Cloud Communications

Cloud Communications Feature

August 09, 2010

Microsoft Highlights Opportunities for Hosting and Cloud Communications Service Providers

By Anshu Shrivastava, TMCnet Contributor

Microsoft (News - Alert) Corp. has said that it’s highlighting market opportunities for hosting and communications service providers as adoption of cloud services among small and midsize business (SMBs) continues to rise.

The company is highlighting these opportunities at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2010. Microsoft said that it’s helping service providers take advantage of those opportunities via its software, services and programs, enabling them to become trusted advisors and full-service IT providers to businesses.

John Zanni, general manager of Worldwide Hosting for Communications Sector at Microsoft, said that the company sees service providers becoming more important as the cloud becomes more predominant. “Given their experience in deploying and selling infrastructure and software as a service, businesses will depend on them for IT as a service.”

Zanni said that the next step for service providers is to look beyond their current hosted offerings to become full-service IT providers and trusted advisors to businesses.

Awareness of hosted services is increasing with 65 percent of SMBs using hosted software to some extent, while 73 percent of the remainder have considered it in comparison only 44 percent in the 2008 index, according to Microsoft’s global SMB IT and Hosted IT Index 2010, a survey of nearly 3,200 SMBs across 14 countries.

Additionally during the past several years, Microsoft said that it has heard from its service provider partners that they were experiencing lower churn rates among business customers using Microsoft Hosted Exchange (News - Alert), Microsoft Office Live Meeting and SharePoint when compared with those using basic POP or webmail services.

Company officials said that to further understand the impact of service adoption and churn, their company commissioned a study of 695 SMB executives and technology decision-makers in the U.S. and Europe in early 2010.

The study found that SMB customers that use enterprise-class e-mail and other online communication and collaboration services change providers half as often as those using basic POP or webmail.

Company officials said that this dynamic presents service providers with an opportunity to combine their existing network service offerings with enterprise-class e-mail to better serve their customers and improve their bottom line.

NetApp, a Microsoft partner and unified storage architecture provider, is helping service providers expand their business by developing differentiated services to meet customer needs.

Through the Microsoft Dynamic Data Center Alliance, the company integrated its disaster recovery solutions with the Dynamic Data Center Toolkit. The toolkit provides sample code and guidance for building cloud services based on Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center.

Company officials said that this gives hosting service providers the ability to offer enterprise-class data protection solutions for disaster recovery, clustered failover, and backup and recovery services to their SMB customers.

nGenX, a provider of cloud computing and managed hosting solutions based, recently announced Guardian GeoCloud, an automated cloud service. The company was able to work with NetApp to include enterprise-class disaster recovery in Guardian GeoCloud with the help of the Dynamic Data Center Toolkit.

Anshu Shrivastava is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anshu’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erin Monda
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