Microsoft: Office 365 will be more resilient than BPOS. Here's why

Microsoft: Office 365 will be more resilient than BPOS. Here's why

Summary: Microsoft's BPOS platform has had a rough few months, in terms of outages and glitches. But the Softies think they can and will do better with Office 365. Here's why.


This year hasn't been a great one for Microsoft's hosted application bundle, known as Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), in terms of uptime. There have been a number of lengthy outages and glitches, including one last week, just a week before the launch of Office 365, the successor to BPOS.

But Microsoft officials believe Office 365 will be more resilient than BPOS for a number of reasons -- especially because of changes that Microsoft is making to the Exchange Online component of the cloud platform.

Many of the issues around BPOS' downtime were due to Exchange Online, acknowledged Eron Kelly, Senior Director of Product Management for Microsoft Online Services and Office 365. The version of Exchange Online that was in BPOS was derived from the old Exchange 2007 code base, he said, and wasn't built from the ground up to be a multitenant platform. But Exchange 2010 is the core of the Exchange Online pillar in Office 365, and it was designed "from the get-go as multitenant," Kelly said during an interview at Microsoft's June 28 Office 365 launch in New York.

Microsoft has been testing its hosted Exchange platform "at very high scale" as part of its Live@Edu hosted offering for academia, Kelly noted. And it has performed well, he said.

Kelly said Microsoft has come a long way in the past few years in understanding how to develop and keep running a scalable multitenant system -- how to engineer it, provision it, fix it, etc. The move to the common Online Service Delivery Platform (OSDP) core -- something that's already underway -- also will make the overall Office 365 platform more dependable and resilient, Kelly said.

Microsoft is so confident that it is multitenant-ready that it is planning to phase out over the next couple of years the Office 365-D (Dedicated) SKU. It isn't doing so within the coming year, Kelly said, but "we expect one more generation of Dedicated, and then ultimately think (almost) all our customers are likely to go S (Standard)."

Office 365, like BPOS, is currently available in three flavors: Standard (S), Dedicated (D) and Federal (F). The “Standard” offering is multitenant (multiple customers sharing the same hardware platform). The “Dedicated” offering, targeted at larger customers — typically those with more than 20,000 seats — is built on a set of hardware dedicated for a single customer. And Federal is the locked-down, FISMA-compliant version for government customers.

Kelly said Microsoft is expecting most of its net-new Office 365 customers to go with the Office 365 S platform.

Kelly also said to expect Microsoft to continue to add more features and functionality to of the components (Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online, the dashboard and the underlying OSDP) for all flavors of Office 365 on approximately a quarterly basis, as it has been doing with BPOS.

I've heard from more than a few partners and customers over the past months that Microsoft's repeated BPOS downtime were making them leery of Microsoft's cloud-hosted app platform. Do Microsoft's Office 365 commitments (and your experience with the beta) make you current/potential customers any less so?

See also:

Topics: Collaboration, CXO, Microsoft, Software


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • BPOS

    Well I thought I knew that the B stood for Big, or Buggy.
    I know what POS stands for. So do the users. I guess the ribbon was just the first in a long string of failures.
    • RE: Microsoft: Office 365 will be more resilient than BPOS. Here's why


      Yeah, that explains why Office 2010 is the fastest selling iteration of Office ever, even adjusting for segment growth. Perhaps you should look into NotePad++ and VIEdit for all your word processing and mathematical needs.
      • Message has been deleted.

  • RE: Microsoft: Office 365 will be more resilient than BPOS. Here's why

    Microsoft says Exchange 2010 is architected as a multi-tenant solution, but the fact is that it is an on-premise solution. Microsoft is trying to straddle two markets with the same technology, which is likely to have problems. That's always been one of our arguments comparing HyperOffice to BPOS (and now Office 365). It is a refurbishment of on premise solution and not architected primarily as a cloud solution.

    • RE: Microsoft: Office 365 will be more resilient than BPOS. Here's why


      Honestly, exchange is irrelevant. I see it being absorbed into SharePoint along with Dynamics and BizTalk inside of 2 years. HyperOffice is okay as a hosted solution, but it falls flat in terms of custom development support and ease of extensibility. The only place it's superior is as an extranet solution, and I will only give it the win there because it isn't ASP.NET based.
      • RE: Microsoft: Office 365 will be more resilient than BPOS. Here's why

        @KittyK4t - "exchange is irrelevant"?????????/

        On your planet perhaps, but here on Earth, Exchange is the most widely used business and enterprise email and communication platform, period, and generates several $billion in annual revenues and profits for Microsoft.

        Statistically speaking, it's completely decimated Lotus Notes, Domino, cc:Mail and all other business email servers. Heck ... even Apple, Google, RIM and others license the ActiveSync protocol because they all understand that Exchange is just a way of life.
    • RE: Microsoft: Office 365 will be more resilient than BPOS. Here's why

      @pankajunk - "[Exchange] is an on-premise solution" ... sorry, but no.

