While attending the recent GFI Conference in New Orleans, I had the opportunity to talk to several VARs and MSPs. One trend I'm hearing a lot about has to do with Microsoft discontinuing support for its SBS (Small Business Server), starting in November of this year (which they announced back in July). According to three MSPs I spoke with: Willie Mangual, president, Nerds "R' Us; Kyle Wentworth, senior engineer, Fusion I.T.; and David Dadian, CEO, powersolution.com, this is a big deal that VARs and MSPs need to know about.
The general consensus is that Microsoft is planning to disregard its channel partners that made them what they are today and start working directly with end users, requiring them to move their servers to Microsoft's cloud, which Microsoft is apparently happy to support without the help of its channel partners. "We've seen this coming for quite some time," says Mangual, who says that his company sells open source solutions alternatives for its customers. "It's really terrible what Microsoft is doing, and almost no one is talking about it," says Wentworth. Dadian, like Mangual, sells open source alternative solutions to his customers, but laments there's nothing else channel companies can do about this reality.
During a panel discussion at today's event, moderator Joe Panettieri of MSP mentor asked the panel, "What are the biggest opportunities and threats MSPs need to be aware of?" Tommy Jordan, CEO, Twisted Networx (who by the way has a motto: "We take the "Sh" out of "IT"), said, "Microsoft and Google are pushing cloud down people's throats. MSPs are going to have to learn to adapt. The reality is that Dell, HP, and Office 365 [i.e. Microsoft] are starting to work directly with our customers, and they're cutting us out."
I'd love to get our readers' perspective on this issue. First, to what extent are you aware of this issue? And, if you are, what are you going to do about it?