Intermedia May Partner with Microsoft

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.

While Intermedia currently hosts all its own SAAS applications on its own infrastructure, Bob Leibholz, vice president of sales and business development, says Intermedia will likely look to partner with Microsoft in the future to meet some of its hosting needs.

"We are not averse to working with them," Leibholz says. "Particularly if we develop something that needs periodic bursts of computing capacity."

Microsoft's cloud entry, Azure, adds something that was missing to the cloud-based infrastructure marketplace, according to Intermedia executives: a dot-net-centric platform.

"If you look at the cloud-based infrastructures out there, a lot of them are Linux-based offerings," Essner says. "There's not a lot out there for Windows-based customers." Azure is the market's answer to that, he says.

To help its end customers and channel partners, Intermedia has developed a management application that will allow customers to sync user information for on-premises applications with their Active Directory to enable whatever services they want from Intermedia.

For example, a company with 100 users could just push a button and all its user information would get sent over to Intermedia. All the on-premises passwords are synchronized with all the off-premises passwords in a way that is transparent to users.

Leibholz says Microsoft's Online Services, set to be released in the next few weeks, may pose more of a threat than Azure. But Intermedia really isn't worried at all.

"It's created a lot more excitement in the user world," Leibholz says. "The world is our oyster at this point. Our growth rates are phenomenal. They haven't slowed down with the advent of Microsoft Online Services. I don't think their success will impinge on ours."

And MSPs and ISVs stand to benefit by the greater availability of cloud computing.

"ISVs tend to add layers of value to the offering by building code, applications and solutions," Essner says. "The Azure platform gives them a cloud-based infrastructure on which to add their value. They used to have to invest in hardware or software on which their app would run. They can now deliver that value on a cloud-based infrastructure without having to invest in infrastructure. ISVs are the channel partners that stand to gain the most."

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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