Open-Xchange, an open source alternative to Microsoft Exchange, continues to gain momentum in Europe and North America. The latest example: Bull, a €1,110 million solutions provider headquartered in Paris, is offering SaaS and on-premises Open-Xchange to its end customers in Germany. Here are the details.

First, a little background: Open-Xchange seems to be catching on with channel partners and SaaS specialists because the company has largely left SaaS and cloud market opportunities to its partners.

Bull, for instance, says it plans to offer Open-Xchange mail and groupware to its German customers. Bull customers can use Open-Xchange as a hosted solution provided by Bull or run it in-house as on-premise installation -- and switch between the types of operation any time they like, according to an Open-Xchange media statement.

The move comes only a few days after Open-Xchange announced its first email appliances.

Major Momentum?

As you may recall, Open-Xchange claimed 2009 was a banner year for the company; more than 15 million people worldwide were running Open-Xchange at the end of 2009, an 80 percent increase from 2008. CEO Rafael Laguna is expected to provide another business update (and potentially more news...) during this week's Parallels Summit 2010 in Miami; the event is attracting cloud and SaaS experts from across the globe.

Despite Open-Xchange's momentum, it's important to keep the company's progress in perspective. Most folks still point to Microsoft Exchange as the de facto standard for the majority of corporate email systems. Also, Microsoft has been building out its Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) cloud, which includes Exchange Online. And partners like Intermedia are offering hosted Exchange 2010 to customers and partners across North America and Europe.

Still, The VAR Guy will see what Open-Xchange has to say about the competition during the Parallels Summit...