Microsoft and NetEnrich are working to bridge the gap between small and midsize businesses (SMBs) and the cloud.
According to Raju Checkuri, founder and CEO of IT infrastructure management company NetEnrich, the cloud has made enterprise-grade IT capabilities more attainable to SMBs. But aside from email, file storage and a smattering of business software offerings, few are using the cloud—Microsoft Azure, in particular—to its full, transformative potential.
Noting that Microsoft has had "early success with Office 365 on the low-end," Checkuri said the Redmond, Wash., software giant is aiming much higher. "Microsoft wants to make sure Azure is embraced by SMBs," he told eWEEK.
So Microsoft met with the cloud and IT management specialists at NetEnrich, who were already well-versed in the Microsoft stack, said Checkuri. "They rang us through the ringer," he said.
After hammering out the details of a possible collaboration, NetEnrich was selected as the provider of Azure Backup, Site Recovery and application migration and management services to Microsoft value-added resellers (VARs) and cloud solution providers (CSPs) as part of an exclusive pilot program. Azure Backup and Site Recovery are among Microsoft's leading enterprise cloud data protection, disaster recovery and data migration offerings.
They are used by IT organizations to help ensure that their data is safely stowed away in Microsoft's cloud data centers. Should problems arise with their own storage systems, they can help businesses quickly resume operations. Last summer, Microsoft and EMC—soon to be officially acquired by Dell—announced that Azure Site Recovery support would be available on select EMC enterprise storage systems.
Microsoft and NetEnrich have partnered to offer those capabilities as a set of white-label services, making it easier for VARs to implement them for their SMB customers and potentially further drive Azure adoption.
In his conversation with customers, Checkuri discovered that established midsize companies, in particular, are wrestling with the industry-wide shift toward a cloud delivery model for IT services. "The biggest struggle they're having is that they need to become a service provider." Without a clear mandate and external guidance, traditional IT teams are finding that adopting an as-a-service mindset is easier said than done.
In terms of moving workloads to the cloud, Checkuri said his company picks up where big-name enterprise IT consulting firms leave off. "What an Accenture or IBM Global Services would do for the Fortune 500, we do for midmarket enterprises," he said.
Hyder Ali, CTO of Microsoft's Worldwide SMB group, said in a statement that the company is "focused on empowering customers to capitalize on the benefits of cloud, and our partners are key to providing the expertise and support they need to plan their strategy and maximize their Azure investments. NetEnrich will provide a valuable service in a predictable and scalable way to those partners seeking best practices and standard approaches to an Azure migration and deployment, which will mean faster time to value for our customers."