Datto Open Mesh: You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
One of the more exciting news stories in business continuity this year was the announcement of the Datto Open Mesh acquisition. The merger was widely hailed as a brilliant move that would benefit both Datto’s and Open Mesh’s huge customer bases around the world, as well as the managed service providers (MSPs) that serve them.
In the months since the acquisition, Datto has rapidly expanded its new Datto Networking suite of products (which it launched simultaneously with the Open Mesh merger). And just last week, Datto announced its new L-series switches for cloud-managed layer 2 functionality and Power over Ethernet (PoE) – a direct result of the collaboration between the two companies.
Today, we take a closer look at how the Datto Open Mesh acquisition went down, why it makes sense and what it could mean for companies like yours.
Filling a Gap in Business Continuity
After Hurricane Harvey hit Texas last month, Datto mobilized its disaster response team to assist businesses in affected areas. The team came equipped with several SIRIS 3 BC/DR devices, Datto Networking Appliances (DNA), wireless access points, switches and other gear.
Datto’s response, by itself, reveals something important about business continuity in IT: it’s not just about the data.
Disasters can impact your infrastructure in numerous ways beyond simply lost data:
- Your network devices can go offline
- Switches and other components can fail
- LAN cables can be cut, burned or submerged in water
- Whole sections of your building can lose Internet access and not be able to use the critical apps that your business depends on
Granted, if you’ve deployed a BC/DR device like the Datto SIRIS 3, you can be sure your data is safe in the cloud and accessible from any Internet-connected device. But you’ve still got your network infrastructure problems to resolve:
- Even if the problem is relatively minor, such as a single access point being down, you need to identify which one, run diagnostics, replace it, configure it and so on – and there goes a whole day of work for one of your business IT folks.
- If the problem is major, such as a hurricane flooding your office, you may need to rebuild your network infrastructure on the fly somewhere else, or start over at the flooded location once it’s accessible.
In both scenarios, you’re losing time and money with each minute that your network isn’t optimally restored. That’s regardless of the status of your data.
The point is this: A disruption to your network is a disruption to your business. Regardless of the scale of event, the impact comes at a cost. So it’s in your best interest to resolve any issue as quickly and efficiently as possible.
In recent years, Datto has established itself as a leader in business continuity solutions. So it made sense that the company would expand further beyond data and into network continuity. In 2015, Datto announced its DNA router with remote configuration capabilities and 4G LTE failover for “always connected networking.”
But that was just the first step toward its new 360-degree approach to business continuity.
Datto Open Mesh: A Closer Look at the Acquisition
On January 31, 2017, Datto and Open Mesh issued joint releases announcing the acquisition, which Datto said would further “Datto’s vision to provide the most comprehensive set of data protection solutions” to organizations worldwide.
Here’s a brief refresher on both companies, which illustrates why the merger makes sense:
Founded in 2007, Datto is known primarily for its integrated suite of hybrid-cloud data backup solutions for small to enterprise businesses, delivered through a network of MSP partners around the globe. Its flagship product, the SIRIS 3, is a fully integrated data protection platform that enables backup, recovery and business continuity for local, virtual and cloud environments within a single platform. The company is based in Norwalk, Connecticut, and has at least eight additional offices around the world, including its Boston location for Backupify—the cloud-to-cloud backup provider that Datto snagged in 2014.
- Open Mesh
Also founded in 2007, Open Mesh helps customers manage more than 80,000 networks around the world with its cloud-based network management tool (CloudTrax) and cloud-managed WiFi access points and switches. These solutions help companies to rapidly deploy, manage and scale networks (from one access point to thousands across numerous locations) with nothing to configure onsite.
While we don’t know how long the Datto Open Mesh plan had been in the works, it’s clear that Datto had already been thinking beyond the merger itself.
While Open Mesh continues to operate out of its Portland headquarters as a subsidiary of Datto, the acquisition enabled Datto to simultaneously launch its new Datto Networking business: “a complete collection of high performance, fully integrated networking solutions” that includes the Datto DNA and the Open Mesh-created switches and WiFi access points.
