MSPs Launch Microsoft Lync Managed Services

When Microsoft Lync -- a unified communications platform -- officially launched this week, multiple MSPs jumped on the bandwagon. Among the prime examples: Azaleos Corp. introduced a managed service for Lync, supporting private cloud, data center and on-premise deployment models. But is Lync really set to catch on with MSPs? Here are some initial thoughts.

I've gotta concede: I'm a bit biased when it comes to Lync (the successor to Microsoft Office Communications Server). I think Lync is going to be a hit. During Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2010 in July, numerous MSPs told me about their Lync strategies. There's even talk of a Lync applications marketplace to help solutions providers leverage more and more unified communications solutions.

Now, Lync is finally here. Microsoft launched the unified communications platform during a media event yesterday in New York. Overall the event was impressive. And some MSPs immediately pursued the Lync spotlight. Azaleos, for instance, is helping end customers to master instant messaging, video conferencing and enterprise voice technologies tied to Lync. The MSP claims it can detect, diagnose, and repair Lync problems before customers even know they exist.

Part of the Package

Among the Lync services Azaleos plans to offer:
  • Azaleos Synthetic Lync Server client – this unique Azaleos technology continuously tests and monitors communications services (IM, voice, video and conferencing) quality and response time between end user nodes within an organization.
  • Expanded Virtualization monitoring capabilities that enhance green computing performance for Lync Server 2010.
  • Azaleos F5 Local Traffic Manager (LTM) monitoring, which provides full end to end management of network load balancing, a key component for maintaining a robust enterprise Lync Server 2010 architecture as well as high performance for Exchange 2010 systems.
Azaleos says its Lync managed services are available immediately, starting at $5/user/month for Standard Edition monitoring and management and $10/user/month for Enterprise Edition monitoring and management.

In the weeks ahead, MSPmentor expects numerous MSPs and hosting companies to introduce managed Lync services. Lync, after all, seems to be a natural follow-on to traditional hosted Exchange services.

Inflection Point

Still, plenty of MSPs and VARs are taking a wait-and-see approach to Microsoft Lync. The big concern: In addition to an on-premises version, Lync will be available through Microsoft BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite). BPOS and its forthcoming Office 365 successor are cloud computing platforms that bill end-customers directly. Some channel partners are balking at BPOS and Office 365 because they don't want Microsoft involved in end-customer billing.

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TAGS: On Premise
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