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NaviSite launches managed cloud computing services

NaviSite, a company best known for its application hosting services, is adding managed cloud computing services to its bulging portfolio.

NaviSite is joining the managed cloud computing services fray.

The Andover, Mass.-based company will offer managed cloud computing services, all running on brand new Cisco Unified Computing System- and VMware-based infrastructure, said NaviSite Inc.'s chief marketing officer Claudine Bianchi.

The company has offered an array of application hosting services -- everything from Microsoft Dynamics ERP and Oracle E-Business Suite to Exchange Server, IBM Lotus Notes and other bread-and-butter applications.

In the managed cloud computing services realm, NaviSite will face off against such powers as Terremark and Savvis.

The company is also narrowing its wide-ranging focus, deemphasizing small and medium-sized business applications "almost entirely," Bianchi said. "That's a high-volume, credit-card-swipe business where companies like Rackspace play very well. We're keeping the large, heavily used applications: Oracle E-Biz, SAP, Seibel, JD Edwards."

NaviSite is phasing out Microsoft Dynamics and Lawson mid market ERP offerings, for example, although it was unclear which, if any other of the 300 other hosted business applications the company might axe.

NaviSite: Trying to do too much for too many?

A lack of focus has hindered NaviSite up till now, observers said.

"The cloud stuff sounds great, but on the apps side, it seemed they couldn't say no to anything," said Antonio Piraino, vice president of Tier1 Research. "They had a confusing story. No one knows what they're known for, so at least now they're consolidating around the new cloud stuff and deemphasizing the low-end stuff."

Gartner Inc. analyst Ted Chamberlin agreed that the company spread itself too thin.

"NaviSite went on a buying spree [because], at the time, that was how you could get incremental revenue," he said. "But their focus was all over the place. They did a lot of things that no one else did but didn't do any of them really well."

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Still, the ability to host both managed apps and cloud-based infrastructures might be a selling point in some accounts.

Post-N-Track Corp. , an online exchange for healthcare forms and information, went with NaviSite for most of its customer-facing apps as well as hosted Exchange four years ago. NaviSite provided more services than other hosting providers, said Randy Ulloa, vice president of IT for the Wethersfield, Conn., company.

"They run everything except things like," he said.

Post-N-Track started testing the new managed cloud computing services a few weeks ago and expects to transition its systems over one by one as they prove themselves in the new environment.

"We looked at a number of hosting facilities ... all the tier 1 data centers," Ulloa said. "NaviSite won because they provided more services, and their facilities are top notch."

The managed cloud services are available to limited customers through the end of May with general availability slated for June 1 in North America.

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