We recently had a great Office365 event where we reviewed the Office365 product suite and its core benefits. A question that came up in the audience was "why is Microsoft pushing the cloud?" I personally think that question misses the point, because what Microsoft is really doing is providing options to consumers to choose a solution which best fits their business.
What Microsoft has done with Office365 is provide a cloud based alternative to hosting services on-premise. If you review the core solution sets of Exchange, Lync, SharePoint and identity management, you can see benefits and negatives of both on-premise and cloud solutions. You can also see how many businesses may want to utilize both services (on-premise and cloud) for different types of users. Microsoft's differentiator is that it is producing solutions for both on-premise and cloud based offerings, as well as integrating them together.
I'd strongly suggest you take a second to look at the Office365 site, including:
What are the "killer features" from my perspective?
- Active Directory single sign-on to cloud services. This is the single most important and critical feature to the enterprise.
- SharePoint 2010 which is includes enterprise features.
- Lync with an option for dial-in conferencing. Incremental model for deploying Lync voice on-premise.
- Exchange with large mailboxes and unlimited archive storage (in archive plan).
I'm excited to work with companies on building out enterprise solutions with Hybrid and dedicated models. I think the most interesting thing as an IT consultant will be the opportunity to discover what solution best fits each business. We have a really cool future in front of us.
UPDATE! For the video of our Office365 event, see the following: http://www.concurrency.com/blog/office365-features-pricing-and-deep-dive/
P.S. Stay tuned for some new posts on what Microsoft is doing with Azure and SCVMM 2012.