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Azure for Partners


Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Azure Partner Newsletter, a round-up of exciting product announcements, feature updates, and new assets available for our partner community, sent to subscribers every other month.

To stay up to date between publications, head to Azure Partner Zone and the Partner Tech Community for the most recent events, resources, news, customer stories, learning material, and more!

To subscribe to the newsletter, head here.

February Spotlight: Azure Advanced Specializations

Differentiate your practice and drive customer confidence with Azure advanced specializations

Microsoft advanced specializations differentiate your organization’s capabilities to deliver tailored customer solutions in specific Microsoft solution areas with high customer demand. Advanced specialization partners enjoy:

  • Prioritization with Microsoft customers and sellers. Differentiated positioning on Microsoft digital properties, and priority placement with Microsoft sales teams.
  • Competitive differentiation. Third-party audit against Microsoft’s highest technical standards helps you stand out against other providers and earn confidence with customers
  • Exclusive access to customer programs and incentives. Gain exclusive access to Microsoft flagship customer programs and financial incentives.

The Analytics on Microsoft Azure advanced specialization is now live!

Earning the Analytics on Microsoft Azure advanced specialization differentiates your organization’s capabilities in planning and delivering tailored analytics solutions, following Microsoft and industry best practices.

Visit this page to learn more or log in to your Partner Center dashboard to check your status against the requirements as well as schedule audits if you meet the pre-requisites.

Partner Programs

Azure Migration Program

The Azure Migration Program (AMP) offers the proactive guidance and tools customers need to set up their cloud environment, migrate infrastructure, databases and application workloads, and move forward with confidence. Wherever your customer is in their cloud journey, the Azure Migration Program can help accelerate progress.

Our Azure partners are at the center of execution and excellence for AMP customers, engaging with them in cloud design and planning, migration, and deployment of new services. AMP offers partners a way to bring a packaged approach to customers, backed with funding and technical support from Microsoft. Qualified partners get pulled into migration projects by our sales teams where the partner can accelerate the customer to the cloud through this structured program.

If you are an Azure Expert MSP or an Advanced Specialized Partner and you have a customer ready to migrate to Azure, submit your nominations here.

Azure for Industry

We’re excited to introduce a dedicated Azure for Industry page on Partner Zone. This public-facing site includes partner-focused information about each of our priority industries.

Read the latest announcements highlighting the broad range of cloud innovation across US Government data classifications. Here’s the blog from Tom Keane.

Conversations at the recent virtual NRF centered around helping Retailers navigate the future. See Azure for Retail for more information.

Take a look at the industry trailer videos for Financial Services, Government (US National Security), Healthcare, Manufacturing, and Retail.

Azure Management

Azure Lighthouse

Azure Lighthouse allows partners to build and scale well-architected managed services while providing industry-leading security features and full transparency for customers. Partners will find the latest updates and resources on Partner Zone.

The new “Ask for Azure Lighthouse” page launched on with refreshed content focused on the best-practice security benefits customers receive when working with an Azure Lighthouse-enabled partner (including a brand-new sizzle video!). Learn more about these benefits and the page update here.

Check out the two new Learn paths, Use Azure Lighthouse with your managed service business (updated Q2) and Use Azure Lighthouse to govern, monitor, and secure customer resources (new!) and recent updates to Microsoft Docs:
• Azure Lighthouse in ISV and enterprise scenarios
Azure Migrate, Azure Arc, and Azure Sentinel support content
How to update a delegation and How to link your partner ID

Linux Migration

Run your applications your way and manage your workloads securely and conveniently with your favorite Linux distribution on Azure. Check out these new videos that articulate the benefits of running Linux on Azure via Linux on Azure Overview and How to save Costs for Linux and Open Source Solutions on Azure.

Azure Hybrid Benefit: Linux is now in General Availability as part of Azure Hybrid Benefit, a licensing benefit that helps customers significantly reduce the costs of running their workloads in the cloud.

We’re working with our ISV partners to build a series of on-boarding and best-practice articles to enable our customers to run their Linux-based solutions easier on Azure. Cloudera and Elastic posts are now available.

Windows Virtual Desktop

Provide your users with the only multi-session Windows 10 experience virtualized in the cloud that’s highly scalable, always up to date, and available on any device, including two new key features: Azure Monitor for Windows Virtual Desktop (available in preview), which will enable scale implementations with full visibility, and availability in Azure Government to support our public sector customers.

We recently launched the Azure Immersion Workshop for WVD and have already conducted 46 workshops with and plan to deliver ~126 in FY’21.

