Azaleos: Keeping the Cloud In Perspective
To listen to some of the cloud computing vendors tell it, all data has to be delivered remotely from a data center and on-premise installations are evaporating. So when I find out that Azaleos, which provides managed Microsoft Exchange services (among others), isn't betting the company on a cloud strategy, it gives me pause. Here's the scoop.
Seattle-based Azaleos (pronounced Ahz-AY-lee-ohs, almost like an Azalia flower) was formed about five years ago by several Microsoft veterans. Their goal: Provide nothing but Exchange appliances installed on-premises.
Ironically, remotely managing the Exchange installations was almost an afterthought, concedes, Scott Gode, VP of product management and marketing at Azaleos. But as any MSP reading this can guess, customers welcomed the remote management.
Over time, Azaleos expanded to remotely managed Active Directory, Office Communications Server (OCS) and BlackBerry Enterprise Server, and Microsoft Sharepoint back in April 2009. More recently, Azaleos has introduced managed services for Exchange 2010.
Ironically, Gode says he's seen very little demand for off-premises managed services. While the cloud is on his radar, Gode says it's not part of Azaleos' urgent focus.
Still, Azaleos isn't ignoring the cloud. The company in mid-2009 started pitching "hybrid services," which refers to their system for getting on-premise and hosted applications to talk to each other. The example Gode used was that of a company with an on-premises Exchange server in an American branch and a hosted solution for the same in a London office. While Gode says there hasn't been much call for it yet, he thinks that the growth of the cloud will inevitably lead to an explosion in demand as businesses experience on-premise/off-premise challenges.
Another way that Azaleos has broken step with many other service providers: They don't have a traditional partner program — because the effort turned out to be more trouble than it was worth. Instead, Azaleos has a very selective partner network, which includes companies like IBM and Verizon Business. Both provide managed Exchange delivered by Azaleos.