In recent days, I've been checking to see if/when Kaseya planned to launch SaaS-centric IT systems management tools for VARs and managed services providers. I just stumbled onto an official answer from Virtual Administrator, a long-time Kaseya partner. Sometime today, it sounds like Virtual Administrator will announce the availability of cloud-based IT systems management tools powered by Kaseya. Take a closer look and you'll discover some important clues about branding and cloud tool pricing. Here's the update.

Let's start with branding. A few months ago, Kaseya's forthcoming online tools were positioned as SaaS tools. Now, Kaseya seems to be describing the tools as cloud offerings. The move reinforces the ongoing race to brand and search engine optimize around cloud computing.

Kaseya and Virtual Administrator are long-time partners. Virtual Administrator for more than two years has offered the traditional Kaseya platform as a hosted service for VARs and MSPs. Now, Virtual Administrator is part of the "Kaseya On Demand Partner Program" -- which gives Virtual Administrator the right to offer Kaseya's new cloud-based tools to solutions providers. I'm checking in with additional partner program members to see if they're set to offer the tools.

As expected, Virtual Administrator is offering Kaseya's IT Toolkit, IT Workbench and IT Center tools to partners. But there seems to be a new twist on pricing. I could be wrong, but I think the prices listed on Virtual Administrator's website are more aggressive than Kaseya had planned in early 2010.

Still, it's important to look beyond pricing. No doubt, product features and functions vary greatly as MSPs evaluate a range of SaaS (oops... Cloud) and on-premises tools.

Longer term, I'll be curious to see how Virtual Administrator and other Master MSPs balance their Kaseya messaging with additional services. Virtual Administrator, for one, also offers Intronis (online backup), Spam Soap (spam filtering), SonicWall and web site development services. I'll also be watching to see if Kaseya and other partners make additional cloud announcements this week. I suspect Virtual Administrator's announcement was timed to coincide with Kaseya's own cloud efforts...

Small Business Moves

Meanwhile, Kaseya's cloud offerings arrive one week after Kaseya launched a Small and Medium Enterprise Edition -- an on-premises software platform.

I've received a couple of calls from readers alleging Kaseya plans to sell SMEE direct to really small businesses and bypass MSPs along the way. But Kaseya says its channel strategy remains intact.

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