Intel have announced details of a new subscription-based server model for small business, offering modular access to hardware, software and services for a monthly fee. The new program, “Intel Hybrid Cloud” combines locally installed server hardware with Intel’s management application and service catalogue hosted in the cloud. Authorised partners can manage the server remotely, enabling and configuring required services as needed from a remote location, as well as troubleshooting issues.
Intel have launched a pilot program in the US and Canada to test the new service, with a range of three headless servers, two based on Lenovo ThinkServer TS200v hardware with Intel Xeon processors and an unbranded, white box server. Hardware must support Intel’s Active Management Technology 6.0 (AMT) for compatibility with the new infrastructure (specifically remote rebooting of the system regardless of server state).
A number of pre-configured services are available at launch, including Windows Small Business Server and Windows Server 2008 plus additional options including Firewall, Remote management, Back-up, Disaster recovery and VoIP-PBX. Each software appliance runs on a separate virtual machine, allowing individual management of each appliance and isolation for reconfiguration or troubleshooting. Additional applications can be installed within the Windows Server environment if required. Intel expect to grow the list of services available in the catalogue over time.
The new model allows service providers to sell combined Hardware, Software and Service packages to small business users for a monthly fee. The small business owner gets a far more flexible solution, with the ability to enable particular services and applications as required (for a specific project or contract) and then switch off when complete, reducing their monthly fee.
SMBNation has a preview of the Intel Hybrid Cloud solution, and more details are expected to be announced at Microsoft’s forthcoming Worldwide Partner Conference next month. Is 2010 the year when “hybrid” software and service solutions come to the fore? I’m sure we’ll be hearing the term a lot over the course of 2010 and beyond – the combination of cloud flexibility with the security of locally stored and accessible data feels like the right balance for today’s small business.