SEA Adapts Messaging App For MSPs
January 23, 2019 Alex Woodie
When it comes to managing workloads and applications, managed service providers (MSP) have a unique set of requirements. Due to these requirements, MSPs that run IBM i workloads often end up building their own systems management and monitoring software. With a new release of its message management software, Software Engineering of America (SEA) now has an out-of-the-box solution for MSPs.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a steady uptick of interest in private cloud environments hosted by MSPs. In the IBM i space, there are now dozens of MSPs operating in the market, including many former IBM business partners who switched over to the private cloud business model as Power Systems server sales slowed.
SEA has taken this shift in stride by marketing and selling its message management software for IBM i, called absMessage, to MSPs. Not all of the MSPs have private cloud environments, notes Jeremy Sacher, IBM i technical sales manager with SEA. Some MSPs provide management and monitoring service for IBM i servers that remain on premise. In either case, business is growing.
“We are working with more clients on the MSP front now,” Sacher says. “Over the past three years or so, we’ve been working [with MSPs] more as more people move to this cloud environment, whether cloud-hosted or on-prem.”
One of SEA’s MSP clients is First National Technology Solutions (FNTS), which uses the absMessage web console to monitor their clients. “We were using the Halcyon monitoring software and decided to convert to absMessage,” states Richard McColly, a midrange systems engineer with FNTS. “We are successfully using it on over 40 partitions for multiple customers.”
This month, SEA unleashed a new version of absMessage that sports a new GUI aimed at the MSPs clients. The new Web-based interface, which the company developed using the latest AJAX technology and which it calls Service Points, will assist MSPs in their goal to closely monitor multiple IBM i environments simultaneously.
“We’ve been working with a number of MSPs, and they’ve had a need to be able to more easily manage and monitor their clients,” says SEA COO Jatin Thakker. “We developed an interface that’s really geared toward their type of business and having to manage clients and monitor their system activity by client. So rather than seeing a list of systems, now you can organize systems by customers and see their status.”
The new Web console lets users organize systems by customer. It also lets them color code system names, which makes it easier to identify customer system, and provides greater visibility to system messages for quicker response. The UI was also streamlined to make it easier to critical messages, the company says.
“What we’ve done is we’ve really given them a much better interface to identify customer systems more easily, get more visibility into those system message for that specific customer, and reduce clutter around that,” Thakker says.
While the previous version of absMessage also had a Web interface, the user interface was not customizable, and the system information that it displayed was static. MSPs could use absMessage to track messages and logs generated by various IBM i subsystems. But the information was not presented as clearly as it should have been.
“Before it was just pulling from the i . . . the system name, maybe the job information, the message ID,” Thakker says. “This new interface allows the customers to define the system name. So if you have customer A, they can put all the information from customer A so they can see that their environment. And they can easily partition these customers into different areas, where everything would just be all on the screen.”
The new software should make MSPs more productive, Thakker says. “This really makes the job of the MSP a lot easier — whether they’re an MSP or a customer with a lot of LPARs and systems,” he says. “Even if you have three or four clients and they each have an LPAR, you still want to keep that data separate if you want to drill into it.”
absMessage is the first product to get the Service Points treatment with an eye toward improving adoption by MSPs, Thakker says. But the company does have a roadmap that calls for additional products to get better UIs, he says.
“absMessage is the first area we’re addressing. It seems to be one of the primary objectives or requirements as we work with MSPs,” he says. “This was the first one we’re looking at . . . . There’s other things that we’re going to be releasing in the next quarter or two.”
SEA, which is based in Garden City, New York, is the developer of absMessage. It also has a partnership with Raz-Lee to distribute its IBM i security software in North America.
Editor’s note: This article has been corrected. absMessage previously was developed by Seneca Technology, but it’s now developed by SEA. IT Jungle regrets the error