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Get Started with Microsoft’s Online Services

February 9, 2009


"If you’ve been paying even half attention to technology media in the last year, you’ve probably noticed that more and more vendors are trying to sell businesses on moving core IT operations to an Internet-based service-delivery mechanism—that is, cloud computing. Microsoft has been promoting a version of cloud computing, Software Plus Services (S+S). The heart of the difference between S+S and Software as a Service (SaaS) is that S+S uses specialized client-side software such as Microsoft Office in conjunction with online applications. This combination blends the convenience of a web service with a feature-rich client application.

Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite is a great example of the kind of services that can have a big impact on small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs). A “seat” on the services give you access to Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, and Microsoft Office Live Meeting at the affordable price of $15 per user per month. Small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) that would never consider having an on-premises Exchange server can now afford these enterprise level services"


Services Overview
The suite comes in three flavors:

  • Standard: This is the primary version of the Business Productivity Online Suite. At the Microsoft data center, these standard services are deployed using a multi-tenant architecture (i.e., a single instance of the software runs on the cloud vendor’s servers, serving multiple client organizations, or tenants), which provides a very useful set of services at an affordable price. Microsoft made the solution scalable and affordable by providing the most valuable core services while limiting the user’s ability to customize the solution. Understanding the scope of what is and isn’t customizable in the Standard version is key when you’re evaluating or migrating to the Online Suite.
  • Dedicated: Dedicated offerings, usually for businesses with 5,000 seats or more, are typically customized agreements that engage Microsoft to facilitate migration, support, and deployment. The dedicated version enables a greater degree of customization in multiple layers, such as support for specific types of federated identity and SharePoint customizations.
  • Deskless Worker: This is an inexpensive option for shop-floor workers or other scenarios that provides a mailbox accessible via Microsoft Outlook Web Access (OWA) and read-only SharePoint. This option is due for release the first half of 2009.

Subscribing to Microsoft Online Services
The Microsoft Online Customer Portal (MOCP) is where you subscribe for services and add additional storage, if needed. Before you begin the signup process, you can select to Try or Buy the services. If you select Try, you get a free, 30-day subscription limited to 20 seats.


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