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Azure for Partners


Welcome to the July 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, 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.

July Spotlight: Microsoft Inspire

In July, we hosted Microsoft Inspire with nearly 100k attendees. Thank you to everyone who joined and helped us make it a huge success!

Here’s a roundup of the biggest updates from Inspire:

  • Azure Advanced Specializations launched 6 new advanced specializations
  • The Azure Immersion Workshops catalog has expanded to 10 tracks aligned to customer scenarios, now including three new tracks
  • Azure Migration Program is evolving to become the Azure Migration and Modernization Program (AMMP) with expanded support for app modernization scenarios, including newly added support for Azure Spring Cloud and Azure Cosmos DB
  • To further our dedication to zero trust security, Azure AD Privileged Identity Management integration with Azure Lighthouse is now in public preview, bringing new value to customers and partners alike
  • Marketplace:
    • We are reducing marketplace fees for transactable offers from industry standard 20% to 3% for all transactions
    • ISVs will be able to create specialized private offers to resellers (Cloud Solution Providers) and extend margin to resellers
  • Azure Partner Zone now has nine brand-new pages dedicated to Azure for Hosting Providers. Take a look for details on building hybrid solutions on Azure, navigating the public cloud opportunity, our four-step strategy for a successful transformation, and available support programs.
  • With the general availability of Azure SQL enabled by Azure Arc, managed service providers using Azure Lighthouse will be able to manage cloud data services on any on-premises infrastructure or in any cloud environment a customer needs without having to change existing tools or processes.

We’ve also compiled a list of must-read blogs and must-see sessions for the event:


Harness the power of Azure data and AI services
Learn about Microsoft’s strategy to create opportunities for partners to win at scale in Data & AI and our learnings and best practices from years in the business and field.

Microsoft Cloud for ISVs—unlock your opportunity
Across the Microsoft Cloud, ISVs can unlock innovation and accelerate time to customer value. Learn why Microsoft is the best cloud vendor to build with and sell with.

Drive revenue with the most partner-focused commercial marketplace
The commercial marketplace is central to selling with Microsoft. Watch this session to learn about our newest features, and how app builders and resellers can reach new markets and accelerate their customers’ innovation.

Accelerate your customers’ success with the latest Azure migration and modernization investments
Learn why customers choose Azure and get guidance around key scenarios. And finally, understand our expanded Azure Migration Program investments so you can help customers move with confidence.

Maximize Microsoft programs and investments to accelerate your customer’s journey
Learn how to leverage a variety of initiatives including Immersion Workshops, customer migration and modernization programs, and more.

New ways to grow your business with Azure Virtual Desktop
Hear how one ISV is disrupting their industry with new SaaS solutions on Azure Virtual Desktop. Learn more about funded partner programs and resources.

Create hybrid and multicloud strategies with Microsoft Azure
Learn how Azure combines a wide choice of tools and services that can be leveraged consistently across datacenter, edge, and multi-cloud.

Azure Migration & Modernization Program

The Azure Migration and Modernization Program (AMMP) provides best practice guidance, resources, and expert assistance to help our customers accelerate their Azure migration and modernization journey at every stage. The program also provides access to agile funds and resources, and potential for exposure to new customers.

Starting July 2021, AMMP is introducing new program offerings to further enable customers with the resources and support needed to migrate and modernize.

  • New Solution Assessments provide a holistic Business Case to help customers develop their migration and modernization strategy.
  • Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) workshops are available to assist with making key decisions with a customer’s cloud adoption journey.
  • New offers provide increased access to support and increased funding opportunities.
  • The program is also expanding the support of application modernization through inclusion of Azure Cosmos DB and Azure Spring Cloud.

Azure Advanced Specializations

Earning an Azure advanced specialization helps strengthen and differentiate your practice in specific technical areas with high customer demand and helps customers identify your organization’s ability to meet their specific needs. Join these partners in by earning Advanced Specializations.

