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Meet the 2021 Vendors on the Vanguard

Haven’t heard of them before? You’ll thank us for introducing you. By ChannelPro

2020 WILL FOREVER BE REMEMBERED as the year a novel coronavirus disrupted life across the planet. Channel pros will also remember it, however, as a year in which cloud adoption skyrocketed and security threats mushroomed amid an abrupt shift to remote work made necessary by that same global pandemic. With that as context, it’s no surprise that this year’s list of lesser known, up-and-coming, and underappreciated vendors is dominated by makers of solutions for managing cloud environments and safeguarding end users.



Image courtesy of Augmentt

RMM software is so 2005. With software-as-a-service solutions replacing endpoints as the business world’s most mission-critical assets, it’s cloud monitoring and management that matter now. Founded by RMM pioneers Gavin Garbutt and Derek Belair, of N-able fame, Augmentt aims to fill that need with cloud-native products for inventorying online applications and cost-optimizing them. A third system, still forthcoming as of press time, will add provisioning and day-to-day administrative oversight. There’s a “freemium” edition for newcomers too, along with separately billed setup and configuration help. 


Like Augmentt, CloudSphere makes cloud cost management software. The other items in CloudSphere’s bag of tricks, though, are a migration planning assistance system that exposes application dependencies, measures project risk, and more, as well as a cloud security posture management solution that helps you track security status across workloads, monitor compliance with regulatory mandates, and remediate vulnerabilities. Together, CloudSphere says, those three applications add up to a cloud governance platform that among other things can help Microsoft partners satisfy the audit requirements for earning the Azure Expert MSP credential. The products also support Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform.  


This cloud governance vendor parallels CloudSphere in supporting security posture management, compliance monitoring, and cost management. CoreStack also, however, draws on artificial intelligence to provide automated assistance with monitoring, alerts, backup, and patch management in AWS and Azure; anticipate future performance problems; automate online training; and more. 


Two things set this vendor’s platform apart from many of the other cloud management systems in this article: its emphasis on automated creation and management of private clouds in addition to public clouds, and its rich functionality for building cloud applications. Users can list those applications in a self-serve provisioning tool that enables on-demand delivery of operating systems, databases, web servers, and more on bare metal or in virtual machines and containers. The system comes with 100 built-in codeless integrations and extensive support for additional APIs. This is probably not the right product for cloud dabblers, but anyone hoping to collect the steep margins available to channel pros with application development and “infrastructure as code” skills should check it out. 


ManageX, from Nuvolex, seeks to be the single pane of glass Microsoft cloud partners have been looking for. The system’s multitenant interface lets you administer physical devices, SaaS applications, and IaaS services; manage cloud and on-premises identities; track license consumption; and more. A basic edition with support for the online edition of Microsoft Exchange, plus Active Directory and Azure Active Directory, goes for $35 per technician per month. The $55 a month professional edition covers Microsoft 365 and Azure too, while the $75 a month enterprise edition adds cross-tenant control over policy and security settings, among other things. 

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