Powerful Application Hosting

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Powerful Application Hosting

  1. 1. White Paper Powerful Application Hosting www.swsoft.com Version 2.0
  2. 2. Table of Contents Introduction ........................................................................................................................................ 3 -Windows Hosting ....................................................................................................................... 3 Application Hosting Considerations .................................................................................................. 4 -Customer Concerns ................................................................................................................... 4 Hosted Application: Business Email ................................................................................................... 5 -Hosted Exchange Requirements ............................................................................................... 6 -Hosted Exchange Architecture ................................................................................................... 6 PEM Solution ....................................................................................................................................... 7 -Applications Hosting .................................................................................................................... 7 -Windows Hosting ........................................................................................................................ 8 -Microsoft Partnership ............................................................................................................ 8 -PEM Development in Support of Hosted Exchange ............................................................. 8 -PEM Development in Support of Hosted SharePoint ............................................................ 10 -PEM Architecture and Design ................................................................................................... 10 -Fully Distributed .................................................................................................................... 10 -Centralized Management and Automation ........................................................................... 11 -Secure .................................................................................................................................. 11 -Customizable ........................................................................................................................ 11 -Modular, Complete, Extensible, and Easy to Integrate ............................................................ 11 Application Hosting Benefits ............................................................................................................... 12 -Benefits for Service Providers .................................................................................................... 12 -Benefits for End Customers ........................................................................................................ 12 -Who Benefits the Most? ........................................................................................................ 13 Conclusion .......................................................................................................................................... 13 Appendix A: Hosted Exchange Features Supported by PEM ............................................................ 14 Appendix B: Hosted SharePoint Features Supported by PEM ........................................................... 16 © SWsoft Powerful Application Hosting 2
  3. 3. Introduction The application hosting market is a lucrative business opportunity that is growing at a 22% annual rate, according to AMR Research. A significant number of small and medium sized businesses have already purchased web and email hosting services, while business email, online gaming, rich media applications, mobile solutions, software as a service, and collaboration are new applications that will continue to drive revenue growth. One example of the growth in the managed application market is the following chart on managed mes- saging: $4.500 $4.053 $4.000 $3.500 $3.464 $3.039 $3.000 $2.713 $2.500 $2.468 $2.000 $1.500 $1.000 $500 $- 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 Figure 1: Radicati Group The maturity of the hosted application market helps customers hear about and recognize the benefits of outsourcing application management. This awareness has also made customers more discerning about purchasing services. Customers demand quick and infallible deployment, guaranteed service levels, and prompt delivery on return on investment promises. To meet these customer needs, application hosting companies need to deploy an infrastructure which is robust, yet flexible enough so providers can adjust their offerings to the constantly changing needs of the market. Tomorrow’s most popular application might be something that has not been deployed today. WIndoWs HosTIng According to the Radicati Group, Windows web, mail, data and application hosting is the fastest growing segment of hosting market, fueled by Microsoft’s efforts to reclaim market share lost to Linux. SWsoft recognizes the Windows opportunity and has partnered with Microsoft in many capacities to further advance Windows application hosting. In this paper, we will address generic application hosting and use the Microsoft Hosted Messaging and Collaboration Platform (HMC) to provide specific examples of how PEM can be used to help service providers offer Hosted Exchange and Hosted SharePoint solutions. © SWsoft Powerful Application Hosting
