For years, Microsoft Hosted Messaging and Collaboration-HMC-was the recommended architecture for deploying Hosted Exchange, SharePoint and OCS. This included prescriptive guidelines for building servers, a provisioning engine and a “sample” control panel interface. The HMC solution was a layer over the standard Microsoft Enterprise products and essentially made them work in a multi-tenant environment.

A few years ago, Microsoft announced that HMC would be retired in favour of native multi-tenancy support being built into each product. Exchange 2010 for example would be designed to support multi-tenancy and would have appropriate API’s for automation. Microsoft Support for HMC 4.5 (the last version released) will end on December 12, 2011 and support for HMC 3.5 will end on July 12, 2011. If you are running an HMC environment, now is a good time to start thinking about alternatives.

While the majority of control panel solutions were built on top of HMC, Cortex always had its own provisioning engine. Over the past five years, the engine has been continually revised and improved based on the customer input and product enhancements. This independent and flexible approach enabled us to support hosted Exchange 2010 without needing to make any major architectural changes to the Cortex product.

Cortex supports all of the latest Microsoft collaboration products that can operate in a hosting environment; Exchange 2010, SharePoint 2010, Office Communicators Server 2007R2. If an Exchange 2010 upgrade is on your horizon, we can help you to get there.

If you are looking to retire HMC and associated control panel for Exchange 2007, Cortex offers you an improved end-user experience, more functionality and more flexibility to do things that might not have been possible in HMC – for example, creating more than one SharePoint site for a customer, add support for other services such as Hosted Desktop, or fully integrated Microsoft CRM.

For a demo of Cortex for Hosted Exchange, take a look at this Cortex video on Citrix TV. If you are interested in finding out more about how we can help you to deliver the latest technology to your customer base, please get in touch with us at