Spiceworks Cloud Management Brings Aboard Google Apps, Rackspace

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Spiceworks has added the ability to manage Google Apps for Business and Rackspace Cloud Servers through its Spiceworks cloud management play.

Adding Google Apps and Rackspace Cloud Services to its latest edition, Spiceworks version 5.1, which is now in beta, lets Spiceworks' 1.4 million small business IT pros activate and manage their Google and Rackspace cloud environments like they manage their on-premise ecosystems.

"Whether you have laptops in your office or cloud servers in the sky, IT pros need a simple way to manage and buy the technology their employees and businesses depend on," Scott Abel, co-founder and CEO of Spiceworks, said in a statement. "By offering technology from Google and Rackspace, we're taking a big step forward to make this happen for the 1.4 million IT pros who rely on Spiceworks for everything IT."

Spiceworks bills itself as the "social business network for IT" and its application combines free network management, network monitoring and help desk support with a Facebook-like community of IT professionals through which organizations collaborate and support management of cloud and on-premise technologies.

Recent research from Austin, Texas-based Spiceworks found that IT pros in the SMB space expect to spend 26 percent of their budgets on hosted and cloud services, and 40 percent of SMBs plan to purchase, upgrade or renew hosted e-mail services sometime in 2011. Spiceworks said the release of version 5.1 will give SMBs an on-ramp to the cloud.

The newest version of Spiceworks includes the ability for users to view and manage Google Apps for Business, including Gmail and other applications from within Spiceworks. Users can also upgrade from Google Apps to Google Apps for Business and add additional accounts through Spiceworks.

For Rackspace Cloud Servers and hosted e-mail management, IT pros can provision and administer Rackspace Cloud Servers through Spiceworks and also use free management capabilities for Rackspace's hosted e-mail offering. Capabilities enable management and monitoring of Rackspace hosted Exchange and IMAP/POP e-mal accounts. Spiceworks users can also save up to 50 percent off of their Rackspace hosted e-mail licenses.

Lastly, Spiceworks 5.1 supports backup to the Rackspace Cloud, letting users automatically back up their Spiceworks installation to a Rackspace Cloud File account to ensure Spiceworks settings can be easily recovered or restored if needed.

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