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Building The World’s Fastest Remote Desktop Management – Part 2

Kaseya Remote Control

In his earlier blog post, Chad Gniffke outlined some of the key technologies underpinning the new Kaseya Remote Control solution in VSA release 7.0. This includes using modern video codecs to efficiently transmit screen data.

Going beyond these items, the engineering team at Kaseya has looked at every aspect of the remote desktop management workflow to shave precious seconds off the time required to establish a session.

In this post, we review three changes that have a big impact on both the time to connect and the experience once connected.

Keeping it Lean

When it comes to performance, what’s sometimes more important than what you do is what you don’t do. In the new Kaseya Remote Control, we have applied this principle in several areas.

When first connecting to a new agent, downloading remote desktop management binaries to the agent will represent a substantial portion of the connect time. With the new Kaseya Remote Control in VSA 7.0, this delay has been completely eliminated: Everything needed for Remote Control is now included with the agent install itself, and is always available for immediate use.

Likewise, the time to schedule and run an agent procedure against an agent has traditionally accounted for a large portion of the time to connect. Rather than attempt to optimize this, the new Remote Control doesn’t run an agent procedure at all. Instead, it maintains a persistent connection to the VSA server over a dedicated network connection that’s always on, and always available to start Remote Control immediately.

Making it Parallel

Establishing a Remote Control session involves a surprising number of individual steps. In broad strokes, we need to:

  • Launch the viewer application.
  • Establish a connection from the viewer to the VSA server.
  • Perform encryption handshakes to ensure each connection is secure.
  • Send Remote Control session details to the agent.
  • Wait for the user to accept the Remote Control session (if required by policy).
  • Establish relayed connectivity.
  • Collect network candidates for P2P connectivity.
  • Transmit P2P connection candidates over the network.
  • Perform P2P connectivity tests.
  • Select the best available network connection to start the session on.

But it turns out most of these steps can be performed in parallel – at least to some degree. For example, the information required to start a P2P connection to an agent can be collected while establishing an encrypted connection to the VSA. If user acceptance is required, a complete P2P connection can usually be negotiated long before the user approves the session. This dramatically reduces the overall time required to establish each session.

Utilizing the Hardware

Once connected to a remote agent, Kaseya Remote Control will start streaming full screen video data over the network connection, and drawing it to the viewer’s screen. The video codec under the hood ensures that a minimal amount of data is sent over the network, especially if nothing much is changing on screen. But on the viewer side, we still need to render the entire remote image to screen, at up to 20 frames per second. This can result in increased CPU load and battery drain on the viewer machine.

To reduce the impact on the viewer side, the new Kaseya Remote Control in VSA 7.0 now uses graphics hardware to scale and render the remote video content to screen. Modern graphics cards can perform these operations very efficiently, resulting in a reduced drain on system resources. This will be especially obvious when maintaining long-running connections to multiple remote agents.

Diving Deeper

These items represent a handful of the many changes going into our new Kaseya Remote Control to speed up connect times, and improve the experience once connected.

To find out more, stop by the Product Lab at Kaseya Connect in Las Vegas next week! And watch this space for a future post about the brand new P2P connection establishment technology that forms the backbone of our next generation Kaseya Remote Control.

Remote Desktop Management – Overcoming Browser Plugin Issues

Remote Plugin

The ability to efficiently manage remotely is a primary driver selecting an IT Management solution. For the last few years, we have relied heavily on browser-side plugins to deliver real-time remote control and behind the scenes remote desktop management tools via our Live Connect platform. Browser-side plugins have long provided us with an efficient way to deliver feature rich web applications that work across all major browser platforms. This efficiency is now in jeopardy due to changing attitudes on enabling plugins.

Browser manufacturers are releasing updated versions of their platforms on a more rapid cadence (Chrome and Firefox release new versions every 6 weeks). Over the last year, these updates have introduced new restrictions on plugins that have resulted in unplanned code changes and prolonged loss of functionality in some circumstances.

