Microsoft readies new managed services

Microsoft readies new managed services

Summary: Did you know Microsoft has a bunch of communication and collaboration services that it is hosting itself on its price list already? Plus, there are some new managed services in the near-term pipeline about which Microsoft hasn't gone public.

TOPICS: Microsoft

A few months back, I speculated on how/when Microsoft would field hosted SharePoint Server, hosted Exchange Serverand hosted Live Communications Server products. My best guess was Microsoft would launch Microsoft-managed versions of these services in the late 2007 or later timeframe.

I was surprised to learn today at Microsoft's TechEd 2007 show that all of these products are already on the Microsoft price list. And there are some new managed services in the near-term pipeline about which Microsoft hasn't gone public, such as a Microsoft-managed business-intelligence bundle consisting of SQL Server, Performance Point and SharePoint Server all integrated together.

Microsoft is taking seriously its own Software+Services strategy and is developing not only a service to accompany almost every one of its existing software products, but also a managed service implementation of a service, according to Ron Markezich, Microsoft Vice President of Managed Solutions.

Microsoft has discussed its managed-desktop services that it has been testing inside Microsoft, as well as with customer Energizer Holdings for the past couple of years. Microsoft has said less about the fact that it also has been piloting Microsoft-hosted Exchange, SharePoint and Live Communications Services with Energizer and the only other managed-service customer Microsoft has named publicly (XL Capital).

In the last quarter, Microsoft signed up two more paying customers for its managed services, Markezich said during an interview at Microsoft's IT pro conference in Orlando on June 4. He said neither customer is yet willing to be named.

"We want customers with 5,000 seats and above," said Markezich. "We started offering these (services) broadly a year ago, but the sales cycle is fairly long."

In order to participate, customers who want to buy these services directly from Microsoft must be willing to obtain an Enterprise Agreement license for the associated on-premise software and then pay a monthly usage fee. Healthcare and pharmaceutical customers are showing considerable interest, as are customers who want to migrate off non-Microsoft platforms, Markezich said.

Microsoft is mulling other managed services, including a managed version of SoftGrid, its application-virtualization product. Microsoft could offer managed SoftGrid as a hosted appliction-distribution service, a desktop-management service or any other number of ways, Markezich said. Microsoft also is thinking through how it could build a managed thin-client service, either based on Terminal Services or one of its virtual-machine products, he added.

Enterprise users: Would you be interested in letting Microsoft run and manage any of your existing or future services?

Topic: Microsoft


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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  • Right On The Money

    Boy, you sure got this right:

    <i>"...but the sales cycle is fairly wrong."</i>

    Nice to see this much honesty from MS.
  • Wow, a chance to let the Village Idiots screw things up for you???

    What a deal.
    • Good for some, not I.

      My company doesn't need these services, We are a Microsoft Partner and we have 99.9% uptime all the time. Unless the damn hardware goes bunk. I would venture to say if I can manage to keep these products up all the time, MS will easily be able to do so.
    • Ah, I wondered how long the ...

      ..."Village Idiot" remark would stay retired from our resident pundit DB. Nice to see you back and frothing, DB.
      Confused by religion
    • Much better to let some pimple faced Linux geek do it

      of course you have to wait for him to get home from school.
  • Message has been deleted.

    • Looks like somebody

      Took Mike Cox serious. Or is this Mike
      in disguise?

      Can they turn sarcasm into advertising?

      I suppose they figure that if the public
      is dense enough to suck up their EULA
      they'll swallow anything. Sadly, the
      tragedy is, it looks like they are
      Ole Man
  • Microsoft slams another one out of the park.

    Software plus services. There is little interest in jumping to the full scale web model at this time. Those companies currently managing their own infrastructure, by and large, are content staying the course. For those that are willing to start testing the waters? Microsoft has found the sweet spot. <br>
    With major web and development platform releases coming out soon and the office 2007 uptake, Microsoft has positioned itself perfectly for the future.