All posts by Parallels Cloud

Five Top Trends for 2013 in the SMB Cloud

by Emily Kruger, Sr Manager, Market Research, Parallels


Parallels has just finished our 2013 SMB Cloud Insights™ research and have heard from over 6,000 small and medium businesses from 15 countries around the world about their use of cloud services. Here are five of the most interesting trends we are seeing in the SMB cloud market worldwide:

1. Cloud storage is a hot topic in IaaS for SMBs. The majority of small businesses are willing to pay 25% to 50% more for their VPS if it comes with extra storage.
2. When SMBs buy their web applications varies dramatically by SMB size. Over 40% of micro SMB (< 10 employees) bought their web apps with their web hosting and never returned to buy anything else. Medium SMBs (50 employees +) are much more likely to return to their web hoster for additional purchases.
3. Hosted business email took off this past year and was the fastest growing cloud service category in many countries. Perceived security of business class email and better integration with mobile devices are the leading reasons to switch from free to paid email accounts.
4. Hosted PBX is another cloud service that is growing quickly. Automated attendant and call control are the most popular features for SMBs – and ones not omit from a hosted PBX offering.
5. The most popular SaaS applications remain file sharing, instant collaboration and online backup & storage…but there is growing interest in support / help desk apps, online conferencing (phone and web) and online accounting.

Find out much more about the SMB cloud market in Parallels SMB Cloud Insights™ reports.  Look for the 2013 research for Europe and Asia-Pacific to be released this Fall at WHD.local events or download all the research at





Enabling the New Cloud Distribution Model to Fuel Growth and Adoption

by Alex Danyluk, Senior Director, ISV & SaaS Alliances, Parallels


The march to the cloud is accelerating and undeniable. And every link in the IT distribution chain, from companies that develop software to customers, is adjusting to the new cloud distribution model. At the center of this new chain are various types of new and traditional distributors, from traditional hosting companies like HostWay and Hostnet, to managed service providers (MSPs) like Apptix and ApprRiver, to telecommunication companies like Sprint, Telenor and America Movil, to non-traditional service providers like Dell and Staples. 


While there is great diversity in the distribution, they all share some common challenges and needs. They all want to sell a rich basket of independent software vendor (ISV) goods that are well integrated with each other and are easy for distributors and their customers to manage. They also want to enhance customer and user interface (UI) experiences. These needs create a challenge for both the new distributors and ISVs that want to reach these new diverse distribution channels. Each ISV and distributor needs to integrate their systems one by one, integrating provisioning, billing, portals and inter-application interoperability. 


The cost and time to connect these ISVs with cloud distributors is a barrier to growth and adoption.  Several companies, including Parallels, recognized this problem a few years ago and helped create the APS standard ( to build a replicable model for connecting ISVs to distributors. To date, more than 400 ISV applications are APS packaged, distributing their offers via hundreds of distributors around the globe.


Following the APS standard, an ISV can build a connector once to easily enable distribution through APS-enabled disruptors. APS integrations can automatically set up user accounts when a customer purchase is made and assists with billing information, as would be expected from such a standard. APS goes further to ensure the customers and distributors have an excellent experience. APS has the ability for two different services to exchange information so that services like Symantec anti-virus and Microsoft Hosted Exchange automatically knows how to work with each other when a customer purchase both.  ISVs can also embed rich customer HTML5 screens, further enhancing the user experience.


With APS, both ISVs and distributors now have a means of not only enabling the distribution of cloud services in the new cloud distribution model, but also enhancing the overall customer and service provider experience for advanced cross product integration capabilities and rich UI experiences.


On September 9, 2:30-3:30, in the Sequoia Room, at VentureBeat’s CloudBeat conference, I’ll be participating in a panel with Uday Keshavdas, Director of Business Development at Box and Joan Fazio Senior Director, Emerging Channels and Verticals, Commercial Marketing at Symantec, and we look forward to continuing the discussion there.



Partner to Partner: The Value of Integrating Parallels Plesk Automation and Parallels Business Automation Standard

Guest blog by Ehsan Mirdamadi, CEO at Cirrus Tech Ltd.  (


Web hosting companies today live in a world where our clients are looking for solutions to their business problems, not just a bunch of raw technology. But providing a broad variety of solutions and tailoring them to each client’s needs creates management inefficiencies, drives up costs, and drives us crazy. If only there were a way to seamlessly automate and manage all these components…

Integrating Parallels Business Automation Standard and Parallels Plesk Automation has been a crucial component in helping us to manage this complexity. Parallels Business Automation Standard automates our billing and business processes, while Parallels Plesk Automation does the same for hosting and related services. We think that Parallels Business Automation Standard and Parallels Plesk Automation are probably the most comprehensive solutions out there, and, while they are effective individually, bringing them together was a vital part of our strategy to enter the era of solutions.

