Synnex, the distributor, is preparing a one-million-node managed services freemium strategy, sources reiterated today. Those sources say Intronis, Reflexion and Level Platforms will likely participate in the effort, potentially empowering MSPs with online backup, spam filtering in the cloud, and remote monitoring and management (RMM) software. Here's the story so far... and the potential implications.

Let's start with a qualifier: Synnex has declined multiple times since November to comment on this story. Sources within the MSP community say an official Synnex announcement has been pushed back multiple times. And now, those sources add, Synnex may delay the announcement until after the holidays in order to, ahem, maximize potential channel media coverage.

Meanwhile, Synnex has been briefing multiple solutions providers about the freemium managed services strategy, sources say. Synnex had been working with IT Control Solutions in the managed services market, but that relationship ended around November 2010. Now, multiple sources say Synnex plans to offer its former IT Control Suite customers Level Platforms' Managed Workplace solution. Moreover, it sounds like the Synnex freemium strategy will include versions of Reflexion (SaaS anti-spam) and Intronis online backup.

Ironically, former IT Control Solutions Channel Chief Ted Roller joined Intronis as channel chief in July 2010. I've reached out to Roller (Intronis) and Reflexion for comment about the potential Synnex partnership. Neither company replied before I pressed publish on this blog post. Meanwhile, Level Platforms declined to comment.

UPDATE, 10:55 P.M. Eastern, Dec. 17: Sources say Synnex will offer a freemium version of Reflexion, with upgrades to full email security, and bundles for archiving and encryption. The freemium edition will apparently be bundled with Level Platforms' software for roughly 1 million potential users. The bundles are expected to target corporate compliance opportunities related to Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA, the sources add.

What's At Stake?

This is both a managed services story and a cloud story. Multiple distributors are developing cloud strategies -- but many of the strategies remain incomplete, as TalkinCloud (MSPmentor's sister site), reported this morning.

Generally speaking, the Ingram Micro Cloud and Ingram Micro Seismic efforts have made the most noise among MSPs seeking cloud and managed services solutions from distributors. But the Synnex one-million-node freemium strategy is worth watching. The big question: What will Synnex give away to MSPs... and what will the MSPs ultimately pay for?

To understand freemium in the IT channel, take a look at N-able Technologies. In late 2009, N-able introduced a freemium strategy that allows MSPs to put free monitoring software on customers' systems. The MSPs could gather system information, and then use the data for potential upsell opportunities. Just an educated hunch but I suspect Synnex will pursue a similar strategy.

As soon as MSPmentor confirms more details we'll share them.

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