In the last few weeks, we have launched six new Azure advanced specializations, further expanding our portfolio to provide greater coverage of scenarios with high customer demand:

• AI and Machine Learning on Microsoft Azure
• Hybrid Operations and Management with Microsoft Azure Arc
• Hybrid Infrastructure with Microsoft Azure Stack HCI
• DevOps with GitHub on Microsoft Azure
• Microsoft Azure VMware Solution
• Networking Services on Microsoft Azure

To learn more, head to the new Azure Advanced Specializations on Azure Partner Zone and the audit preparation page.

Azure Immersion Workshops

Azure Immersion Workshops (AIW) are a collection of targeted, Microsoft-led events aligned to customer scenarios designed to showcase technology and inspire usage via hands-on experience instructed by partners at scale. Participation in the facilitation of these events provides partners with the unique opportunity to promote themselves and their services to a set of Microsoft customers they normally wouldn’t be able to reach, as well as access to subsidized speaker fees and funded hands-on labs seats.

In the coming year, we are expanding the AIW catalogue to 10 tracks aligned to customer scenarios:

  1. Analytics
  2. Database Modernization
  3. Infrastructure Migration
  4. Azure Virtual Desktop
  5. AI
  6. .Net Apps Modernization
  7. Cloud Native Apps with Kubernetes
  8. Hybrid Cloud Solutions (New)
  9. DevOps with GitHub (New)
  10. Modernize Java Apps (New)

Azure for Industry

Azure for Industry resources
As you work with customers, we encourage you to use these Azure for Industry kits to deliver an industry-focused introduction to Azure:
Azure for Financial Services pitch deck
Azure for Manufacturing industry kit
Azure for Retail industry kit
Industry pages on
Visit and send customers to the Azure for Industry pages to drive awareness of the unique value of Azure for these industries: - Azure for Financial Services – Azure for Manufacturing - Azure for Healthcare – Azure for Retail – Azure for WW Government - Azure for US Government

Azure Management
Azure Arc

Azure Arc is key to helping customers operate hybrid seamlessly by bringing Azure services to any existing infrastructure. On July 30, 2021 Azure SQL enabled by Azure Arc will become generally available, giving customers the operational freedom to run cloud-native data services on-premises and across multiple cloud. This GA includes the general-purpose tier of Arc-enabled SQL Managed Instance, as well as SQL Server on Arc-enabled servers.

Azure Arc-enabled SQL Managed Instance, the PaaS offering from Azure SQL can run on any Kubernetes in customers own datacenters, at the edge, and in multi-cloud environments.

Benefits include:

  • Stay current with automated updates and deploy evergreen feature and security updates to on-premises databases with no end-of-support.
  • Automate routine database administrator (DBA) tasks at scale with built-in management capabilities including high availability, backup, and restore.
  • Optimize data workload performance by bringing cloud elasticity on-premises for existing infrastructure, using only the resources needed to dynamically scale up or down, without application downtime.
  • Run the service under all connectivity modes, i.e. with or without continuous and direct connection to Azure.
  • Manage cost efficiently with a cloud billing model consistent with Azure.

SQL Server on Arc-enabled servers brings all the management benefits of Arc-enabled servers to your existing SQL Server running on virtual machines and physical servers anywhere. You get searchable inventory lists, enhanced security from Azure Defender, and can run SQL assessment for free.

Azure Arc also integrates with Azure Lighthouse so managed service providers using Azure Lighthouse will be able to manage cloud data services (alongside Windows, Linux, and Kubernetes) on any on-premises infrastructure or in any cloud environment a customer needs without having to change existing tools or processes.

Learn more and explore new partner resources:

Azure Lighthouse

We are excited to announce the public preview of the Azure Active Directory Privileged Identity Management (PIM) integration with Azure Lighthouse, which allows Azure customers to require Multi-Factor Authentication(MFA) and limit the amount of privileged access that service providers can obtain.

