Parallels has updated its software tools for hosted service providers with new offerings that make it easier to deliver cloud infrastructure, hosted telephony and Microsoft's forthcoming Office 365 services.
Announced at the firm's Parallels Summit in Florida, the new solutions will enable service providers to better serve the needs of small-to-medium business customers, according to the firm.
Parallels Automation for Cloud Infrastructure allows hosting providers to offer infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) to customers, including cloud compute and storage services akin to Amazon's EC2 cloud platform.
This provides hosting companies with all the necessary processes, such as provisioning, billing and self-service management for end users, according to John Zanni, vice president of Parallels' Service Provider division.
Parallels said that the tool integrates with Microsoft's Hyper-V Cloud, so that service providers can use Hyper-V to underpin IaaS offerings, while allowing end users to provision and manage virtual machines using Microsoft's System Center tools.
Parallels Automation will also include support for Office 365 syndication, which will accelerate time to market for providers aiming to offer Microsoft's hosted productivity services.
Office 365, which is expected mid-year, provides hosted SharePoint, Exchange and Lync telephony services delivered from the cloud, plus the Office Web Applications.
"We've already done the work with Microsoft to integrate into their systems, so we'll be ready to go once Office 365 is available," said Zanni.
Unlike Microsoft's earlier BPOS suite, which took providers upwards of nine months to integrate as a service offering, Office 365 should take just weeks, he added.
Parallels is also adding the ability for hosting firms to quickly offer a hosted PBX service with very little upfront investment using the hosted BroadSoft service from Alteva.
"We added this hosted PBX module because we know that only seven per cent of SMBs use hosted telephony today, so there is a lot of room for growth," Zanni said.
The company also said that it is working closely with partners on delivery of applications using the Application Packaging Standard, which simplifies delivery of software-as-a-service applications by packaging them in a standard format.
Parallels said that it sees the "sweet spot" for cloud services in the small business market for companies with fewer than 100 employees.
"Small businesses are getting tangible benefits from consuming from the cloud, and they are also looking for their provider to be a full service provider and a trusted advisor to help them understand what they should be buying," Zanni said.
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