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Gold Virtualization Partners Few and Far Between

A major Fairfax, Va.-based virtualization solution partner's achievement of the Virtualization Gold Competency in the Microsoft Partner Network provides a window on the pace at which partners are making the transition to Microsoft's new gold competencies.

Accelera Solutions today announced it had gotten the competency. In a statement, Accelera President Joe Brown said, "We're proud to be among the region's elite few to hold gold-tier status for virtualization."

Indeed, the numbers bear out that elite status. Accelera's news release, which included the Microsoft support quotes that indicate it would have been carefully vetted by Microsoft, said Accelera is one of eight partners to receive the Virtualization Gold Competency in Microsoft's East Region. Across Microsoft's three U.S. regions, that suggests there are probably fewer than 25 Microsoft partners with the competency.

Kevin Collins, Microsoft's East Region general manager for managed partners, said, "As one of Microsoft's first Virtualization Gold Competency partners, Accelera affirms its role as a trusted advisor whose services meet Microsoft's highest standards for competency and best practices for delivery."

A look at Accelera's pedigree provides a hint at how difficult the coveted Virtualization Gold Competency is proving to be. It's been more than six months since the launch of the gold competencies in the MPN. Accelera, meanwhile, had held one of the very rare "Services Ready for Virtualization" designations as a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner under the old system. The company also has a large practice with over 1,000 commercial and 200 government customers and also implements virtualization solutions using VMware and Citrix technology.

The numbers show that for now -- at least for virtualization among Microsoft's roughly 30 MPN competencies -- the new gold competency system is working as Microsoft intended: It is radically reducing the number of partners able to brand themselves as gold. We'll be keeping a close eye out for more hints about competency momentum in the run-up to the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in July.

Posted by Scott Bekker on May 23, 2011