At ConnectWise's IT Nation conference yesterday, the MSPmentor team met privately with a range of managed services and channel influencers. So what are we hearing during the briefings and meetings? And what can attendees expect from ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini's keynote later this morning? Here's the chatter.

1. Behind the Deal: During a meeting yesterday, Bellini said ConnectWise Capital ultimately invested in Quosal after Bellini read the book Flash Foresight, which describes how you can focus on hard trends (undeniable trends that can't be controlled) and soft trends (undeniable trends but you might be able to change or influence them). More thoughts on this soon...

2. Venture Capitalist Chatter: Doyenz, the recovery as a service specialist, has plenty of cash on hand and existing investors are willing to pump more money into the company. But CEO Ashutosh Tiwary says Doyenz is now speaking with venture capitalists about potential engagements, to help accelerate faster growth.

3. The Integration Kings?: Flowgear, a company in South Africa, wrote the new integration between ConnectWise and Asigra. Flowgear sees an opportunity to write roughly one MSP software integration per week in 2012 or so. Side note: I believe Flowgear's sister company hosts ConnectWise's software in South Africa. Sharp people.

Also, MailChimp is now integrated with ConnectWise. Who did the integration? Directive, an MSP and IT marketing company behind JoomConnect. Memo to MSPs.

4. Coming Soon: PacketTrap MSP is working on a interesting... well, stay tuned.

5. Updated Chatter: Whether MSPs stick with Zenith Infotech or explore BDR (Backup and Disaster Recovery) alternatives, one potential winner in the debate is StorageCraft. Indeed, StorageCraft has partnerships with many of the major cloud-based backup and disaster recovery services. As one source told me, StorageCraft is a bit like middleware that potentially allows MSPs to jump to alternative cloud storage services. Intronis and Datto are the most recent companies to partner up with StorageCraft, I believe.

6. Growth Mode: Datto, the backup and recovery company, has grown from roughly 15 to 65 employees in the past year, we've heard.

7. Industry Influencer: Several attendees have specifically mentioned MSP Excellence as a key organization helping vendors to build out channel partner programs...

8. Coming Together: Sophos (endpoint security) and Astaro (unified threat management) are attending IT Nation together. Best guess: Watch for growing synergies between Sophos and Astaro in the MSP market. Sophos acquired Astaro earlier this year.

9. Big, Healthy Deal: I could be wrong, but it sounds like VaultLogix has scored a major business partnership with McKesson. I think it's part of VaultLogix's growing health care partner initiative.

10. Familiar Names, New Company: Mark Crall and Steve Luby, formerly of Autotask, have joined gloStream to lead the company's partner team. gloStream specializes in EMR (electronic medical records) solutions promoted by VARs and MSPs.

 11. Quality Push: As LabTech Software scaled its sales earlier this year, MSPmentor heard from some readers who were concerned that LabTech wouldn't be able to keep up with support requests. However, LabTech CEO Matt Nachtrab says partner and customer satisfaction has increased from about 67 percent earlier this year to 92 percent now.

12. Next Moves: At a keynote later today, watch for ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini to potentially show increased integration between ConnectWise and LabTech. On the one hand, it's a tricky move because ConnectWise doesn't want to alienate partners that compete with LabTech in the RMM (remote monitoring and management) market. But on the other hand, the writing has been on the wall ever since ConnectWise Capital invested in LabTech: Yes, ConnectWise and LabTech will gain tighter and tighter integration. The trick for ConnectWise is to maintain open APIs and open relations with other RMM software providers.

That's all for now. MSPmentor's coverage of IT Nation continues today.