Dell has killed future development of its PacketTrap MSP, PacketTrap PSA and Foglight NMS software platforms, MSPmentor has confirmed. Dell will provide continued technical support, patches and bug fixes to existing customers. But Managed Services Providers (MSPs) running the platforms should start seeking alternatives, MSPmentor recommends.

Those products were relatively small offerings within the larger Dell Software business, which will be under the microscope when Dell announces earnings on Aug. 20. Still, the PacketTrap platforms in particular were highly valuable to hundreds -- perhaps thousands -- of MSPs for technology and business management. 

Dell's Decision Explained

In a note to MSPmentor, Steve Rosenberg, VP & General Manager, Performance Monitoring, Dell Software, stated:

"After much thought and consideration, Dell Software will not make additional investment for continued upgrades or future development of Foglight NMS, PacketTrap MSP and PacketTrap PSA. That said, we remain fully committed to our existing customers and will continue to provide to PacketTrap customers technical support, including patches/bug fixes for the duration of their entire support contract. Customers with existing support contracts will be able to renew their support contracts for the foreseeable future. We will also continue to sustain Blue Folder professional services for MSPs."

Rosenberg went on to explain the decision: "We made this decision based on where we think we can best serve our customers. Network monitoring, by nature, is a commoditized and not highly differentiated category. We have always excelled in solving the more challenging data center problems. This decision is part of a broader strategy aimed at energizing our existing portfolio and focus on product innovation to support emerging technology trends. While not easy to make, we feel this decision will enable us to further focus internal research and development resources on core monitoring technologies."

Next Moves for MSPs

For MSPs running PacketTrap, I recommend reaching out to alternative PSA and RMM providers to chart a migration to an alternative platform. 

As for Dell, this is the second time the company has essentially halted an MSP platform push. Dell previously acquired Silverback -- a remote monitoring platform that gradually faded from the MSP scene. More recently, Dell inherited PacketTrap when the computer giant purchased Quest Software.

Bigger Picture

My thesis: I think Michael Dell loves $1 billion market opportunities. My best guess is PacketTrap was a $10 million to $30 million business -- far too small to move the needle on Dell's quarterly profits. Hence, Dell's decision to exit the space.

By the way: Don't confuse Dell's PacketTrap decision with Dell's channel commitment. The company has made considerable strides with its networking, storage and data center partner initiatives. PacketTrap's death is unfortunate, but not a channel pullback -- though some MSPs will surely be shaken by Dell's decision to exit the PSA and RMM markets.