Category Archives: Saas

The Cloud is Dead! Long Live the Cloud! Twitter Chat Recap

Last week, Cloud Commons hosted a Twitter Chat on the end of Cloud Computing. If you’re not familiar with a tweetchat, they are discussions hosted on Twitter where people can join at a specific time by following a certain hashtag. The Cloud Commons tweetchats usually have around ten panelists and have been kicked off with a few thought-provoking questions. The participants then respond and share ideas in real time. The discussion is focused enough to be useful – 1 hour session, responses limited to 140 characters, but large enough to capture different perspectives.

This week’s tweetchat began with several questions:

  1. Adoption rates are rising for private cloud. Is this a stepping stone to hybrid/public cloud?
  2. What needs to happen before enterprises start to fully embrace cloud computing?
  3. What does the future model for enterprise cloud adoption look like?
  4. What should CSPs be doing more of to meet the needs of the enterprise?
  5. What needs to happen so that cloud becomes so ubiquitous that it’ll no longer be referred to as cloud? When will it happen?

The first question, “Is private cloud a stepping stone to hybrid/public cloud?” drew approximately 32 tweets. From the transcript, it appears as though participants in the marketplace are improving their understanding of cloud computing in terms of service and delivery models (private, public, hybrid, IaaS, PaaS, SaaS). The popular viewpoint was that private cloud is not exactly a stepping stone to hybrid/public cloud. A few tweets took the position that private cloud is seen as an alternate path to hybrid/public cloud. Many tweets indicated that IT departments want to retain tight control of their environment. Interesting tweet… “private cloud does not necessarily mean on-premises.” More on this later.

47 tweets in response to the second question, “What needs to happen before enterprises start to fully embrace cloud computing?” Overwhelmingly, the responses in this part of the chat were filled with terms like “services led,” “business value,” “SLA,” and “reduce FUD.” The responses to question 1 covered some territory here as well – enterprises will fully embrace cloud computing if and when they agree to give up some control of their infrastructure. There was an interesting tweet that mentioned transparency – “…it’s not always about control, as it is transparency.” We would argue that transparency is not needed here. To me, full transparency would require that the business is able to access minute detail about infrastructure, such as the amount of RAM installed on the application server that runs their slice of CRM at The business should be hidden from this kind of detail. Abstraction plays heavily here. So, we don’t need transparency as much as we need subtraction. What is an important concept that provides abstraction? You guessed it, Service Level Management. The GreenPages view is that processes need to improve before enterprises start to fully embrace cloud computing. See my earlier post, “What Should I Do about Cloud?” that goes in to much more detail on this topic.

I count about the same number of tweets in response to question 3 as I do question 2. Question 3 was a little more open-ended, so a critical mass of ideas never really took shape. The GreenPages’ view is that cloud computing will evolve to look like modern supply chains that can be seen in other industries, such as manufacturing. Enterprises may purchase IT Services from a SaaS provider, for example. may purchase its platform from another PaaS provider. That PaaS provider may purchase its basic infrastructure from an IaaS provider. Some value is added at each level, as the IaaS provider becomes more experienced in providing only infrastructure. The PaaS provider has an extremely robust platform for providing only a platform. The SaaS provider may ultimately become an expert at assembling and marketing these components into a service that provides value for the enterprise that ultimately consumes it. Compare this to the supply chain that auto manufacturers leverage to assemble a vehicle. In the early days of manufacturing, some companies produced every part of a vehicle, and assembled it into a finished product. I can think of one prominent example where the work to assemble a finished automobile took place in a single factory around the River Rouge in Detroit. Fast forward to present day, and you’ll be hard pressed to find an auto manufacturer who produces their own windshield glass. Or brake pads. Or smelts their own aluminum. The supply chain has specialized. Auto manufacturers design, assemble, and market finished vehicles. That’s about it. Cloud computing could bring the same specialization to IT.

