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Azure for Partners


Welcome to the September 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.

September Spotlight: Digital Event Roundup


Coming soon: Microsoft Ignite | November 2-4, 2021

Join us to explore the latest tools, training sessions, technical expertise, networking opportunities, and more. Head to My Ignite to get to know this year’s featured speakers, review the agenda, find featured partners, and register.  

Summer rewind: Microsoft Inspire

In case you missed this summer’s annual Inspire event, we’ve captured top can’t-miss sessions and blogs for review.

Digital Events

On-Demand: Azure Data Governance digital event

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Learn how to maximize the value of your on-premises, multicloud, and software as a service (SaaS) data with Azure Purview, a unified data governance solution. Find out how to create a comprehensive, automated map of all your data, and see how Azure Purview works with Azure Synapse Analytics, Power BI, and the rest of your data estate to deliver timely, reliable insights.

Watch now

.NET Conf 2021 | Nov 9-11, Digital, Learn TV

.NET Conf 2021

.NET Conf is a free, three-day, virtual developer event that celebrates the major releases of the .NET development platform. It is co-organized by the .NET community and Microsoft and sponsored by the .NET Foundation and our ecosystem partners. Come celebrate and learn about what you can do with .NET 6.

Save the date

Azure IaaS Day | Nov. 17, Digital

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Join us for this free digital event to learn how to keep your business-critical workloads running with a more resilient IT infrastructure. Hear success stories, see demos, and chat with product experts on the latest innovations in compute, storage, and networking at Azure IaaS Day on November 17. Delivered in partnership with Intel.

Register now

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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

Starting August 26, 2021, there are updated requirements for partners applying for and renewing an SAP on Azure advanced specialization:

  • An active Gold Cloud Platform competency
  • Meet the performance thresholds
    • A monthly average of $8,000 ACR from SAP workloads from at least 3 customers (aggregated from across a partner’s customers) in the previous 3 months
    • ACR can be achieved through Digital Partner of Record, Partner Admin Link, and Cloud Solution Provider
  • Must pass a third-party audit
  • Must have 3 skilled individuals who have attained an Azure for SAP Workloads Specialty certification.
    • To ease the transition, until the end of calendar year 2021, Microsoft will also accept partners with 3 skilled individuals who have attained the Azure Solution Architect Expert certification (previous requirement). This includes partners with a combination of 3 people who are either Azure Solution Architect certified or Azure for SAP Workloads Specialty certified

As a reminder, here are the 6 new Azure advanced specializations launched in July 2021:

  • 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 Marketplace

With over 30,000 apps and services listed and over 4 million monthly active shoppers, the commercial marketplace is the channel that connects our customers and partners for their shared success. Starting in July, we reduced our agency transaction fees from an industry-standard 20% to 3%— demonstrating our investment in our partners success through the commercial marketplace.


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:

Recent Azure for Industry whitepapers

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

The Hybrid Data Cloud Game Show - October 21
Join us for a light-hearted quiz show competition hosted by Pure Storage.
Jes Schultz and Dhananjay Mahajan will square off against Anthony Nocentino and Ben Weissman to see who knows more about hybrid data.

Watch our contestants rival one another while you learn about Azure Arc-enabled data services, containers, Portworx, and many more nuggets of knowledge.
Register Now

Azure Arc Partner Campaign Assets: Win hybrid with Azure Arc and Azure Stack HCI
New assets are now available to help you and your customers become familiar with Azure Arc. Check them out at the links below:

Windows Server Migration

Windows Server 2022, the next release in the long-term servicing channel is now in general availability (GA). 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. To learn more and take a deep look at all the new capabilities, watch the Windows Server Summit where product experts demo the latest Windows Server security, hybrid, and app modernization capabilities. For a quick read, check out the recent announcement blog.

We also announced a new Window Server Hybrid Administrator Associate certification with two supporting exams. One of the exams will cover the administration of Windows Server hybrid core infrastructure across topics like compute, storage, identity, networking, and management tools. The other exam will focus on configuring Windows Server advanced hybrid services, coving topics such as security, migration, high availability, disaster recovery, monitoring, and troubleshooting.

In July, we announced Extended Security Updates for Windows Server 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.

SQL Server Migration

The new Azure SQL Migration extension in Azure Data Studio powered by Azure Database Migration Service, now in Preview, guides customers through a simple wizard that reduces database migration complexities. The extension also performs assessments on SQL Server databases to check for Azure suitability and readiness for migrating to Azure SQL Managed Instance (PaaS) or SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines (IaaS).

For customers who purchased license-only SQL Server without Software Assurance, lack of access to Azure Hybrid Benefit can seem like a barrier to the cloud. That’s why we published this new blog highlighting how Dedicated Host helps customers move license-only SQL Server to Azure. Customers with expired SQL Annuity who acquired their SQL software before October 1, 2019 can migrate to Azure on Dedicated Host without SA and customers with newer license-only SQL Server can also purchase a software subscription for SQL Server and use Unlimited Virtualization on Azure Dedicated Host to migrate to Azure.

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SAP on Azure

On September 14, Holger Bruchelt led the Unlock Critical Insights from Your SAP Data on Azure webinar, which covered how customers can derive real-time and predictive insights from their SAP data on Azure. The webinar also covered how customers can combine their SAP and non-SAP data, apply advanced data analytics, visualize insights using Power BI, and build low-code apps and workflows with Microsoft Power Platform.


