Welcome to the February edition of the Azure Partner Newsletter, a roundup 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, explore 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 Migration and Modernization Program
Migrating and modernizing customers to Azure is easier than ever! We have made AMMP Partner-led available as a benefit to our best partners. Live now: AMMP for Azure Specialized Partners and Azure Expert MSPs, and 2023 expansions to AMMP Partner-led for larger project size support. Funding levels have been increased up to $100K USD with XL and XXL sizes (for Infra/DB Migration engagements only). Expanded segment coverage will include all SMB accounts with a TPID, as well as SAP RISE support (only available in AMMP Partner-led).
We are also excited to announce the launch of 3 new App Innovation workshops as part of AMMP’s Assess & Plan offer. These provide a consultative approach to pre-sales engagements, specifically dedicated to Apps projects. The App Innovation Business Discovery workshop aligns customer key priorities and desired outcomes for their broader App estate strategy with Azure. The App Envisioning and Rapid Prototyping as well as the App Solution Architecture workshops offer hands-on sessions, specific to greenfield or refactored applications. All are currently offered as part of AMMP Field-led and are available globally.
Call to Action:
- Nominate customers directly on MCI https://aka.ms/AMMPpartnerlednominate.
- Check out the NEW AMMP Partner-led testimonial video here!
- Get trained to deliver the new App Innovation workshops. Reach out to your PDM/PTS for more details.
Learn how to use your data to build intelligent, scalable apps faster and easier. Take a deep dive into open source and Azure and see the latest open-source technology in action—while connecting with the community of industry leaders, innovators, and open-source enthusiasts.
Join this free digital event to:
- See app-building demos using Azure and the latest in open-source technologies, cloud-native architectures, and microservices.
- Get tips and best practices for open source from industry leaders at companies like HashiCorp, GitHub, and Redis.
- Learn to build cloud-native apps for relational and nonrelational data with Azure Cosmos DB, now supporting native PostgreSQL.
- Discover new capabilities in IaaS, PaaS, containers, and serverless computing, including Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS).
- Explore practical ways to optimize your open-source investments and gain more time for innovation.
- Learn how to protect your data and business assets by building on a highly secure cloud platform designed to meet your open-source security and compliance needs.
- Ask Azure and open-source industry experts your questions during the live chat Q&A.
Find Gold in Your Hosted Services
As a Microsoft partner providing managed hosted services, you are primed for growth. Your customer base is ready to gain the benefits of the Microsoft Cloud – increased flexibility, cost optimization, security, performance, and scale.
Join experts from Forrester and the CloudLab and learn how you can create a successful business migrating customers out of your data centers and building new managed services with Azure. Learn how to get access to cloud migration resources including a starter pack designed to help you land a successful cloud migration proposal to a hosted customer.
Azure Savings Plan
Azure savings plan for compute available on Azure Migrate: Customers now have the ability to incorporate Azure savings plan for compute in the Azure Migrate business case capability and in the Azure Migrate assessments for Azure VM, Azure SQL, and Azure App Services to forecast cost savings during a migration. The Azure Migrate tool helps customers to discover, assess, migrate and modernize on-premises servers, apps, and data to the Microsoft Azure cloud. Azure Migrate allows customers to run and manage their migration and modernization projects from a unified, secure portal.
Call to action: Identify accounts who have recently discussed migrating workloads to Azure and review their Azure Migrate business case with them.
Azure savings plans for compute price update: Since the launch of Azure savings plans for compute on October 18, 2022, there has been a temporary price reduction for select services. These price reductions were removed on January 1, 2023, and pricing was set to the normal savings plan pricing. Pricing page and pricing calculator have been updated to reflect the intended pricing for these Azure Services.
On December 1, 2022, an IcM communication was sent to customers who have purchased an Azure savings plan for compute informing them about this price update.
Call to action: Review the expected pricing PDF for these services.
Resources: Azure Migrate business case scenario tech community blog and demo video
Azure Immersion Workshops
From July to December 2022, Microsoft Partners helped deliver more than 700+ workshops to 12,000+ attendees. The Azure Immersion Workshops (AIW) program continues strong in the next six months, with an added priority on workshop tracks for Infrastructure Migration, Database Modernization, Analytics and SAP on the Microsoft Cloud.