      Exchange 2007 was architected in such a way that it was difficult to convert into a multi-tenant solution. This is why BPOS has had its issues - it was built atop Exchange 2007 and had to be significantly modified to have it handle the scale, workload and flexibility required by BPOS.

      Exchange 2010, on the other hand, was built taking into account what Microsoft learned by building BPOS and allowed MS to build Office365 atop an Exchange 2010 core, and is able to handle MASSIVE scale, flexibility, fault-tolerance, etc.
      • RE: Microsoft: Office 365 will be more resilient than BPOS. Here's why

        @bitcrazed is that why Office 365 has crashed twice since it was launched?
    • Message has been deleted.

  • From an actual BPOS subscriber

    If you don't know what the "B" stands for in BPOS, read this article again. Then think of being in a pasture with cattle. "B" is what you'd be standing in. Pftttt ... "... wasn?t built from the ground up to be a multitenant ..." - whatever. More Micropropaganda. Micronoise? Anything to keep us paying for the same tired products and services.

    We're still waiting the rebate/discount promised for the massive issues in back in April!
  • Must agree with all above comments

    A POS is still a POS regardless what flavor you add to it!
    • RE: Microsoft: Office 365 will be more resilient than BPOS. Here's why


      Works fine for me and the 60 other people here using it. I realize of course building prosumer desktops, you probably need more advanced/high availability applications than our software development firm does ;).
  • Once again MSFT blows away the competition!

    nobody can challenge them in the enterprise sector, they are the kings.
  • BPOS is really a mess, I hope Office 365 is much better.

    Having used many hosted Exchange offerings for our clients for several years before jumping to BPOS I can say that MS's Exchange and Sharepoint offering was far less functional than that of even small providers. Those service providers are dropping like flies now with the success of BPOS and Office 365. <br><br>By success I mean a huge, mostly trusted company comes out with a product that is cheaper than most of the little service providers. So they just couldnt compete on price.<br><br>Since day one with BPOS it was apparent that everything about it was substandard. The management system was just stupid bad. Virtually nothing could be done without calling for support. Then once you call for support the support agents while professional, were completely unable to do anything. Not their fault, the system was just setup terribly. <br><br>I literally spent days on the phone with them trying to take care of trivial issues that would have taken moments with any one of several other Exchange service providers. Over the past 18 months I have spent more time on the phone with MSOL support than I spent on all support calls Ive made in the past decade. <br><br>So I have little doubt that Office 365 will be structurally more robust. What I am more nervous about is everything else. Will the system be more manageable? Will there support organization be capable of doing anything at all? I do hope so.
    Da Kahuna
    • RE: Microsoft: Office 365 will be more resilient than BPOS. Here's why

      @Da Kahuna

      Read the fine print. BPOS is basically designed for small office businesses. If you need things like high availability, large storage space and customizable configuration of the server hardware, you aren't using the right tool for the job. It's actually perfectly fine for most small businesses. If you're spending excessive amounts of time on the phone with support, you're likely wanting the system to do something it isn't intended for.

      I realize that sound kool-aidey, but let's be real, it's $10 a head. I spend more on lunch.
  • RE: Microsoft: Office 365 will be more resilient than BPOS. Here's why

    People should stop speculating. IMO, I will rather use Office365 because you can't compare its power and features to anything else out there and unlike the competitor that is a hacker's playground with revolving doors, heck without doors AT ALL.
  • From someone who actually uses BPOS!

    We have been with BPOS from the start with a total of 65 users. It is far better than all the trials we did of Google and several other alternatives. The outages have been annoying, but not a major cost. The worst has been email delayed by a few hours - but nothing lost. Anyone whose business is built such that an email delay once a year is a critical problem had better be ready to go out of business whichever on-premise or hosted service they use.

    Now O365 takes it to a whole new plane of function. The combination of Office 2010, O365, InTune and Azure makes the alternatives look like toys. We are betting our business on the combination with a quiet confident smile on our faces.

    The biggest surprise of all? It's the lowest cost solution too. And we ought to know something about ROI, since we make our living building ROI models for some of the biggest IT vendors in the world. (BTW, we use MS technology to build those ROI models - try reproducing them in Google technology and you will soon find out the difference between real solutions and toys.)

    Will MS technology win? Who knows. Just reading these comments shows the prevalence of ignorance, prejudice, emotion and fashion in IT decisions. There will continue to be many cases where the best does not win (just like Beta vs VHS). But, as always, those discerning enough to find the best solution will enjoy the benefits while having the additional diversion of watching the lemmings waste their time and money on the latest fashion.
    • RE: Microsoft: Office 365 will be more resilient than BPOS. Here's why


      Thank you! Couldn't have said it better myself.
    • Why do you sound like

      Someone from Microsoft's marketing department.

      That and I'm not sure you' know the difference between a toy and a tuna.