The Microsoft Hosting Summit kicked off in Bellevue, WA Wednesday morning with a keynote address from Austen Mulinder, corporate vice president of the Communications Sector at Microsoft.  The theme for this year’s Summit is ‘Think Big’, and Mulinder made it clear that Microsoft is committed to working with partners to do just that. He also stated that for differentiated hosters, the opportunity is bigger than ever.

 

The 2011 Hosting Summit sold out twice as fast as last year, and it ‘host’ to roughly 360 executives from over 47 countries, with companies ranging from managed service providers, Telcos, ISVs, VARs, SIs, application service providers and more.

 

Mulinder talked about winning in the cloud, and stressed that partnerships are the best way for both Microsoft, and hosting partners, to succeed in cloud computing. He also spoke about some momentum on the productivity front, with the 2010 versions of Exchange and SharePoint being multi-tenant, and signaling that Microsoft is committed to the model. He also stated that Microsoft is working on making Lync multi-tenant as well.

 

Mulinder also talked about Office 365, Microsoft’s evolution from BPOS, saying that there are now 31 partners worldwide working on delivering Office 365. This includes several hosting partners like INTY, and Mulinder said that Microsoft is actively looking at other hosting partners with broad SMB or enterprise reach to syndicate Office 365 with a differentiated offering. While it is scalable to the enterprise, the main focus is on the SMB market.

 

On the infrastructure discussion, Mulinder had great momentum to announce around Hyper-V and System Center, noting that the Dynamic Data Center now has over 110 service provider partners, and saying that Microsoft hopes to grow that number by 100 percent again this coming year.

 

A well received portion of the keynote was when Mulinder took some time out to recognize a number of partners for their exceptional work with Hyper-V. Winners were CBeyond (Maximum ASP), Fasthosts, Hostway, and iKoula.

 

 But the audience was most moved by a special Community Award given to IIJ in Japan for their humanitarian and charitable work in Japan in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami. IIJ, whose data center in Osaka was not damaged by the natural disaster, offered up their data center and web hosting for free to local governments setting up emergency response sites.

 

By Monish Sood, Marketing Manager, Business Channels for Microsoft Communications Sector