The AIW program provides half-day, partner-delivered workshops and gives customer attendees unique access to Microsoft solutions in Azure via Hands-on-Labs in each event.
Learn more about the catalog of workshops here: https://aka.ms/aiwpartners
As of January 9, 2023, the new Infra and Database Migration to Microsoft Azure specialization will combine and replace the following specializations:
- Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Microsoft Azure
- Linux and Open-Source Database Migration to Microsoft Azure
Given the desire to align with customer expectations and accommodate the natural overlap between capabilities, the new Infra and Database Migration to Microsoft Azure specialization simplifies the validation of core infrastructure migration expertise for customers. This change streamlines partner access to Azure migration opportunities and incentives, and partners can now focus their resources on obtaining a single specialization that spans Infrastructure and Database migration workloads.
As you lead your customers cloud migration strategy, create a more optimized migration path that is tailored to their unique needs and architecture, leveraging the Infra & DB migration specialization and further access to programs (such as AMMP partner-led) and incentives.
Do More With Less
- Through ISV direct to partner campaign aligned to the Do more with less on Azure initiative available externally.
- Share the Do More With Less campaign-in-a-box assets for Services Partners to leverage within their channels
- Services Partners can launch their own Do More With Less campaign, capture and close leads, and more on the Digital Marketing Content site
- Do More With Less page on Partner Zone for latest information and resources for partners
FastTrack for Azure (FTA)
FTA is a key resource when: preview services are in play and your customer needs technical advisory support; you need engineering support on a complex project; or your customer benefits from deeper platform-adoption engagements like cost optimization, security, resiliency, and app modernization that increase platform stickiness.
Call to action:
- Invite your customers to listen to FTA Live sessions with Azure engineers: Azure Migrate for servers - part 1, and other topics such as Microsoft Defender, AVD etc.
- Invite your customers to attend an upcoming live FTA episode on a topic they need, get answers directly from FTA, learn from content curated by FTA engineers.
We are excited to share essential NEW assets to support customer discussions on the relationship between Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365.
- Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365 - Choosing the right solution for your distributed workforce – L100 customer-ready pitch deck, now with talk track
- Microsoft Technical Takeoff 2022: Understanding Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365 for hybrid work
- NEW! Azure Virtual Desktop - L100 Customer Deck – now with talk track
Upcoming event: Optimize Windows Server and SQL Server Security in Azure – February 22, 2023
Azure Hybrid Benefit for Linux can significantly reduce the cost of running Red Hat Enterprise Linux Servers and SUSE Linux Enterprise Servers on Azure. Azure Hybrid Benefit can switch virtual machines or virtual machine scale sets (Flexible orchestration mode only) to RHEL bring-your-own-subscription (BYOS) and SLES BYOS billing. With this benefit, the RHEL or SLES subscription covers the software fee. Customers pay only infrastructure costs for their virtual machines.
- March 7: Register and deep dive into open source at Azure Open Source Day 2023
- Linux on Azure
- Red Hat on Azure
Azure knows SQL Server best! And Azure databases can be the first step towards growing our customers’ data maturity. Leverage updated Azure SQL resources to help customers realize faster performance and higher savings and adopt a modern cloud database that runs up to 5x faster than AWS and has unmatched security with the ability to run workloads anywhere with Azure Arc. Help customers better estimate savings by demonstrating the new Azure Migrate Business Case capability in preview.
Call to Action:
- Leverage the new Business Case capability in preview in Azure Migrate Tool to position savings with Azure
- Learn about the latest feature from Azure Arc: viewing SQL Server Databases NOW in public preview
- Accelerate SQL Server migrations with Microsoft AMMP
We continue to invest in market research and leverage research reports to influence decisions makers and generate demand for SAP on Azure (Native/RISE with SAP). We partnered with Frost & Sullivan to produce vbooks, Looking to Make Digital Transformation a Reality, and Digital Transformation and the Art of the Possible, which can be used in various outreach with customers and partners.