Most tweets in response to question 4 were clearly around Service Level Management and SLAs, mitigating unknowns in security, and avoiding vendor lock-in. We agree, and think that a standard will emerge to define IT services in a single, consistent format. Kind of like OVF, the Open Virtual Machine Format, for virtualization. I can see an extension to OVF that defines a service’s uptime requirements, maximum ping time to a database server, etc. Such a standard would promote portability of IT Services.

Question 5 really went back to the topics discussed in question 3. When will enterprises embrace cloud? When will cloud computing become ubiquitous?

Right now, Corporate IT and The Business are two individuals living in a virtual “company town.” What I mean is that customers, (the business) are forced to purchase their services from the company store (corporate IT). GreenPages’ view is that there is a market for IT services and that emergence of cloud computing will serve to broaden this market. We recommend that organizations understand the value and costs of providing their own IT services in order to participate in the market – just like the business does. Overall, another insightful chat with some intelligent people!

Parallels Automation 5.4 Launches, Delivering Enterprise-Grade Hosted PBX, Microsoft® Lync and Microsoft® Hosted Exchange Capabilities


Additional features, including the new Parallels Web Presence Builder, are specifically designed for service providers to meet the growing demand for cloud services by small and medium businesses (SMBs)


We are excited to announce the general availability of Parallels Automation 5.4, the latest version of the most comprehensive hosting and cloud services delivery system used by hundreds of service providers worldwide, from the world’s largest telecom operators to top hosters and providers of vertical solutions. 


Among the new cloud service delivery capabilities in Parallels Automation 5.4 is a suite of communications and collaboration features, including a full-featured virtual PBX enablement solution for delivering hosted BroadSoft BroadWorks PBX and hosted Microsoft® Lync™ services. These features are designed specifically to meet the growing demands of small and medium businesses (SMBs) for hosted PBX and other cloud applications. According to Parallels SMB Cloud Insights™, the market for hosted communications and collaboration services experienced a 75% year-over-year growth in 2012, reaching $2.5B and is expected to carry a 35% CAGR through 2014.


The new hosted communications and collaboration capabilities in Parallels Automation 5.4 enables hosters of any size to launch much needed hosted PBX services, bundled with business email, instant messaging and other services.  These services are suited to meet the communications needs of SMBs, whether they are replacing a legacy PBX system or moving to their very first PBX service. Parallels has also simplified the deployment of these services by partnering with best-in-breed providers to add flexibility and enhanced capabilities.  Hosters can choose to integrate these services with their own BroadSoft Broadworks solution, or use wholesale services enabled by preferred partners Apptix, Alteva and Sipcom.  


In addition, Parallels Automation 5.4 delivers hosted Microsoft Lync services, appealing to the 178 million employees of SMBs worldwide who seek to leverage cloud-based messaging, collaboration and unified communications across desktops, laptops and mobile devices. Microsoft Lync also includes built-in web and call conferencing support and is a natural upsell to those SMBs already utilizing Microsoft Exchange, either on-premises or in a hosted environment. Parallels Automation 5.4 also provides billing automation and provisioning of this and other hosted Microsoft services, while enabling additional application integration of other hosted third-party applications from leading ISVs.


“Parallels Automation continues to be a competitive differentiator for Apptix and a key reason why blue chip channel partners are turning to Apptix to drive their cloud success,” said Joy Nemitz, Chief Marketing Officer, Apptix. “It provides a single platform for provisioning, management, and billing of all of our Cloud services and allows us to beat our competitors to market with new services and capabilities into the market – such as Microsoft Lync.”


“Parallels Automation continues to be the platform of choice for service providers seeking to profit from the rapidly-growing opportunity for delivering cloud services to SMBs,” said Jack Zubarev, President of Parallels. “With the addition of hosted PBX, and Microsoft Lync, Parallels Automation is delivering even more opportunities for service providers to meet the diverse needs of SMBs.”


