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New Azure Migration Program A 'Wonderful' Partner Opportunity

'What AMP does is try to accelerate the customers' comfort with Azure or even public cloud infrastructure for that matter,' says Jason Rook, vice president of market development for 10th Magnitude, which participated in the AMP pilot. 'That initial phase that every customer goes through – where they made the commitment (to migrate to the cloud), but they're still a bit in tire-kicking or exploration mode -- it's dramatically increased the velocity of that phase of a migration life cycle.'

Microsoft Azure is launching a new program to make it easier and faster for customers to migrate existing applications from on-premises data centers to its public cloud with the help of specialized migration channel partners.

The Azure Migration Program (AMP) provides proactive, end-to-end guidance and tools for customers to move to the cloud, including technical skill-building, free Azure migration tools and offers to reduce migration costs.

AMP will be generally available in English-speaking countries on July 15 and will roll out elsewhere as the year progresses.

The program answers growing demand from customers hungry for innovation and taking advantage of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, according to Julia White, corporate vice president of Azure marketing.

“The migration and optimization and moving to the cloud is a great stepping stone towards that as well as a cost-effective move,” White said.

The program matches customers with skilled Azure channel partners with proven track records who have built up their migration practices, ensuring that as customers move to the cloud, they're doing it in a way that makes sense for how the cloud works, including optimizing in the right way, and building and running their systems for reliability in the cloud, White said.

“It's really taking all of our best practices, having worked with customers for many years now on how to migrate to the cloud in the most efficient way,” she said.

AMP includes foundational and role-specific courses to develop Azure skills, free Azure migration tools such as Azure Migrate to assess and migrate workloads, and free Azure Cost Management for cost optimization. It also includes offers to reduce migration costs, including Azure Hybrid Benefit and free extended security updates for Windows Server and SQL Server 2008.

“We're on a cusp of a big moment where customers consider what to do, because their Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 are now a decade-old, and that means they're going out of the mainstream extended support,” White said. “If you are a 2008 customer, you can take that application running in Windows and SQL Server 2008, move it to Azure, and we actually provide three years of extended security updates that run in Azure. That is definitely a catalyst for a lot of customers considering what they're going to do with that set of applications.”

That also presents a “wonderful” partner opportunity, according to White, who said

Partner revenue per $1 of Microsoft cloud services equals about $9.80, according to Microsoft.

“That's in the migration services themselves,” White said. “Migration tends to be customers' first big, important project as they start adopting cloud. And if they're successful with that first project, the customer does more and more and more. It unlocks that huge wave of new innovation projects and new applications being developed. That just opens up a whole bunch of new partner opportunities.”

Partners who are Azure Expert Managed Service Providers are early members of the program, and Microsoft will add partners who obtain its new Azure migration specialization.

Partners participating in the program’s pilot that started in January include 10th Magnitude, a Chicago systems integrator and Azure Expert Managed Services Provider.

“Historically, to do larger data center migrations, Microsoft has used a number of different programs to help assist both the customer and the solution provider along the path,” said Jason Rook, vice president of market development for 10th Magnitude, which was named the 2019 Microsoft Datacenter Migration Partner of the Year last month. “Now, instead of working across multiple groups within Microsoft, both in the field sales org and the channel side, they've got the vast majority of the migration-related programs under one umbrella, which makes it easier for the solution provider to navigate and makes it easier for the Microsoft field sales team to position. It's beneficial to the customer along the path as well, because there's not as many starts and stops. It's a more fluid motion from beginning to migrated.”

AMP dramatically accelerates customers' abilities to get into the cloud, according to Rook.

“What AMP does is try to accelerate the customers' comfort with Azure or even public cloud infrastructure for that matter,” he said. “That initial phase that every customer goes through – where they made the commitment (to migrate to the cloud), but they're still a bit in tire-kicking or exploration mode -- it's dramatically increased the velocity of that phase of a migration life cycle.”

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