Hosted Exchange 2010: Will Channel Partners Sign Up?
Software as a Service (SaaS) specialists like Azaleos and Intermedia are preparing to offer hosted Exchange 2010 to their customers and channel partners. Plus, virtualization specialists like Parallels are striving to help channel partners speed their SaaS application deployments. The big question: Can third-party hosting companies stay ahead of Microsoft’s own Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) and hosted Exchange 2010 efforts? Here’s the scoop.
Let’s start with official news. Azaleos today disclosed that it will expand its managed Exchange Services to support Exchange 2010 when it ships later this year. No surprise there. Eager to stir upgrades, Azaleos also is offering a free basic upgrade to E2010 and migration of 500 mailboxes. Sounds sweet. But Azaleos isn’t alone.
Intermedia is already hosting a beta version of Exchange 2010 for channel partners. The company has offered a hosted Microsoft Exchange 2010 beta since May 27, 2009. Just yesterday (Sept. 29), Intermedia announced plans to extend the hosted beta. It’s a safe bet Intermedia will go live with the general release of hosted Exchange 2010 as close to Microsoft’s official launch date as possible.
Meanwhile, Parallels continues to promote Parallels Automation for SaaS — a platform that allows hosting providers to speed their deployments of Hosted Exchange, SharePoint and Dynamics CRM, among others. Perhaps best known for its Mac OS X desktop virtualization software, Parallels has been working hard to partner up with SaaS providers and ISVs in the SaaS market.
But wait. There’s more. Microsoft continues to build out its own BPOS cloud — which includes hosted Exchange, hosted SharePoint and other Microsoft applications. Already, some channel partners are opting to embrace BPOS rather than third-party approaches. Yet companies like Intermedia see continued opportunities to differentiate from Microsoft’s SaaS and BPOS efforts.
Hmmm. Solutions providers face a range of choices. Ignoring the hosted Microsoft applications market doesn’t seem to be one of them.