Microsoft Exchange Hosting Giant Intermedia Says Azure Will Benefit MSPs, ISVs

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

The Microsoft Azure Services Platform will open new doors for IT solution providers, especially MSPs and ISVs, says Intermedia, a giant in Microsoft Exchange Server hosting. Intermedia, which has 3,000 channel partners of its own, says Microsoft's Azure is not competitive with software as a service, but provides a back-end infrastructure that is complementary to SAAS offerings.

Sales executives at Microsoft Exchange Server hosting giant Intermedia say Microsoft's release of its Azure Services Platform will likely open new doors for solution providers, particularly those that are managed service providers or are dabbling in software development as ISVs.

It is those types of solution providers that will most benefit from the momentum behind moving some applications and infrastructure into the cloud, according to Intermedia. And with a big name like Microsoft behind such an initiative, customers may be more likely to make the move.

"One of the biggest barriers for channel partners has been their question of whether it's OK to move data to the cloud or not," says Danny Essner, director of marketing at Intermedia. "Microsoft's launch of Azure provides one more proof point that will help channel partners" make that sale, he says.

Indeed, Intermedia pointed out the benefits of Microsoft's market entry into the hosted Microsoft Exchange business in spring 2008, even when Microsoft's move made it competitive with Intermedia.

Intermedia is a top provider of hosted Microsoft Exchange and other SAAS (software as a service) hosted applications, specializing in end-user businesses of 20 to 200 seats. Intermedia also counts more than 3,000 of its own channel partners, from very large Fortune 500 companies to small "guys in a garage" solution providers.

Essner says Microsoft's Azure is not competitive with Intermedia's SAAS offerings.

"We think it is very complementary to us," he says. Essner points out that cloud computing is quite distinct from SAAS. Cloud computing represents the platform for applications, while SAAS consists of the applications themselves.

Intermedia allows its channel partners to private-label its hosted application services, and ownership of the end customer is something that solution providers have said is important to their future in SAAS sales.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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