Service provisioning in Exchange Hosting

This topic is more of interest to a hosting provider. However, I thought it would be a good idea to list some key points on service provisioning which helps you understand its relevance.

Big data centers for Exchange hosting environments are always complex, where system administrators are often responsible for managing a large number of servers. The outcome is, routine admin tasks become challenging across the large number of servers; for example, adding new users, updating directory entries, and provisioning application services across a large volume of servers are all manual administration tasks that do not scale easily.

Apart from that, customers demand strong service level agreements (SLAs) with increased uptime and availability, and the ability to monitor and administer their own services.

Service Provisioning – What does it require?

Service Provisioning the data center is important since you can automate routine administrative tasks; allow customers to manage their own resources, and reduce overall operation costs. So Microsoft Provisioning System (MPS) combined with “Hosted Exchange Extension” (third party solutions) will support the concept of resellers. In other words, it can support the Hosting Company selling services to a reseller who resells services to a customer; who in turn have users – a sort of private label system.

Microsoft Provisioning System (MPS) automates routine administrative service management tasks such as:

1. Adding new users.

2. Updating directory entries.

3. Provisioning applications and services.

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Picture Source: Microsoft

Third party Hosted Exchange Extension solutions complement the MPS basic tasks with additional features and functionality such as:

  • Delegated Administration – allows your customers to manage their own resources including databases, e-mail, payment and contact information. By enabling customers to self-provision their accounts, service providers can lower the number of service requests arriving at their call centers.
  • Designing Service Plans – You can design service plans with an advanced wizard which eventually will be offered to your customers. It allows you to select features, currency, billing cycles, price, upgrade/downgrade items, and add-ons.
  • Complete Billing – An advanced billing system is essential to take care of all your billing requirements.
  • Service Selling – You may create several online stores quickly and easily. Each store offers currency selection and is fully dependent on service plans you configure.
  • Automated Provisioning – As soon as the service is purchased and passed through billing, a subscription is created and automatically provisioned with the appropriate provider (e.g., MS Exchange).

In summary, substantial time is saved from automated provisioning. These freed resources can work on other value-added services. Human participation is reduced in these highly automated tasks which are repetitive and difficult, as a result precision is improved and human error is drastically mitigated.


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