Using these two systems together has enabled us to take control of our services while giving our customers an unparalleled level of flexibility. Our customers are thrilled. We’ve even heard from people who didn’t know this amount of flexibility existed. Suddenly, there’s less of a need for expensive IT consultants, because our solution makes it possible to build a service like CirrusOne, our cloud server offering, independently.

Our CirrusOne scalable cloud platform is powered by Parallels Cloud Server, and uses Parallels Plesk Automation to automate services for customers, which are in turn billed through Parallels Business Automation Standard. We feel that this integrated approach delivers a better experience for customers.

Here are five reasons we like using Parallels Plesk Automation and Parallels Business Automation Standard together, and why we think they’re the right answer for our customers. Using these products together allows us to:


1. Deploy services faster and create natural upgrade paths to new services
2. Easily add services such as MightyCall from Infratel and SmarterMail
3. Establish greater control over a large service range
4. Secure data by separating administration from customer servers
5. Reduce expenditures on server licenses


Before the Parallels Business Automation Standard and Parallels Plesk Automation integration project, many of our customers had to use three different platforms for three different service types. Closing the gap between traditional shared hosting and enterprise class hosting has meant using more services, and spending more time managing them. But now, with the help of Parallels products, we can deploy services fast, and administer them from a convenient place. It’s made our business more flexible, more efficient, and more profitable.



“Syrian Electronic Army” Reminds Us of Importance of Internet Security

by Elliot Curtis, Senior Director, Mass Market Hosting Sector, Parallels


The recent attack by the “Syrian Electronic Army” on media outlets including the New York Times and Huffington Post websites are a renewed reminder of the challenges around internet security. While SMB websites are an unlikely target for organized hacking or distributed-denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks, these highly visible and widely reported security issues raise a wareness and concerns for everyone. Most SMBs are exposed to risks from malicious viruses and hacks, as well as, problems caused by bot-nets or even simple content control.


Awareness of internet security continues to rise, but high-profile incidents like this presents a specific opportunity for Web Hosters and Service Providers to have a discussion with their customers about solutions to protect their Web presence and cloud applications. Parallels products and ecosystem of partners enables a variety of security solutions including; hacking protection, anti-virus, anti-spam, email security, DDOS prevention, backup & disaster recovery. Our SMB Cloud InsightsTM research shows that security solutions are the most popular and the fastest growing add-on to both Web Hosting and VPS core services, so every Web Hoster and Service Provider should have a security bundle as part of both their core offering and their up-sell strategy.


What’s New and Growing in APS


Continued growth of global Parallels Automation deployments is providing valuable insights into the cloud applications, and more specifically, the APS-enabled cloud applications that are gaining traction with service providers and with SMBs. Below are a few key trends:


  • Cloud portfolios differ greatly between service providers and are shaped by key variables including core services offered, market segment served, and the individual cloud strategy of the provider. The APS catalog is growing both in diversity of cloud categories supported, and diversity of ISVs supporting each category. This continued growth is helping service providers to really tailor their offering to address unique market demands, and to compete with other providers in the regions they serve.


  • Email is the common denominator for just about all service provider cloud portfolios. As would be expected, we see strong and consistent numbers for Microsoft Exchange and Office 365. Open-Xchange and Mail2World are gaining strong traction with providers offering a white-label, low-cost email services that can also be bundled with core–or other cloud–services. Email security and archiving services continue to be a popular and natural add-on for business-class email.


  • Microsoft Lync is gaining wide adoption with service providers in all global regions, and is delivering strong and consistent growth rates in both instances and end-user seats. Deployed in fall 2012, the Microsoft Lync APS package is a proving to be a winner for service providers who have the right channels and sales engagement models. Microsoft’s Lync 2013 Hosting Pack, released this past May, is further accelerating provider deployments.


  • Web presence continues to be an in-demand cloud category, particularly in maturing markets such as Latin America and Asia. For Parallels Automation partners self-hosting their web presence solution, success is supported by website builders and marketing tools such as Parallels Web Presence Builder. Growth in providers outsourcing their web presence solutions is supported by APS-enabled ISVs such as Hostopia and ePages.


  • Business applications are varied with strong global and region-specific growth. Vidyo, Deskera and Hightail (formally Yousendit) are just a few of the business application providers to join the APS community this past year. While many of these APS packages serve a global market, others, such as Moysklad, a Russian-language CRM application, target specific regions and are showing strong growth with that focus. Business applications are absolutely leading APS cloud category growth, even outperforming Parallels SMB Cloud Insights research expectations.

