Azaleos - a company known primarily for remote Exchange management services - has been more than a little busy lately, beginning with news in mid-March that it had merged with Charlotte, NC-based M3 Technology Group to bolster its managed services portfolio for Microsoft Exchange. The company then announced on March 31 that it had been awarded a patent from the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) for some of the technology that powers their OneStop remote management and monitoring services for Microsoft Exchange. This morning the company unveiled Azaleos SharePoint Services, a new services offering aimed at helping IT pros monitor and manage their SharePoint infrastructures.

Azaleos SharePoint Services will be the first SharePoint offering from Azaleos, and is intended to provide IT pros with 24x7 remote managing and monitoring of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) installations. According to Azaleos, this new offering leverages some of their patented technology to remotely monitor thousands of points of relevant data from a customer's IT infrastructure, including data collected from MOSS, SQL Server, and Internet Information Server (IIS) as well as hardware, storage, and networking information.

To support the launch of their new services, Azaleos commissioned Osterman Research to analyze the SharePoint market. The report details some of the pain points IT pros have when it comes to MOSS installation and management. Here's an excerpt from the Azaleos press release:

In the report entitled "The Growing Importance of Microsoft SharePoint", Osterman Research found that:

1. Labor is a huge cost of managing SharePoint, on average $45 per user per month

2. Most IT staff devoted to SharePoint management do not have significant levels of formal training, fewer than 10 percent started with full SharePoint training and/or certificates

3. 25 percent of organizations surveyed view difficulty in finding qualified IT personnel to manage SharePoint to be a serious inhibitor to efficiently leveraging SharePoint technology

The full report is available at: www.azaleos.com/osterman.

Virtualization + SharePoint = Ideal Deployment Model?

One noteworthy aspect of Azaleos' new SharePoint offering is the virtualized architecture the company developed to deploy SharePoint Services. Azaleos claims that this new platform "delivers significant advantages for MOSS including better uptime, decreased energy costs, and reduced hardware requirements. Although Azaleos SharePoint services can be deployed on physical or VMware-based virtual machines, they are designed to work at peak efficiency on Windows 2008 Server with Hyper-V."

Pricing for Azaleos SharePoint Services begins at $15 per user/month, and financing offerings are available from Microsoft Financing, ePlus, and NetApp. Azaleos says that Microsoft financing customers are eligible for special 6-month payment free offer, which is available until June 30, 2009.

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