  4. 4. Application Hosting Considerations There are fundamental differences between hosting an application and hosting a web site. When hosting an application, service providers need to consider the following: • Availability – Web site owners are less likely to accept downtime than they used to, but application owners require even higher availability. Application owners deploying mission critical applications require zero downtime. Even non-mission critical applications often require an infrastructure with can support “five nines” of reliability1. If you are deploying a mission critical or essential application, make sure that you deploy service clusters and hot backups. • Anticipated Response Time – Web site owners are able to accept brief delays in response time, but for some applications, even a 1-2 second delay may not be acceptable. Online gaming, real-time communications, and online auctions are examples of applications that require zero latency. • Configuration – Applications may require different types of configurations than web sites. One example involves packet arrival order or jitter. Web browsers have the ability to re-assemble packets so that packets can arrive in a different order than they were sent. Some applications may be sensitive to packet arrival order. Many of these types of applications may have to be configured with tunneling software on both the client and the server. • Scalability – As successful websites grow in size, customers can upgrade their hosting plan to include more server resources according to well defined and well understood plans. Unique applications may require their own specific upgrade path. For example, a database intensive application may function well on a freeware database until a lot of users join. When this happens, the only upgrade path might involve setting up a commercial database. CusTomer ConCerns Before making the decision to purchase or host an application, customers consider return on investment. Frequently customers compare the total cost of purchasing a single server and a single software application to the monthly cost of hosting the application without considering several of the hidden costs. Some of the frequently overlooked costs include: cost of redundant architecture for mission critical applications, network bandwidth, cost of 2x7 support, and the costs associated with upgrading the application technology every - years. 1 Refers to uptime of 99.999%. This is the equivalent of 5 minutes 15 seconds of downtime per year. © SWsoft Powerful Application Hosting
  5. 5. Hosted Application: Business email Business email is an example of a hosted application that can be expensive to implement internally, so customers are willing to pay a hosting provider between $8 - $12 per user per month for this service. Business email delivers additional value compared with POP and web-mail: • 2 x 7 availability on redundant hardware • Shared calendaring • Shared contacts and distribution lists • Secure remote access • Mobile access using a handheld device The most common platform for delivering business class email is the Microsoft Exchange Platform. Micro- soft Exchange can be installed in-house (as is frequently done by larger organizations) or purchased from a hosting provider (as is frequently done by small and medium sized businesses). The size of the organization as well as the expertise within the corporation are important factors when customers determine whether or not they will purchase hardware, purchase licenses, install, maintain, and manage an Exchange Server. The graph below shows an example cost analysis of purchasing a hosted solution versus installing a solution in-house. The cost per month was determined by calculat- $30 ing the total cost over two years spread over 2 $25 Purchased months based on the following assumptions: $20 • Licensing costs provided from Microsoft Exchange web site. $15 $10 • Hardware costs: $,000 Hosted $5 • A purchased, in-house solution requires ¼ of a full time support person to install $0 and manage. 100 200 300 400 500 600 As illustrated, companies with less than four Figure 1: Exchange Cost Per User (monthly) hundred users can save money by purchasing Hosted Exchange instead of installing their own server. Utilizing a hosted solution for business email will also free up technical resources. © SWsoft Powerful Application Hosting 5
  6. 6. HosTed exCHAnge requIremenTs Launching Hosted Exchange requires several enhancements to the core Microsoft Exchange Server platform. Microsoft has combined with partners such as SWsoft to help service providers deliver robust Hosted Exchange offerings. Several enhancements to prepare Exchange for hosting include: • Multi-tenant architecture: Service providers must be able to serve multiple customers from a single Exchange platform as provided by the Microsoft Hosted Messaging and Collaboration platform. Special provisions for scaling and reporting are included in the HMC software written by Microsoft’s hosting team. • Automated provisioning: Service providers can manually provision customers into Active Directory and Exchange or utilize a commerce web site to provision customers online. SWsoft provides software which links a provider’s store front with Exchange using enhancements to the Microsoft Provisioning System (MPS). • Billing: Service providers can