In addition to the Hosted PBX and Microsoft Lync capabilities, Parallels Automation 5.4 also delivers number of enhancements, including:


  • Updated Control Panel – Parallels Automation has an entirely refreshed end-user control panel. Many scenarios have been optimized based on customer input and the look and feel has been unified with Parallels Plesk Panel to offer a common interface throughout all Parallels control panels. These and other new self-service features make Parallels Automation more efficient for both the service provider and their end-user customers.


  • New Parallels Web Presence Builder – As the worldwide market for Web presence is expected to grow to $12.6 billion by 20141, hosters continue to seek ways to capitalize on this growing market, to differentiate their offers and grow their service revenue. The new Parallels Web Presence Builder features prebuilt site templates with customized text for more than 75 different industries – enabling SMBs to set up a complete, professional-looking website in record time.  Parallels Web Presence Builder also enables users to easily customize website content, integrate it with Facebook, and let visitors share content on popular social networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn.


  • Parallels Windows Provisioning Engine (WPE) – As Microsoft has wound down its Hosted Messaging and Collaboration (HMC) solution, service providers will have to find a new platform to deliver hosted and syndicated Microsoft Exchange and other tools. Parallels Automation 5.4 is a leading Microsoft-certified solution that allows service providers to migrate their customers from HMC to future hosted e-mail and other applications.  This includes Hosted Exchange 2010 SP2 services via Parallels WPE, which enables the migration from older Exchange versions.



The market continues to take notice of Parallels momentum. In a recently published report, technology industry research firm IDC states, “Given Parallels’ current base of 5,000 partners/customers in the SMB IT channel (hosting providers, resellers, and integrators) and market penetration of the Parallels Plesk Panel product (50% market share in the control panel segment), IDC believes that the company is well positioned to establish an up-the-stack presence in the service delivery/enablement platforms of SMB cloud IT supply chain participants.”2 The full IDC report is available for download from Parallels Web site at:


For more information on Parallels Automation, visit:



1 Parallels SMB Cloud Insights, 2012

2 IDC, Parallels Private Vendor Watchlist Profile: Helping Service Providers Compete in the Cloud, doc #233149, Feb. 2012

APS and SaaS Webinar for Service Providers featuring Solgari, Ecwid, VMWare and Quest


Our recent case study describes how leading Hong Kong hosting service provider, Pacificnet Hosting Limited (PacHosting), used Parallels Application Packaging Standard (APS) to broaden its portfolio and reduce time-to-market for new services. With APS, PacHosting was able to create new revenue opportunities in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) space and rapidly ramp-up services. We have arranged for some leaders in the SaaS field to explain how your business can profit like PacHosting by offering the most in-demand applications to small and medium business customers. This is a great opportunity for service providers to learn how to easily market and sell high-demand commercial applications and services, and how Parallels can help providers of any size be successful in increasing ARPU and reducing customer churn.


This month’s scheduled presentations include:


Solgari – Discover the fantastic opportunity to provide Solgari Hosted PBX & Voice Services to your business customers

Ecwid – Find out how you can grow your ecommerce base with our 100% AJAX widget shopping cart

VMware – Learn how Zimbra Collaboration Server allows you to offer an advanced enterprise email & calendaring solution at a low TCO

Quest – Discover the many benefits of Quest’s OnDemand Migration for Email


Webinar starts Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 8am PDT. Don’t miss it – Register now!

News Round-Up 5/5/2012: What Makes the Cloud Cool, Feds in the Cloud, 10 Things Your Cloud Contract Needs


There have been some exciting announcements and fascinating news articles recently regarding cloud services and service providers. Every week we will round up the most interesting topics from around the globe and consolidate them into a weekly summary.


Cloud Computing Gains in Federal Government

The Federal Government is warming to the speed, agility and functionality of cloud computing.


