Phil Sorgen, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Group, speaking at the company's Worldwide Partner conference in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Microsoft. Source: Worldwide Partner Facebook page)

Microsoft Touts Partner Momentum, Launches Azure Certification for Software Vendors

Kicking off Monday its Worldwide Partner Conference, which takes place this week in Washington, D.C., Microsoft reported continuing partner momentum and growth of its Azure cloud services business.

Azure is being used by more than 57 percent of the Fortune 500 and an average of 8,000 customers are signing up each week, the company said. By the end of the year, the cloud services will be available in 16 regions worldwide.

Microsoft also introduced a certification program called Microsoft Azure Certified for Virtual Machines, which gives software vendors the ability to label their products as certified to run on Azure and to list them in the Azure Gallery. Early program members include Oracle, SAP, Azul Systems, Bitnami, Riverbed Technologies and Barracuda.

“This new logo certification program will give Microsoft partners new opportunities to promote and sell their applications and services on Azure,” wrote Bob Baker, director of cloud and enterprise partner marketing at Microsoft.

Baker also mentions that The Microsoft Open Technology VM depot now hosts more than 1,100 open source machine images that can be deployed on Azure. The Azure Data Marketplace hosts over 800 applications. The library of images and the number of applications keeps growing, making Azure a more flexible tool for partners to leverage when building out their portfolios.

The company also rolled out the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider Program. Partners in this program will be able to directly provision customer subscriptions and provide one monthly bill for both their own and Microsoft services. They will also directly manage their customer subscriptions with in-product tools in the Partner Admin Center and own the technical support relationship.

The partnership conference demonstrates that Azure Cloud is integrating into the partner ecosystem quite nicely. These conferences used to be focused around SharePoint and Exchange resellers, but Microsoft is now enabling wider portfolios from infrastructure to apps as well as a way for partners to market their applications via the Azure marketplace.

InMage acquired for Azure business continuity

Last week, in the run-up to the conference, Microsoft announced acquisition of InMage, which develops and delivers disaster recovery systems and will be used to bring better business continuity capabilities to Azure. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

InMage will enhance backup, replication and quick data and application recovery capabilities in case of a system failure.

“This acquisition will accelerate our strategy to provide hybrid cloud business continuity solutions for any customer IT environment, be it Windows or Linux, physical or virtualized on Hyper-V, VMware or others,” wrote Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president of cloud and enterprise marketing at Microsoft. “This will make Azure the ideal destination for disaster recovery for virtually every enterprise server in the world. As VMware customers explore their options to permanently migrate their applications to the cloud, this will also provide a great on-ramp.”

InMage Scout technology is being integrated into the Azure Site Recovery service. It collects data changes from production servers as they occur directly in-memory before they are written to disk and sends them to a software appliance called the InMage Scout Server.

It reduces I/O load on production servers and eases backup with granular recovery of data. Microsoft had already announced plans to enable data migration to Azure with Scout, and InMage brings in lots of technology around managing data.

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About the Author

Jason Verge is an Editor/Industry Analyst on the Data Center Knowledge team with a strong background in the data center and Web hosting industries. In the past he’s covered all things Internet Infrastructure, including cloud (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS), mass market hosting, managed hosting, enterprise IT spending trends and M&A. He writes about a range of topics at DCK, with an emphasis on cloud hosting.

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