manually bill customers or build a billing system to link online customer orders with a customer credit card or manual collections process. SWsoft provides a multi-tier billing system to support resellers and end users. • Customer Service: Service providers can field support calls and spend time asking customers about their problem, or login to a system as the customer to see what the customer needs. SWsoft provides a way for support personnel to witness the customer’s experience, as experienced by the customer in order to reduce the cost of support. Frequently these support costs can be as high as $2 per customer per month. • Reporting and Branding: Service providers can sell directly or utilize resellers. SWsoft supports multi-tier reporting and branding for service providers that want to establish a reseller channel. Branding is completely customizable, so that resellers appear to be independent entities. Microsoft and SWsoft deliver these features in through the Hosted Messaging and Collaboration platform (Microsoft) and PEM (SWsoft). HosTed exCHAnge ArCHITeCTure Microsoft’s Hosted Messaging and Collaboration platform is a software package which includes Ex- change plus additional software required for deploying Exchange in a hosted environment. PEM provides the necessary billing and operational support processes and can be deployed directly on top of the Microsoft recommended architecture. Microsoft recommends a deployment architecture containing 2 required servers in order to offer a fully redundant Hosted Exchange offering. This architecture includes the 1 ISA server, 5 Exchange front end servers, Exchange back end servers (storage), DNS servers, 2 Active Directory servers, provisioning servers (MPS, SQL), and 2 monitoring servers (MOM). Microsoft also provides a minimal architecture consisting of 5 servers to provide a non-redundant archi- tecture that has been tested up to 1,000 end users. This architecture consists of 1 Exchange front end server, 1 Exchange back end server, 1 DNS server, 1 Active Directory server, and 1 provisioning server (MPS, SQL). The diagram below illustrates a solution containing a full Exchange deployment and four PEM servers. © SWsoft Powerful Application Hosting
  7. 7. Border Router FrontNet Exchange External DNS PEM OSS/BSS front-end front-end SMTP PEMEXSMTP01 PEMDNS01 PEMOSSCP01 RPC-HTTPS/OWA Active Sync PEMDNS02 PEMEXFE01 BackNet Exchange Provisionong back-end Active Directory PEM OSS/BSS back-end back-end Mail Store: 1+1 Cluster PEMAD01 PEMOSSSYS01 MPS PEMEXBE01 MSSQL PEMMPS01 PEMAD02 PEMOSSSYS02 PEMEXBE02 BackupNet Storage Area Network Fiber-channel of iSCSI PEM can be deployed on a single server or on separate task-specific servers as shown above. The diagram shows an implementation where the service provider is utilizing both the PEM billing solution and the PEM service management solution. Pem solution PEM is an adaptive web and application hosting solution that provides complete support of the Micro- soft platform technologies and applications. PEM enables provisioning and management for providers, multi-tier reseller delegation and customer self-management for of any type of web or application hosting service. PEM’s modular architecture allows specific deployment of business or operational components or PEM can be deployed as a complete hosting solution including billing, marketing, provisioning, IT resource management, and customer care. PEM is manageable and cost effective enough to support market entry and scaleable and flexible enough to meet carrier-class and multi-platform demands. APPlICATIons HosTIng PEM supports a wide variety of applications that run on both Linux and Windows operating systems. Unlike many operations support systems, PEM enables service providers to package service offerings across operating systems on a single service plan. For example, a provider can offer a service plan with business class email on Microsoft Exchange, collaboration on SharePoint server, and Linux based web hosting. Customers who subscribe to this plan can manage all of their resources on different servers through a single login and control panel. If a customer cancels their plan or doesn’t pay their bill, PEM will automatically deactivate all of the customer services and increment that pool of available server resourc- © SWsoft Powerful Application Hosting 7
  8. 8. es. PEM is built with a fully distributed architecture. This allows service providers to deploy applications on single purpose servers which are configured to the exact needs of the applications that they support. The result is a highly scalable solution with maximum server density. In addition, a distributed architec- ture allows service providers to add new applications without impacting the service levels of existing services. Windows Hosting mICrosofT PArTnersHIP In 200, SWsoft and Microsoft entered into a joint agreement that outlines engagement for sales, mar- keting and engineering development. Of particular importance is the engineering development agreement. In order to fully support and implement Microsoft technologies, SWsoft has access to relevant code and subject matter experts. SWsoft has identified the following Microsoft technologies as focus technolo- gies: Microsoft Hosted Messaging and Collaboration Platform (Active Directory Web-based Hosting), Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server, Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM), Systems Management Serv- er (SMS), MS DNS, Identity Integration Server 200, ASP.NET security, and