Installing and uninstalling plugins reliably has also increased in complexity. This aspect alone has made supporting plugin applications more difficult for software companies and even more frustrating for our users. In the case of Remote Control here at Kaseya, this is an important reliability issue that can no longer be compromised.

Browser manufacturers are becoming more like lightweight operating systems and are beginning to move in different directions. For example, Firefox is starting to move away from plugins altogether. Chrome is developing a proprietary plugin API which locks all plugin-based apps within their browser sandbox. This is primarily a security move by Google. Internet Explorer and Safari have not yet made a move on their plugin support, but we anticipate that this will happen soon.

So, the reports of the death of browser plugins may be an exaggeration, but not by very much. It doesn’t matter which browser you prefer, by the end of this year there are going to be very few opportunities for consistent plugin-based applications such as remote control.

So, if we can’t leverage browser plugins to deliver a great remote control experience where do we go next? The answer, oddly enough, is to return to an installed native application. An installed application provides us the ability to deliver a high performance solution with the ability capture and operate any aspect of a graphical operating system remotely.

You may be thinking that an installed app can solve these problems, but it brings back a host of headaches around distribution, installation, and communications that drove us to use browser plugins in first place. In addition, we want to continue to deliver an integrated management solution that includes remote control and the full breadth of other management capabilities for flexibility and efficiency.

Happily, Kaseya is in the position to help you succeed with remote desktop management in the post-plugin world. We are delivering a browser-free, highly performant installed application that connects in under six seconds to machines anywhere in the world. We can even do this over high latency, low bandwidth connections. We simplify the client-side deployment challenge by efficiently deploying the installed application with our agent so all the software you need to manage the endpoint, including remote control, is already there. Then finally we leverage a URI handler to seamlessly invoke the remote control capabilities from the comfort of the same browser the technical team uses to manage the rest of your environment.

Seem hard to believe? The coming out party for these capabilities will be at Kaseya Connect on April 14th. Stay tuned for more information, or better yet, register today for Kaseya Connect and come see it for yourself!

SaaSy and Smart

Is it time to get SaaSy and Smart with your IT Management solution?

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has become the solution for many areas of today’s businesses – CRM, HRM, ERP, Email, accounting, collaboration, field services, project management, office applications, recruiting, travel, etc., etc. Examples include Salesforce, NetSuite, BaseCamp, Office 365, Google Docs, QuickBooks, GoToMeeting, Concur, Taleo, Constant Contact; the list goes on. Arguably, most of these SaaS solutions are delivering the features, security, availability, and performance demanded by business managers. SaaS has become a way of improving services, freeing up resources, and reducing overall costs.

SaaS

So can SaaS for IT Management do this same thing for IT managers?

IT management is becoming increasingly challenging. Mobility, BYOD, virtualization, Cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT), etc. are all driving up IT complexity and making it difficult to keep management control. The technology is changing so fast it is impossible to keep up. Dr. James Canton, World Leading Authority on the Extreme Future, said, “Technology is changing at warp speed. If you were to disappear and come back after 90 days, the Net would have doubled, bandwidth would have increased by a third, and there would be a half a dozen innovations you would have missed.” If you are an IT Manager, you are afraid to take a vacation!

The right SaaS IT management solution may be just what is needed to help IT managers regain control of their ever-changing and complex world. With the right capabilities, SaaS IT management can allow the focus to be on keeping critical IT services working well for customers and users, rather than buying another tool, integrating another module, and updated another management software release.