Azure open-source relational databases offer unparalleled value with substantial savings and built-in intelligent performance. Azure open-source databases enable best TCO for both MySQL and PostgreSQL, with up to 62% savings over running on-premises. MySQL customers are achieving faster performance and better cost savings for their mission critical applications by choosing the Business Critical service tier.
Call to Action:
- Leverage the new Business Case capability in preview in Azure Migrate Tool to position savings with Azure
- Learn about the public preview of the new Azure PostgreSQL migration extension for Azure Data Studio to help users assess the value of a cloud migration to Azure.
- Accelerate Open-source database migrations with Microsoft AMMP
- NEW! Partner-led Holistic Business Case
- NEW! Infographic on choosing the right PostgreSQL option for customer workloads (Azure Database for PostgreSQL – Flexible Server vs. Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL)
Evidence: New case studies
- Azure Arc + Azure Monitor: FirstGroup accelerates business, reduces emissions with the centralized visibility and management of Azure Arc and Azure Monitor
- Azure Arc + Azure Hybrid Benefit for AKS: Entain bets on SQL Server 2022 to boost growing gaming business
- Azure Arc + Azure Stack HCI sustainability piece: Royal Mosa reduces carbon footprint and enhances performance with centralized, cloud-native management through Azure Arc–enabled Azure Stack HCI
- Exxaro unites on-premises and cloud infrastructure into a single monitoring solution
- Azure Arc EBC pitch deck
- Azure Arc customer stories
- Azure Arc Jumpstart to get started quickly
- Azure Arc Blog page for all latest updates
- “Forrester Total Economic ImpactTM of Microsoft Azure Arc for security and governance”
We recently landed a new App Innovation Report; a thought leadership point of view on how our customers can prioritize human pain points to build app experiences with the most impact, featuring proprietary global research on the needs of workers around the world and across industries. App innovation is ultimately about the people whom our solutions serve.
Call to Action
- Check out the blog! Leverage insights from the App Innovation Report to elevate the importance of app modernization with business decision makers.
- Check out this WIRED article showcasing a MSFT startup customer’s use of Azure Apps and Data to go from startup to scale
- Read this whitepaper by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) featuring how companies are leveraging Azure Cosmos DB to achieve cost-effective scale, speed and security
- New low-code and fusion customer stories: Microsoft Customer Story-EY streamlines customer onboarding processes, improves customer service with Power Platform
- New TEI report available for Power Platform
In Q2 we announced the private preview of GitHub Advanced Security for Azure DevOps which brings GitHub's industry-leading, developer-focused security tooling to Azure DevOps. Advanced Security for Azure DevOps provides a native application security solution within the developer workflow, enabling organizations to easily identify and fix exposed secrets and vulnerable open-source dependencies across the software lifecycle. Advanced Security for Azure DevOps also includes GitHub Advanced Security’s powerful and accurate CodeQL code scanner to identify any code vulnerabilities or errors in your own code.
Call to Action: Educate your Azure DevOps customers on private preview of GitHub Advanced Security for Azure DevOps
- Additional Azure DevOps roadmap information can be found here: Azure DevOps Roadmap
Aimed at building awareness, skilling, and demand generation for cloud-native at Azure, #CloudNativeNewYear campaign kicked off. Jan 23rd-February 17th, including learning and skilling content for customers and partners:
- #30DaysofCloudNative blog series driven by the Cloud Advocates team
- Cloud Skills Challenge
- Jan 26: A QuickStart Guide to Kubernetes Concepts webinar
- Feb 9: Ask the Experts sessions
Call to Action:
- Upskill your customer or team with Cloud-native New Year Cloud Skills Challenge
- Join the Ask The Expert Sessions with the AKS Product Team
- Check out the Webinar on Kubernetes Concepts
The much awaited Forrester Total Economic Impact study for Azure PaaS is live to support your Do More With Less campaigns. It shows a compelling 228% three-year ROI and 15-month payback period for modernization using PaaS, through a variety of asset types including an announcement blog from Ashmi Chokshi, one-pager summary infographic, on-demand webinar featuring in-depth walk-through by a Forrester analyst, and the gated landing page to download the PDF report.
