Microsoft, HP Look to Help VARs Sell SasS

The long-time partners offer private-label hosting services and preconfigured servers to resellers.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and HP (NYSE: HPQ) today announced a joint initiative designed to help VARs benefit from what Microsoft calls "software-plus-services business model."

The vendors have a long history in targetting hosting providers with hardware and software bundles to deliver Microsoft Hosted Exchange services. The goal of the new HP and Microsoft initiative is to partner with VARs to provide hosted Web services to help them capture a large share of the growing cloud services marketplace.

Acording to the companies, service providers can save money by deploying energy-efficient HP BladeSystem servers, HP ProLiant servers and HP StorageWorks storage technology to power their hosting environments, while VARs can assist customers in reducing their IT total cost of ownership with a hosted technology choice. Resellers can also sell both HP's and Microsoft's virtualized infrastructures and hosted services.

HP and Microsoft said they plan to equip VARs with tools and assistance to enable them to offer private label Microsoft services that are hosted by managed service providers (MSPs).

To help make it easier for VARs deploy hosted Web services, the companies said they will also provide preconfigured systems using HP hardware products such as the HP BladeSystem, HP ProLiant and HP StorageWorks servers.

HP and Microsoft said these bundles will be sold to MSPs who can, for example, expand their hosting business by deploying the Microsoft virtualization platform and management tools to more efficiently deliver Hosted Microsoft Exchange Server, hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM or Windows SharePoint Services. For partners looking to get into the hosting business, Microsoft offers data center virtualization products designed to provide automated, optimized services on demand.

Partners on the Frontline

To help increase the adoption of HP data center infrastructure and Microsoft technologies, the two companies announced they are expanding their strategic Frontline Partnership. In addition to generating a software-plus-services revenue stream for supplying customers with private-label Microsoft solutions, VARs also can provide value-added services such as integration, customization and remote provisioning to managed service provider customers.

To emphasize the need for the VAR initiative, the companies point to a recent Gartner. report in which the analyst firm's Research Vice President Tiffani Bova said, "I feel strongly that an alternative demand and delivery acquisition model will require IT vendors to develop new sales tools and training that traditional VARs can leverage should they choose to evolve to a recurring revenue model based on as-a-service offerings."

"For VARs that want to be successful in the cloud and software as a service (SaaS) marketplace, HP and Microsoft are the first major technology vendors to deliver the program, products, training and sales tools necessary for them," said Janet Pretti, vice president of marketing in the Solution Partners Organization at HP, in a written statement.

"By allowing VARs to evolve their business model and benefit from a recurring revenue stream, we are opening up new opportunities in a challenging economic climate."

TAGS: cloud computing,Microsoft,virtualization,SaaS,HP

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