Shared Hosting Accelerator (including User Management, Blog, Photo Gallery, Forums, Nuke CMS, Guestbook, etc.). SWsoft has or is in the process of incorporating the Microsoft focus technologies into its complete hosting product set. Pem develoPmenT In suPPorT of HosTed exCHAnge PEM delivers advanced management capabilities for the Microsoft Hosted Messaging and Collaboration Platform (HMC). SWsoft built this functionality to assist service providers with hosting Microsoft Win- dows applications including Exchange, SharePoint, and SQL Server. PEM provides provisioning, store front integration, customer friendly control panels, billing support, reseller support, and trouble ticketing for a HMC deployment. PEM adheres to Microsoft best practices and is tightly integrated with both Active Directory and the Microsoft Provisioning System (MPS). Customer orders and changes are entered directly into the PEM web-based control panels and provisioned using MPS. In cases where MPS does not support features needed by web hosting providers, SWsoft develops its own “providers” which accompany the standard providers issued by Microsoft and shipped with MPS. PEM specific providers help users manage the following: • IP address configuration • NTFS disk quotas • Management of FrontPage server extensions • IIS SSL certificates • Windows SharePoint Services • ColdFusion • ODBC DSN • Windows Media Services © SWsoft Powerful Application Hosting 8
  9. 9. PEM supports all of the advanced features inside Exchange and allows providers to manage most of them at an individual mailbox level. PEM also allows service providers to establish service plans with distinct resource amounts as illustrated in the diagram below. In the example above, the service provider created a stand alone Exchange service template with 10 mailboxes and 100MB storage limits. Although not shown here, the provider also established prices for extra resources so customers can upgrade their plan to have a 2GB mailbox. The customer can per- form this type of upgrade online, directly from the customer control panel, without contacting the service provider. The example above also demonstrates how providers can use PEM to control customer access by mo- bile device, Outlook Web Access, IMAP, and POP. The provider can also establish how many distribu- tion lists and shared contacts can be entered by the customer. For a complete list of Hosted Exchange features supported by PEM, please see Appendix A. © SWsoft Powerful Application Hosting 9
  10. 10. Pem develoPmenT In suPPorT of HosTed sHArePoInT Windows SharePoint hosting is included in the Microsoft Hosted Messaging and Collaboration Platform (HMC) and supported by PEM. SharePoint Services is a free component for hosting providers who have purchased Windows Server and provides a valuable add-on feature that can be offered in conjunction with Windows Hosting and/or Hosted Exchange services. The screen above shows how the service provider can set up a service plan which includes SharePoint resources. The provider can allocate the number of sites, users, and memory that can be included with a Windows Hosted service plan. These resources can be sold as part of a service plan, as shown here, or purchased individually as service add-ons. For a complete list of Hosted SharePoint features supported by PEM, please see Appendix B. Pem Architecture and design PEM was built to be the most scaleable, complete, and flexible solution for web and application hosting. fully dIsTrIBuTed PEM was designed to be fully distributed. The PEM management software and customer services can be deployed across multiple servers enabling high scalability, cost efficiencies and redundancy. Web, mail, databases and other customer services can be provisioned on separate single-purpose high-den- sity servers or clustered server farms to provide better resource utilization, and lower costs. © SWsoft Powerful Application Hosting 10
  11. 11. CenTrAlIzed mAnAgemenT And AuTomATIon PEM Implementation for Customer X The web-based interface allows centralized resource Customer Services PEM Co re Additiona l S y s t e m s accounting, reporting, automation and monitoring over the entire hosting infrastructure, customers, Package PEM Shared Hosting resellers and other resources. A single administrator Mangement Auth/Directory Web may manage data centers in many geographically E-mail Notification PEM Billing dispersed locations and may delegate operational Database Deployment Web Apps permissions to other support personnel. The PEM Security Audit CRM administrator creates rules for provisioning new VPS Monitoring Customer Care services that can apply to the entire infrastructure. Customization Domain When provisioning services to the customer, PEM Registration E-Commerce can automatically decide the best server for the new Provisioning Reseller service based upon the pre-determined rules. Marketing Hosting IP/DNS seCure Additional PEM Modules PEM provides the highest level of automated security possible for hosting solutions. Functionality includes: Game Hosted • Security update delivery for a variety of Servers Exchange PEM E- operating systems and applications automatically Media Hosted Commerce to thousands of servers. Hosting SharePoint PEM Marketing • Comprehensive security roles and privileges Dedicated MS SQL allowing providers and resellers to control and Hosting Hosting PEM Customer Care delegate access to very specific levels. Users are Windows given permission to view and perform tasks only Domain Reg. Hosting in pre-designated areas. CusTomIzABle PEM was designed to be flexible from both customer and operational perspectives. The look, feel and behavior of PEM are customizable at every level and can be easily branded. PEM provides not only the typical choices of skins or color schemes; PEM provides the flexibility to completely create an interface. modulAr, ComPleTe, exTensIBle, And eAsy To InTegrATe PEM’s architecture is a modular set of components required to successfully manage web and applica- tion hosting. PEM’s flexibility and well documented APIs ensure integration with third party, custom and future applications, ensuring limitless opportunities to differentiate with service offerings. PEM can be used as a complete hosting solution or it may be integrated with an existing infrastructure. © SWsoft Powerful Application Hosting 11
