitoring.com

STORAGE

Backblaze

We can’t verify that this San Mateo, Calif. company really does make the cheapest cloud-based backup solution on the market, as it claims to, but at $.005 per gigabyte a month for unlimited storage of server and NAS data, with no tiers or caps, it’s pretty darned cheap. You can back up unlimited data on desktops and notebooks running Windows or MacOS for $50 a year too if you want, and unlike some hosted archiving services, Backblaze doesn’t impose penalties for retrieving and deleting data or require multihour wait times when restoring it. backblaze.com

Nexsan Inc.
Nexsan, of Campbell, Calif., calls its Unity product a “hyper-unified” solution because it stores both block data and file data in one convenient place. There’s an integrated long-term archiving component as well, along with mobile apps for iOS and Android devices that let remote users access data on the go. The real icing on the cake, however, is the system’s built-in private cloud, which lets you equip customers with their very own in-house file sync and share system. nexsan.com

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