Earlier this week, GroundWork Inc., the monitoring software developer, released GroundWork Monitor Core -- a free version of its GroundWork Monitoring Enterprise version. The release was really two moves in one for GroundWork -- which wants to more effectively target the SMB market and managed services providers (MSPs).

GroundWork has quietly repositioned itself over the past year or two. During the company's early years, GroundWork promoted its open source focus. More recently, GroundWork has said less about open source and more about business value.

GroundWork VP of Marketing and Business Development David Dennis explains the company's current market positioning. "GroundWork is an open platform with a lot open source features," Dennis said. "From a licensing point of view, GroundWork is not an open source. We don't use a GPL (General Public License). We pull everything into an interface so it can be fully integrated with other products."

"The fear for many is that, if they build something on open source, they don't know what their obligations are to share code with other people. They may have developed something that they don't want to share," explained Dennis, who maintains that this risk is not such a big deal for MSPs. "Ironically, the fears are less likely for MSPs," he continued. "The risk is more likely for technology providers that are actually writing software. MSPs are not likely writing a lot of code."

Dennis said GroundWork has steadily added MSP customers because it steadily adds new features and develops pricing models that attract MSPs. Features like multi-tenancy, server monitoring, and more have all helped to attract MSPs.

Still, GroundWork hasn't disclosed its MSP installed base. And no single vertical market accounts for more than 15 percent of the company's revenue -- so it's safe to say MSPs are a niche installed base for GroundWork.

GroundWork is taking multiple steps to grow that niche. "We're going to continue to enhance our hypervisor and cloud support for MSPs and others," Dennis said. "In the next couple of months, we will have enhanced our KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) support and enhanced our VMware vCloud support."

Additional insights from Joe Panettieri.