On October 9th, the SMB version of the Windows Server family was released to manufacturing and will be available on November 1st through volume licensing. Windows Server 2012 Essentials joins the Windows Server Standard and Datacenter versions that are already available, and all three uniquely provide you with an opportunity to help customers address trends and challenges of today’s marketplace including:

  • App explosion
  • Device proliferation
  • Big Data
  • Cloud computing
Windows Server is at the heart of the Microsoft Cloud OS which delivers on the promise of a modern data center and helps:
  • Transform the datacenter
  • Enable modern apps
  • Unlock insights on any data
  • Empower people-centric IT
As a Microsoft partner, you should invest in Windows Server 2012 to help increase deal size, offer high-value, comprehensive services to customers, and enable new scenarios which appeal to a broad range of customers. There are opportunities for Windows Server 2012 for all customer sizes – from SMB to enterprise.
MPN competencies and accreditations

Position your company as an expert on Windows Server 2012, delivering scalable, cost effective, innovative and cloud-ready server infrastructure by earning the Server Platform competency. The Server Platform competency will help differentiate your company and recognize and reward your expertise thanks to a wealth of benefits that will accelerate your growth and profitability.
The Server Platform competency gives you access to all of the following benefits:
  • Free pre-sales technical support for deals over $3000 to help you win against the competition
  • Delivery support to make your project successful and satisfy your customers
  • Free Microsoft licenses for internal use, demo and internal training purposes
  • Prioritized exposure on the Microsoft Pinpoint marketplace to detect new business opportunities
  • Access to marketing materials via the Partner Marketing Center
  • Access to core training via the Partner Learning Center
 Gold membership provides additional key benefits:
  • Access to a dedicated Microsoft contact to help you manage your partnership or help you grow your business with Microsoft
  • Access to the Deployment Planning Services program to help you develop new business opportunities with existing customers
  • Incentive fees (up to 30 percent) to reward your incremental sales of Microsoft infrastructure solutions
All these benefits represent a huge value for our partners that IDC estimates minimally at US$320,000 for a 50-person company with around $10 million in revenue. To learn more on how to maximize your benefits, we invite you to read the complete IDC white paper
Training resources
Now is the time to get trained on and ready to sell, implement, and manage Windows Server solutions. We have developed a large body of training content across core partner business models and roles. I encourage you and your teams to take these training courses to be prepared, be knowledgeable, and be a key player with Windows Server 2012 solutions!
Supporting this content are robust partner learning paths where you can find focused role-based training. You’ll find specific content across the Windows Server family, including specific training for business decision makers and practice managers that will help you determine the path to grow your practice in enterprise, mid-market or small business solutions. For technical roles, the training we provide is very modular and you can pick out the specific training your team needs to ready themselves for what we believe is a fabulous server release.
In November 2012, all the new exams and the MCSE Server Infrastructure certification related to Windows Server 2012 will be available to earn either the Server Platform or the Management & Virtualization competency. You will find all the details on the MPN website in the competency roadmap.  In order to provide time for our partners to train and certify on the new Windows Server 2012 release, the Windows Server 2008 R2 exams will remain valid to earn the competency for one year.  In fall 2013, only the new Windows Server 2012 exams and certification will be valid. We strongly encourage all our partners who want to seize the huge Windows Server 2012 opportunity to start to train and certify their technical professionals now.
However, being an expert on Windows Server 2012 is not only about technical matters but also about being able to deliver the Windows Server 2012 value proposition to end customers. That is why the Server Platform Sales Specialist Assessment is getting updated in November 2012.  Near term, you can take Windows Server Sales courses to prepare you for the upcoming assessment. The Windows Server Learning Path can be found here.  
Additionally, Windows Server 2012 together with System Center 2012 is the foundation for the Microsoft private cloud approach and aligns to the Management and Virtualization competency. While the Server Platform competency proves your expertise in delivering cost-effective, innovative and scalable Windows Server 2012 infrastructure solutions for customers of any size, the Management and Virtualization competency extends this expertise to System Center 2012 showcasing your ability to provide advanced infrastructure architecture and management for private cloud solutions.
For partners who work with SMBs looking for cloud-enabled solutions, the Small Business competency is THE way to differentiate your business in the marketplace.   The Small Business competency provides a set of benefits that helps you run and expand your business as a Microsoft partner with a focus on small business. Unique to this competency are not only product use rights, but cloud use rights.  The Small Business competency enables you to take advantage of the growing demand for cloud solutions built on innovative Microsoft technologies such as Windows Server 2012 Essentials and Office 365, while enabling you to pull through on-premise revenue. It also provides a consistent experience for customers and partners as it leverages the gold and silver competency branding to drive customer recognition. For more information and details, visit the Small Business competency site
In alignment with the launch of Windows 8 and the new Office, we will be updating the Small Business Sales Specialist Assessment and supporting training. The updated training will be available at the end of November, including updates for the new Office, new Office 365, Windows Intune, Windows Server 2012 Essentials, and Windows 8.
Start using Windows Server 2012!
Eligible MPN competencies and Microsoft Action Pack subscriptions will provide you with usage rights to Windows Server 2012 from the Microsoft partner digital distribution portal.
Thanks for your investment in developing a business around Windows Server 2012. And for those that haven’t yet, now is the time to determine how you will take advantage of Windows Server 2012. Achieving a competency in the Small Business, Server Platform or Management and Virtualization competencies is a great first step.