GFI Max, which develops a portfolio of software for managed services providers (MSPs), has grown its installed base to 7,000 customers, up 40 percent in the past 12 months or so. The growth comes as GFI Max's parent, GFI Software, pursues a potential initial public offering (IPO). So how is GFI Max growing -- and where is the company heading next? Here are some clues.

Generally speaking, GFI Max targets small MSPs and VARs that are pursuing recurring revenue business models. General Manager Alistair Forbes has provided a steady hand over the GFI Max business, which was born from GFI Software's HoundDog Technology acquisition in 2009. GFI Max's portfolio has grown to include remote management, mail security, managed online backup and managed antivirus. MSPs use those services to support end-customers across 125 countries.

GFI, like many remote monitoring and management (RMM) platform providers, has pushed beyond Windows management to support Mac OS X and Linux servers. And gradually, GFI Max has been integrating each of its tools into a single, all-encompassing dashboard.

So what's next? Keep a close eye on Monitis, a web and cloud systems monitoring platform. It allows MSPs to monitor end-user experience and uptime for websites; databases and Java performance on servers; and virtual instances up in the Amazon EC2 and S3 clouds (among others).

GFI Software acquired monitis in October 2011. I think it's a safe bet you'll see more and more GFI Max-Monitis synergies emerge over the long haul.

Side note: I don't know if the GFI Max business is profitable. I do know the GFI Software business has been expanding quickly. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2012, overall GFI Software billings were $158.9 million — up from $140.5 million in the corresponding nine months of 2011, according to an SEC filing that describes potential IPO plans. But I believe GFI Software, like many privately held companies focused on growth, also generated losses during the period. Check out the SEC filing for details.