Azure Migrations and App Modernization: Microsoft Lists Partners' Cloud Objectives at Inspire

There are three key ways partners can facilitate their customers' digital transformations, according to Microsoft -- and, not surprisingly, they all center around the Azure cloud.

During Day 1 of the 2022 Microsoft Inspire partner conference on Tuesday, Microsoft emphasized the importance of the cloud for customers, especially in the wake of the pandemic. Partners, according to Redmond, should heed the call to drive Azure uptake if they haven't already.

"We are focusing on three key areas of growth for Azure," wrote Kathleen Mitford, head of Microsoft Azure Marketing, in a blog post. Those three areas are:

  • Innovation with new cloud native experiences
  • Modernization of app and data estates
  • Migration and modernization of infrastructure and mission critical workloads

Mitford described recent technical and programmatic investments that Microsoft has made to help partners succeed at these directives. For instance, the company earlier this year launched the Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform. The data market opportunity currently sits at $42 billion, Mitford said, citing "Microsoft estimates," and is projected to more than double in three years. She urged partners to tap into this opportunity by helping customers modernize their data estates.

Key Microsoft server products are also reaching their support cliffs next year (in the case of SQL Server 2012, it's already fallen off), presenting another opportunity for partners to encourage customers' "cloud migration and modernization plans," said Mitford. She touted Azure Automanage as an example of Microsoft cloud tooling aimed at easing cloud and virtualization management headaches.

Partner Programs
There are two Microsoft partner programs that Mitford highlighted -- the ISV Success Program and the Azure Migration and Modernization Program.

The ISV Success Program is technically new. It's currently in the "preview" stage, with a broad launch expected sometime this fall. The program aims "to help ISVs innovate rapidly, build well-architected applications, publish them to our commercial marketplace, and grow their sales," Mitford said, adding that it is "intended to be the pathway to ISV success in the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program."

The Microsoft Cloud Partner Program (MCPP) is the next iteration of Microsoft's partner program following the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN). Microsoft is retiring the MPN this year and launching the MCPP on Oct. 3.

Among the changes coming to existing MPN partners will be the retirement of Gold and Silver competencies, the launch of new technology-specific "solutions partner" badges, and the addition of a new scoring system (dubbed the partner capability score, or PCS) that will quantify a partner's expertise in their chosen field. More information on the MCPP switch is available in this RCP article.

The second program, the Azure Migration and Modernization Program (AMMP), is currently over 500 partners strong. It's the "hero program" for Azure partners, Mitford said, offering go-to-market assistance, best practices help, support and other benefits. Its goal is "to ensure every migration and modernization opportunity has a partner attached to it," according to Mitford.

Microsoft has updated the AMMP to encourage partner-driven cloud migrations. It has added region-based incentives, for example, and raised incentives for SQL Server and Windows Server migrations by as much as 2.5 times.

In addition, the Azure Migrate tool, which helps organizations plan their steps for migrating on-premises virtual machines to Azure, has "new modernization capabilities," including the ability for ISVs to incorporate the tool into their proprietary migration solutions.

"Now more than ever," Mitford said, "we need partners' help to scale our customers' migration and modernization journeys."

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.