Take a look at our new customer stories: City of Corona (Citrix + WVD), Kohler, Q2, Caribbean Development Bank, ICI Pakistan Limited, Startek.

SAP on Azure

With the expanded partnership between Microsoft and SAP, you can run SAP applications across development and test and production scenarios in Azure and be fully supported.

We recently launched the public preview with support for HANA incremental backups, which allows customers to create cost-effective backup policies catering to their RPO and RTO requirements.

Satya’s keynote at NetApp Insight 2020 featured CONA, an SAP on Azure customer, which realized significantly improved query performance, flexibility, and cost optimization by migrating its BW on HANA to Azure VM scale-out cluster with Azure NetApp Files.

Hybrid Cloud Solutions

Enable remote work, take advantage of cloud innovation, and maximize your existing on-premises investments by relying on an effective hybrid and multicloud approach. Azure provides a holistic, seamless, and secure approach to innovate anywhere across your on-premises, multicloud, and edge environments.

There are new Hybrid Reference Architectures on Azure Stack HCI and Azure Arc:

Take a look through recent customer stories: JRCS, BCI, Ferguson, Siemens Healthineers.

Windows Server Migration

New IDC research highlights why customers choose Azure as the destination to migrate their workloads. Use the infographic and white paper to talk to your Windows Server Migration customers.

Plus, check out the demos streamed at Windows Server Summit - Azure Automanage, Azure Arc enabled Server, Azure Kubernetes Service on Azure Stack HCI, Windows Admin Center in Azure Portal.

SQL Server Migration

Customers get the most from SQL Server in Azure VMs with the SQL IaaS Agent Extension which helps save money and simplify management.

Read new Azure SQL case studies featuring hyperscale at BMI and Quest Analytics and Azure SQL for gaming at KMS.

Open Source Migration

With open-source databases, you can implement a system to meet your requirements and develop it to suit your business needs. Check out these sessions from Open Azure Day:

Read new OSS DB case studies including Unisa, Cloud9, EpiServer and Helsinki Regional Transport Authority.

App Innovation

Developer Velocity goes beyond increasing speed of delivery. Discover key findings from McKinsey & Co. to drive better business outcomes.

Uncover new business opportunities for Azure, Visual Studio, GitHub and Power Apps by taking a free Developer Velocity Assessment with your customers here.

Check out our new YouTube video series here to learn about Microsoft’s unique capabilities to drive innovation and accelerate digital transformation with Developer Velocity as an area of differentiation.

We just published the first App Innovation branded demo for Retail based on Chipotle’s online ordering web application (Modernize .NET Apps). Check out Chipotle’s demo on the App Innovation platform.

Watch this on-demand webinar, where we drill down into the essentials you need to know to get your app up and running on Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) with the Kubernetes Event-Driven Autoscaling (KEDA) framework.

Get your app to Microsoft’s customer base

Have a finished app? Publish it to the commercial marketplace to reach 4 million monthly active users and reach the 95% of Fortune 500 businesses that use Azure

Modernize .NET Apps

A Gigaom analyst report on .NET App Migration found that customers migrating their .NET Apps to Azure App Service and SQL Database can save up to 54% compared to on-premises and up to 30% over AWS.

Learn about the Azure App Service migration assistant tool and check out our customer story, Media 24.

Cloud Native Apps

Cloud native application development provides opportunities to modernize business-critical applications, innovate SaaS delivery, run real-time telemetry, build geo-distributed applications, and more.

We created a new modern application development webpage with customers and developed this deck to discuss the technology considerations for building new apps using low code tools, containers, functions, managed databases, AI, and DevOps.

Read Eric Boyd’s blog for Azure Cognitive Services updates around Metrics Advisor and Spatial analysis capability in Vision API.

Read this blog to learn how we convert breakthrough AI research into services that our customers can use to build better apps.


Analytics in Azure is up to 14 times faster and costs 94% less than other cloud providers.

We announced the general availability of Azure Synapse Analytics and launched Azure at the *Shape Your Future with Azure Data and Analytics* digital event.

We have over 30 Microsoft Learn modules and Virtual Training Day materials to support the GA of Azure Synapse Analytics.

Azure Analytics Partner network: New Power BI and Azure Analytics (beta) ecosystem guides are giving customers immediate access to service and technology partners worldwide. To be included, submit the 15-minute questionnaire.

The Analytics on Microsoft Azure advanced specialization is now live! Visit this page to learn more or log in to your Partner Center dashboard to check your status against the requirements as well as schedule audits if you meet the pre-requisites.