Of course, for the hardcore IT manager, accessing his or her IT management solution from the cloud could be a bit scary. However, with the proper investigation and careful selection, SaaS is the IT Management answer for more and more IT organizations. But choosing the right solution can be difficult. So as you think about SaaS as a possibility, here are eight things to consider:

  1. SaaS Management Features: First and foremost, the SaaS solution must deliver the IT management features you need. It should be able to manage your entire IT environment – on-premise, cloud, and mobile – integrated into a single command center. It must allow you to manage every asset regardless of where it is: in the office, at home, or on-the-road. And you must be able to accomplish management actions with policy-based automation. Automation is the key to efficiency, and doing more with your current staff.
  2. Cloud Architecture: Look for a SaaS solution that is secure, reliable, and highly available. In particular, it must include secure, reliable access from the SaaS IT Management software to all of your IT assets, especially to the devices of your home office and mobile workforce. Technologies, such as FIPS certified 256-bit AES encryption, as part of smart agent technology, can allow easy anytime, anywhere, secure access.
  3. Breadth of Coverage: The SaaS IT management capabilities must be both wide and deep. Wide, meaning it addresses the full spectrum of management needs, such as monitoring, remote control, asset management, software deployment, patch management, anti-virus, backup, and security. And deep, meaning delivering these capabilities with a strong set of features — as in policy-based, automated deployment, configuration, execution, update, log, reporting, monitoring and remediation.
  4. Well Integrated: Too often, SaaS IT management offerings are limited to one or two functions. They provide remote control, or anti-virus, or patch, but do not integrate them all together. Insist on an integrated answer. Avoid choosing a SaaS solution that still requires inefficient, ineffective, “swivel-chair” or “Ctrl Alt” management.
  5. Manages Diverse Platforms: The platforms and devices you need to manage continue to proliferate. Windows and Linux, PCs and Mac, Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry mobile devices, networks, storage, servers, applications, physical and virtual – all need to be covered by the SaaS solution. With many companies moving to BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) and the IoT (Internet of Things), the challenge will only become greater. The SaaS vendor must be able to address these diverse platforms today, and have an architectural approach and a vision to cover your future needs.
  6. Fast Time-to-Value: One of the key reasons to move to a SaaS IT Management solution is agility, the ability to respond to demands, and move quickly. This can only be achieved if the SaaS vendor has the deep discovery, policy-based automation, and templates to help you begin managing new infrastructure and assets quickly and easily. Ease of implementation is key here.
  7. Simple Pricing: Avoid complex pricing models, based on a confusing selection of management modules, devices priced by size, number of CPUs, admin and user seats, etc. It will be difficult to keep track, and over time, your costs will grow beyond where you intended. Look for complete management packages, with simple pay-as-you-go, device-based pricing modules.
  8. SaaS Philosophy: Choose a SaaS IT management provider who is committed to SaaS, and has the financial strength to stay the course. A vendor with a focus on SaaS is more likely to have the architectural design, multi-tenancy, scale, security, and reliability features to ensure a positive experience today and tomorrow.

These eight areas provide an overview of the top considerations for SaaS IT Management. Over the coming weeks, I will explore each of these areas in a bit more depth. In the meantime, visit the Kaseya SaaS solution area to explore:

Give us your thoughts on SaaS!

MSP Pricing Results of 2013 Global Survey

2013-MSP-pricing-survey-resultsAre you confident that your pricing strategy is optimized for success? Do you know how your pricing strategy – and effectiveness – compares to your managed service provider (MSP) peers around the world?

To ensure you’re making informed pricing decisions, Kaseya has once again gathered data from more than 1,000 MSP customers, including some of the largest and most progressive MSP firms in the market today. In addition to overall pricing insight, this year’s survey takes a deep dive into today’s biggest IT service management trends – cloud and BYOD.

Check out the full MSP pricing report to see how your peers respond to the following questions:

What is your sales performance (CAGR during the past 3 years)?

A whopping 41% have seen growth of over 10%

What do you expect to be the top IT problem or need for your clients in 2014?

More devices on the network and the need for automation top the charts

What pricing model do you use?

A mixed bag, but a tiered model is most common

What is the average size of your monthly managed services contract?

30% are over $5,000

What is your pricing outlook for 2014?

30% are increasing prices

Get more insight, including cloud and BYOD pricing data, in our free MSP pricing report.

