Autotask Community Live wraps up today in Scottsdale, Ariz. In addition to our interviews with CEO Mark Cattini and Senior VP Len Castanzo, MSPmentor heard plenty of cloud and managed services chatter about independenceIT, Intronis, N-able/SolarWinds (SWI) and more at the conference. Here are seven rumors in the hallways...

7. Sweet Spot: independenceIT claims to be the only hosted desktop/cloud app platform provider that (A) is pure channel and (B) controls its own technology. The company also targets the perfect-storm triple trend -- cloud, mobile and big data. Executive VP Seth Bostock mentioned that the company's hosted desktop focus started during the first ASP (application services provider) wave in the late 1990s. Executive VP Jim Lippie, an MSP and Staples/Thrive Networks veteran, seemed pleased with his career move to the channel-centric company. The two executives want to make independenceIT the de-facto channel alternative to Office 365 -- while also virtualizing additional non-Microsoft apps for partners to serve end-customers...

6. N-able's Cloud Upside for SolarWinds: When SolarWinds acquired N-able for $120 million last week, some critics openly wondered why SolarWinds was calling the deal an SMB cloud play. Here's a potential answer: N-able's Automation Manager technology empowers MSPs to manage on-premises, hybrid and cloud services -- starting from VMware and Hyper-V to IaaS. Watch for N-able to say more about managing Office 365 and Windows Azure services in the weeks and months to come. Marco LaVecchia and Derik Belair's key message to MSPs: You have to stay relevant with your customers as cloud services catch on.

Side note: N-able GM JP Jauvin was an early champion for the Automation Manager technology when he arrived at the company as a consultant then president. Now, he's running the N-able business for SolarWinds.

5. Coming Soon: Cloud backup and storage enhancements continue at Intronis. An informed source who knows how to summarize information really well told MSPmentor the following: The Intronis Spring Release 13 includes QuickSpin, which offers advanced data restore support for virtualized machines; an enhanced Intronis Partner Portal lined with greater customization, usability and managed access controls; and Branding Wizard, a new marketing and enablement tool that lets Intronis partners quickly create a customer-facing portal featuring their own logo, colors and specific information. The Intronis rumor: Watch for a hypervisor push beyond VMware to include Microsoft's Hyper-V.

4. Where Are Security Vendors?: AVG, the anti-virus company, had a major presence at the conference. McAfee had a presence in Intel's (INTC) booth. But rivals like Kaspersky Lab, Sophos and Symantec (SYMC) apparently sat out the event. In some ways I think that's a mistake: Next to storage, security has got to be one of the first things MSPs offer their end-customers.

3. Opening Soon: After opening offices across Europe, Australia and Beijing, Autotask is preparing to increase its localized US footprint. Watch for a potential office to open in Chicago soon.

2. Selling into Mid-Market Corporate IT: In case you didn't see MSPmentor's coverage earlier this week, Autotask apparently sees an opportunity to promote its SaaS platform to corporate IT departments that want to become service providers to company business units. 

1. Expanded Office 365 Open?: If you listened closely to Microsoft's keynote at the conference, the company seemed to be indicating that it's taking a close look at Office 365 Open -- a cloud partner program that allows VARs and MSPs to manage end-customer billing. Open is a promising offering, but it's only one small piece of the larger Office 365 portolio. I think that has left some partners frustrated -- and Microsoft knows it. If I had to guess: Changes/updates will be announced at Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in July. 

That's all for now...