Cbeyond Inc. announced Tuesday that its new Cloud Services division is offering virtual servers and managed dedicated servers for small and medium businesses in more than 60 countries worldwide. The cloud servers, the first in a suite of cloud services, are available for sale through the companys indirect sales channel.
The new offer is the result of Cbeyonds November 2010 acquisition of hosting provider MaximumASP, the 2009 Microsoft Worldwide Hosting Partner of the Year.
The purchase of MaximumASP along with the October purchase of hosted PBX provider Aretta Communications prompted the creation of the Cbeyond Cloud Services division in fall 2010. Brooks Robinson, co-founder and former chief marketing officer for Cbeyond, has been named as the divisions president. Silas Boyle, co-founder of MaximumASP, is vice president, and Jeff Uphues, an industry veteran who was most recently vice president of sales at Bandwidth.com, is vice president of sales and marketing.
Robinson told Channel Partners that these deals represent a $40 million investment in our channel.” In other words, Cbeyond is enabling its partners to play in the emerging cloud services space. It plans to do that both with its existing agency program and a private-label resale program that it plans to launch in February.
Cbeyonds core services include local and long-distance voice, broadband Internet, mobile, voice mail, e-mail, web hosting, fax-to-email, data backup, file sharing and virtual private networking. It is known for its SIP trunking services and its leadership in developing the SIPconnect interconnection standard between SIP trunks and IP PBXs.
Robinson said the company is well positioned to target SMBs with cloud offers. The company claims 55,000 SMB customers and $450 million in annual revenue. Cloud services expands the company and its channel beyond its current 14-state territory to national and even international opportunities, he said.
The first offer, Cbeyond Cloud Servers, enables SMBs to access data and applications from the Internet rather than hosting it on-site. Cbeyond provides the server, operating system, anti-virus protection, monitoring and management. Packages based on business size small, medium and large are designed with simplicity in mind for the SMB, Robinson said.
For example, the smallest virtual server package is $99 per month for 1GB RAM and 10GB of storage, the medium package is $178 for 2GB RAM and 20GB of storage, and the large package is $336 for 4GB RAM and 40GB of storage. Dedicated servers are available from $300-$1,000 per month with variable storage requirements as well.
A Cloud PBX offer is expected to be announced soon, Robinson said. The offer is a departure from the industry norm in that it is actually a dedicated instance of a PBX loaded onto a virtual server, he explained, noting they are charging for the server instance and not the seat as most hosted VoIP providers do. In this way, it is complementary for the companys partners who are accustomed to selling IP PBX software and installing it on an on-premises server. This enables the customer to move the IP PBX to an on premises server later if they desire.
And, while he hopes that Cbeyonds customers will be satisfied with the cloud offer, Robinson is not concerned about companys going back to the prem. Thats because the company provides SIP trunking to premises-based IP PBXs and is happy to continue to do so.
Ours is not an either-or scenario,” he said.
Presently, the offer is based on an Asterisk open-source PBX, but Cbeyond is working to add other makers to the mix.
While channel partners have the option of earning monthly residuals on the Cbeyond cloud services, they also will have the option of private labeling. Uphues explained that this enables them to offer customers infrastructure without actually having to invest in it. Cbeyond will offer co-branded and private-branded options.
Robinson said partners will get a discount off the packages that they can mark up within some guidelines and that ability to add their own intellectual property or services to the offer. Partners will be responsible for billing and support, however Cbeyond is considering offering branded support in the future, he said.
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