Managed-services for SMEs

New company sells services management to software vendors and integrators catered for the SME market.

Hifive.net Inc. wants to propel integrators into the managed-services space and is offering a "virtual operations center" to get them there.

The company, launched Monday, offers a range of remote services that integrators can offer their customers. HiFive.net's services monitor network performance, e-mail service availability, Web server availability and security, among other functions. Partners can choose among the service offerings to create their own Internet-based virtual operations center for each customer network they manage, according to HiFive.net. The services are geared toward end customers with between 20 and 250 users.

"We're focused on giving consultants, integrators and VARs who support small and medium businesses the tools they need to become a management services provider," says David Greene, VP of marketing at HiFive.net.

Greene says about 30 resellers have been evaluating HiFive.net's services during an initial trial period. With the company's formal launch, Greene expects to sign up hundreds of resellers over the next three to six months.

One goal of HiFive.net is to make network-management technology more accessible to SMB customers and the resellers that serve them. Dave Carver, president and CEO of HiFive.net, says tools for network availability and security are "far too expensive for the customers we talk to."

Ron DeAngelis, president of JumpStart Technology, a network integrator in Los Altos, Calif., says his company had considered "building the type of infrastructure HiFive is offering." But acquiring the necessary software would have run into the tens of thousands of dollars, and the company also would have had to deal with installing equipment in a co-location facility and providing redundancy.

Instead, JumpStart plans to resell HiFive.net's capabilities, bundling the company's services with its own service plan, DeAngelis says. Greene says authorized resellers get a discount on the company's services, which list at $500 to $700 a month. Resellers, he says, wrap their services around HiFive.net's offering and set their own prices.

HiFive.net's business model isn't unique. Critical Devices, for example, sells asset services management through a cadre of service providers. And NetSolve offers remote network-management services through various partners.