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January 31, 2017 |

Datto Buys Open Mesh and Ships SMB Networking Solution

The new offering combines switches and access points from Open Mesh, a maker of cloud-managed networking gear, with Datto’s own networking appliance and management portal in an integrated package tailored to MSP business models.

In a bold move into an adjacent market, BDR leader Datto Inc. has acquired Open Mesh Inc., a maker of wireless networking devices headquartered in Lake Oswego, Ore., and launched a new line of comprehensive, SMB-focused networking solutions.

Named Datto Networking and available immediately in the U.S., the new product family merges Wi-Fi switches and 802.11ac access points from Open Mesh with a networking appliance that Norwalk, Conn.-based Datto developed in-house. That device, called the Datto Networking Appliance, or Datto DNA, is a 6-port router with onboard unified threat management and 4G LTE failover functionality.

Fully integrated out of the box, the complete Datto Networking package offers MSPs a simpler alternative to heterogenous networking environments and solutions tailored to the needs of large businesses, according to Matt Richards, vice president of product marketing at Datto.

“What’s in the market are very often enterprise, complex, highly capable products that aren’t designed for SMBs,” he says.

Datto Networking, by contrast, is designed for maximum ease of deployment. To install a new access point, for example, technicians need only scan a QR code on the device via a mobile app. The rest of the setup process is fully automated.

“It takes a couple of minutes,” Richard says. “It boots and that’s it.”

MSPs can also configure new switches, restart routers, and perform almost any other management task likely to be required over the cloud through the same web-based management portal they use to administer Datto’s BDR and file sync and share solutions.

“Reducing truck rolls is really the goal” for MSPs, Richards notes. “The more you can do remotely, or so simply that anybody can do it at the end point, the more efficient your service delivery can be.”

Like the rest of Datto’s products, the new one comes with a 3-year warranty on hardware components and is backed by round-the-clock support. It also features the same subscription-based, per-device fee structure as Datto’s other solutions, with discounts for volume purchases, and is billed through the same consolidated invoice.

“The pricing to MSPs is extremely competitive,” says Richards, who declined to provide detailed rate information. Together with its comprehensive feature set and ease of use, he continues, Datto Networking’s affordability enables MSPs to add managed networking to their current service offerings just as SMBs are beginning to upgrade to the 802.11ac standard.

“Providing an MSP with an extremely simple and cost-effective, efficient suite that can help their customer base make the transition to 802.11ac over the next few years is really a tremendous opportunity,” Richards says.

As ChannelPro reported earlier, Datto originally planned to introduce Datto DNA in June at the U.S. edition of its annual DattoCon partner conference. The company delayed that release at the last minute, however, in response to feedback from MSPs clamoring for features not originally included in the device, including Wi-Fi connectivity and failover support. The company has since added not only those but a host of other capabilities as well.

“It’s now really a full-blown UTM firewall,” Richards says, with built-in intrusion detection, content filtering, port scanning, and more. “It’s taken quite a bit of time to get it production-ready, but we’re there now.”

The decision to purchase Open Mesh followed Datto’s realization that a complete SMB networking solution requires more than the functionality provided by Datto DNA. Open Mesh’s cloud-managed switches and access points are currently used on more than 90,000 networks serving millions of worldwide users.

“It’s proven, rock solid technology,” Richards says of those products, adding that Open Mesh shares a commitment to through-partner sales with Datto as well. “They are 100 percent channel driven,” he says.

Terms of the Open Mesh acquisition were not disclosed. The company will operate as a subsidiary of Datto under its current name, and continue selling hardware through partners, in addition to supplying components for Datto Networking.

Datto, which introduced a file sync and share solution last March, has been expanding into new markets from its base in BDR over the last year. According to Richards, networking is a natural product line extension for a company like Datto with a heritage in protecting business data.

“If we’re going to protect business data that needs to include the network, because that network is vital to accessing and working with business data,” he says.

Though Datto has no plans at present to link its networking solution more closely with its other offerings, that remains a possibility for the future. “There is, of course, opportunity,” Richard says.

Datto Networking switches and access points are available now in Canada and Asia in addition to the U.S. The Datto Networking Appliance will reach those markets as well later in 2017. Datto plans to introduce the entire Datto Networking suite in Europe toward the end of the year.

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