The integration offers the following features and benefits:
For customers:

  • Ensure just-in-time tenant access for service providers
  • Require Azure MFA before service providers can elevate access in customer scopes
  • View PIM-related service provider activity in ARM activity logs

For partners:

  • Author Azure Lighthouse offers with eligible Authorizations array (via ARM templates and Azure Marketplace managed services offers)
  • Simplified portal experience to activate privileged roles for specific customer scopes

To learn more about the integration, head to the blog announcement and check out the new documentation. For more on Azure Lighthouse and to get hands-on experience, go here.

Windows Server Migration

Windows Server 2022, the next release in the long-term servicing channel is now in preview. The new release introduces advanced multi-layer security such as secured-core server, hybrid capabilities with Azure, and a flexible application platform. Software Assurance customers can take advantage of new version rights and will be able to upgrade to this latest release.

Azure Automanage also has new capabilities, now in preview, that further simplify operations for Windows Server virtual machines (VMs). With Azure Automanage, IT admins can reduce day-to-day management tasks with automated operations across the entire lifecycle of VMs in Azure. The new capabilities in Azure Automanage for Windows Server allow customers to enable rebootless security patching for new Windows Server VMs, helping protect servers against critical threats.

Windows Admin Center in Azure is now in public preview. Customers can use the same interface they know and love to perform seamless and granular management of Windows Server Virtual Machines right from the Azure portal.

At Inspire, we announced Extended Security Updates for Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2, free only on Azure. Customers running 2012 releases of Windows Server and SQL Server on-premises will have the option to purchase Extended Security Updates. In addition, for customers who need more time to upgrade and modernize Windows Server and SQL Server 2008/R2, we will now provide one additional year of free extended security updates only on Azure. Learn more in this blog.


SQL Server Migration

At Build, we announced a preview of new Azure SQL Database ledger, a new feature which adds tamper-evident capabilities to Azure SQL Database. SQL Ledger is a great conversation starter for heavily regulated industries. Learn more in the whitepaper and pitch deck.

Extended Support for SQL Server 2012 ends July 12, 2022. At Inspire we announced the upcoming availability of SQL Server 2012 Extended Security Updates, which will provide up to three additional years of security patches. Extended Security Updates are free on Azure, and available for purchase for use on-premises. Learn more on the Frequently Asked Questions page.


Open Source Migration

At Build we landed several announcements that enhance Azure OSS destinations and make it easier and more cost-effective for customers to get started migrating and modernizing their open-source data to Cosmos DB, Azure Database for PostgreSQL and Azure Database for MySQL. Learn more Rohan Kumar’s on-demand Build session on ‘Harnessing the power of data in your applications with Azure.’


Linux Migration

At Microsoft Build, we announced the public preview of Native Integration with Elastic on Azure. This new integration will enable customers to easily deploy and operate Elasticsearch in Azure, take advantage of technical support directly from Elastic, the creator of the solution, and consolidated billing. Customer feedback has also been great as this demonstrates our commitment to work with the Linux and OSS ecosystem partners.


NEW OSS on Azure page is up live!
• Share the latest updated Linux on Azure Site with customers
• Share the Linux on Azure Infographics with your customers to discuss how to bring their Linux estate to Azure
• Share the Linux on Azure Learning Path for customers and partners who want to learn about Linux on Azure
Use the Azure Pricing Calculator to see the potential cost savings using Azure Hybrid Benefit for Linux
• Updated Azure Hybrid Benefit for Linux Customer Pitch Deck
• How to apply Azure Hybrid Benefit for Linux Virtual Machines: Azure Docs
• Sign up for Azure Hybrid Benefit: Linux preview
• Review and share the latest Ignite Skilling Videos with Red Hat, Cloudera, VMware Tanzu
• For those using Java, check out our Microsoft Reactor Session Sneak Peek to Red Hat Summit: Which as-a-Service is right for your Java apps?

Hybrid Cloud Solutions

At Build, we announced the preview of Azure Arc-enabled application services, bringing Azure’s suite of application services such as Azure App Service, Azure Functions, Azure Logic Apps, Azure Event Grid and Azure API Management to hybrid and multicloud environments.


