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Sunday, March 30, 2008

The way to a users heart is through their inbox

Byte and Switch has an interesting post speculating why Google is giving away hundreds of thousands of dollars in free email services to colleges and universities. Oberlin College in Ohio is the latest Gmail conversion success story, along with Arizona State University, Northwestern, Hope College, Sarah Lawrence, Macalester College, Pomona College, Hofstra, University of North Carolina (Greensboro), Clemson University, University of Texas (San Antonio), Kennesaw State University, Arkansas State University... among many others.

Google is hoping that by subsidizing free email for students will put the Gmail brand in front of their face for four years. Given that Google has massive data center resources to support email storage needs, this is probably a good investment considering the potential brand loyalty.

Plus it allows schools to spend more money on education instead of spam control.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Gartner Says Enterprise E-Mail Hosting Is Poised for Explosive Growth

Matt Cain at Gartner recently wrote a report E-mail Hosting: Poised for Explosive Growth which predicts in the next few years 20 percent of enterprise email seats will be delivered via SaaS and similar models.

The market for hosted e-mail mailboxes is poised for rapid growth due
to the economics of cloud computing and the entry of new vendors.... the move to a hosted-delivery model will change the face of IT architectures over the next decade and that e-mail will be at the forefront of this change.
Sonian's premise from the very beginning is based on this trend: IT will begin to selectively use SaaS services tactically to solve specific pain points like archiving, and over time, move more functions into the cloud. IT has to get comfortable with the idea of hosted versus on-premise, and that comfort and trust will mature over time. The next few years will be very interesting in the SaaS sector. Sonian is doing its part to create an affordable, reliable, secure SaaS experience.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Video interview: Jeff Barr describes Sonian's use of AWS

Amazon Web Services Evangelist Jeff Barr describes how Sonian uses AWS for our new hosted archive system.

Watch the brief video here.

Microsoft to reveal its "cloudy" future

Several announcements are expected soon about Microsoft's plan for SaaS, hosted, cloud-compute, etc. product offerings. To date Microsoft has talked about a "software-plus-services" strategy that blends installed Windows desktop applications with a hosted component. This is a safe way to begin the process to embrace cloud compute without destroying the existing revenue pipeline of Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange.

We already know Microsoft has a service called Microsoft Online which offers managed PC desktops and will soon add hosted Exchange and Sharepoint to the menu. For quite a while now, Microsoft has been managing the desktops as a service provider for Energizer Holdings and XL Capital. Now smaller companies will be able to subscribe to these offerings.

It is still unclear where the channel partner fits in this new "direct to customer" world. Microsoft Online doesn't mean there is no role for its channel partners, but clearly something will have to change in this new SaaS-y world.