Dell Shutters PacketTrap RMM and PSA Apps

As Dell unveils plans to pump up its software division’s presence in the channel, it’s suddenly discontinuing PacketTrap managed services products. It’s the latest in a series of changes rocking the managed services segment.

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PacketTrap RMM and PSA packages are no more. Dell Inc. quietly shelved the products this week and laid off several members of the former Quest Software division. The move brings to an end a storied journey for the managed services tools and marks the latest twist in the managed services segment.

Dell made no official announcement in shuttering the PacketTrap line. Word started leaking out earlier this week after several former Quest employees received their layoff notices. Dell confirmed the discontinuation of PacketTrap’s remote monitoring and management and professional services automation tools to Channelnomics.

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"After much thought and consideration, Dell Software will not make additional investment for continued upgrades or future development of PacketTrap MSP and PacketTrap PSA. That said, we remain fully committed to our existing customers and will continue to provide to PacketTrap customers technical support, including patches/bug fixes for the duration of their entire support contract. Customers with existing support contracts will be able to renew their support contracts for the foreseeable future," wrote Steve Rosenberg, vice president and general manager of Performance Monitoring at Dell Software.

Unaffected are other Dell managed services products, including SilverBack (remote monitoring and management), Everdream (endpoint managed services), Blue Folder (field and professional services management software) and Foglight (remote application monitoring). The technology of SilverBack Technologies, a RMM vendor Dell acquired in 2007, is the foundation of its broader direct and indirect hosted managed services offerings.

“We will provide complete support for existing Foglight NMS and PacketTrap customers for as long as is required and reasonable. This will include technical support, including patches/bug fixes for the duration of their entire support contract. It is important to note that there will be no new versions beyond the existing v6.9 release, but Dell will provide updates to support future Firmware releases of currently supported platforms," Rosenberg told Channelnomics.

For PacketTrap, the discontinuation brings to an end of a long journey. Founded in 2006 by former SonicWall and VMware executives, it launched its first remote monitoring and management tool in 2007. In 2009, the company was acquired by Quest Software, which was rapidly expanding its automation and systems management capabilities. Through the acquisition of BlueFolder, PacketTrap added professional services automation (PSA) capabilities.

Many industry observers saw Dell has having a strong opportunity to become a much larger player in the managed services market because of the PacketTrap assets it acquired with the purchase of Quest Software in 2012. For the first time, a major vendor had the tools and market reach to press both sides of the managed services market with a holistic RMM and PSA package.

While managed services in the channel continues to drive tremendous revenue and profits for solution providers, it’s not the boon to vendors that many expected. In May, RMM vendors N-able Technologies was acquired for $120 million to SolarWinds and Level Platforms sold to AVG Technologies for less than $25 million. These two companies were considered RMM market leaders, but their small fetching price revealed weakness in the segment.

Dell is pushing deep into software and services. The Dell Software division, managed by former CA Technologies CEO John Swainson, is pushing a new strategy that will leverage Dell’s $5 billion investment in software acquisitions to develop capabilities in security, mobility, cloud computing, and Big Data.

In a recent interview with Channelnomics, Dell Software CMO Joanne Moretti said customers want consolidated end-to-end solutions from fewer suppliers. The strategy calls for Dell to continue to integrate assets such as SonicWall (security), Boomi (cloud management) and KACE (systems management) to create holistic enterprise solutions.

The opportunity for solution providers and systems integrators, Moretti says, is working with Dell as a consolidated supplier of technologies that work together that provide a better customer experience and better outcomes.

So if systems management is such a big and important opportunity for Dell, why is PacketTrap going away? It’s about the numbers. RMM and PSA are strong in the small business and midmarket levels, but are more like features in a broader portfolio for enterprise-focused companies. To build a big business requires a focus on higher level tools, where RMM and PSA have proven good at building sub-$100 million businesses.

A similar phenomenon is unfolding at Kaseya, which was bought out by venture capital firm Insight Venture Partners in June. With new management in place, Kaseya -- which always sold enterprise automation packages -- is squarely shifting its focus toward enterprise solutions. RMM and managed services remain a part of its portfolio, but the shift is definitively toward enterprise solutions.

Dell isn’t saying how long it will support PacketTrap RMM and PSA users. Managed service providers standardized on these tools will likely start looking for alternatives immediately to avoid getting caught in the future without Dell support.

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