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Channeling the Cloud

Intel's Hybrid Cloud Approach Is a Win-Win for SMBs

The company's Hybrid Cloud Platform lets companies keep their data on-premises while leaving the managing to a provider. Everyone benefits.

  • Go here to read more "Channeling the Cloud" columns by Jeffrey Schwartz.

Intel has rolled out what it describes as a hybrid cloud service that will allow small and midsize businesses to deploy bundled solutions on-premises that will be administered by a managed services provider.

Think of it as having the benefits of paying for Software as a Service, in that customers pay for usage, but having the data and apps on-premises. Still, it's managed by an outside provider.

The Intel AppUp Small Business Service Catalog is kicking off with solutions from about two-dozen software vendors whose offerings will run on the Intel Hybrid Cloud Platform. Among the software vendors and ISVs whose offerings are in the catalog are Allscripts, Asigra, Astaro, Coversant, GFI, Intuit, KineticD, Level Platforms, Microsoft, Novell, Symantec and Vembu, among others.

Customers will have a server on-premises based on the Intel reference architecture by OEM partners that will be delivered by the MSP. Initially single-socket Xeon servers will be available from Lenovo and white-box server vendors, with dual-socket servers to follow from Acer and NEC, and perhaps others in the future. Customers can lease the servers from the MSP or the vendors, Intel officials said.

The Intel Hybrid Cloud software stack provides secure usage monitoring that enables the pay-as-you-go service. The AppUp service catalog consists of a variety of solutions, which include:

  • ERP as a Service: Running Windows Server 2008 R2, Intuit QuickBooks and firewall, backup and anti-virus software from partners in the catalog

  • Collaboration as a Service: Windows SBS with Exchange and SharePoint, backup and anti-virus software

  • Security as a Service: Astaro Unified threat-management suite

  • Backup as a Service: Vembu StoreGrid backup software allows customers to back up locally and to a cloud provider

Everybody benefits in this model, explained Bridget Karlin, general manager for Intel Hybrid Cloud. "The small business benefits because they get access to the pay-as-you-go software. They have cloud access to the software catalog for the applications that are important to them, and they have their data on-site, with no capital expenditure upfront for the server hardware," Karlin said.

For a physician's office, delivering electronic medical record (EMR) solutions may be out of reach for some, Karlin explained. But if it can be delivered in a cloud model, where the office can pay for it on a subscription basis yet keep the data securely on-premises (a key requirement), that might address many of the barriers to deploying the EMR solution.

MSPs and ISVs also benefit, Karlin said, in that they can immediately convert their customers to a subscription model or take on customers that were otherwise out of reach.

And, she noted, the OEMs and white-box server vendors benefit because they have the opportunity to deliver their hardware in this new hybrid cloud model.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.