Microsoft's Cloud: Can MSPs Really Profit?

Our blog team spent Dec. 2 in New York at a lunch-and-learn hosted by DynTek (an $85 million solutions provider), Microsoft and Citrix. The topic: Virtualized Desktop Infrastructure and Windows 7. But during a side interview, DynTek Managing Director Ken Young offered up his thoughts on Microsoft's cloud strategy. Our key question: Can VARs and MSPs really profit from Windows Azure (Microsoft's Windows cloud) and BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite, which includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, etc.). Here's a recap of the conversation.

As both MSPmentor and The VAR Guy have noted, Windows Azure presents clear opportunities for ISVs (independent software vendors) and solutions providers that want to launch applications in Microsoft's Windows cloud. But our views on BPOS have been mixed: It's a fast way for VARs to get some recurring revenue while moving customers onto Microsoft's own hosted applications. Yet some VARs worry about losing customer control and some solutions providers are concerned that Microsoft is already aggressively cutting BPOS prices to compete with Google Apps.

So, how does DynTek -- a successful $85 million solutions provider -- feel about Microsoft's cloud? "Every customer I have today is looking at cloud services," says Young. Then, Young offered a strong statement on BPOS:

"BPOS... There's a tidal wave coming. BPOS is real. Customers are adopting it."

Where Are the Profits?

But can solutions providers like DynTek profit from BPOS? Young says yes. And he offers up deeper thoughts on Microsoft's cloud strategy plus the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) market in this FastChat video with our sister site, The VAR Guy:

The video includes:
  • 0:00: Intro
  • 0:13:  Who is DynTek?
  • 0:47: Are Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions ready for customers?
  • 2:15: DynTek's views on Microsoft's cloud, Azure and BPOS offerings -- can VARs profit?
  • 4:25: More Info
  • 4:41: Conclude

Looking Ahead

Our blog team thinks Young is right: A BPOS tidal wave is inevitable. Even if only a fraction of today's Exchange and SharePoint customers move to the cloud that's a massive opportunity for Microsoft. But is it also a massive opportunity for solutions providers and managed service providers? Young sounds upbeat and he raises some great points in that FastChat video. But we know plenty of readers who remain skeptical.

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