There's been considerable buzz about the Intel Hybrid Cloud in recent days. The project involves an on-premises, pay-as-you-go server that links to various cloud services. During a gathering this evening in Washington, D.C., Intel confirmed at least five of its initial Intel Hybrid Cloud integrated partners. Intel's efforts arrive as Microsoft confirms its own cloud-enabled version of Windows Small Business Server (SBS), code-named Aurora. Here are the details.

First, a quick background: The Intel Hybrid Cloud is a server designed for managed services providers (MSPs) to deploy on a customer premise. The MSPs can use a range of software to remotely manage the server. And the server can link out to cloud services. Intel is reaching out to MSPs now for the pilot program.

By the end of this year, Intel expects roughly 30 technology companies to plug into the system. Potential partners include security, storage, remote management and monitoring (RMM), and other types of software companies, according to Christopher Graham Intel's product marketing engineer for Server CPU Channel Marketing.

Graham and other Intel Hybrid Cloud team members hosted a gathering tonight at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2010 (WPC10). It sounds like Graham plans to stay on the road meeting with MSPs that will potentially pilot the system in the next few months.

Getting Started

At least five technology companies are already involved in the project with Intel. They include:
  1. Astaro, an Internet security specialist focused on network, mail and Web security.
  2. Level Platforms, promoter of the Managed Workplace RMM platform. Level Platforms also is preloaded on CharTec HaaS servers and HP storage systems for MSPs.
  3. Lenovo, which launched its first MSP-centric server in April 2010.
  4. SteelEye Technology Inc., a business continuity and high availability specialist.
  5. Vembu, a storage company that has attracted more than 2,000 channel partners, according to "Jay" Jayavasanthan, VP of online storage services.
I guess you can consider Microsoft partner No. 6, since Windows Server or Windows Small Business Server (SBS) can be pre-loaded on the Intel Hybrid Cloud solution.

Which additional vendors will jump on the bandwagon? I certainly expect one or two more RMM providers to get involved. But I'm curious to see if N-able -- which runs on Linux -- will join the party. Intel has been a strong Linux proponent in multiple markets, but so far it sounds like Intel Hybrid Cloud is a Windows-centric server effort...

Market Shifts... And Microsoft

I'm also curious to see how MSPs and small business customers react to Intel Hybrid Cloud. There are those who believe small businesses will gradually -- but completely -- abandon on-premises servers as more customers shift to clouds.

And Microsoft itself is developing two new versions of Windows Small Business Server -- including SBS Aurora, which includes cloud integration for automated backup. I wonder if Microsoft will connect the dots between SBS Aurora and Windows Intune, a remote PC management platform Microsoft is beta testing now.

MSPmentor will be watching both Microsoft and Intel for updates.

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