  12. 12. Application Hosting Benefits BenefITs for servICe ProvIders Application hosting allows service providers to increase revenue from their existing customer base and by acquiring new customers. Domain registrars, Internet service providers, and hosting providers with a large base of customers can offer new services at minimal cost by automating the storefront, billing, and provisioning processes using PEM. After customers are enrolled, PEM provides online upgrades and online marketing in order to increase revenue from an existing customer base nearly zero expense. There are many benefits for providers that choose to deploy Microsoft Windows application hosting using PEM. Primarily, SWsoft’s core business is to develop software solutions for web and application hosting providers. SWsoft has an extensive team of engineers and is able to leverage development and expertise across hundreds of developers. Re-creating this level of expertise becomes cost prohibitive for service oriented organizations as additional technologies and new releases drive continual software maintenance and development cycles. Also, SWsoft’s relationship with Microsoft and access to code and experts is very difficult to match. The combination of SWsoft’s expertise and the Microsoft relation- ship provide a powerful software development combination. PEM was designed to be the most flexible, distributed, and complete hosting solution platform available with the ability to integrate with existing or best of breed application solutions. The PEM architecture allows for a relatively fast deployment and the ability to add virtually unlimited future services. PEM can also provide a single panel interface for customers on any number of services, and across any number of levels of resellers. PEM’s distributed architecture allows unlimited growth and the ability to deploy over many locations, enabling high-density single purpose servers to maximize server utilization. The single platform also enables transparent customer upgrade migrations and service additions. Lastly, PEM has many administrative benefits that will increase application hosting profitability. PEM has built-in auto-provisioning and billing allowing labor and error free customer deployments. The PEM single platform allows creating combination services with Microsoft and other OS services; PEM requires the same skill sets to support both Microsoft and Linux applications, reducing the administrative required skill sets and training. Additionally, built into PEM is a monitoring capability that will assess system performance and health to proactively manage resources, reducing administrative tasks and providing a better level of service to end customers. BenefITs for end CusTomers Customers are increasingly considering outsourcing Microsoft applications. The primary benefit for IT or- ganizations is cost and management reduction. Outsourcing enables lower maintenance and administra- tion costs by alleviating patch administration and limiting required administrative support skills. Without complex, time-consuming application coverage, IT departments can focus on other areas of support. Outsourcing also helps to eliminate capacity planning and enables a full utility computing model. Organi- zations only pay for IT resources consumed. Also, application outsourcing enables access to application expertise and infrastructure. Applications change quickly and interact with many other technologies. One example is the risk of a security breach. Leveraging centralized expertise ensures that organizations have fewer exposures due to lack of applica- tion expertise. Access to application expertise will also allow organizations to quickly deploy advanced capabilities such as mobile support. One of the biggest benefits a customer has from application outsourcing is that providers are able to in- vest in technologies such as PEM that enable service delivery enhancements such as automatic service activation for new hires, further enhancing the efficiency of IT administrative teams. PEM’s control panel for customers and the application administrator are huge benefits, allowing a completely custom inter- face and self-management capabilities. © SWsoft Powerful Application Hosting 12
