Are you looking to sample the charms of Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, but you're not sure you're ready to install the beta even on your test systems? Here's another option for you: Intermedia has become the first hosted provider offering the beta of Exchange 2010 to small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) as a hosted service.

Intermedia is a hosted services provider that provides a host of hosted services: Microsoft Exchange Server, Office Communications Server, Windows SharePoint Services, Outlook 2007, web hosting, and a variety of related features. And they've been offering Exchange hosting since 2000, which gives them plenty of experience to draw on as they venture into the world of Exchange 2010. For the security-conscious—and shouldn't that be everyone?—it's good to note as well that Intermedia has SAS 70 Type II certification.

Danny Essner, director of marketing for Intermedia, said, "We're offering a hosted version of the beta for internal customers as well as external users for two reasons. One, we have a selfish reason of where we want to test the infrastructure and size it up properly so that we can be ready to offer it in a production environment when Microsoft turns this into commercial software—hopefully, at the very end of this year. The second reason is just to let people see the new version of OWA and get excited about it."

If you haven't already seen the OWA demo released by the Exchange team, check it out! You'll be impressed. And if you're interested in taking Intermedia up on its offer, you can complete an online application form at www.exchange2010beta.com for the beta program. Applications will be screened by the company, but there is no fee to participate. The Exchange 2010 beta program is available through the end of September.

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