The company's Service Level Agreement for its hosted Exchange 2010 service includes financial penalties for downtime, starting at 25% of the monthly for outages lasting up to 24 hours, and ratcheting up from there. The SLA calls for a 99.999% uptime rate, which works out to less than 6 minutes of downtime per year. Intermedia, which claims to be the leading provider of hosted Exchange services, says Exchange 2010's architecture improvements make its guarantee possible. One key is database availability groups, separate databases that can run across multiple backend servers.
To take advantage of this improved architecuture, though, McCormick says you need at least two data centers, so the only way most SMBs can benefit is through hosted services.
Using its proprietary DataEcho technology, Intermedia replicates customer data in real-time twice in one data center, and also a third time to another of Intermedia's four data centers. In addition, each data center takes regular database "snapshots."
McCormick says that Microsoft is using improvements in Exchange 2010 to cut its hosting prices, Intermedia is using them to offer greater security. Positioned as a premium provider, "We're not really looking to do something cheaper," he explains.
Intermedia is also rolling out a free full-service migration to Exchange 2010, and has a proprietary HostPilot control panel designed for small and midsize businesses.
Other Exchange 2010 enhancements include a brand new Outlook Web Application with much better interface, McCormick says. And he looks forward to Unified Communications enhancements next year, that could bring "well-packaged, affordable UC to SMBs."
I'm happy to see cloud vendors taking their security responsibilities seriously, but no one should think that a rebate on your service fees is adequate to cover the business disruptions caused by service interruptions and data loss. As McCormick himself says, "The loss of that data is the most devasting thing that can happen to you." That's gotta be worth more than a fraction of your monthly e-mail bill, right? Heck, Intermedia's own press release says:
93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster. 50% of businesses that found themselves without data management for this same time period filed for bankruptcy immediately.
I'd be even more impressed if Intermedia promised to cover any business losses during the outages. Now that would be a guarantee with some teeth!
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