  13. 13. WHo BenefITs THe mosT? • Companies that can’t afford significant upfront costs of new infrastructure deployment • Companies that don’t have the IT expertise or resources to deploy these applications • Companies with multiple small offices and/or highly mobile workforce • Companies running older Exchange versions but fear that upgrades will be painful • Companies that are suffering from viruses and spam • Companies with no dedicated IT resources Conclusion Application hosting is an important growth area in the hosting market. Service providers can attract new customers and increase the average revenue per customer by hosting advanced applications. In addi- tion, application providers can differentiate themselves and increase service margins by offering unique application bundles. Successful application hosting requires an infrastructure that is flexible, modular, and distributed. Flex- ibility is required in order to offer the latest applications without having to re-architect the hosting infra- structure. Modularity is important to support new types of service loads and servers without impacting existing services. Having a distributed architecture is important to allow for rapid growth for popular applications and to provide a way to scale back on applications which are not as well received in the marketplace. The PEM solution from SWsoft provides an infrastructure which is flexible, modular, and distributed. SWsoft has the most experience of any company when it comes to building and managing hosted services. This fact is proven by the large number of SWsoft customers as well as by the number of man- aged servers running SWsoft software. Windows hosting is the fastest growing segment of the application hosting market. SWsoft has respond- ed to this growth by forming a partnership with Microsoft and building the only solution that provides the entire range of Microsoft Windows application management capabilities in a flexible and robust architec- ture that is capable of meeting carrier-level solution requirements. To learn more about PEM and how PEM can help service providers launch or grow an application host- ing business, contact SWsoft at pemsales@swsoft.com or by calling +1 70 995 1. © SWsoft Powerful Application Hosting 1
  14. 14. Appendix A: Hosted exchange features supported by Pem PEM provides full support of Microsoft Exchange 200 features and functionality. PEM Hosted Exchange support includes, but is not limited to the features listed below. Category supported features • Integrated domain registration from the list of supported registrars Domain Management • DNS management • IDN domains support • Outlook Client Access • RPC over HTTP • Automatic Outlook profile generation • Outlook Web Access Mailbox Access • Secure form-based authentication Protocols • Auto-login from control panel • IMAP • POP3 • Outlook Mobile Access with push technology • Full ActiveSync and up-to-date support • Multi-language support • Multiple domains per company Management Features • API for integration with existing infrastructure (integration services are not included in this offering) • Fully branded panels for resellers and clients • Auto-login to user accounts from provider control panel Provider Control • Resource based usage reporting Panels • Display customized help boxes, marketing messages, and notification messages in the client control panel • Mailbox management • Personal contact information management • Password management • Support for multiple email addresses and aliases • Configuration of storage limits • Configuration of delivery limits including maximum outgoing message size, maximum number of recipients • Creation and management of automatic footers Client Control Panel • Mailbox access configuration (OWA, POP, IMAP, HTTP-RPC) • Configure mail forwarding, auto responders • Shared contact and distribution list management • List membership • Multiple email addresses • Public folder management • Public folders for mail, appointments, tasks, contacts, notes • Permission management and list membership • Storage limits © SWsoft Powerful Application Hosting 1
  15. 15. Category supported features • Localized currency support • Resource based billing • Number of mailboxes, amount of storage, number of domains, • Overage charges by resource • Configurable billing periods • One time setup fees • Recurring fees • Renewal fees • Trial periods Billing and Reporting • Customizable promotions and discounts • Up-sell plans and resources • Refund capabilities • Reporting • Pending orders, completed orders, new orders, canceled orders • Expired credit cards • View payments, credits, invoices • Fraud control with scoring and 20 fraud plug-ins • Pre-integrated plug-ins to over 30 payment gateways and domain registrars © SWsoft Powerful Application Hosting 15
  16. 16. Appendix B: Hosted sharePoint features supported by Pem PEM provides full support of Microsoft SharePoint features and functionality. PEM Hosted SharePoint support includes, but is not limited to the features listed below. Category supported features • Track SPS site creation, ownership, and usage patterns Management Features • Delete SPS sites • Administrator creation of SharePoint sites and users Client Control Panels • Enable and manage email alerts • Set administrator passwords and access • Fully branded panels for resellers and clients • Establish quotas for SharePoint usage Provider Control • Quotas of sites Panels • Quotas of users • Quotas of storage space • Quotas of domains • All billing features of the Hosted Exchange offering Billing • Resource based billing – number of users, sites, or storage • Advanced file sharing, document management, document versioning • Microsoft Office system integration • Contact lists • Group and event calendaring SharePoint Features • Task management • Bulletin boards and discussion forums • Customizable database management • Additional resource links • Company surveys © SWsoft Powerful Application Hosting 1

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