State companies helping Army with cloud computing

The U.S. Army has turned to cloud computing, and to Wisconsin companies, to improve its intelligence gathering in Afghanistan.


Saas Offering Provides Detailed Analysis of Your Software Portfolio

Are you faced with the need to do a software portfolio analysis but find the prospect daunting given the scattered nature of your operation? A new SaaS-based offering might fit the bill.


SaaS Business Apps Drive SMB Cloud Computing Adoption

Lots of small and medium businesses have discovered the benefits of software-as-a-service. These SaaS applications are driving cloud adoption among SMBs. 


Here’s What Makes The Cloud So Cool

Mike Pearl from PriceWaterhouseCooper provides a useful plan of attack for business adoption of cloud computing.


10 Things You Just Gotta Have in Your Cloud Contract

CFO’s guide to the wild and wooly world of cloud services in which contracts are mutable, companies come and go, and politics a continent away could materially impact your business.



Also in the news:




New AWS Marketplace Offers Pre-Configured Software for the AWS Cloud

Image representing Amazon Web Services as depi...

Amazon Web Services today launched AWS Marketplace, an online store that makes it easy for customers to find, compare, and immediately start using the software and technical services they need to build products and run their businesses. Visitors to AWS Marketplace can use 1-Click deployment to quickly launch pre-configured software and pay only for what they use, by the hour or month, while benefiting from the scalable, flexible and on-demand features of AWS. With AWS Marketplace, software and Software as a Service (SaaS) providers with offerings that run on the AWS Cloud can benefit from increased customer awareness, simplified deployment, and automated billing. AWS Marketplace features a wide selection of commercial and free IT and business software, including software infrastructure such as databases and application servers, developer tools, and business applications – available from popular vendors such as 10gen, CA, Canonical, Couchbase, Check Point Software, IBM, Microsoft, SAP AG, and Zend, as well as many widely used open source offerings including Drupal, MediaWiki, and WordPress. To get started with AWS Marketplace please visit:

AWS Marketplace simplifies many of the traditional challenges software and SaaS companies face, such as acquiring customers, developing distribution channels, and billing for their software. With AWS Marketplace, a simple listing process makes it quick and easy to add products and expose them to AWS’s hundreds of thousands of active customers. Product prices are clearly stated and charges appear on the same bill as a customer’s other AWS services. Customers can quickly deploy products found in the marketplace and software providers can easily add billing to their products by specifying hourly or monthly charges, without undertaking costly code changes. Billing is managed by AWS Marketplace, relieving sellers of the responsibility of managing customer accounts and processing payments, and leaving software developers more time to focus on building great software.

“AWS Marketplace brings the same simple, trusted, and secure online shopping experience that customers enjoy on’s retail website to software built for the AWS platform, streamlining the process of doing research and purchasing software,” said Terry Hanold, Vice President of New Business Initiatives, AWS. “AWS Marketplace makes it even easier to run software on AWS because you can find a wide variety of AWS ecosystem providers’ solutions, in one place, where much of the work involved in building and deploying solutions on top of AWS has already been done for you by these solutions providers.”

AWS is the leading cloud platform with a fast growing ecosystem of providers building solutions on top of the platform.

“Zend Application Fabric enables developers to confidently deploy fast, elastic and dependable PHP applications,” said Zend CEO Andi Gutmans. “AWS Marketplace makes it simple for our customers to access Zend on the AWS cloud and pay only for the infrastructure needed to run their applications. By providing customers a single invoice for combined software and server capacity, businesses can operate more effectively than ever before.”

“AWS Marketplace provides companies like ours an opportunity to easily reach new customers,” said Carolee Gearhart, SAP’s National Vice President of OEM & Strategic Partner Group for North America. “We expect our customers will benefit from SAP’s robust BI functionality, while taking advantage of the quick deployment capabilities provided by AWS Marketplace.”

Customers can browse AWS Marketplace or learn more details about its features and benefits of AWS Marketplace by visiting