Advanced Security

Coming off the heels of RSA Conference and Microsoft Build, it has been a busy month for Azure Security solutions. We have released a number of new product announcements, additional content, cost savings announcements, and more.

Azure Defender and Azure Security Center

The Azure Security Center team released a number of new announcements for RSA Conference 2021 and in the Azure Security Center RSA announcement blog.

We also recently announced that Azure Defender has expanded SQL protection to open-source relational databases. Azure Defender for open-source relational databases is now generally available for use with Azure Databases for MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MariaDB single servers.

Azure Confidential Computing

At Microsoft Build, we announced the public preview of Azure Confidential Ledger. Azure Confidential Ledger provides cryptographic evidence that blockchain ledgers have not been tampered with. Built on the Confidential Consortium Framework (CCF) Microsoft Research project, we are excited to announce the public preview of Azure Confidential Ledger (ACL), a fully managed service that provides the ability to store sensitive data records with integrity and confidentiality protections, all in a highly available and scalable service.

Azure Sentinel

We announced several new innovations for Azure Sentinel for RSA Conference 2021. Learn more about these Azure Sentinel innovations, and more, in the Azure Sentinel announcement blog for RSA 2021.

We also recently released new pricing changes for Azure Sentinel and Azure Monitor Log Analytics. These changes help customers save costs by changing how we bill for overage, adding new, higher commitment tiers, and simplifying commitment tiers so that customers do not need to manage their commitments based on minor changes in data ingestion patterns.


Azure Firewall Premium

Following the preview release in Feb 2021, we are announcing the general availability release of Azure Firewall Premium.

Key features in this release include:

  • TLS inspection: Terminates outbound and east-west transport layer security (TLS) connections. Inbound TLS inspection is supported in conjunction with Azure Application Gateway allowing end-to-end encryption. Azure Firewall performs the required value-added security functions and re-encrypts the traffic which is sent to the original destination.
  • IDPS: Signature-based intrusion detection and prevention system (IDPS) to allow rapid detection of attacks by looking for specific patterns, such as byte sequences in network traffic or known malicious instruction sequences used by malware.
  • Web categories: Allows administrators to filter outbound user access to the internet based on categories (for example, social networking, search engines, gambling, and so on), reducing the time spent on managing individual fully qualified domain names (FQDNs) and URLs. This capability is also available for Azure Firewall Standard based on FQDNs only.
  • URL filtering: Allow administrators to filter outbound access to specific URLs, not just FQDNs. This capability works for both plain text and encrypted traffic if TLS inspection is enabled.

Azure Bastion Standard SKU Public Preview

Azure Bastion Standard SKU offers key capabilities for enterprises, unblocking critical customer scenarios. With the new Azure Bastion Standard SKU, customers can now perform/configure the following:

  • Manually scale Bastion host: Azure Bastion supports manual scaling of the Virtual Machine (VM) instances facilitating Bastion connectivity. Customers can configure 2-50 instances to manage the number of concurrent SSH and RDP sessions Azure Bastion can support.
  • Azure Bastion admin panel: Azure Bastion supports enabling/disabling features accessed by the Bastion host.
Azure Virtual Desktop

Going forward, organizations will need to support an evolving set of secure remote and hybrid work scenarios and provide flexibility to their employees. To help our customers and partners meet these new challenges, we recently announced an expanded vision, new capabilities and a change in name from Windows Virtual Desktop to Azure Virtual Desktop.

In our June 7 blog post, we made several important announcements around expanded vision, our new name, monthly access pricing for remote app streaming to external users, and platform investments. In our latest blog at Microsoft Inspire, we’ve delivered upon our vision with announcements for Windows 365, Windows 11 support, remote app streaming becoming available with a promotion and other product updates to continue our journey on being the flexible cloud VDI platform on Azure. We’ve released a joint customer evidence video with four top UK universities from the Russell Group to share their experience with the new branding of Azure Virtual Desktop.