IT Operations Need Integrated APM Dashboards & Packet Data

There are many proposed approaches to Application Performance Management – one approach is collecting performance data from the application itself while the other is collecting application data from packet data by sniffing on the network. Fetching metrics from the application process itself yields valuable data such as memory, buffers, cache and other such application data which cannot be obtained from the wire. On the other hand, performance metrics from the network itself gives a good breakdown of response times and delays from the different components of the entire service.

Continue Reading…

Kaseya MSPs Rank Highest Worldwide for 2013

Way to go Kaseya MSPs! You’ve done it AGAIN!

It’s a new year, already filled with exciting changes and significant MSP opportunities. But for some of you, a few things remain the same, and selfishly, we are happy about that. The new MSPmentor Top 100 rankings for 2013 are out. In the table below, see how many MSPs running Kaseya were represented on the list:

MSP_mentoir_501_2013

Kaseya has always been at the front of the pack in terms of solutions that successful MSPs use to run their businesses. 2013 is no exception. Once again, we are honored and humbled by the fact that so many of the Kaseya MSPs continue to dominate the MSP Mentor 100 list for 2013.  Additionally, just over 51% of all 485 survey respondents use Kaseya.   Good for you! Congratulations from all of us.

Like proud parents, we are thrilled that our customers are seeing significant and sustainable growth in their own businesses. We are more excited that so many of you show up year after year on this list and with so many Kaseya customers ranked near the top, it’s a validation that MSPs CAN grow and DO grow with Kaseya. We applaud your hard work and we sincerely appreciate your partnership with us, both of which give us the information we need to continue to build – and support – the Kaseya Solution that powers your business. We remain committed to these areas because we know you count on us to do so.

No big surprise right? Not at all, and with so many Kaseya MSPs ranked on the list, it serves to highlight how our innovative customers are finding more and more IT task management work to be  automated and how more work is being done centrally and remotely. The industry pundits still take notice, too. These accolades reinforce our belief that product innovation still matters and that robust and efficient vendor support is still important.

As our annual user conference approaches – Kaseya Connect is April 29th – we can’t wait to see you all in Las Vegas to congratulate you in person. And we are ready to engage with you so and gather your feedback, organize it into valuable solution requirements, prioritize it for your use on our product road map, so that we can further our commitment to building the right solution that works well for so many of you.

For those of you who are not yet Kaseya customers, I hope you are ready see Kaseya in action. We invite you to see how and why the top MSPs power their business with us and I encourage you to register for a live, weekly Kaseya product demonstration.

As the saying goes, seeing is believing, and I think you’ll be glad you gave us a look.

MSP Pricing Results of 2012 Global Survey

For businesses that rely on a service delivery model, it’s a widely known fact that sound pricing management is the most effective way to grow your business.

Free 6-page report of results from 2012 global MSP pricing survey

As a managed services provider (MSP), did you ever wonder how your pricing strategy – and its effectiveness – compares to your MSP peers around the world?

With access to thousands of MSP customers worldwide, Kaseya conducted our annual global pricing survey to gain insight into the best practices of MSP pricing management. In this 6 page MSP pricing report, see replies from hundreds of your peers when asked the following questions:

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[MSP eBook] A Starter Guide to IT Managed Services

I had an interesting conversation with one of our IT managed services customers the other day.Free 21-page starter guide to IT managed services

We were discussing the journey he took as his IT managed services company grew from a one-man show to an 18-person managed services company with $3 million in revenue in just a few years. He said it was a tough transition, but it was worth it. However, what struck me was the motivation behind transforming the business.

Here is what he said: “I had been working for years in a break-fix model and was making enough money to be comfortable. Then it occurred to me. I had built a nice job for myself but it was far short of a business. And that’s what I really wanted. I wanted to build a business, and I knew that I had to get serious about managed services.”

It was the perfect light bulb moment. He had built a job but wanted a business.

