Microsoft and HP's Enterprise Services division announced a four-year agreement to sell public and private-cloud solutions built around Microsoft Office 365 and its on-premises server counterparts.
The pair plan to jointly deploy, support and enhance three groups of services, according to a December 8 announcement. Initial availability begins this month in Australia, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S., with wider global availability to follow.
The three groups of offerings
Private cloud: HP will offer HP-hosted Enterprise Cloud Services, which are Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 and Microsoft Lync Server 2010 delivered as a hosted service from HP datacenters around the world.
Public cloud: HP will push Microsoft Office 365, the bundle of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online hosted by Microsoft in its own datacenters
Hybrid solution: HP will resell Microsoft Office 365 along with HP-hosted Enterprise Cloud Services (the aforementioned HP-hosted private cloud offering).
Microsoft officials said recently that more than 90 percent of Office 365 sales have been to small-business users. Office 365 was launched in late June 2011. In September 2011, Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner said the company had sold more than 5 million Office 365 seats and deployed 2.8 million of them.
What about HP's commitment a year and a half ago to offer Windows Azure as a private-cloud offering in appliance form (meaning hosted in HP's own datacenters)? There's no update on that front.
Windows Azure Appliances, as initially described, were designed to be preconfigured containers with between hundreds and thousands of servers running the Windows Azure platform. These containers were designed to be housed at Dell’s, HP’s and Fujitsu’s datacenters, with Microsoft providing the Azure infrastructure and services for these containers. To date, only Fujitsu has begun offering Windows Azure this way.