We’re days away from the start of the 2014 Worldwide Partner Conference, and I’m looking forward to meeting many of our partners and sharing the company’s vision for how Microsoft helps enable partners’ success in a mobile-first, cloud-first world.  

Cloud will continue to be a large part of this vision. The shift to cloud computing is a vast opportunity for our partners, and we’re focused on giving our channel the most comprehensive set of cloud technologies -- spanning infrastructure, data, mobility, productivity and managed services – and the best programs and services to help them grow their businesses by building, hosting, managing or selling hybrid or cloud solutions.

Building on some of the incredible innovation already delivered by our engineering groups this year, I’m thrilled to announce some of the new technologies and services that we will highlight at WPC and during the next few months, including:

Cloud-first storage and machine learning solutions

  • Microsoft Azure StorSimple is a hybrid cloud storage solution that dramatically cuts the cost and inefficiency out of managing a company’s ever-growing volumes of data. Available August 1, the new offering gives system integration partners great opportunity to help their customers deploy the solution for all types of storage. Azure StorSimple simplifies disaster recovery, consolidates management, and brings on-premises data to the cloud for development and testing of new apps. As customers begin the move to cloud, storage is often the place they start, because the agility and cost benefits are so clear. Find out more in Takeshi Numoto’s blog post here. 
  • The Azure Machine Learning service we announced in June will be available for preview on Monday. This is groundbreaking technology partners can use to build advanced analytic cloud services for their customers in minutes and hours, eliminating much of the heavy lifting associated with deploying machine learning in modern data-driven applications. Partners like MAX451, OSIsoft, Neal Analytics and Versium are already providing solutions with this service to their customers, including Pier 1 Imports, Carnegie Mellon University, Treehouse and Millionair Club Charity.  

New and expanded cloud services 

  • Over 8,000 customers and partners sign up for Azure every week and we continue to deliver cloud-first innovation to each and every one of them with new services and capabilities they can use to bring their next solution to life. In April we introduced the Azure Preview Portal, an all-new cloud experience that radically simplifies cloud development by bringing together cross-platform cloud technologies, services and tools into a single environment. On Monday we’ll bring new IaaS functionality to the Portal, to allow users to easily manage virtual machines, as well as single-click SharePoint deployment for the management of multiple virtual machines within the Portal. We’re also previewing Azure Event Hubs, a new service that can broker millions of events per second, allowing partners and customers to pull in, process and analyze data from a nearly infinite number of cloud-connected smart devices. 
  • To meet the growing demand for cloud services we’re also continuing to invest in increased network and datacenter capacity for U.S. partners and customers. On Monday we’ll bring two new Azure regions online in Virginia and Iowa.  Customers will now be able to access Azure through private connections being added at six new Equinix datacenters.  See the Azure blog for more information on all of this.
  • In addition to our increased network and datacenter capacity we are also expanding our preview of the Microsoft’s Azure government cloud and announcing our intent to broaden our government cloud portfolio with a new Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online U.S. government cloud offering. To read more about how Azure, Dynamics and Office 365 work together to provide most comprehensive, end-to-end cloud solution for government partners and customers, read Curt Kolcun’s blog here

Innovations in Productivity

  • Announced earlier this year as Codename Oslo, today we’re sharing that the official name is Delve.  Delve, the first experience powered by the intelligence fabric we call the Office Graph, will be available to Office 365 customers later this year. It’s an incredible new way to search and discover content across Office 365 that delivers personalized insights based on machine learning. Delve surfaces information that would be of interest and relevance to you, enabling you to discover and connect with new information you might otherwise not have. Delve effectively removes the information silos that exist across applications while better supporting information discovery to enable teams to work together as a network.
  • Our new Office 365 SMB plan lineup, announced today and launching this fall, is the result of feedback we’ve received from customers and partners about how SMB customers want to get started and grow with Office 365. The new plans will greatly simplify the sales process for our partners, shorten sales cycles, and improve upsell opportunities. Take a look at the Office blog for more details.

The updates, innovations and expansions announced today provide partners and customers the best products and services to succeed in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. I encourage all of our partners to learn more about these technologies and how they can help deliver value to our shared customers and propel their business forward.

Thank you for continuing on the cloud journey with us. For those of you joining us in person I can’t wait to see you next week in Washington D.C.!

 

Phil