Based on our work with thousands of MSPs worldwide, making the switch to MSP is worth the time and effort because MSPs are approximately 200-400% more profitable than non-MSPs. And MSPs are 3x to 10x more valuable than traditional VARs.

But as I’ve said before, its not easy. A successful managed service provider (MSP) business is reliant on a solid business strategy and service delivery model as well as finding the right technology for your needs. We can help you understand the steps you need to take in order to get started, all rolled into a 21-page IT managed services eBook that will will help you:

  • Develop and execute on a solid business strategy for running a managed services company - Companies that get the business part right and flub the technology part won’t grow very fast but will chug along and survive. On the other hand, service providers that use the right technology but can’t handle growth or manage daily operations will most likely fail. However, it’s companies that get both the business right and choose the appropriate management solution for their needs that are wildly successful. Running the business the right way is that critical. Read our 6 tips that you can use to build a profitable business model.
  • Choose the right IT systems management solution to help enable your vision – The managed services business model is enabled by the technology you use to deliver IT services to your customers. However, there are dozens of solutions. How do you choose the right one for your unique needs? IT systems management solutions come in several flavors based on the software’s architecture and we provide a summary – including feature and cost comparison – of the 5 common types of tools available.
  • Price your managed services fairly, competitively, and profitably - How do I price my managed services effectively? It’s the most common topic among our thousands of MSP partners worldwide. Using data from real MSPs, we provide you an insider’s look and a data-rich analysis of pricing scenarios used by a variety of service providers in various stages of the MSP development track. We give you step-by-step calculations to help you understand how to determine your operating cost and we provide you with a few pricing scenarios to help you understand business impacts and profitability analysis. Once you understand these data, you can leapfrog your peers (and truly deliver value to you clients) because you will gain a better understanding of cost, profit, and MRR/project/T&M portfolio calculations and analysis.
  • Avoid some common pitfalls – Do you need a crystal ball on your MSP journey? Learn from your peers as they share 4 common MSP traps to avoid so you can fast-track your success.
  • Understand the benefits that come with implementing managed services correctly – Read a case study to understand how an IT service provider successfully rolled out managed services for its customers and transformed into one of the largest MSPs in the country.

So, take a walk with us. Read this free eBook Starter Guide to IT Managed Services and learn more. Turn your job into a business. You won’t be disappointed.

Making the Switch from Break-Fix to Managed Services

Making the Switch from Break-Fix to Managed Services

Back in 2006, VAR Business suggested “98 Percent of Managed Services Is Chaotic.” At that time, they painted a bleak picture of the common pitfalls that break-fix VARs and other IT solution providers encountered as they attempted to transition to a managed services business model.

In the 2006 VAR Business report, they found that 31% of the companies surveyed felt that their managed service efforts had fallen short of their expectations and only 11% said that managed services had exceeded expectations.

My how far we’ve come.

In a recent Kaseya survey of nearly 2,000 MSP customers worldwide, we found that upwards of 85% generate recurring revenue for 12 months per year. More than 50% improved the profitability and productivity of their technicians by 100% within 90 days of completing an onboarding process. Their average client retention rate was high (very high).

The findings are compelling.

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Using IT Strategic Roadmaps to Win More, and Better Managed Services Contracts

Webinar Replay – Using IT Strategic Plans to Win More – And Better – Managed Services Contracts

Webinar Replay – Using IT Strategic Plans to Win More – And Better – Managed Services Contracts

MSP Service Delivery Best Practices – Using IT Strategic Plans to Win More – And Better – Managed Services Contracts (originally aired May 2012)

Led by services architect and service delivery expert John Kilian of AntFarm, Inc, this webinar presented MSP service delivery best practices for using IT strategic plans to win more – and better – MSP contracts.

As a sneak peak of the session, John’s presentation on MSP service delivery best practices:

  1. How to create an IT Strategic Plan that aligns with MSP client business needs
  2. How to protect your managed services revenue from poachers
  3. How to synchronize clients’ technology lifecycle to changes in their business
  4. How to “own” the plan

 

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