Monday, November 17, 2008

Microsoft's CloudApps arrive: Exchange Online, Sharepoint online!

With more and more stuff going into the cloud, we will soon see that the on-site virtualization efforts will slow down dramatically by next year. The companies who have been banking on selling onsite virtualization knowledge and software will soon see a decline and reduction of demand.

With an ailing global economy, that is threatening the mere existence of several economies such as Iceland, Estonia, etc, you can forget about selling:

- Expensive onsite virtualization projects (if they cannot align their consultation to the strategy of seamless migration of the firm to "some" interoperable cloud, be it Microsoft, Google or Amazon).
- As CloudApps emerge shedding their older shelfware skin, it will be time to move into the next phase
- The rest of the infrastructures, that have not adopted any form of production virtualization, will automatically default to the clouds. Why? They will be horrendously cheaper! (I know, security and all that, but in times like these, if its cheap as hell, they'll all do it!)
- Low cost operators will win big time, believe me!

Exchange Online and SharePoint Online, which to this point have been offered for companies with less than 5,000 seats, are now available to businesses of all sizes in the United States.

The Microsoft universe has been expecting the SAAS (software as a service) versions of the company's classic productivity and collaboration suites for several months as part of the Microsoft Online Services portfolio.

Exchange Online and SharePoint Online are available separately or as a suite together with Office Live Meeting for conferencing, Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services and Microsoft Office Communications Online for instant messaging and presence.

The news comes just three weeks after Microsoft officials unveiled Azure at Microsoft's Professional Developer Conference.

Currently in a technical preview, Azure is Microsoft's vision of Windows as a cloud computing solution, where customers will procure the same Windows applications through the Internet as a service instead of downloaded to their PCs and servers.
Azure includes Live Services, .NET Services, SQL Services, SharePoint Services and Dynamics CRM Services. Online Services will complement this platform and will enable Microsoft to compete with Google in SAAS. Microsoft has been chided for being slow to move to the cloud, but the introduction of Azure and progress of Online Services could temper the jibes.

Stephen Elop, president of the Microsoft Business Division at Microsoft, will be joined by officials from a cadre of customers and partners at the event in San Francisco today.


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