What the founders had to say
Understandably, for two successful, industry-disrupting companies of their size, the acquisition was a big deal—one that would have implications for the companies’ massive distributor networks, their customers and their employees.
Here is how the founders of the two companies framed the merger in their respective announcements:
Austin McChord, Datto CEO & Founder:
- “Open Mesh’s team, solutions and commitment to the channel make it a perfect fit for Datto as we continue to expand our offerings to cover the spectrum of data availability and connectivity which starts with a company’s network. Companies simply can’t afford downtime. Our acquisition of Open Mesh and our expanded Datto Networking line gives our MSP partners even more opportunity to provide value to their customers.”
Michael Burmeister-Brown, Open Mesh Founder:
- “When we met the team at Datto, we discovered a company with shared DNA. The common vision, culture and commitment to IT service providers is uncanny. Datto is disruptive, innovative and extremely customer focused. While we weren’t looking to be acquired, we’ve found a natural home within Datto that positions our partners, our customers and Open Mesh for continued growth and success.”
It’s not just about continuity, either
By joining forces with Open Mesh, Datto is becoming more of an exclusive, one-stop shop for IT infrastructure. (Or, more accurately, the company is helping its MSP partners become that one-stop shop.)
Companies who already trust Datto for its backup technologies are likely to trust the same brand for its networking components (especially at the advice of their MSPs, and especially if Datto’s products can make their infrastructure smarter, more efficient and affordable).
But also, a company doesn’t have to know the Datto name to see the value of Datto Networking.
Consider, for example, a new hotel that wants to deploy dependable WiFi across the location as quickly and efficiently as possible. The hotel’s MSP is likely to recommend Datto, even if the hotel isn’t necessarily concerned with business continuity solutions. That’s because of the power of the technology itself and because this new approach to managed networking is simpler, more efficient and more cost-effective than the old way of selecting hardware from a range of providers and painstakingly managing it all on-site.
Talk nerdy to me
Wait a second. So, what is it about Open Mesh’s products that Datto found so special?
Glad you asked.
Let’s take a closer look at the cloud-managed gear we mentioned above.
WiFi Access Points
- Open Mesh’s WiFi access points are innovative for a number of reasons. The deployments are a network admin’s dream come true. You simply scan the device (with the CloudTrax smartphone app), plug it in and it’s all set.
- Configuration is virtually automatic and it also performs self-healing and automatic failover for coverage in hard-to-reach places.
- Each access point can be mounted in numerous ways (walls, ceilings, poles, junction boxes, etc.), indoors or out.
- You can schedule maintenance to minimize disruptions.
- Automatic alerts notify you if an access point goes offline.
- The beauty of Open Mesh’s switches is that you can configure them from anywhere without ever touching them.
- Once the switch has power and Internet, it’ll connect to CloudTrax to get its configuration and start reporting data.
- The cloud management gives you and your MSPs much greater visibility into your network, which makes debugging way easier. You can drill down to switch ports and connected access points and even power cycle devices, all via the cloud.
- New L-Series switches announced this week offer layer 2 functionality with Power over Ethernet (PoE)
- CloudTrax is the configuration brains behind these switches and access points. It’s a cloud-based network management tool that lets you easily create networks, add access points and switches and manage it all from a single interface.
- With no need to configure anything on-site, CloudTrax enables you to scale a WAN from one access point to thousands across multiple locations.
- The dashboard provides full visibility into network devices on your network, including operating system, nearest access point, connection performance and more.
- You can upload building floor plans to designate the location of access points for easier reference.
It’s only been eight months since the Datto Open Mesh acquisition, so you can bet we’ll see more fruits of this partnership in the months and years ahead.
Stay tuned for more updates at http://invenioit.com/blog/. And for more information on Datto’s suite of business continuity and managed networking solutions, contact Invenio IT at (646) 395-1170 or [email protected].