Call to Action:
- Read and share Ashmi’s blog with your customers: Forrester study finds 228 percent ROI when modernizing applications on Azure PaaS
- Share this handy compilation of Azure App Service announcements from 2022: Reflecting on Azure App Service’s innovations and triumphs in 2022
- Keep up to date with the latest Azure App Service blogs at http://aka.ms/ModernApps/Blogs
- Read and share this new IaaS to PaaS migration tool to help migrate .NET apps at scale.
- Watch and share this Azure webinar to learn how to choose the right services for their Java apps.
- Watch and share this on-demand webinar to learn how Forrester conducted the total economic impact analysis for Azure apps
- Read the new Edumundo customer case study on app modernization and innovation at scale
Coming up next in our Azure webinar series, we have the Transform Your Business with Analytics and Data Governance webinar happening this February. We’ll show how data, analytics, and governance solutions—including Azure Synapse Analytics, Azure Databricks, Microsoft Purview, and more—work together to deliver actionable insights that drive your business.
Call to action: Join our upcoming webinar on Feb. 21 from 10AM-11AM PST. Here is the link to register.
Bonus webinar: Hear from speakers Karthik Ravindran and Bob Ward on the importance of having a resilient, elastic data infrastructure to help support intelligent applications, analytics, AI and IoT use cases, and more. The on-demand session is available here.
• Scaling Digital Innovation with Responsible Data Democratization
• Microsoft Mechanics Demo: The Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform
• Empower IT and Data Professionals to Achieve More with All Their Data
• Analytics Lessons Learned: How Four Companies Drove Business Agility with Analytics
In January we announced the general availability of Azure OpenAI Service. More businesses can create cutting-edge applications by applying for access to the advanced models—including GPT-3.5, Codex, and DALL•E 2—backed by the trusted enterprise-grade capabilities and AI-optimized infrastructure of Microsoft Azure. Customers will also be able to access ChatGPT--a fine-tuned version of GPT3.5 through Azure OpenAI Service soon.
We have a collection of new external content to showcase announcements and how customers are adopting AI through various use cases. A new monthly blog series called What’s New in Data + AI showcases noteworthy and inspiring data and AI innovations across Microsoft. This month's theme focused on the GA of Azure OpenAI, the GA of Responsible AI dashboard, and the theme of resilient retail around the national retail federation's big show.
- Azure blog announcing general availability of Azure OpenAI Service
- Azure blog on Azure’s purpose-built cloud infrastructure for AI solutions
- What’s new in Azure Data & AI: Empowering retailers to streamline operations and accelerate time to value
- Azure Blog highlighting 10 ways Azure AI enhances the Microsoft Apps we use every day
- YouTube video highlighting use of AI to Do More with Less
Announcement! We are excited to announce that Microsoft has joined the FinOps Foundation as a premier member. Together, we can deliver unparalleled guidance and innovative solutions that empower organizations to increase efficiency and accelerate growth!
The Cloud Adoption Security Review helps to implement the Secure methodology in the Cloud Adoption Framework by providing security recommendations based on questions and selected answers made by stakeholders within a customer.
The Cloud Adoption Framework provides guidance for this security journey by providing clarity for the processes, best practices, models, and experiences. This guidance is based on the lessons learned and real-world experiences of real customers, Microsoft's security journey, and work with organizations like NIST, The Open Group, and the Center for Internet Security (CIS).
Implement security best practices with the Cloud Adoption Security Review.
• Security in CAF on Microsoft Docs
The Armchair Architects video and blog series is in its third season with some great new topics. Gain insights and considerations about cloud architecture from some of Microsoft’s finest architects, Uli Homann and Eric Charran. Some of the topics for this season include:
- Armchair Architects: Is Big Data Turning into Dark Data?
- Armchair Architects: So, you want to build a platform
- Armchair Architects: Architecture and Ambiguity
For the full series, please visit Azure Well-Architected.
