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Software on demand already has changed the way applications
are sold and consumed, and now a new player is tweaking the model a little
further.

The newcomer, StrataScale, is adding flexibility and speed
to deployments and updates with its server management tool, IronScale, which
administrators can control through a secure Web portal. StrataScale, a
subsidiary of RagingWire Enterprise Solutions, says deployments and
configuration changes through the portal are possible in a matter of minutes.

For instance, a solution provider can provision a storage
server for a customer or change firewall rules in 5 or 6 minutes by logging on
to the portal and using IronScale’s dashboard, says Doug Adams, StrataScale’s
vice president of sales and marketing.

IronScale handles storage, backups, firewall and network
software on x86 servers and supports Microsoft Windows and Red Hat’s Linux
environments.

StrataScale is targeting IronScale at the small and midsize
business market through solution providers that either resell the software as a
service for their customers or integrate it with other applications and remote
management tools, Adams says. IronScale complements
managed services platforms from such vendors as Level Platforms and N-able
Technologies,
he says.

StrataScale is hitting the market as the on-demand software
and managed services models continue to gain traction and are expected to
outpace enterprise application sales. While customers are putting off capital
expenditures as a result of the current economic slump, many are turning to
service-based models because they are easier on the wallet. Businesses pay for
the technology in monthly fees as opposed to coming up with large capital
outlays upfront.

Capitalizing on the trend, Ingram Micro in December launched a service to sell hosted Microsoft software
to
SMB solution
providers.
 

Ken Loveless, owner of solution provider Western Business
Solutions, in Sacramento, Calif.,
points out that deploying a SQL Server attached to an SAN
(storage area network) solution costs as much as $50,000, which is too high for
a typical small business. Through IronScale, he says, that same business gets
access to the same high-priced technology for a reasonable monthly fee.

Loveless so far has used IronScale to provide disaster
recovery services for two customers. Western Business Solutions, he says, has
been a beta user of IronScale and plans to employ the tool in delivering
services to three or four other customers in short order.

Click here to read
about how the Bluewolf integration tool combines SAAS and managed services.

Loveless has embraced the SAAS model because he believes it
will become more and more prominent, he says.

"It’s definitely the future, and it’s kind of here now,"
he says.

Applications managed through IronScale reside in servers
leased by the customer from StrataScale, Adams says. Solution
providers earn a percentage of the fee the customer pays and have the option of
marking up their services when they integrate IronScale with other tools.
Providers, Adams says, also have the option of
delivering the service under their own brand, in a practice commonly referred
to as "white labeling."

StrataScale
makes IronScale available in three levels of bundled server environments, built
on dedicated, enterprise-class dual- and quad-core x86 servers. Each bundle
features RAID-configured SAN storage, dedicated bandwidth, VPN access, and
round-the-clock monitoring and management.