Open-Xchange, pushed as an open source alternative to Microsoft Exchange, is a versatile collaboration tool helping enterprises, academia and government take advantage of their smart collaboration capabilities. In this era where having a good collaboration platform is turning out to be a competitive advantage, Open-Xchange is better positioned in the marketplace due to their open source philosophy.
I am a strong proponent of open source in cloud computing. Open source, along with open architecture, can play a major role in keeping the playing field leveled in the cloud computing marketplace. On the other hand, cloud computing, in general, and SaaS, in particular, can help open source vendors monetize their products. SaaS is turning out to be a great business model for open source vendors.
Open-Xchange realized this potential and started reaching out to SaaS providers with comprehensive solutions developed in partnership with top tier technology partners like Novell, Parallels, Red Hat, and Univention. Their Shared Hosting Edition and Appliance Edition are used by many service providers to offer SaaS solutions to their own customers. Such open source products help many traditional service providers to reposition themselves as SaaS providers due to the following advantages
- Low TCO of open source products helps these service providers offer SaaS offerings within the realm of cloud economics
- The permissive open source licenses gives them an opportunity to add features which help the service providers differentiate themselves from their competition
Recently, Open-Xchange partnered with Bull, the Paris based service provider, to offer Open-Xchange to German customers both as a SaaS version and, also, as a on-premise version. Today, Open-Xchange has announced its partnership with Germany based email security vendor, eleven, to offer spam, malware and anti-virus protection to users of Open-Xchange platform. These partnerships forged by Open-Xchange is going to help their SaaS clients to add value on top of their open-xchange based SaaS offerings in the future. For example, Bull Germany will add SaaS offerings such as anti-spam, anti-virus, backup and revision-secure e-mail archiving soon.
Looking at these developments, we can conclude that SaaS is proliferating into markets around the world due to the repositioning by the traditional IT service providers and telecoms. Open source is making this progression easier. More importantly, SaaS is giving a lease of life to many open source vendors who had difficulty monetizing their products.