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Dear Hosted Exchange Provider,

My name is Dave Sobel, and I’m CEO of Evolve Technologies in Fairfax, Virginia, just outside of Washington DC. We’re a small managed services provider, delivering solutions in the SMB space. You probably haven’t heard of us, and that’s OK. What’s more important is that we’re representative of a typical small services provider in the space, and while one of us alone is not a massive partner, with a channel full of companies like Evolve, we are a big force in the industry.

I’m writing today to make tell you about an opportunity you may not be aware of to bring a large number of new partners into your channel. If you’re not aware, Microsoft has in beta a new product in the SMB Solution space, Windows Small Business Server codenamed “Aurora.” Designed to service the very small business, this product is a first server for a small business, providing onsite security, file and print sharing, but notably does not include Exchange, like other products in the SMB suite. This is an intentional choice, as Microsoft envisions using Aurora in combination with hosted solutions such as Office 365.

Aurora ships with a software development kit (SDK), which allows developers to write “add-ins”, pieces of software which extend Aurora to a third party solution. This is where you come in.

Microsoft is clearly going to develop an add-in for Office 365. This is a logical step for them, and one I fully understand. With the SDK, however, there is no reason why another provider can’t also write an add-in, integrating Aurora’s on premise Active Directory with their hosted Exchange platform.

Small solution providers such as my business are incredibly excited about the Aurora platform. With the proposed licensing arrangement Microsoft is positioning for Aurora not requiring Client Access Licenses, and combined with technologies like HP’s new Microservers, this platform is uniquely designed for delivering a complete managed service, solving the need for on-premise components and integrating with a cloud solutions. I’m very excited about the ability to supply an integrated on-premise and cloud solution to my customers on a monthly recurring basis rather than requiring investment in hardware, even if they have a need for an on-premise component.

However, as this product nears, no hosted Exchange provider has developed this critical integration and announced it to the SMB channel. I’ve been scouring for this key piece, and been unable to find it.

I believe that the first hosted Exchange provider to fill this critical space will win the hearts and minds of the SMB solution provider community. MSPs hoped that Microsoft would allow us to put Office 365 under our banner and allow us to resell the solution ourselves, keeping with our “single invoice” philosophy with our customers. Sadly, that has not happened, and thus as I build my complete managed service for the SMB around Aurora, the component I’m missing is an Exchange partner who will integrate with Aurora and allow me to bill the solution as a reseller.

I’m looking at you, Intermedia. I’m calling you out, Apptix. This one’s for you, Rackspace. This is your opportunity. Building this integration for Aurora will place you as the clear winner in the SMB channel, as you will have differentiated yourself from every other potential partner for MSPs to deliver this solution. The legions of partners who have been loyal to SBS are looking for this partner.

Are you willing to invest in this key piece and help my organization? I’m willing to commit to you as my Hosted Exchange partner.

I look forward to hearing from you,

In hopes of winning the cloud battle,

Dave Sobel

P.S. Fellow Solution Providers, if you think I’m right, there is a comment section below. I encourage you to add your name to this open letter.