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Microsoft Announces ASP Partnership, Tools at ISPCON

At ISPcon this week in San Jose, California, Microsoft Corp. announced a partnership with Cisco Systems Inc. to provide application service providers (ASPs) with an end-to-end solution for deploying outsourced applications and services.

The two companies will deliver infrastructure and support while working with ISVs such as Clarus Corp., Great Plains and Pivotal Corp. to provide specific service offerings in corporate purchasing, business management and customer relationship management, in turn enabling ASPs to offer these services to customers.

Hosted applications give customers an alternative to the resource-intensive process of deploying and managing complex applications internally by providing a method to deploy solutions with a reduced initial investment.

Microsoft and Cisco also have formed alliances with ASPs, enabling them to rapidly and reliably deploy services and applications to customers. These ASPs are able to meet customer expectations for reliability, security and performance by deploying hosted application solutions on Cisco Systems' intelligent networking infrastructure and the Microsoft Windows NT Server operating system.

At press time, services were offered by the following application hosting service providers: Data Return Corp., DIGEX Inc., FutureLink, Interliant Inc., QWEST Cyber.Solutions, The Taylor Group and USInternetworking Inc.

Building on a series of partnerships, equity investments and pilots, these ASPs now offer a variety of application hosting services on the Windows NT Server platform, Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 database, Site Server Commerce Edition and Cisco networking solutions.

As a result of the partnership, ASPs can download deployment kits from the companies’ Web sites that include software and hardware installation guides, a deployment white paper and a sales presentation.

Thomas Koll, vice president of Microsoft’s Network Solutions Group, says the combined solutions are designed to accelerate the deployment of services for ASPs.

"ASPs can leverage Microsoft and Cisco's combined expertise and programs in regard to marketing, operations and sales."

The Microsoft and Cisco alliance enables ASPs to offer other value-added services, such as business, commerce and knowledge management services, that differentiate their solutions in the industry.

Eugene Lee, a vice president of marketing for Cisco says the recent alliance opens new customer segments for ASPs.

"It also creates an emerging ecosystem of technology partners that are able to meet customer needs," he says.

Industry analysts say that Microsoft and Cisco have the potential to bring the necessary credibility to a market that so far has yielded several partnerships but few actual services or products.

"These new services are creating a framework for deploying line-of-business and commerce services through ASPs to help meet the needs of customers wanting rapid deployment and better cost and performance," says Clare Gillan, vice president, Applications and Information Access, International Data Corp. (www.idc.com). – Thomas Sullivan

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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