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News from WPC: Microsoft Azure Partner Opportunity and Momentum

As we begin Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference this week in Washington, DC, partner momentum with Microsoft Azure has never been stronger. Building on this momentum, Microsoft announced Microsoft Azure Certified and additional Azure-related programs today.

As we begin Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference this week in Washington, DC, partner momentum with Microsoft Azure has never been stronger. With the forecast that businesses will spend $107 billion on cloud-delivered IT services in 2017, adoption of Azure continues to accelerate. More than 57% of the Fortune 500 are using Azure and an average of more than 8,000 customers are signing up every week. Already more than 3,500 partners are running applications on Azure and the Microsoft Open Technology VM Depot hosts more than 1,100 open source images that can be deployed on Azure. There are over 800 applications and services in the Azure Data Marketplace, as well. By the end of this year, Azure will be available in 16 regions worldwide – more than any other major public cloud provider.

Microsoft Azure Certified

Building on this momentum today, Microsoft corporate vice president John Case announced the Microsoft Azure Certified.

This new logo certification program will give Microsoft partners new opportunities to promote and sell their applications and services on Azure. Today the program begins as Microsoft Azure Certified for Virtual Machines, with partner applications offered through single virtual machines in a bring-your-own-license configuration that are deployable from the Azure Management portal. Early program members Oracle, SAP, Azul Systems, Bitnami, Riverbed Technologies and Barracuda are the first to participate in the program. Additional capacity will be made available to partners as the program expands throughout the course of the upcoming year.

When a partner certifies their applications, they will join a curated environment that exposes their applications to Azure’s worldwide customer base. Their applications will be listed alongside Microsoft first-party solutions, lending credibility to the partners’ offerings. This will significantly boost partners’ ability to reach large organizations that purchase Azure through Microsoft enterprise agreements – usually a very expensive marketing effort for many Microsoft partners.

In time, the program participants will be able to implement Azure usage-based billing and time-based trials without additional development. Charges for their services will be included in a single invoice to customers with Azure services. In addition, the certification will also provide the highest quality assurance that the application has been tested for readiness and compatibility with the Microsoft Cloud Platform – either running on the Azure public cloud or hosted by service providers.

Azure Certified partners will also have access to sales and marketing tools and offers, such as our Sales Accelerator Toolkit, a self-service marketing portal and Azure social media feeds. They will also have the inside track to technical training, such as Azure DevCamps, to learn more about how they can use the frameworks and platforms of their choice to deliver public and hybrid cloud applications to customers.

As the program ramps up, Azure Certified will begin to provide an even better way for Microsoft partners to take their applications to the cloud. Interested partners can learn about the program and its requirements here.

Additional Microsoft Azure Partner Programs and Announcements

While Azure Certified focuses on enabling the ecosystem of application developers, the broader partner ecosystem can build their businesses on top of Microsoft Azure through a variety of programs and take advantage of customer demand for cloud services now.

In August, Open partners can begin to leverage the previously announced availability of Azure in Open. In addition, Managed Service Providers (MSP’s) can leverage their enterprise agreement via the Azure management portal to add Azure services into their offering portfolio. These partner-managed offerings can range from applications to comprehensive cloud-based IT.

Microsoft and its partner ecosystem are uniquely positioned to deliver hybrid solutions to their customers, where a customer existing on-premises investments can be integrated with cloud services from Microsoft and Cloud OS Network partners, all through a familiar experience.

Finally, today Microsoft also announced the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider Program. While we don’t yet have specific timing to share about when Azure will be rolled into this program, it will eventually include all of Microsoft’s commercial cloud services. We are going to spend the next few months building the right tools and experiences, and rolling out the various cloud services and platform capabilities in markets around the world.

It has never been a better time to be a partner with Microsoft Azure. I look forward to seeing the impact, success and passion of our partners here at WPC and throughout the coming year.