As the Microsoft lead for the joint Infrastructure to Applications (I2A) initiative with HP I can’t wait to get to the Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston next week. It’s a great chance to catch up with partners who have made Microsoft and HP private cloud and mission critical SQL solutions a mainstay for their business, and to showcase new joint go-to-markets, campaigns and solutions they can look forward to in the coming year.

This year perhaps more than any since the announcement of the I2A initiative back in 2007 I can’t help but get excited about the unprecedented opportunity ahead for Microsoft, HP and our joint Frontline partners. Industry trends like cloud, the consumerization of IT and BYOD, big data, and mission critical computing are transforming datacenter computing today - and will deliver new value, and new ways of doing business for your customers, for many years to come.  To most effectively capture the opportunity presented by these trends, I’m excited to introduce a new Microsoft-HP joint go-to-market program called Modern Infrastructure. This represents an optimized go-to-market approach around a set of 3 clearly defined and differentiated, end-to-end solutions:

1. Server Virtualization and Private Cloud – Customers are looking to scale IT resources and services on-demand and reduce operational expenses. A solution comprising of Virtualization smart bundles and HP Cloud Solution for Microsoft built on HP VirtualSystem VS3 for Microsoft addresses this scenario best.

2.  Client Virtualization / Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) – Customers want to empower their increasingly mobile workforce by delivering business applications anywhere and on any device. Using the HP Client Virtualization SMB Reference Architecture for Microsoft is a great way to address this need.

3. Data Management and Business Intelligence - Customers need to compete to more effectively grow by unlocking actionable insights from large volumes of data. HP AppSystem for SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse, HP Fast Track and Database Consolidation Reference Architectures are industry-leading solutions that enable business to use data as a competitive advantage.

These scenarios are directly aligned with challenges that many of your customers are grappling with today. They remain largely unsolved because most customers are running datacenters on older versions of Windows Server (2003 or even earlier) that is nearing end of mainstream support, and aging hardware that has most likely exceeded its warranty. In short customers, need to modernize their server infrastructure now more than ever, while ensuring business continuity by keeping their applications up and running even in the event of a disaster. The Modern Infrastructure program will empower you to help your customers solve these challenges with a comprehensive set of innovative, integrated and cost effective end-to-end solutions.

As a trusted partner coming to WPC this year, you are in the right place to seize the huge market opportunity that modernization of IT represents. Research shows that 60% of mid-size companies with 500 to 5,000 PCs still run Windows Server 2003 and aging server infrastructure. Contrast this to the fact that over 80% of the applications will be virtualized by 2015 (according to IDC), and it’s no wonder that CIO's are quickly realizing this problem and changing their IT spend from reactive to proactive. As a result the spend on virtualized hardware and software is slated to reach 43% of the total datacenter spend by 2014. Mobility and VDI specifically is becoming the highest growth driver and is predicted to double from WW $500Min 2012 to $1B by 2017.

And Microsoft and HP are committed to supporting you every step of the way to deliver these end-to-end solutions to your customers. We are opening the doors to Microsoft and HP’s state of the art technology centers, so that you can show your customers what is possible. We’ll provide business value assessment and ROI tools that prove the economic value. In addition to demand generation activities, we're also driving partner-led technical assessments, planning engagements and delivery services including deal support for pilots and POCs.

How can you leverage this opportunity? First, the Modern Infrastructure program will provide you with sales conversations that appeal to a broad range of new customers, while highlighting the need for both hardware and software upgrades to existing customers. Second, we will be introducing special promotions and discounts later in the year to help you close more deals and build long-lasting relationships with your customers. Third, you can earn Solution Incentive program (SIP) advisor fees for closing server infrastructure deals. Finally, Modern Infrastructure solutions bring a wide range of cross-selling opportunities that span infrastructure and applications, enabling you to make inroads into a platform that will only grow with your customers.  All this leads to high margins through long-term and high-value services across all kinds of environments: on-premise, private and hybrid cloud.

WPC offers several ways to learn about the Modern Infrastructure program. You can check out Takeshi Numoto’s value keynote on July 8th from 1.30pm to learn about Microsoft’s partner programs and investments from partners like HP, see the solutions in action at the HP and Microsoft booths and visit hpmspartners.com for more information on the program. When you’re ready to engage, contact your HP or Microsoft account manager.  It’s a win-win proposition for you and your customers. You embark on a journey with industry leaders Microsoft and HP that share a vision to enable businesses through modern infrastructure. And you get to tap into a huge market opportunity. Your customers realize value for money with guaranteed ROIs.

So enjoy your time at WPC. I hope I get the chance to talk to some of you and that you take the time in the next couple of months to learn about this new Microsoft and HP go-to-market program and the many benefits you will have when we launch later this year.

Mark Hassall
Director Partner/Channel Marketing, Enterprise Partners
Server & Tools Marketing Group, Microsoft