Intel Gives MSPs A Hybrid Cloud Leg Up With AppUp

Intel Tuesday took the wrapping off of new SMB cloud services available through MSPs that the company said gives SMBs the security of on-premise data coupled the agility of on-demand hybrid cloud applications and services.

The Intel AppUp Small Business Cloud Service built on the Intel Hybrid Cloud comprises a server, a catalog of prepackaged small business applications from myriad software providers and Intel-developed software to manage and track use of the application software.

The Intel AppUp Small Business Cloud Service falls in line with Intel's 2015 cloud vision which predicts that there will be a billion more people on the Web, more than 15 billion connected devices globally and more than a zetabyte of Internet traffic in just four years. Intel's cloud future is also an era where cloud systems are federated, automated and client aware, Intel data center group marketing head Boyd Davis said.

And as the cloud market grows into 2015, the need for SMBs and the cloud will explode, Davis said, adding that come 2015 SMBs are expected to spend $49 billion on cloud computing.

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"Small businesses have a new opportunity to take advantage of new technologies," he said, noting that SMBs have been slow in achieving the true benefits of cloud computing due to their specific business needs.

With the Intel AppUp Small Business Cloud Service built on the Intel Hybrid Cloud, Intel is giving MSPs the ability to attack the SMB market with a cloud computing play that gives SMBs an elastic and flexible pay-as-you-go play with low capital expenses and no maintenance, coupled with the comfort of keeping their data on premise.

The service features an Intel Hybrid Cloud Server Reference Design; adds the Intel Hybrid Cloud Server Manager for secure usage monitoring, remote management and a Web portal; and the Intel AppUp Business Service Catalog of pay-as-you-go cloud software options that range from infrastructure, security, business applications and others from a host of technology partners like Astaro, GFI Software, Level Platforms, Microsoft, Symantec and more than a dozen others. The ready-to-use on-site server is managed remotely by MSPs and ISVs. with a ready-to-use on-site server that is managed remotely by MSPs and ISVs.

The AppUp Business Service Catalog uses Intel-developed software to activate, deactivate and track the usage of applications on the platform using Intel Trusted Execution Technology in Xeon processors. Each month, that server tracks software usage and sends a secure encrypted report to an Intel data center. Intel invoices the small business's service provider, which bills the small business customer.

According to Intel Hybrid Cloud General Manager Bridget Karlin, SMBs get pay-as-you-go software, cloud access to the software catalog and on-site data access with little CapEx; while MSPs and ISVs can convert to a subscription model, access an immediate online catalog, create their own offerings and deliver a pre-configured and remotely managed cloud play.

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Karlin said MSPs can deliver hybrid cloud as a service to SMBs and "wrap their own solutions and services around it." Some potential use cases available to MSPs via the Intel AppUp Service include ERP-as-a-service, collaboration-as-a-service, security-as-a-service and backup-as-a-service. They can also remotely manage customers' servers via a Web portal hosted by Intel and use Intel Active Management Technology to remotely troubleshoot, diagnose, and support the servers.

Additionally, Intel Virtualization Technology and virtualization software enable delivery of "virtual appliances" to the small business user, providing pre-integrated operating systems and small business software that can be turned on or off as needed, and easily maintained by the service provider.

Meanwhile, OEMs can package and white-label offerings, Karlin said. Early OEM partners include Lenovo, Acer and NEC.

For Intel AppUp Small Business Cloud Service, MSPs work with their small business customers to choose what they need from the catalog. The MSP then orders the solution and the Intel AppUp Small Business Service delivers the software to the Intel Hybrid Cloud server deployed on-premise at the customer site.

The Intel Hybrid Cloud is based on a single socket Xeon processor and currently available on Lenovo hardware and via white box servers to deliver core applications for SMBs. In the second half of 2011, Intel will offer its Hybrid Cloud platform on a two socket processor with hardware available via NEC and Acer with a complete solution stack for verticals. And in 2012, Intel expects to offer a range of platform choices via various OEM relationships and several more subscription-based applications.

Bob Venero, the CEO of Future Tech, a Holbrook, New York solution provider said the Intel AppUp Small Business Cloud Service, which Future Tech offers as the Future Tech Flex Cloud powered by the Intel Hybrid Cloud, gave his the ability to attack the growing SMB market, an area Future Tech didn't play in before.

"It makes it a much more viable solution for me to go after the SMB cloud," he said. "It's a great vehicle and great entry into that space."

Venero said he's brought aboard new staff, trained employees and has allocated a dedicated sales team to target SMB cloud plays via the Intel-based offerings.

Venero said the SMB cloud is tricky, because SMB and enterprise cycles differ greatly and SMB offerings typically take a great deal of legwork. Venero said the AppUp Cloud Service delivers a clean way to get into SMBs.

"It allows them to focus on doing their business on not on their IT," he said of his SMB clients.

And with Intel continuing to add software options and applications to the Intel AppUp Business Service Catalog, SMBs will have access to on-demand applications they could reach before.

"The value that you have with what Intel is bringing is they'll keep adding things to the catalog," he said.