Get proven, secure, and responsible AI capabilities on your terms with Azure AI. Build mission-critical solutions that can analyze images, comprehend speech, make predictions using data, and imitate other intelligent human behaviors—all using Azure AI.

Azure Cognitive Services has achieved human parity in image captioning which will help make Microsoft products more inclusive and accessible to all users.

New CAF Content: Drive deeper customer conversations using newly added AI modules within Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) including Innovation Guide, Innovation Scenarios, and Best Practices.

New Azure AI customer stories landed in keynotes, sessions and blogs, including AstraZeneca, BBC, Nestle, AGL, Amway, Airbus, and RxR.

Cloud Adoption Framework

The Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure is proven guidance that’s designed to help you create and implement the business and technology strategies necessary for your organization to succeed in the cloud. It provides best practices, documentation, and tools that cloud architects, IT professionals, and business decision makers need to successfully achieve their short- and long-term objectives.

New training content is available as part of Virtual Training Series:

We recently launched MS Learn modules on related topics to enable our customers and partners:

New or updated CAF Content:


The Microsoft Azure Well-Architected Framework provides technical guidance specifically at the workload level across five pillars - cost optimization, security, reliability, performance efficiency, and operational excellence. Partners can leverage this guidance to enable customers to design well-architected and high-quality workloads on Azure.

Training content available as part of Virtual Training Series on: Introduction to the Microsoft Azure Well-Architected Framework.

Curated topics on Well Architected Framework available on Channel 9 show – Well Architected Series.

MS Learn Learning Path now available: Building great solutions with Azure Well-Architected Framework.

Start Well-Architected engagements with your customers, beginning with the Azure Well-Architected Review.

Specialized Areas
Mixed Reality

Start building secure, collaborative mixed reality solutions today using intelligent services, best-in-class hardware, and cross-platform tools.

Mixed Reality is now part of Microsoft Tech Community. Join the group to stay up to date with the Mixed Reality Blog.

Make it easier for customers to deploy HoloLens at scale with the new features in the latest HoloLens 2 release (Windows Holographic, version 20H2).

Azure VMWare solutions

Azure VMware Solution is a VMware validated solution with on-going validation and testing of enhancements and upgrades. Microsoft manages and maintains private cloud infrastructure and software. It allows you to focus on developing and running workloads in your private clouds.

Azure VMWare Solutions has now expanded availability to two more regions - Japan East and UK South. You can review pricing details for these new regions on the Azure VMware Solution pricing page.

Advanced Networking

Azure networking lets you connect and deliver your hybrid and cloud-native applications with low-latency, Zero Trust-based networking services.

We released Azure Networking Cookbook from Packt to provide hands-on guidance to configure, manage, monitor, and troubleshoot network solutions with Azure.

MainOne, one of West Africa’s leading communications services company, has partnered with Azure Peering Service to help enterprises in West Africa.


Azure high-performance computing (HPC) is a complete set of computing, networking, and storage resources integrated with workload orchestration services for HPC applications. Integrated dynamic scaling removes compute capacity as a bottleneck and instead allows customers to right size their infrastructure for the requirements of their jobs.

At Supercomputing ’20 we announced the public preview of the ND A100 v4 Azure Virtual Machine and our commitment to the Milan processor from AMD.

Summary blog of Azure HPC videos including: HPC overview videos, industry specific videos, and example how-to videos.

Azure Sentinel

Microsoft Azure Sentinel is a scalable, cloud-native, security information event management (SIEM) and security orchestration automated response (SOAR) solution. Azure Sentinel delivers intelligent security analytics and threat intelligence across the enterprise, providing a single solution for alert detection, threat visibility, proactive hunting, and threat response.

Microsoft (with the Azure Sentinel offering) in its debut year was named as a “Leader” in The Forrester Wave™: Security Analytics Platform Providers, Q4 2020.

Learn how to take a Zero Trust approach to secure your networks at the Modernize Your Network Security Strategy digital event. February 28, 2021.


With the most comprehensive IoT portfolio spanning solutions, platform services, and industry leading edge technologies customers can create operational efficiencies, new revenue streams, and better customer experiences.

Announcing the Azure Digital Twins General Availability and ready for production environments. Check the announcement blog to learn more.

Read our blog post about enabling Linux based Edge Modules on Windows IoT. The availability of the Public Preview of Azure IoT Edge for Linux on Windows (aka EFLOW) will soon be announced.

Read the blog post to learn more about how we’re democratizing IoT with IoT Plug and Play plus we’re also announcing new pricing for Azure IoT Central.

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