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Snapshot: Azaleos

Vendor Name: Azaleos
Date of Publication: December 2005
Author(s): David Ferris
Source of Information: Roger Gerdes, CEO, and Keith McCall, CTO
Quick Summary of Firm’s Offerings. Managed appliance for Microsoft Exchange

Azaleos OneServer Appliance

Product Name: Azaleos OneServer Appliance and Azaleos OneStop Services
Product Functionality:
· Offers a messaging solution appliance targeted at users of Microsoft Exchange.
· Delivers Exchange 2003 on a preconfigured appliance based on Dell or HP hardware.
· Provides Exchange continuity and failover through a clustered configuration.
· Includes Windows, Exchange 2003, and Azaleos software preinstalled; three rack mount servers; Microsoft/Sybari Antigen (anti-virus) and Advanced Spam Manager; and Good Technology mobile synchronizing software.
· Also includes the OneStop subscription, a managed service that provides 24×7 proactive monitoring and maintenance, image-based patch management, and remote management from the Internap Data Center in Seattle, Washington.
· Is offered through a channel-focused sales model that is based on appliance margins, setup, and integration services, with subscription revenue sharing.
Major Benefits:
· Is easier than managing Exchange internally.
· Is particularly appealing to organizations with limited IT staff or organizations that find Exchange and its associated resource costs expensive to support.
· Integrates with the existing Active Directory.
· Provides active/passive clustering without requiring customers to understand and maintain the intricacies of clustering.
· Offers a failover solution in a single location.
· Provides remote, 24×7 monitoring of hardware, software, and mail flow conditions.
· Provides notification and proactive assistance and/or fixes by Azaleos staff if problems are detected.
Competition:
· Top 3: regional systems integrators (competitors and partners), hosted Exchange (Mi8), and self-managed Exchange (status quo).
· Other: traditional outsourcing, appliance vendors (Mirapoint, Teneros), POP3 hosting, and Dell/HP prepackaged server solutions plus consulting.
Release Date: March, 2005
Pricing: $30,000 (not including storage), plus $7 to $10 per user per month for the OneStop subscription service. Customers must also procure two Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise server licenses, two Windows Server 2003 Enterprise server licenses, one Windows 2003 Standard server license, and the appropriate number of client access licenses. They may also acquire licenses for the preinstalled and configured Microsoft/Sybari anti-virus/anti-spam components and the Good Technology mobility component.
Main Plans–Next 12 Months:
· Multiple site disaster recovery (early 2006).
· Migration support to Exchange 2003 and then to Exchange 12.
Special Characteristics Claimed by Vendor:
· "Azaleos provides a safe and cost-effective solution for operating corporate email systems. Through a standardized implementation of Exchange deployed on industry-standard hardware servers and connected to industry-standard storage devices, the Azaleos OneServer provides the best-in-class managed, on-premises email solution."
· "Azaleos’ solution reduces the need for costly consulting skills to operate and deploy an optimized Exchange 2003 environment. A typical IT administrator at a customer site can now deploy a fully functional active/passive Exchange cluster in record time, and can rely on highly trained Azaleos support personnel to help maintain and manage a 24×7 high-availability solution."
· "Azaleos removes the burden of managing Exchange 2003 so IT resources can be refocused on innovation applications and activities that drive business performance—such as integrating email with core business systems for human resources and finance, sales force automation, and collaborative applications such as SharePoint."
· "The Azaleos solution can deliver greater than 99.9% availability of the email environment from a perceived client downtime perspective. By automating the patch management process, Azaleos OneServer eliminates the need to bring down Exchange 2003 for general maintenance, thus removing the potential for human error in the maintenance process."
For Further Information. http://www.azaleos.net.

Ferris Research Comments

· Azaleos is at the forefront in defining a new space and has very little direct competition. Now that Exchange is the market leader, new ways of packaging and delivering it are vital to keep customers satisfied. For some organizations, Exchange can be hard to manage. Managing it well requires commitment and investment, and it is essential that Exchange be proactively managed. Doing so from a remote facility makes sense for some organizations.
· Per-month pricing is competitive with external Exchange hosting and outsourcing, although hosting has no upfront costs. However, Exchange hosting generally appeals to organizations with fewer than 250 seats, so this is not an expected market for Azaleos.
· Azaleos’ chief executive officer was formerly with Microsoft and has consulted for Network Appliance, Sygate, and Rational Software. The company’s chief technology officer was a director and product unit manager at Microsoft, a senior director at IBM Lotus, and a solution executive at IBM. Financing is from Second Avenue Partners and Ignition Partners, both of which were created by former Microsoft executives.
· Insourcing versus outsourcing is always a tough decision. Organizations do not want to move their crown jewels—in this case email—to an outside location. Yet handing management to someone else is a major benefit of outsourcing. Azaleos neatly splits the difference, with Exchange onsite and management handled remotely.
· Azaleos will likely be quick to deploy new technologies, such as a new Exchange version or service pack, once they have been tested. When Microsoft announced that the next version of Exchange (12) will require 64-bit hardware, Azaleos soon declared that it will send customers with maintenance contracts new 64-bit boxes. Most likely, it will move to a 64-bit solution quickly and then use its task-based imaging technology to upgrade when Exchange 12 becomes available.
· This is a new space, and Azaleos has little competition. The main competition is the status quo: Getting customers to move from their existing solutions can be challenging.
· Clustering is useful as a way to increase Exchange availability: If one system goes down, another automatically takes over. However, clustering is challenging for smaller IT shops to manage themselves. Azaleos will enhance system reliability in 2006 by adding disaster recovery and business continuance capabilities.
· Integrating into existing Active Directory networks could be challenging, though Azaleos has been successful to date.

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