Partners –

As you may have seen in the press , SQL Server 2012 has been released to manufacturing and will be generally available on April 1! You can learn more at the Virtual Launch Event, which kicked off last Wednesday and will be available on-demand until June 30, 2012.
This new version of our data platform helps customers rapidly turn data into actionable business insights, and gives them the most complete, Cloud Ready Information Platform available. Our strong competitive position was recently validated when Gartner ranked Microsoft as a Leader in two Gartner Magic Quadrant reports:
What does all of this mean to you? Go out and build demand based on the solutions and services you develop around SQL Server 2012.  You can also generate immediate revenue opportunities by selling Software Assurance and offering customers a migration path to SQL Server 2012. Whether you are building applications for the cloud, or delivering business intelligence solutions on the data platform, SQL Server 2012 will provide your business countless opportunities to grow and expand.
One of the most exciting new solution areas today is Big Data. Big Data is a quickly emerging market that allows enterprises to take advantage of commodity hardware and rapidly dropping storage costs to more efficiently analyze significant quantities of unstructured, high volume, high velocity data. A new Wikibon report cited in Forbes forecast that “the Big Data market will grow at an astounding CAGR of 58% between now and 2017, hitting $50 billion within five years.” Microsoft’s recent advancements in big data, including Apache Hadoop-based distributions for Windows Server and Windows Azure, provide our partners with exciting new opportunities to serve customers when combined with SQL Server 2012. Partners can help customers take advantage of the wealth of information available in Big Data, enabling them to gain better insights and make more highly targeted business decisions. 
SQL Server 2012 also opens up new opportunities in the fast-growing Business Intelligence market. Even in an uncertain economy, Business Intelligence (BI) remains a strategic focus for customers. A recent Gartner CIO survey found that BI and analytics are the top technology priority for CIOs. SQL Server 2012 is uniquely positioned as a cloud-ready information platform with business critical and breakthrough BI capabilities that can help you capture this significant market opportunity. For example, as partners have observed, “SQL takes BI from 10 users to 10,000” – a shift that creates new ways for partners to profit.
So how do you best position yourself to take advantage of the opportunities SQL Server 2012 offers? The Microsoft Partner Network has two related competencies that you should focus on if you have not already qualified: Business Intelligence and Data Platform. Achieving a competency has significant advantages including internal-use software license benefits and technical support. Partners with a competency or Action Pack subscription can now access SQL Server 2012 internal-use benefits through our Digital Distribution Center (requires login).
All of this adds up to amazing services and significant deployment and sales opportunities for you.
To learn more, visit the SQL Server 2012 Virtual Launch Event. You’ll also find new resources and product information on the MPN SQL Server product page.  
Best Regards,