IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Eaton Readying Consolidated Management Platform for End-of-Month Release

Called Brightlayer, the nearly market-ready solution turns five previously separate systems into a single solution with a shared code base and multitenant interface. By Rich Freeman

Eaton Corp.’s power quality unit plans to ship the first official production edition of its Brightlayer management suite at the end of the month. 

The vendor discussed the forthcoming launch, some 18 months in the making, with ChannelPro during its annual partner conference in Phoenix this week.

The new solution provides a common platform for five separate solutions previously known as the Brightlayer Data Centers suite: the Intelligent Power Manager (IPM) device administration system; the Visual Power Manager (VPM) power infrastructure administration solution; the Visual Capacity Optimization Manager (VCOM) data center infrastructure management application; the Foreseer electrical power monitoring system; and Eaton’s PredictPulse remote monitoring service.

“It’s one code base that can be deployed however customers want, whether it’s on-prem or hybrid or cloud-centric,” says Mike Jackson, Eaton’s general manager of data center software.

Users can purchase and run as many or few of the new solution’s components as they want. Adding more later simply requires getting a new license key, rather than installing an entirely new application.

“It makes it much simpler from a sales standpoint,” Jackson observes.

The ability to host the solution in the cloud, along with its multi-tenant interface, will make the new system a welcome addition to the management portfolio for Eaton’s MSP partners in particular, he continues.

“The old way was you would have to deploy IPM and you would have to manage that particular instance for that particular site,” Jackson explains. “As an MSP, that was a lot of overhead, whereas now we have cloud-based centralized management.”

In a further benefit for MSPs, Brightlayer’s device management component integrates with the ConnectWise Automate RMM platform. IPM gained that functionality last June. Eaton has no further RMM integrations on its roadmap for Brightlayer now, but will begin developing more later this year.

“There’s been a pretty significant engineering effort around combining all the platforms, so we did take a break on some of the connectors and things like that,” Jackson says. 
“You’ll start to see those spin back up second half.”

Though Eaton itself and its largest partners are making big money now on power infrastructure projects for co-location data centers and hyperscale cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft, smaller solution providers increasingly find themselves competing with large account resellers and online electronics marketplaces for increasingly slim margins. As a result, more and more of them are adding managed monitoring, maintenance, and support services to previously hardware-oriented power practices.

“That’s the issue with everything we’ve seen related to the cloud. It’s all about scale,” says Herve Tardy, vice president of marketing and strategy for Eaton’s critical power and digital infrastructure division. “That’s why we see [smaller partners] moving to an MSP model, because MSP is easy to monetize for them.”

At present, paying for uninterruptible power supplies, power distribution units, or other power quality devices from Eaton together with Brightlayer as a service isn’t an option. “The initial hardware sale still has to happen,” Jackson says. “I don’t know if we’ll get to the point where it’s all wrapped into a single fee.”

About the Author

Rich Freeman's picture

Rich Freeman is ChannelPro's Founding Editor

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