Rumors are swirling thatIntel Hybrid Cloud(a small business server that has cloud and managed services capabilities) has been discontinued. If true, this is the latest setback for resellers that are seeking on-premises alternatives to Windows Small Business Server (SBS), which Microsoft killed in 2012. Still, there are cloud-based alternatives -- including Microsoft's increasingly popular Office 365.

Intel Hybrid Cloud combines on-premises hardware (from Lenovo or Dell) and software with cloud-enabled services for MSPs. Resellers can choose from a range of Windows Server options or Linux.

  • On the one hand, Intel Hybrid Cloud (running Linux) could have emerged as a Microsoft SBS alternative, filling the void for Microsoft's defunct small business operating system.
  • But on the other hand, SBS's demise may have hurt Intel Hybrid Cloud, since the Microsoft operating system was a logical foundation for the Intel offering.

Dead End Platform?

So what's the upshot? Intel has informed multiple channel partners that Intel Hybrid Cloud is no more, according to sources close to the microprocessor giant. The VAR Guy has reached out to Intel for comment but had not heard back as of 9:50am ET on Tuesday, May 14, 2013.

Intel Hybrid Cloud also offered a range MSP-enabled software. Key partners have includedLevel Platforms,Intuit,AsigraandStorageCraft(among others).

Microsoft Office 365 to the Rescue?

For channel partners, the increasingly logical alternative to Intel Hybrid Cloud and the former Windows SBS is Microsoft's Office 365 -- a cloud-based suite that includes Exchange, SharePoint and Lync. (Yammer, Microsoft's business social platform, is coming soon to Office 365, too.)

Microsoft says Office 365 sales are growing fast; the cloud-based suite's annual revenue run rate has now topped $1 billion. Numerous channel partners are embracing Office 365, but some VARs continue to point out that the cloud suite is not an option for customers who (A) want to keep their data on premises or (B) lack reliable broadband for cloud services.