​Yesterday at WPC we showed how Microsoft is investing in our partners and how those investments put them at the forefront in helping our mutual customers move to the cloud. Today, I wanted to showcase a few examples of partners that are investing in, betting on and winning big with Microsoft.

 
Commitment to the hybrid cloud
 
Many customers tell us that hybrid cloud solutions are the right choice for their needs – and our partners are seeing that trend in demand. Today, our partner NetApp introduced NetApp Private Storage (NPS) for Microsoft Azure, a solution that enables customers to extend their IT infrastructure to Microsoft Azure, creating a seamless hybrid cloud environment. Leveraging Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute to establish a dedicated connection between a private storage environment hosted at Equinix co-location facilities and the Microsoft Azure public cloud, NPS for Microsoft Azure allows enterprises to build an agile infrastructure that bridges on-premises and cloud resources on their own terms.
 
We’re also excited to share that EMC, Microsoft and Equinix are collaborating on a hybrid cloud solution that combines EMC storage running in traditional datacenters and Equinix co-located datacenters with applications running in Microsoft Azure. ExpressRoute provides the private connection between traditional or co-located datacenters into Microsoft Azure to give customers the business benefits of both on-premises and public cloud environments for their high performance applications.
 
Modernizing data centers
 
As the journey to the cloud continues to pick up speed, we continue to form partnerships to accelerate our customers’ transformation to cloud-first. Today we announced a go-to-market agreement with Cisco designed to help enterprises and service providers modernize their datacenters – turning them into private clouds – through the joint sales, marketing and engineering of integrated solutions. As part of the three-year agreement, we will align partner incentive programs to accelerate solutions selling via mutual channel partners. This investment further exemplifies our commitment to providing the resources to accelerate customers’ path to the cloud.
 
Additionally, today Intel announced that it has joined the Microsoft Cloud OS Partner Matching program. This program helps customers transform their datacenter through incentives across software, server, storage, networking and services partners. Intel will invest in initiatives to align sales teams and channel partners around the proof of concept phase in order to help customers simplify the path to private and hybrid cloud deployments.
 
Accelerating productivity
 
Productivity remains a huge opportunity for partners and today Dimension Data kicked off an ambitious initiative to sell one million new Microsoft Lync Voice seats on-premises and on private and public clouds by 2017. With Dimension Data’s deep experience in delivering end-to-end Lync deals, we are excited to work together to bring customers around the globe the financial and productivity benefits associated with using Microsoft Lync.
 
Additional partner momentum and opportunities
 
While cloud undoubtedly represents a huge opportunity, our partners continue to bet on us and invest in a variety of ways. Below are a few of the exciting investments our partners are making:
  • As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of CityNext, Microsoft’s company-wide initiative to help city leaders modernize now and for the next generation, we continue to see support from partners around the globe. For more on how partners are investing in CityNext, check out Laura Ipsen’s blog.

     

  • iRiS Software Systems and InterKnowlogy, a finalist for Windows 8 app developer partner of the year, have built a solution for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, which allows the luxury hotel’s guests to manage services for in-room dining, concierge and housekeeping via custom Windows 8.1 touch apps on Microsoft Surface Pro tablets. Erwin Visser, General Manager, Windows and Windows Phone Commercial Marketing, will reveal further details of this deployment during today’s Mobility and Devices Track Keynote (10:30am ET), as well as via the Windows for Your Business blog.

     

  • In partnership with HP and Intel, Microsoft today announced the Best for Business Mobility Program, which combines HP’s ecosystem of business-optimized tablets and convertible PCs, powered by Intel processors for increased reliability and processing power, with Microsoft workflow solutions and vertical applications to help businesses redefine workflows, enhance worker productivity and deepen customer connections. More on this announcement here.

     

  • Fujitsu, the leading Japanese information and communication technology company, has been announced as an early beta adopter of Project Siena, Microsoft’s rapid Windows 8 app development tool. Due to Project Siena’s ease of use, Fujitsu has trained over 70 developers, and 100 sales personnel to utilize the solution for simple integration into overall business mobility processes.

     

  • The end of support for Windows Server 2003 presents a huge opportunity to help our customers realize the benefits of a cloud-first approach. Together with our partners, we are providing guidance, tools and support to help customers migrate. For example, HP and Microsoft have developed a complete portfolio of IT product solutions, industry-leading services, support, training and financing that provide best in class solutions for customers as they transform and expand their business environments. Also, Dell Services highlighted its new Windows Server 2003 Migration Service. The service will enable businesses currently running Windows Server 2003 to move workloads to Microsoft Azure or Windows Server 2012 R2 ahead of the July 2015 end of support deadline, while mitigating risk and cost associated with migration.

     

  • Many of our partners are building outstanding apps and solutions with Microsoft technologies, including Windows, Windows Phone 8, and Microsoft Azure. Today, our partners, Viggle, Work in Field, Trend Micro, and Epicor have announced new and cool apps and technologies that demonstrate our broad range of opportunities partners choose to take advantage of when they develop on our platform.
I’m looking forward to connecting with our partners again tomorrow during Day 3 keynotes, where Satya Nadella will address partners for the first time as CEO on the WPC main stage.
 
-Phil