New Microsoft Cloud, Big Data Programs Bolster Partner Relations

Microsoft announced new cloud and big data programs to boost its relationships with partners.

HOUSTON—At its Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2013 here, Microsoft announced a series of new programs and services designed to help its partners and customers embrace the challenges and opportunities associated with cloud computing and big data.

Both onstage during a keynote address and in a blog post, Satya Nadella, president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft described the new programs, including Cloud OS Accelerate, which is a program in which Microsoft and key partners such as Cisco, NetApp, Hitachi Data Systems, HP and Dell will invest more than $100 million to help put thousands of new private and hybrid cloud solutions into the hands of customers, Nadella said.

"We are also announcing a new Windows Intune offer, effective Oct. 1, that will help connect partners and customers with the latest in cloud connected management at a 30 percent discount," he said. "These new programs, and others you will hear about throughout the Worldwide Partner Conference, are designed to help our partners realize the opportunities in cloud computing—today."

Microsoft also announced new Windows Azure Active Directory capabilities that will make it possible for ISVs, CSVs and other third parties to leverage Windows Azure's directory to enable a single sign-on (SSO) experience for their users, at no cost, Nadella said. Customers can sign up here. And the software giant announced a premium offer for Windows Azure SQL Database, which delivers reserved capacity for more powerful and predictable performance. "This will allow partners to raise the bar on the types of services and products they can offer to customers," Nadella said. A limited preview will be available in a few weeks.

As earlier reported, Microsoft also announced Power BI for Office 365, a new self-service business intelligence (BI) solution that combines the data analysis and visualization capabilities of Excel with the power of collaboration, scale and trusted cloud environment of Office 365. This new solution will help partners deliver powerful BI solutions to small and midsize businesses.

"This news wraps up a wave of new enterprise cloud announcements from the Server and Tools Division, including: new versions of Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, SQL Server 2014 and Windows Intune at TechEd North America and TechEd Europe; the general availability of Windows Azure Mobile Services and Windows Azure Web Sites at Build 2013; and a new strategic partnership with Oracle to improve customer flexibility and choice," Nadella said.