The Parallels Summit is on in Orlando, Florida, and at the event the company has released details of its “Cloud insights” research, focused on small businesses.
Most people know Parallels for its desktop virtualization for the Mac. This or an equivalent comes in handy when you need to run Windows software on a Mac, or cross-develop for Mac and Windows on one machine.
Another sides of the company’s business though is providing virtualization software for hosting providers. The Plesk control panel for managing virtual machines and websites through a web interface is a Parallels product. Many of the customers for this type of hosting are small businesses, which means that Parallels has an indirect focus on this market.
Despite Parallels offering a “Switch to Mac” edition and perhaps competing in some circumstances with Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization, Parallels is a Microsoft partner and has tools which work alongside Hyper-V as well as supporting Microsoft cloud services including Office 365.
Given the company’s business, you can expect its research to come out in favour of cloud, but I was still interested in this statistic:
SMBs with less than 20 employees are at least three times more likely to choose cloud services over on-premise services
It was not long ago that SMBs of this size would almost inevitably install Microsoft’s Small Business Server once they got too big to manage with an ad-hoc network.
I would be interested to know more of course. How do they break down between, say, Google apps, Office 365, or other services such as third-party hosted Exchange? Do they go pure cloud as far as possible, or still run a local server for file shares, print management, and legacy software that expects a local Windows server? Or cloud for email, on-premise for everything else? Do they trust the cloud completely, or have a plan “B” in the event that the impossible happens and services fail?
Finally, what happens as these companies grow? Scalability and pay as you go is a primary reason for going cloud in the first place, so my expectation is that they would stay with this model, but I also suspect that there is pressure to have some on-premise infrastructure as sites get larger.