Hybrid Cloud Solutions

Azure Hybrid is a key differentiator for Azure and Azure Arc presents a significant opportunity to drive net new Azure revenue, with millions of on-premises assets (Windows Server, Linux and SQL Server, and a growing Kubernetes estate) that can be managed by Azure Arc. Customers can also run Azure PaaS services such as Azure SQL, Azure PostgreSQL, and Azure application services anywhere. In addition, Azure Stack HCI and Azure Arc enable customers to modernize their datacenters with Azure consistent infrastructure. We have had several great wins and customer references over the last couple of months with SKF building the factories of the future with Azure hybrid cloud solutions, and Telstra achieving unified monitoring and security across their hybrid environments.


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Azure Virtual Desktop

Now partners and ISVs 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. Our special promotion has 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.

Product Updates:

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:

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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

Our strategic partnership with VMware brings differentiated value to Java customers modernizing their workloads on Azure and we’re strengthening our relationship with the announcement of Azure Spring Cloud Enterprise (preview). Invite customers to the Azure Spring Cloud Enterprise preview (using “Contact Me”). Enterprise brings value-added VMware Tanzu components running on fully managed Azure infrastructure and enables customers to realize the full potential of Spring and do more with their Java applications.


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Invite your customers to the upcoming Azure Purview Digital Event, Maximize the Value of Your Data in the Cloud, on September 28. CVP Rohan Kumar will guide the audience through, demos, deep dives, major product announcements, and a Live Q&A. Understand how to create a comprehensive, automated map of an entire data estate and see how Purview works with Synapse and Power BI to deliver timely and reliable insights.

The program “Let’s Build Together | Hands-on Training Series for Azure Synapse Analytics” has completed all six live episodes and is now available on-demand



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Cloud Adoption Framework

The new Data management and analytics scenario is now available. This includes best practice guidance for overall cloud journey and a prescriptive landing zone design, in line with best practices and design principles. It is modular and allows customers to implement different modern data platform patterns like data-mesh, data-fabric as well as traditional datalake architectures. If core recommendations are followed, the resulting target landing zone design will set the customer on a path to sustainable scale and successful adoption.

We have simplified the Ready methodology, now focused on a single target landing zone architecture referred to as the Azure Landing Zone conceptual architecture. In addition, we included the Azure Landing Zone Accelerator previously the Enterprise-scale landing zone reference implementations with a new unified experience allowing customers to quickly provision the Azure landing zone conceptual architecture. Learn more in this on-demand webinar.

And now, CAF strategy is more actionable! We developed a new template that allows customers to estimate their cost savings when leveraging Azure offers and benefits. Download this template from the Tools section of the CAF Strategy docs article and start using with your customers. You can also leverage this FinOps webinar to talk about FinOps principles as well as the Azure solutions, offers and tools that can help your customers manage their cloud environment in a financially effective way.



Introducing the new and different Backstage Tour! We’re going behind the scenes at Azure with the Well-Architected: The Backstage Tour. Introduced by Mark Russinovich, Azure CTO, this two-hour event offers five sessions at how Azure powers the features that address each pillar of the Azure Well-Architected Framework! In this unique event, not only will attendees learn how things work behind the curtain, but they’ll also take away some tips and tricks they won’t find anywhere else to help with these subjects.

Also, check out this new blog: Join us behind the scenes at Azure, thanks to the Well-Architected Framework


Skills Building

Check out the new Windows Server Hybrid Administrator certification - this new certification will empower professionals integrating Windows Server environments with Azure services and managing Windows Server in on-premises networks.

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Specialized Areas

Windows Server IoT 2022 is now generally available. Dedicated-purpose devices have fixed functionality and are built to perform a pre-defined set of tasks. When this is the case, you can license Windows Server IoT 2022 with special dedicated use licensing terms. With Windows Server IoT 2022, customers can continue to securely run their workloads, enable new hybrid cloud scenarios, and modernize their applications to meet evolving business requirements. Windows Server IoT is an integral part of the Azure Edge Devices and Windows for IoT stack.


Mixed Reality
Azure VMware

Azure VMware Solution has launched two new regions in June and July: Australia Southeast and Canada East. Both these regions are a 2nd location within their respective sovereign areas, and provide customers more options for Disaster Recovery, as they expand cloud migration initiatives. In addition, these past few months have seen some exciting feature releases by the AVS team including AVS Interconnect, Azure Storage disk pools for AVS, and VMware SRM for AVS.

Just last month, in support of our partnering and alignment with VMware, we held the first Inside Azure IT session featuring Erin Chapple, CVP Microsoft, hosting Mark Lohmeyer SVP of the cloud Business Group, VMware.

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Azure HPC + AI launched the GA of FX-series and ND A100 v4 virtual machines (VMs) in June. Microsoft Azure is the first top 30 class cloud service, and NDv4 virtual machines is the fastest supercomputer in the public cloud based on June 2021 Top 500 results. Read about it in our newest whitepaper: Supercomputing performance in the cloud, which discusses the future of the cloud and includes a benchmark on ND v4 series virtual machines.

In August, we also published Accelerating AI and HPC in the Cloud, which examines the use of InfiniBand to enable new levels of cloud elasticity to meet emerging use cases.

We also published several case studies detailing the ways our customers are using Azure HPC + AI virtual machines, including a Jellyfish video that touches on using HBv2-series VMs to render visual effects and animation sequences and a video for Wildlife Protection Solutions, detailing their use of NV-series VMs to achieve price and performance gains.


Advanced Networking

Azure Route Server went to GA on September 1st with new pricing page and SKU’s. The new pricing will take effect on November 1. Route Server enables network appliances to exchange route information with Azure virtual networks dynamically and allows Azure ExpressRoute and VPN gateways to automatically take the latest route information from Azure Route Server instead of manually talking to each network.

In August, the Azure Virtual Networking team released for Preview the new peering service that removed the long-standing constraint within Azure where any address space change is only allowed if the virtual network does not have any peerings.


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