Beta Test: Hosted Exchange 2010 for VARs
Officially, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 is expected to ship sometime in the second half of 2009. In the meantime, VARs and managed service providers can potentially beta test Hosted Exchange 2010 ahead of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference 2009. Here’s how.
Yes, Microsoft has a public beta of Exchange 2010. But there’s a back door into the Hosted Exchange 2010 market — offered by Intermedia. The New York-based SaaS (software as a service) specialist, which manages more than 325,000 Exchange mailboxes, claims to be the world’s largest third-party provider of Hosted Exchange.
Impressive. But what’s next? The answer: Intermedia claims to be:
“the first company to offer a beta version of hosted Exchange 2010. Our beta community — composed of technology enthusiasts and industry veterans — is currently testing the platform’s capabilities.”
How are those tests going? And how can VARs rebrand Intermedia’s Hosted Exchange services as their own? The VAR Guy intends to ask Intermedia those questions during the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2009 (WPC09), starting July 12 in New Orleans.
Give Microsoft A Break
Heading into Microsoft’s partner conference, a lot of media pundits allege that VARs are confused by Microsoft’s SaaS strategy.
But let’s look at the bigger picture:
- All major on-premise software providers — from Microsoft to Oracle, SAP, Lotus, and so on — face friction as they strive to introduce SaaS-oriented strategies for channel partners. So SaaS in the channel isn’t a Microsoft-centric challenge. It’s a software industry challenge.
- Several Microsoft partners, such as Intermedia and Azaleos, have gained critical mass with various managed Exchange services.
- Now, many of those partners are introducing hosted versions of Microsoft SharePoint, hosted Unified Communications and so on.
- Plus, savvy VARs are tying Small Business Server to online storage and online security opportunities.
Challenges ahead? Absolutely. But so are the opportunities — including the forthcoming launch of Exchange 2010.