If Microsoft Wants to
Get into a Market, They Will."> With regard to becoming a Microsoft partner, Groves was pragmatic, saying that "my view coming in is that if Microsoft wants to get into a market, they will, and if you want to be part of that, you have to work with them." Streamline has been fielding calls from interested customers in Microsofts HPC offering, known as Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003, and expects to start delivering this to them shortly."But we dont see this as displacing Linux in our business, but rather adding to it. I expect Microsofts entry into this market will expand the potential customer base for these products as many Windows customers have been wary of HPC until now, as they had to put Linux clusters into their environment and deal with the integration of it all. That is no longer the case," Groves said.For his part Graham Jones, chief operating officer for Integralis, a Europe-based security systems integrator, said the company wanted to learn more about Microsofts future security product strategy before it built a consulting practice around those solutions. Jones said he also wanted to hear about "truly differentiated channels. With all of our vendors, we have the highest level of accreditation, and in exchange for that we expect the best terms and engagement that we can get." He said he was also curious to see what the real service opportunity with Microsoft is, as he believed that the current Microsoft channel did not understand security the way companies like Integralis did. "They can supply Exchange, Office and Windows, but we understand the environment that ISA Server is going into. We have a far wider view of security," he said. Click here to read more about how Microsofts rebranded its enterprise security push as Forefront. Jones said Microsoft did lay out its security product roadmap, and the software giant had first gone for the low-hanging fruit, the anti-virus market. "We dont play in that market. I thought the roadmap was a good, compelling story for users. Our involvement will probably come in the second wave of its security technology," he said. Jones also acknowledged that he remained unsure how to navigate the Microsoft system to reach the right people, admitting that there needs to be "more work to be done there" on both sides. But he welcomed the ability to attend the full Worldwide Partner show, attend sessions and network with peers. "Outside of the technology, this was a great opportunity to learn about the company, meet its people, and network with potential and existing partners," he said. Integralis believes there was an opportunity to start consulting around Microsoft Forefront and is going to look at how best to establish a security consulting group that has a "Microsoft wrap around it, but it is a bit early to say how this will look," Jones said. In fact, Microsoft used the partner show to announce its SSA (Security Software Advisor) program, designed to give Microsofts security partners and solutions providers an opportunity to earn supplemental revenue when they assist customers with the acquisition and deployment of Microsoft security software. Eligible partners can receive fees of up to 30 percent of the sale of selected Microsoft security products, while those who are involved in the recommendation process and serve as the primary Microsoft security software implementation partner for new sales of selected ISA (Internet Security and Acceleration) Server and Antigen product SKUs will get an additional 10 percent above their security software adviser fees. This offer expires Feb. 1, 2007, Steven VanRoekel, the director of the Windows solutions group, told eWEEK. Click here to read more about how Microsoft believes opportunities abound for its partners. Jones said Integralis was also especially interested in working with Microsoft on a consultancy basis when it came out with more security management offerings. But, he cautioned, this was a market with a lot of existing, established players and Microsoft had to be cognizant of that. With regard to becoming a Microsoft partner, Jones said the decision had been made to work toward gold certification, adding though that he did want to hear more about what this would do for his firm. He also hoped that Microsoft would be willing to listen to input on its current requirements for certification and accreditation and whether those requirements were appropriate to Integralis business. Microsofts Watson said the partner team was always open to working together with its partners. She also noted that some 431 new partners had built a business practice on Microsofts technologies over the past year and 40 percent had dropped their previous platform provider over that year. Read here next how PolyServe is doing after broadening its product base from Linux to include Windows, and what the challenges and benefits of that move were. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.