Microsoft Outlines Initiatives for Hosting Providers at the Microsoft Hosting Summit 2009
Microsoft updates hosting strategy and provides tools and resources for partner success.
BELLEVUE, Wash. — This week at the Microsoft Hosting Summit 2009, Microsoft Corp. will discuss its comprehensive strategy for enabling hosting providers to be successful in today’s evolving hosting industry. To meet the industry shift toward software plus services, Microsoft is helping hosting providers benefit from their partnership with Microsoft through various programs and initiatives, effectively capitalize on their investments in Microsoft platform technologies, and achieve cost savings. At the summit, Microsoft will outline new and existing programs for hosting partners, including the Dynamic Data Center Tool Kit, which provides technical expertise, service operations guidance and marketing tools to help hosting partners deploy managed hosting offerings. In addition, Microsoft will highlight momentum with its platforms including Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V technology and Microsoft System Center, and announce cost-reducing updates to its Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA).
“During these difficult economic times, hosted services are more important than ever as customers look for ways to reduce cost and increase efficiencies,” said John Zanni, general manager of the Worldwide Software Plus Services Industry for the Communications Sector at Microsoft. “There is a tremendous opportunity for hosting providers to partner with Microsoft to transition from mass-market hosting into higher-margin managed services to deliver compelling new solutions to their customers. Microsoft is making major investments in technology innovation and in its partners to ensure that hosting providers are successful as the industry evolves in response to new competition and economic conditions.”
“The emergence of small and midsize business (SMB) managed hosting is the product of larger, irreversible trends, as large players begin to enter the market and businesses move more of their operations into an online environment,” said Philbert Shih, research analyst at Tier1 Research. “It represents an opportunity that is critical to the long-term survival of mass-market hosters. SMBs will continue to grow and move their operations online, and there is no question that they will continue to have expanding and more sophisticated IT infrastructure needs. Being unable to capture this opportunity will leave hosters competing for the less-lucrative, lower-margin and what will eventually be the shrinking portions of the market.”
Partner Commitment and Support
In order to be successful and to grow as the industry evolves, it is imperative for hosting providers to offer managed services. Microsoft’s new Dynamic Data Center Tool Kit contains guidance, sample code, best practices and collateral to help hosting providers rapidly build and launch managed services powered by Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center. It provides step-by-step instructions that assist hosting providers and independent software vendors (ISVs) in building a virtualized infrastructure which is scalable in a matter of minutes. In addition, marketing guidance and customizable content in the tool kit articulate how hosting partners can market and sell managed services and solutions. The tool kit will be available to all hosting providers that are enrolled in the Microsoft Hosting Community, an extension of the broader Microsoft Partner Program.
MaximumASP LLC, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and a provider of Web hosting and IT services based in Louisville, Ky., recently used the Microsoft Dynamic Data Center Tool Kit to improve the performance of its MaxV Virtual Dedicated Servers. MaximumASP collaborated with Microsoft on the Dynamic Data Center Tool Kit as a way to offer instant scalability, increased support through advanced monitoring, disaster recovery and ultimately higher customer satisfaction.
“At MaximumASP, we are focused on providing hosting and managed IT services so our customers are able to focus on their core business,” said Dominic Foster, chief technology officer at MaximumASP. “The Microsoft Dynamic Data Center Tool Kit has allowed us to rapidly build and deploy hosted solutions. We are able to better utilize our hardware and our support staff, leading to lower costs, which then get passed down to our customers.”
Capitalizing on Technology Investments
Server virtualization is becoming a critical step for most hosting providers, as cost savings play an ever more important role in business decision-making. Microsoft offers a suite of products such as Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center that make it easier than ever for hosting providers to take advantage of the cost savings associated with virtualization. Hyper-V enables the consolidation of multiple server roles as separate virtual machines running on a single physical machine, while efficiently running multiple different operating systems — Windows, Linux and others — synchronized on a single server. To simplify the management of a hosting provider’s entire infrastructure, Microsoft System Center is a suite of management systems that lets a company manage both physical and virtual assets for clients and servers, including multiple hypervisors, all with the same platform.
Microsoft has seen broad adoption of its virtualization solutions and management tools among worldwide hosting providers. Ikoula, Layered Technologies Inc., MaximumASP, NetBenefit Ltd., RackForce Networks Inc., Revera Ltd. and Santa Barbara Web Hosting Inc. are a small sample of hosting providers that have adopted and deployed Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center.
“We’re enabling hosting providers to be successful in the new era of software plus services with a reliable platform and broad range of services designed to deliver a compelling, next-generation Web experience,” said Mike Neil, general manager of virtualization in the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft Corp. “Nearly 200 of the largest hosting providers have adopted Windows Server 2008, many with Hyper-V in production offering services to end customers. Hosting providers have access to ready-to-use technical and marketing content on Hyper-V in the Microsoft Hosting Deployment Accelerator DVD.”
Revera, an infrastructure specialist company headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand, provides its business customers with high-integrity computing infrastructure and services. Revera has three datacenters in New Zealand and one in Melbourne, Australia, which have the capacity to support 5,000 physical servers and 67,000 virtual servers. Revera representatives see the arrival of the Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V virtualization technology and Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager as simplifying server management and providing a cost-effective option for most customers.
“There is a gap in the market for doing server virtualization well but also cost-effectively. Hyper-V is filling this gap,” said Roger Cockayne, group managing director and co-founder of Revera. “We are converting 95 percent of our internal servers. There are several factors in pricing, but in many cases virtual servers have a lower price yet provide increased redundancy and higher availability. Our service-level agreements for virtual servers are normally higher than for the typical physical server that we host.”
Achieving Cost Savings
Microsoft continues to make partners a top priority in the world of software plus services through programs such as the Microsoft Services Provider License Agreement and the Microsoft Communications Sector Hosting Solutions Competency within the Microsoft Partner Program. The license agreement enables service providers and independent software vendors with a hosted offering to license Microsoft products on a monthly basis to provide services, limiting their upfront capital investment and synchronizing their cost structure with their revenue stream. This week, Microsoft announced several updates to the license agreement. New stock-keeping units (SKUs) for select products will enable partners to license three years’ use of products at a 12 percent price advantage from the monthly price, with no minimum quantity required. In response to partner demand, Microsoft also added two Windows Server Standard 2008 Anonymous SKUs to the SPLA. With the license agreement, Microsoft is uniquely positioned to help its hosting partners and their customers achieve cost savings and greater efficiencies.
Microsoft is committed to understanding its partners’ businesses, and providing them with the right tools and resources to address the pressures and challenges they face. At Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in July, hosting partners can look forward to additional announcements on how Microsoft is helping them succeed as the industry continues to evolve.
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