Now partners can offer remote app streaming as a service

Last month we announced a new pricing option for remote app streaming to enable you to use Azure Virtual Desktop to deliver applications “as-a-service” to customers and business partners. For example, this would enable software vendors to deliver their app as a SaaS solution that can be accessed by their customers. Starting today, we begin our special promotion for no charge to access Azure Virtual Desktop to stream apps to your customers or business partners. This promotion ends on December 31, 2021, and only applies to external user access rights. Visit our web page for more details.


We encourage our partners to connect with each other and the Microsoft team by joining the Azure Virtual Desktop Partner Forum and share your ideas with our product team. Also, we have many great resources to help you serve your customers and grow your business:

SAP on Azure

We have a new case study from L’Oreal that focuses on their process to migrate their Latin American zone. It discusses how SAP on Azure provides increased performance and decreased costs since they can do upgrades now in less than 1 day versus multiple weeks. Another new story is about Ingevity, a global manufacturing firm based in the US, which was able to move 450 SAP and non-SAP servers and 74TB of data to Azure. By moving to Azure they gained 50% or more in cost optimization and the ability to cut project times from 3 to 4 weeks to up to 2 days.

Check out our recent blog: Why customers prefer Microsoft Azure to unlock insights from their SAP data

App Innovation

Microsoft has the richest developer tools in the world with the Visual Studio family, GitHub, and .NET. The Microsoft Cloud includes offerings such as Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, as well as our end-to-end security, identity and access management solutions. With the Microsoft Cloud, we have an incredibly comprehensive platform that developers can use to build apps and solutions to reach any person on the planet. We build products with developers in mind, which enables us to partner with our customers in their journey to support and accelerate Developer Velocity.


Modernize .NET Apps

In May, we released a range of new capabilities for modernizing .NET and Java applications and saw an acceleration of nominations and offers through the updated Azure Migration and Modernization Program (AMMP). The GA release of the Microsoft Build of OpenJDK provides a new supported Java runtime option on Azure and Azure Stack. This investment, along with newly released offers for Red Hat JBoss EAP and IBM WebSphere on Azure VMs means Azure now supports a broad range of Java workloads from Java EE and Jakarta EE to Tomcat and Spring Boot. We also added support for .NET 6 Preview 4 to App Service and introduced Preview capabilities to run App Service on Kubernetes and Azure Arc, opening new possibilities for modernizing with containers and .NET.


  • Read the Build blog and keynote on how customers can run their apps anywhere with Azure application services on Kubernetes and Azure Arc (in preview)
  • App Migration Toolkit provides resources to motivate and guide ASP.NET app migration
Cloud Native Apps

At Build, we announced the preview capabilities of Azure application services to run on Kubernetes and anywhere. Any CNCF-conformant Kubernetes cluster connected through Azure Arc is now a supported deployment target for Azure application services. We also announced the general availability of Azure Static Web Apps and new innovations from data for applications.


On June 15, we announced a multitude of new features coming soon to Azure Synapse. This includes multi-cluster compute over shared data, auto-scale, auto-pause/auto-resume, online scaling, and more.


Event Hubs Premium tier is now available for Public Preview. This new SKU is designed for high-end streaming scenarios that require elastic, superior performance with predictable latency. Overview of Event Hubs Premium (Preview) - Azure Event Hubs | Microsoft Docs


At Microsoft Build, we landed key announcements for Azure AI including Applied AI services, that enable developers to accelerate building of AI solutions, new capabilities in Cognitive Services, Azure Machine Learning managed endpoints and PyTorch Enterprise, providing data scientist a more reliable production experience with PyTorch.

We also showcased new case studies, highlighting how these customers are using Azure AI for their mission critical business needs – including Lufthansa, Samsung, Telstra, Dow, ISID - Dentsu and Relativity.

Cloud Adoption Framework

New! Cloud Adoption Framework Secure methodology
We have now released content for the new Secure methodology, which will centralize the theme of security best practices and provide end-to-end guidance for customers looking to establish a secure cloud footprint. This methodology provides guidance around the processes, best practices and models that customers can adopt to implement a platform security MVP in Azure.

New! Cloud economics content
This release continues the refresh of the Strategy methodology by integrating cloud economics program.