To dig deeper into these trends and understand how they apply to your market, contact your Parallels account lead to schedule a market review, or contact me directly at


Steph Rowan, Market Development, Parallels



Flexibility and Agility Will Drive Cloud-Computing Adoption in Australia

By David Dzienciol, Vice President and GM, Parallels Asia Pacific


2013 will be a challenging year for Australian businesses on the back of a slow US economy and Europe still struggling to find its way from political and economic uncertainties. With Australian exports impacted by a strong local currency, businesses must double their efforts to look for ways to enhance business operations, including the use of cost-effective tools to raise revenue and lower operating cost.


It is these gloomy market conditions that will further accelerate adoption of cloud computing, including hosting services, as a proven solution to helping companies expand their market reach, drive deeper customer engagements, and drive costs down.


Parallels SMB Cloud Insights™ for Australia is driving home the imperative to “profit from the cloud.” Our report on the state of cloud computing adoption in Australia shows how the market there has evolved in the past year and highlights the most important opportunities for growth over the next few years.


Despite the continued progress in educating local businesses about the inherent benefits of cloud computing, Australian small and medium businesses (SMBs) continue to trail the rest of the developed world in their use of cloud services, despite the expanding array of services and applications that continue to be rolled out in response to the unique needs of local businesses.  


As of summer 2013, Parallels estimates the Australian SMB market at about $1.2B AUD. Demand for cloud-based business applications will outpace all other sectors growing at 63 percent to reach $430M AUD. The second biggest market, IaaS, will show the weakest growth at 16 percent albeit contributing $343M AUD. The other cloud-services sectors: web presence and web applications will contribute $275M AUD, while hosted communication and collaboration (consisting of hosted premium email and hosted PBX) will add $134M AUD. 



Australian cloud service-providers must continue to market the transformational business benefits of cloud computing but make it clear that benefits like increased efficiency and flexibility are more important and critical to the long-term prospects of SMBs as is the short-term ‘cost-out’ to be gained the use of cloud-based services.


Respondents to the survey are clearly maturing in their understanding of the technology as they recognize the benefits will far outweigh the growing pains they experience in migrating to the cloud. This strategic view of the cloud’s capability comes from a greater focus being placed on the business and operational process redesign and business model improvements as key enablers.


The survey also highlights the rising confidence in the security of cloud providers. As government and industry regulators mature in their understanding of the impact of cloud computing, SMBs can expect to see inevitable complexities around compliance. They are also approaching the tax structure of cloud deployments more strategically, rather than an afterthought to implementation with many finding that tax planning can make a significant difference in the company’s tax position, positively impacting the business case for cloud.


Many of today’s cloud-service providers were at one point SMBs themselves. This experience should serve them well reminding them about a winning characteristic of SMBs – agility. Those who are able to stay on top of SMBs’ changing cloud needs and reach these SMBs with the right mix of services and applications will grow and profit in the years to come.



Growth is the New ‘Parallels Red’


I was recently reviewing the more than 80 case studies and video case studies we have published. It reminded me of a few trends we are seeing.


Time to deployment is clearly important but not a guarantee of success. This industry is at a stage where we know how to launch services and launch them quickly. What is less common is how to grow the customer base. I took a look at some of our more successful partners to see if there was a pattern…there is.


They know their customer. They have an anchor service that gets the customer what they need. They also have the appropriate set of add-on services to go beyond and delight the customer. Here are several examples I pulled from a couple case studies:


“We have implemented almost every Parallels Automation module there is. That proves our confidence in the solution. In the two and a half years since we launched our Parallels Automation platform, we have achieved year-on-year growth of over 200% in cloud services. We expect to exceed that in 2013.”

— Ely Cohen, CTO, Triple C


“In the last 18 months, our business with Limestone Networks has grown by 300%. We serve more customers, and have a bigger server requirement from Limestone. It is a win-win thing.”

— Sham Kamboj, Director of Services, Bagful Solutions


“The ability to evolve Hosted365 quickly, and its appeal to both resellers and other service providers around the world, is driving our growth as a company. And it’s all being made possible by Parallels Automation and the Application Packaging Standard.”

— Marco Houwen, LuxCloud CEO and Founder


Do you have a growth story you want to share?


John Zanni, Vice President, SP Marketing and Alliances, Parallels



Customer Success Story: Cirrus Tech


For Cirrus Tech, bundling services together from different platforms was a complex task. In some cases, customers were asked to use three different platforms for different service types. The company required a way to bring a wide service range together, making management more efficient.


Cirrus Tech discovered Parallels Plesk Automation, a solution that could bring automation of web hosting, emails, domains and more to a single management node. Even as services continue to expand and the number of servers in use continues to grow, administration remains convenient. Parallels Plesk Automation was integrated with Cirrus Tech’s existing Parallels Business Automation Standard implementation, creating a highly automated system that was more flexible for administrators and customers alike.


Read the complete story.




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