Fusepoint Managed Services Inc. is broadening its infrastructure services to support private clouds running Microsoft Hyper-V virtualized environments to support those customers that are Microsoft shops.
The Toronto-based provider, which runs data centres across Canada, has already been offering support to private clouds with VMware ESX for several years now, but including Hyper-V sends a message to customers that it too believes in the technology, said Bik Dutta, the company’s director of product management.
“It tells enterprises that are willing to hang their bet with Microsoft that we are also part and parcel of that strategy and that plan,” said Dutta.
Over the last several years, Dutta said customers and prospects had been increasingly requesting managed services that support Hyper-V private cloud environments.
While VMware’s virtualization technology is considerably more mature given its longer history, Dutta said it’s only a matter of time before Microsoft catches up to VMware, with inroads like live migration features, for instance. “So we are prepared to work with them and travel down this path,” said Dutta. “So when (Microsoft is) ready for head-to-head competition with VMware, we’ll be able to support both.”
Mississauga, Ont.-based personal health coaching technology provider Mytrack Health System Inc., has been using managed services from Fusepoint for the past nine months to manage the company Web site as well as offsite backups.
Director of engineering Dave Saunders said Mytrack conducts the quality assurance and testing phases of product development in a VMware virtualized environment before pushing it out to Fusepoint for the final pre-live and live phases.
But as a Microsoft partner, Mytrack is evaluating Hyper-V as a potential replacement for the development environment now that the technology has had a chance to mature, said Saunders.
Fusepoint’s extended support for Hyper-V will make deployment a lot easier, said Saunders. “In terms of cost, we’re hoping it will be less expensive just because we don’t have to purchase tens of thousands of dollars of hardware to support our development environment,” he said.
Ottawa-based mobile personalization vendor Bridgewater Systems Corp. uses Fusepoint to host its e-mail system and applications like SharePoint, and is just rolling out a VMware server farm.
Director of IT Darren Just said using managed services for mission-critical applications is the best way to go for an IT team of just four people. “I need to have support around the clock and with a small IT team I would rather have somebody else take care of issues of patching servers, all that kind of fun stuff,” said Just.
And a managed services provider can handle scalability as well, said Just. “If suddenly we do an acquisition and we double in size, I don’t have to suddenly double the team,” he said.
It will be an ongoing debate as to whether Microsoft’s virtualization technology will eventually catch up to VMware, said Just. But in the meantime, VMware works just fine for Bridgewater Systems, given the flexibility of the offering, he said.
Dutta said he’s observed a conservative hybrid approach among Canadian customers to outsourcing applications to private and public clouds. “Mission critical and public multi-tenant so far have not gone together well,” said Dutta. But he expects that to change in three years, when more enterprises will trust outsourcing to the cloud.
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