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FastTrack for Azure Hitting Preview Next Month

Microsoft has expanded its FastTrack program again, this time to cover customer migrations to the Azure cloud platform.

FastTrack for Azure will be available as a preview starting Aug. 1 for customers in the United States, Canada and Australia, announced Toby Richards, general manager of partner programs at Microsoft, in a blog post late last month.

Under the preview's terms, Microsoft will help facilitate the deployment process for customers looking to adopt one of the following Azure solutions: disaster recovery, backup and archive, dev/test, and line-of-business apps. However, Richards said the list of applicable solutions will grow in the future.

Currently, the program is available only to customers that are not supported by a Microsoft Cloud Solution Architect, and that have Azure projects that cost at least $60,000 annually.

Launched in 2014 as Microsoft's in-house cloud-onboarding program, FastTrack is designed to increase customer adoption of Microsoft's various cloud products. Originally, it covered Office 365 migrations, but was later expanded to cover the Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) solution and, more recently, Dynamics 365 and Windows 10.

FastTrack has tended to be a source of contention between Microsoft and its partners, many of whom saw the program as a way for Microsoft to benefit from cloud customer wins at partners' expense. Typically, the process of onboarding customers through FastTrack is performed by Microsoft's in-house engineering team. However, when Microsoft announced FastTrack for Windows 10 earlier this year, it said it would direct customers to its partners to perform the deployments, marking a divergence from the other FastTrack programs.

Microsoft seems to be taking a similar tack when it comes to Azure, promising close engagement between its in-house engineers and outside partners as they jointly move customers to Azure.

"With FastTrack for Azure, our goal is to work closely with partners early and throughout the process to maximize our mutual customers success," Richards said. "When no partner is present in the account, we will provide leads to qualified FastTrack for Azure partners. This presents a great opportunity for new and ongoing business for Azure partners."

However, he added, if there's already a partner on the account, "the FastTrack team will work closely with that partner to ensure they have the resources needed to help customers succeed."

Eligible partners must have a Microsoft Cloud Platform competency, have managed-partner status, and be located in one of the three countries that the FastTrack for Azure preview is running. As an incentive, Microsoft is offering partners up to $15,000 to go toward completing customer deployments via FastTrack until Dec. 31, 2017.

More information on the FastTrack for Azure preview is available on this Microsoft document.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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