Several new learning and skill building opportunities have been launched for Azure:
- A new Microsoft Azure Well-Architected Virtual Training Day instructs customers how to design, build and manage high-performing, secure and reliable workloads, optimized to meet their ongoing business needs.
- The Learn Live study hall series for Azure Core IaaS, running through May 18, 2023, shows customers how to build infrastructure solutions with Azure IaaS services and products, helping them to maximize the value of their IT investments by learning about highly secure, available, and scalable cloud services.
- Offered in February 2023, your customers can become Microsoft Certified in Database Administrator. Help them prove their skills by earning a NEW certification with this 30 Days to Learn It Challenge!
- New Year, New Skills with Microsoft Certification Programs: For a customized approach, customers are encouraged to check out new additions to the Microsoft Azure Connected Learning Experience (CLX) program, Designing and Implementing a Microsoft Azure AI Solution and Administering Microsoft Azure SQL Solutions. CLX is designed to help aspiring learners and IT professionals become Microsoft Azure cloud pros. CLX is a personalized and self-paced journey that culminates in a certificate of completion—allowing customers to maximize learning while minimizing time invested.
- Join us in a 30 Days to Learn It Challenge for Cosmos DB and learn to build, scale, and optimize modern applications on Azure with Azure Cosmos DB
Call to Action:
- Invite your customers to register for an Azure Virtual Training Day
- Tune into the Azure Core IaaS Study Hall
- Register for the Database Administrator 30 Days to Learn It
- Microsoft Azure Connected Learning Experience (CLX)
- Check out the 30 Days to Learn It Challenge for Cosmos DB
- Azure skilling recap blog
- Latest Azure skilling content on azure.com/learn.
- 30 Days to Learn It challenges catalogue.
Microsoft had a key presence at GitHub Universe in November with key announcements on Codespaces, Copilot, the future of GitHub Security. Also in November, was our annual .NET Conf which included announcements. Lastly, Microsoft was a platinum sponsor at JavaOne22 with a keynote presentation and blog post from Julia Liuson.
DevCal: November featured the .NET 7 release announcements and Microsoft Ignite 2022 videos. December featured #develop4all with accessibility focused learning content for developers, and inspiring stories about diverse communities. January featured GitHub Universe announcements.
Microsoft Azure Load testing is now generally available. Azure Load Testing is a fully managed load-testing service that enables you to generate high-scale load, gain actionable insights, and ensure the resiliency of your applications and services.
Call to action: Read the announcement blog here: Azure Load Testing GA blog.
- DevOps Lab: What’s new in Azure Learning? New how-to video demoing new features
- Azure Load Testing documentation and tutorials
- Collection of load testing resources
We are pleased to announce Gartner has positioned Microsoft as a Leader in the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Global Industrial IoT Platforms. The Microsoft blog, announcing our Leadership position is now live.
• Licensed reprint of IIoT Magic Quadrant Report
In Q2 we developed new content to support event efforts and made updates to allow partners to leverage the HPC + AI content (available on partner center).
• Encina customer story
Get the Microsoft Azure VMware Solution Specialization to showcase your organization's validated capabilities in deploying and managing Azure VMware Solution Private Cloud, and help your customers migrate on-premises VMware workloads to run VMware natively on Azure. See if you are eligible, how you can earn it and what's in it for you!
Azure VMware Specialized Partners can leverage Microsoft funding for solution assessments, POCs and workshops via the Azure Migration and Modernize Program (AMMP) Partner-Led path which is a faster, streamlined way for partners to nominate customers to AMMP.
If you missed the last AVS Partner Boot Camp, check out how you can use AVS to move VMware-based workloads to the cloud and modernize your customers applications with Azure native services. Gain insight into what's new in AVS and customer use cases; best practices; and considerations for migrating, deploying, monitoring, and managing hybrid environments.
Call to action:
- Read about the latest updates in Azure VMware Solution in the What’s New blog post: Azure VMware Solution - February 2023 - What's New Update - Microsoft Community Hub.
- Listen to our latest webinar How to Modernize your VMware Environment with Microsoft Azure to get up to speed on our new content messaging and share with your customers.