New! Retail industry scenario
We added a new scenario for ‘Retail industry’ to guide a retail customer’s cloud adoption journey. This new content includes guidance and solution accelerators that accelerate adoption of retail solutions.

New! Azure Virtual Desktop scenario
As part of the effort around adoption scenarios, we have now released guidance for implementing Windows Virtual Desktop (now Azure Virtual Desktop). This rich guidance shows how each methodology in the Cloud Adoption Framework helps provide structure and best practices to your implementation approach for AVD.

Updated! Modern application platform scenario

We expanded and revised the Modern application platform scenario content which includes technical and non-technical considerations required to prepare for Kubernetes and container integration into centralized operations and your broader cloud strategy.

New! Customer Success story with CAF

As Toyota's largest distributor, JM Family, has successfully run its business for more than 50 years. They utilized the Cloud Adoption Framework to guide their cloud migration efforts and saw significant benefits just six months after implementation.


Skills Building

Azure Virtual Desktop Specialty certification with Exam AZ-140 now out of beta

We’re happy to announce that Exam AZ-140: Configuring and Operating Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop is now live. Passing this exam is the only requirement to earn the new Azure Virtual Desktop Specialty certification.

Check out the updated public assets and share with customers and partners: Azure Training Journey, Azure certification poster, Azure Training + Certification Guide.

With the Microsoft Learn Newsletter, customers and partners can stay updated on program announcements, self-paced training, instructor-led training, and certification.

Specialized Areas
Mixed Reality

Microsoft HoloLens 2 and D365 Remote Assist or D365 Guides are being adopted across enterprises as part of their digital transformation journey. Over 50% of Fortune 500 companies have adopted mixed reality solutions. Automotive companies such as Mercedes Benz and Faurecia are leveraging HoloLens and D365 Remote Assist to modernize their operations whereas Toyota is using HoloLens 2 and D365 Guides to improve worker experience.

We see a similar trend across other industries including semiconductor manufacturing with Intel and ASML, pharmaceuticals, and other industrial segments. In addition to creating efficiencies, Mixed Reality technology is also helping customers reach sustainability goals where non-essential travel can be eliminated. Mixed Reality is transformative for architecture, engineering, and construction industry where technology has had limited impact over the years. Tokyu Construction is leveraging HoloLens and Azure Remote Rendering to improve quality and reduce rework.

Azure VMware Solutions

Recently, we further expanded availability of Azure VMware Solution (AVS) to UK West and Central US, with Australia Southeast expected to go live soon as well. For the full list of regions that support AVS and new regions coming soon, checkout the Azure Products by Region page. With the announcement of these new regions, customers in US, UK and Australia gain the ability to have an AVS DR site within the same data sovereign geography.



Check out IoT content on Channel 9 to hear honest voices talk about IoT news, updates and experiences.

Watch the recent Microsoft and Intel webinar discussing Azure IoT: The Intelligent Edge by Intel & Microsoft

The Azure IoT customer story program highlights Azure IoT success stories across key IoT industries:

  • ExxonMobile uses Azure IoT to efficiently gather and analyze data optimizing operations and future opportunities
  • TetraPak gains a single, holistic view of productivity, safety and quality through IoT Hub.

Azure HPC announced the GA of 2 virtual machines in June.

Azure HPC announced the GA of the ND A100 v4 virtual machine – the fastest public cloud in the supercomputer.

Advanced Networking

Azure ExpressRoute is a private and secure connectivity service to connect your on-premises networks to the Microsoft Cloud. With ExpressRoute Global Reach, you can link ExpressRoute circuits together to make a private network between your on-premises networks. Starting June 1, 2021, we have 50% decrease in the data transfer price for Azure ExpressRoute Global Reach. For more information, please visit Azure Updates and Pricing pages.

Using Azure Bastion service, customers can securely and seamlessly connect to virtual machines over SSL directly in the Azure portal. Azure Bastion Standard SKU will be GA on July 1, with a price increase. Please visit pricing page for more information.

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